Meghan A. Matulka received her law degree from The American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1997. During her time in law school, she was accepted into the nationally recognized Criminal Justice Clinic Program where she prosecuted crimes in Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland and defended both adults and juveniles in Montgomery County, Maryland. She also received a competitive scholarship to assist in the representation of death row inmates during their habeas corpus appeals.
After law school, Ms. Matulka was selected for a prestigious clerkship at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, under Judge Jack B. Stevens and Judge Kathleen H. MacKay.
Upon the conclusion of her clerkship, Ms. Matulka began working at the Public Defender's Office in Fairfax, Virginia, in 1998. She gained substantial experience as a criminal defense trial attorney representing thousands of adult and juvenile clients in the General District Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and Circuit Court. She regularly tried non-jury trials before all of the judges of the courts in Fairfax and also had many jury trials before the Circuit Court. Ms. Matulka has argued several times before the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Ms. Matulka entered into private practice in 2001. She continued her tireless work representing clients accused of crime but expanded her practice to include representation in every state and local court in Northern Virginia as well as the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. However, late in 2002, the Public Defender's Office was in great need of senior, experienced attorneys to handle difficult and serious cases as well as to train new attorneys in the art and practice of litigation. Ms. Matulka returned to the Public Defender's Office in 2002 as a Senior Assistant Public Defender to help fill the Office's great need for experienced attorneys.
Ms. Matulka returned to private practice for good in 2006 and has expanded her practice to include the state and local courts of suburban Maryland including Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Frederick counties. She continues to work zealously to represent her clients and to provide them with excellent, quality legal services.
Personal Note from Meghan: Why I Became a Defense Attorney
Three reasons: To help people in trouble; to protect individual rights; and to defend the Constitution.
I grew up watching my mother help people when they most needed it and I know it made a deep impression on me. I learned so much from watching her. Most importantly, she taught me to “meet people where they are” and see what you could offer of yourself to help them. She was the best counselor and mediator you’d ever meet and I strive in my own career to be half as good as she was in her career. She is gone now but I know that I carry her spirit with me whenever I am actively engaged in helping someone in crisis.
I also grew up as a Navy junior and that, too, made a deep impression on me. My father was a distinguished Naval Officer who flew jets during the Vietnam War. He risked his life to defend our way of life and the Constitution. He knew that if there weren’t citizens who were willing to stand up and fight on behalf of all of us we could lose everything. I am proud to say that I have followed in my father’s footsteps in defending our rights and the Constitution; I have just done it in a different way.
Very early on in my career, I saw how easily all of our rights can be eroded if there aren’t lawyers out there fighting to protect the rights of all who are accused – the guilty and the innocent. If we don’t demand that the promises of the Constitution are delivered, we lose them. The burden to prove guilt is on the government not on the defendant. The Constitution demands that we view people accused of crime as innocent unless and until they are proven guilty. And guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. These are amazing concepts that separate our country and our laws from the rest of the world. We lose them if we don’t fight for them.
At the core, these are the reasons that I chose to become a defense attorney.