(TOPEKA, Kan.) – Topeka attorney M. Kristine Lawless has been honored as one of the country’s most outstanding criminal defense lawyers by The Best Lawyers in America – 2009. Selection to the annual Best Lawyers publication is based on a rigorous, confidential survey which allows more than 2.5 million attorneys nationwide to review their peers for professional competency, legal scholarship, pro bono service, and other achievements.

Since 1999, Lawless has been an attorney in the Topeka office of Joseph & Hollander, PA, where her practice has consisted primarily of complex criminal defense litigation, as well as family and divorce law. She is also a former adjunct professor at Washburn University School of Law.

“One of the highest honors a lawyer can receive is to be recognized by her peers,” Lawless said. “It is gratifying when other lawyers commend your professional skills and integrity, especially since we’re often on the opposite side of cases.”

Prior to joining Joseph Hollander & Craft Lawless was the Chief Senior Trial Attorney for Indigent Defense Services in Topeka, Ks where she handled trials for indigent persons accused of major felonies in Shawnee and eight surrounding counties. She also worked as an Assistant Appellate Defender for the State of Kansas, handling all criminal appeals for indigent persons in the state.

Active in civic and professional organizations, Lawless serves on the Board of Directors of Valeo Behavioral Health Care in Topeka. She is a member of the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka and the Topeka Bar Association, where she serves on the TBA’s Family Law Committee. She is also a member of the Wichita Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Lawless is a magna cum laude graduate of Wichita State University, with a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice. She earned her law degree from Washburn University School of Law, where she was the Executive Editor of the Washburn Law Journal.

The Topeka and Wichita offices of Joseph & Hollander, PA, include 10 lawyers. The firm’s primary practice areas include complex criminal defense, civil litigation, employment law, health care non-compliance, commercial law and divorce law.