Attorney Baku N. Patel currently handles all of the criminal defense cases and personal injury/wrongful death matters at Patel Law, PC In the area of criminal defense, Mr. Patel is currently certified by the Illinois Supreme Court to be lead counsel in death penalty cases. He has been accepted as a member of the Capital Litigation Trial Bar, which is an exclusive membership to attorneys who have exemplified jury trial experience in handling murder cases to verdict.

Background, Education & U.S. Military Service

Mr. Patel was born in 1969 in Baroda, Gujarat, India. He was raised in the United States when his parents arrived from India in 1970. Mr. Patel received two bachelor degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1991, one in economics and one in political science. After graduating from college, he attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1994.

While in law school in August of 1993, Mr. Patel was commissioned in the United States Navy as an Officer in the Judge Advocate General's Corp (JAG). Upon graduating from law school, he served on full-time active duty as a JAG Officer, where he served as a criminal defense trial attorney and as a military prosecutor. He attained the rank of Lieutenant. He then left active duty and joined the reserves, where he subsequently attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserves.

Legal Experience

After leaving active military service, Mr. Patel joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a trial attorney prosecuting anti-trust and consumer fraud cases. After serving as a Federal Prosecutor for the FTC, he served as a senior prosecutor for the Champaign County State's Attorney's office and in the Vermilion County State's Attorney's office. In each of those positions, Mr. Patel prosecuted numerous criminal cases to jury verdicts. After serving as senior prosecutor for both offices, Mr. Patel was then appointed by the Fifth Judicial Circuit as the Chief Public Defender of Vermilion County. He was appointed at the age of 31, making him the youngest Chief Public Defender in the State of Illinois.

In that capacity, Mr. Patel defended thousands of criminal cases. He also defended numerous murder trials to verdict, including death penalty cases. As of today, none of Mr. Patel's client's charged with murder have been sentenced to death, nor even to life in prison. Each and every one of Mr. Patel's murder cases has resulted in either full acquittal, dismissal of charges, reduction of charges, a jury verdict for lesser included charges, or parole eligible sentences.

After serving as Chief Public Defender, Mr. Patel went into private practice, concentrating in the area of criminal defense and personal injury/wrongful death cases. In private practice, Mr. Patel has continued to represent numerous murder cases, including death penalty cases, as well as all types of felony, misdemeanor, and DUI cases. Mr. Patel has tried over 100 criminal jury trials to verdict, thereby making him one of the most experienced criminal defense attorneys in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Bar & Panel Memberships

Mr. Patel is eligible to practice in more than just State courts; he is also a member of the Bar in Federal District Court in both the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois. In addition, in the Federal District Court of the Central District of Illinois, Mr. Patel is a panel member eligible for court appointments to represent very serious federal criminal cases. Eligibility for panel membership is determined exclusively by the Federal District Judges based on an attorney's federal trial experience. As noted above, Mr. Patel was a former Federal prosecutor both as a U.S. Navy JAG and the Federal Trade Commission. Due to Mr. Patel's extensive experience in trying federal criminal cases, he was certified by the Federal District Court to be a panel member.

Federal Criminal Defense Experience

In addition, he has routinely been privately retained by those charged with very serious federal matters. He has defended federal narcotic charges, gun charges, environmental pollution cases, real estate fraud, child pornography, and securities fraud. Each of these cases involved thousands and thousands of pages of evidence and extensive investigation resulting in successful outcomes that well exceeded the client's expectations. Due to the complexity of federal criminal defense, Mr. Patel is uniquely qualified to represent those charged with such serious matters in federal court.

Mr. Patel truly believes in utilizing all of his experience to defend the rights of clients to the fullest extent of the law. He will aggressively defend his clients and rely on his jury trial experience to protect their freedoms. He is also supported by a strong legal team that works together on every client's case. If you are in need of aggressive defense, contact an attorney from Patel Law, PC for a free case evaluation.

Baku and his wife, Vandana, reside in Urbana where they are raising their two sons.

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Death Penalty Cases, Illinois Supreme Court

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court of Pennsylvania


  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Juris Doctor - 1994
  • Honors: United States Navy as an Officer in the Judge Advocate General's Corp (JAG)
  • Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Bachelor's Degree (Magna Cum Laude) - 1991
  • Double Major: Political Science and Economics

Honors and Awards

  • Attained Rank of Lieutenant Commander (U.S. Navy)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys - Member
  • Federal Trade Commission - Trial Attorney
  • Capital Litigation Trial Bar - Member

Past Employment Positions

  • JAG Officer
  • Federal Prosecutor
  • Criminal Defense Trial Attorney
  • Military Prosecutor
  • Vermilion County State's Attorney's Office - Prosecutor
  • Champaign County State's Attorney's Office - Senior Prosecutor
  • State of Illinois - Youngest Chief Public Defender