Areas of Practice
  • Spanish
  • University of Arizona College of Law, J.D., 1988, Note and Comment Editor, Arizona Law Review
  • University of Arizona, B.A., 1983
Bar & Court Admissions
  • Arizona
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Paul K. Charlton

201 E. Washington Street
Suite 1600
Phoenix AZ 85004
TEL: +1 602 257 5205
FAX: +1 602 257 5299

Paul K. Charlton is the managing partner of Steptoe’s Phoenix office.  A seasoned trial lawyer with deep roots in the legal community, Mr. Charlton concentrates his practice on high-profile and complex litigation, internal investigations, and white-collar criminal defense.  Mr. Charlton served six years as the US attorney for the District of Arizona, and prior to that, he spent 10 years as an assistant US attorney.  He has successfully defended corporations and individuals who were the subject of a state or federal investigation.  In addition, he has substantial experience leading and conducting internal investigations for agencies, municipalities, and companies.

Mr. Charlton has appeared before every tribal council in Arizona.  He has a proven track record representing several Native American tribes and tribal leaders in nationally reported matters. 

During his career as a federal prosecutor, the US Department of Justice deployed Mr. Charlton on numerous occasions to provide instruction to Latin American prosecutors and judges on the American criminal justice system.


  • Chambers USA, Litigation: White Collar and Government Investigations (Arizona), 2010-2017
  • Legal 500 US, Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2014, 2016-2017
  • Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White-Collar and Native American Law, 2013-2018
  • Southwest Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2012-2017
  • Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2017
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • "Most Admired Leaders Award," Phoenix Business Journal, 2016
  • University of Arizona Alumni Association Public Service Award, 2014
  • Honorary Member, The Order of the Coif, 2008
  • Michael C. Cudahy Criminal Justice Award, 2007
  • United States Secret Service Director's Recognition Award, 2007
  • Indian Country Intelligence Network Lifetime Achievement Award, 2007
  • US Attorney General's Special Commendation Award, 2005
  • US Forest Service Director's Award, 2004
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association National Prosecutor's Award, 1997

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Selected Publications

Professional Affiliations

  • Board of Directors, National Association of Former United States Attorneys, 2017
  • Senator John McCain's Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee, 2013-2014, 2017
  • Member, National Board of Visitors, University of Arizona College of Law, 2017
  • Board of Directors, Law College Association, University of Arizona College of Law, 2013-2017
  • Adjunct Professor, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, 2012-2017
  • Board of Trustees, Brophy College Preparatory, 2012-2016
  • District of Arizona Local Rules of Practice Advisory Committee, 2012-2016
  • Chair, United States Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel, 2014-2015
  • Maricopa Integrated Health System Board Advisory Committee, 2012-2014
  • Chairman, Anti-Terrorism Advisory Committee, 2001-2007
  • Chairman, Border and Immigration Subcommittee, Attorney General's Advisory Committee, 2005-2007
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Arizona School of Law, 2005-2006
  • Miembro Honorio, Colegio de Abogados de Caracas