Attorney Russell Turkel brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique skill set to the practice of federal criminal defense law. Russell is a native of Southeast Texas, where his mother was a college English professor and his father worked for a petrochemical plant before opening a successful law practice. He was inspired by their passion for learning, and he carries his hometown’s blue-collar work ethic to complement twenty years of experience working for the federal judiciary.
Russell graduated from Lamar University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and he later returned to Lamar, where he earned a master’s degree in public administration. While at Lamar, he was a member of the university’s criminal justice association, and he was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society.
Russell started his professional career in Orange County, Texas, as a probation officer, and he later accepted a position as a federal presentence investigation officer with the United States Probation Office in the Eastern District of Texas. He served various roles with the United States Probation Office, including those of team leader, sentencing guidelines specialist, and supervisor of a pretrial/presentence unit in Plano, Texas. He prepared and reviewed countless presentence reports for federal cases involving high-profile individual, complex criminal enterprise, and large-scale organizational crimes. He earned achievement awards for his outstanding work performance, and the district twice awarded him with the coveted Distinguished Service Award. In addition to his many in-district successes, Russell made many contributions on a national scale through his work as the Probation Officers’ Advisory Group representative for the Eastern District of Texas and Central Region Vice President for the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officers Association.
Russell put himself through law school at UNT Dallas College of Law while working full-time for the United States Probation Office. Working during the day and going to school at night, Russell earned Dean’s Lists honors throughout law school, was awarded the CALI Excellence for the Future Award (Torts), was inducted into the Phi Delta Phi International Honor Society, and served on the Board of Advocates, where he was vice president. In addition to his regular law school courses, he participated in the Joyce Ann Brown Innocence Clinic, and he studied abroad at a program hosted by Baylor Law School in St. Andrews, Scotland, where he found a passion for trial advocacy. Russell’s hard work paid off, and in May 2021, he graduated cum laude from his law school.
In his free time, Russell loves spending time with his two daughters, traveling, running, and hiking.