Practice Areas Include:
Criminal Defense and Veteran Affairs
Mr. Sears joined The Gertsburg Law Firm with more than a decade of experience working for both the United States Navy JAG Corps and a prestigious civil litigation boutique law firm. Utilizing his years of experience prosecuting and defending criminal matters, Mr. Sears heads up our firm’s criminal defense practice. Mr. Sears also specializes in the defense of service members facing administrative and criminal disciplinary proceedings having served as both a senior trial counsel and senior defense counsel while in the military. Along with his criminal law practice, Mr. Sears represents current military members undergoing the Physical Evaluation Board process in an effort to obtain benefits as a result of their service-related injuries or illnesses. As an attorney accredited to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs, he further aids those veterans who are appealing their initial decisions on benefits from the VA. Mr. Sears has also represented numerous companies, non-profit groups, and individuals engaged in complex civil litigation at both the trial and appellate level.
Mr. Sears has over 13 years of service with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps and continues to serve as a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. During his military career, he litigated more than 80 courts martial, including 11 contested trials. Mr. Sears was detailed as the senior prosecutor at Naval Station Mayport, Florida and the senior defense counsel for the Northeastern United States. He served as a special assistant U.S. attorney in both the Middle District of Florida and the Southern District of Georgia, where he represented the U.S. government in federal district court. He has represented hundreds of Wounded Warriors processing through the Navy and Marine Corps Disability Evaluation System for which he and his fellow disability attorneys received the ABA’s Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel 2015 Special Recognition Award. He also served as staff judge advocate (general counsel) to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, Destroyer Squadron FOURTEEN and Naval Special Warfare Group FOUR. He worked in the Navy’s criminal law policy division and deployed with UNITAS 2003 as the legal advisor to a multi-national naval exercise in Argentina. For his service in the Navy, Mr. Sears has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (x5) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (x3).
As part of his civil practice, Mr. Sears has litigated on behalf of both small and large clients. He has participated in a multimillion-dollar appellate case involving allegations of civil fraud, represented plaintiffs in a federal civil RICO and Fair Housing Act case, handled complex insurance recovery litigation, defended religious institutions against allegations of abuse, and defended a large, international law firm. He also successfully represented a development and manufacturing company in a contested trial resulting in a victory on all counts for his client.
Outside of work, Mr. Sears loves spending time with his wife and daughters and, despite a lot of heartache, remains a diehard Cleveland sports fan.
Mr. Sears is admitted to practice before the following bodies:
- All Ohio state courts
- The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
- The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
- The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
- The Department of Veterans Affairs
Mr. Sears is a 1999 graduate of Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and political science. He received his Juris Doctorate from Washington University School of Law in 2002 where he was a member of the dean’s list and recipient of the John W. Calhoun Trial Practice Award as well as an extern for the Hon. Kathleen O’Malley of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Mr. Sears also graduated from the Naval Justice School in 2003 during which he received the New York City Bar Association Trial Advocacy Award.
VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) Certified Attorney