A Detroiter since 1959, Sanford graduated with a BA in History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1981, later attending Wayne State University Law School and graduating in 1986.

While a law student, he began an internship at the Federal Public Defender Office in Detroit, where he assisted attorneys representing indigent defendants charged with federal criminal offenses. Sanford quickly developed a passion for federal criminal defense.

Sanford was then offered a paid clerkship with the Federal Defender Office for the remainder of his law school studies.

Upon graduation, in 1986, Sanford was hired by the Federal Defender Office as a full-time attorney, where he would represent individuals charged in the Eastern District of Michigan, and also handled many appeals in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

After conducting many federal criminal trials, Sanford was offered a position in a boutique, commercial litigation firm in Birmingham, Michigan, Hyman and Lippitt. There he worked intimately with famed attorney Norman Lippitt representing high profile individuals in complex commercial litigation disputes. Sanford spent the majority of his 2.5 years there representing Bridge owner, Matty Maroun, in a battle for control of the family-owned holding company, Centra, Inc.

Sanford never lost his passion for criminal defense work, and left to start his own criminal defense practice in April, 1995. Where he has been successfully and aggressively representing criminal defendants since. 

Sanford is very proud of his results. He has obtained federal acquittals against all odds. In recent years, getting acquittals in 3 of his last 4 federal criminal trials, where the conviction rate is close to 97%. His last trial, according to colleagues was “indefensible”, resulted in a hung jury, necessitating a retrial.

Sanford is as comfortable in an office with a professional, white collar client, fearing the loss of their career and reputation, as he is an indigent client, in a locked cell in the Wayne County Jail.

Sanford prides himself on treating each client as the most important person in his practice.

It is so important to “hear” your clients and their concerns and anxieties. So many attorneys do not know how to “listen” to their clients. That is so vital to providing the most effective representation and advocacy for clients of the Plotkin Law Firm.