Jose Baez is The Man of the Hour

Defense attorney Jose Baez is being hailed by some as the man of the hour for getting Casey Anthony cleared of a murder conviction. INSIDE EDITION takes a close look at his colorful background.

Love him or hate him, Jose Baez is an overnight legal superstar. He's the underdog who pulled off one of the most stunning court victories ever. His is nothing less than a Cinderella story.

The description of Jose Baez in today's Miami Herald read: "Former bikini salesman, high school droput, deadbeat dad."

Baez was raised by a single mom in the Bronx in New York City. It took him eight years to be accepted into the Florida Bar.

Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald told INSIDE EDITION, "He came from very meagar beginnings. He was dogged by a lot of problems with his finances, with his failure to pay some debts, with child support."

Desperate for money, Baez actually started a bikini company called

Baez had been practicing law for only three years when Casey Anthony hired him to defend her in her high-profile murder case. So how did Casey find out about Baez in the first place? She had just been arrested and was in jail and was talking to another inmate, who recommended the inexperienced but passionate Jose Baez.

During the trial, Baez came under attack by TV pundits for what some saw as an ineffective defense.

Nancy Grace said previously on Good Morning America, "Jose Baez, the defense lawyer, eliciting all this bad  testimony from George Anthony. I couldn't believe the defense was bringing all this out."

Bloggers dubbed him "Bozo" but it was clearly a mistake to underestimate Baez. Now he's seen as a Columbo type, the TV detective who seems bumbling at first but turns out smarter than anyone else.

He reminds others of the Joe Pesci character from My Cousin Vinny, an inexperienced rookie lawyer who used his street savvy to win the case.

Even with his extraordinary victory, the insults keep coming. One prominent Florida lawyer today called Baez "the luckiest man in America."

HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell said, "He had a very difficult case. He handled it in a very creative and imaginable way and I think that it's sour grapes not to give him credit where credit is due."

But no matter what, Baez will go down in history as the lawyer who got Casey Anthony aquitted.

CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford said, "There are going to be a lot of folks knocking on his door from now on saying, 'You're the guy that got Casey Anthony off. I got a case, what can you do for me?' "