Originally from Boston, I did not take the traditional path to the law. Before law school, I worked as a hired hand on a dairy farm in Vermont, drove a moving van in New York City, ran a poster distribution business in New Haven, CT, and ran a diamond saw cutting large blocks of granite in Barre, Vermont. In 1980, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I worked for rock empressario Bill Graham, and held several restaurant-related jobs. I also continued to work for moving companies.
In 1983, I was hired to move the law libraries of California Rural Legal Assistance's headquarters in San Francisco. One thing led to another and I soon found myself as the head Law Librarian for CRLA's 16 offices. This was my introduction to the practice of law and I attended law school at night while working for CRLA during the day.
After law school, I was fortunate to work for two of the country's pre-eminent criminal defense attorneys of their time, Charles Garry (the lawyer Black Panther Bobby Seale cried out for before his shackling at the Chicago 8 trial) and Susan Jordan, who is credited with inventing the battered woman's syndrome defense. My association with these two was invaluable in steering me toward a meaningful law practice.
In 1991, Susan Jordan became ill and closed her law practice. In the meantime, I had fallen in love with the beauty of Mendocino County and took a job with the County Public Defender's Office. Long a theatre-lover, I moved to the Mendocino Coast in 1995 to perform and direct in a semi-professional theatre company, while heading the Public Defender's Fort Bragg office.
In 2001, I opened a solo law practice with an emphasis on family law and criminal defense. Coming from broken homes, I understand the experiences of parents and children of divorce and sought to do what I could to alleviate their suffering during a very difficult time.
I have been admitted to practice in all Courts of the State of California, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals.
Licensed since 1990
Fixed (Sometimes), Retainer (Sometimes)
Carter is incredibly bright and dedicated to his work. He believes in representing those most in need when faced with state power. He also is a kind, compassionate, and strong advocate in family law. I've known Carter for many years and he has both integrity and capability. Highest endorsement.
Andrew Mansfield Bankruptcy & Debt Attorney
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
|Attorney||Law Offices of Carter Sears||2002 - Present|
|Deputy Public Defender||Mendocino County Public Defender||1992 - 2001|
|Associate Attorney||Law Offices of Susan B. Jordan||1990 - 1991|
|Associate||Law Offices of Charles R. Garry||1989 - 1990|
|Association Name||Position Name||Duration|
|Mendocino County Teen Peer Court||Mentor Attorney||2008 - Present|
|Northern California Legal Services||Pro Bono Panel||2007 - Present|
|Los Angeles County Bar Association, Family Law Section||Member||2005 - Present|
|California Public Defenders Association||Member||1992 - Present|
|Mendocino County Bar Association||Member||1991 - Present|
|Fort Bragg Advocate News||5-Part Interview with Public Defender Carter Sears||2000|
|Center for Understanding in Conflict/Center for Mediation in Law||N/A||Mediation Intensive Training||2009|
|Northern California Mediation Center||N/A||Essentials of Mediation and Divorce Mediation||2003|
|National Criminal Defense College||N/A||Trial Practice Institute||1990|
|New College of California School of Law||N/A||Juris Doctorate||1989|