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John M. Kaman

Criminal defense Attorney at San Francisco, CA

5.0   16 reviews
  • Licensed for 43 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1980
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About John

Learn John’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    After 24 years of civil litigation practice I returned to my true love, criminal defense. I handle a wide range of misdemeanor and felony cases. My goal is total service, total commitment. At any one time I have about 50 cases in the office.

    44 years, 4,315 cases

  2. Federal crime

    44 years, 450 cases

  3. Violent crime

    44 years, 860 cases

  4. Domestic violence

    44 years, 575 cases

When not being a lawyer, I write poetry, publish some of it, have written for literary journals and am a film buff.  Other than that my only other mentionable passion is sports car racing, the Porsche being my beast of choice.

Contact John

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John M. Kaman
360 Ritch St Ste 201
San Francisco, CA, 94107


5.0 / 5.0
  16 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Cindy | March 12, 2018
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Excellent Service
Quick response and great advise on my situation. Gave me different points of view to go about my situation
Posted by anonymous | August 7, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Needed Information
John helped me by clarifying for me my sentence. I initially thought I was possibly wronged by the court but he clarified for me the sentence directives.
Posted by anonymous | January 17, 2016
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Excellent consultation
I consulted with John Kaman after being connected to him by my other lawyer. Thankfully, the consultation was "just in case", so I did not need any legal help after the consultation, largely because John was so helpful and spent almost 2 hours walking me through the particulars of the situation for free.
Posted by RICHARD | March 1, 2013
Direction in Criminal Case
Posted by Hazel | January 28, 2013
John M. Kaman is much more than just a lawyer
In August 2012, with no news of my brother in the United States for a trip, I contacted his friend on facebook. He reassured me by telling me that my brother had been arrested because of a fight in a hostel and would be released soon. I asked him the address where he was detained. I contacted the county jail. On hearing the charges, I had the feeling of falling into a bottomless pit. He was prosecuted for attempted rape. So I put my feelings aside and I started to act mechanically as if my soul and body were separated. I made a summary of the case and contacted several lawyers. Living in Paris, I started the process remotely. I found the website "". I look at the French-speaking lawyers specializing in criminal law. I see the photo of John M. Kaman. A deep look, a face without expression. I felt that he wasn't a man performing and gesticulating in every sense. My misgivings were confirmed during our telephone conversation. I explained that we were a modest family, we lived in Paris, we were in shock. His words were measured, his tone monotonous: a simple man who does not show his emotions. I begged him to present at the hearing, which took place the next day, to make a diagnosis of the case and propose a defense strategy. He kept his promises. He studied the case, listened to the testimonies, he conducted his investigations. He made available each day for the family. He concluded a deal with the prosecutor. My brother was released after a month and a half in jail. Life is strange. It was incredible to feel so alone in this tragedy and cross the path of this brilliant and compassionate humanist in this dehumanized society while some of my friends and family were not at my side. John M. Kaman is much more than just a lawyer.
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Posted by James | February 8, 2011
If you need a lawyer, I highly recommend John Kaman.
Mr. Kaman is everything that you expect from a lawyer and more. Legal Knowledge isn’t any good unless it is applied properly. Not only does he have “in depth” legal knowledge, he practically applies the law, does it in a timely manner with creative skills as required. In his years of legal work, Mr. Kaman has built a support network of excellent resources. That is, Private Investigators, expert witnesses, etc. In addition, Mr. Kaman’s excellent communication skills keep things on an even keel and makes sure that you know what to expect and when. My experience; Mr. Kaman was engaged to defend my son. Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, and a very aggressive DA, my son faced a myriad of charges that could have resulted in years of hard time. On charges that my son acknowledged making a mistake, Mr. Kaman negotiated probation only. On charges that my son insisted innocence, he used his legal expertise and appropriate support services to verify my son’s claims and lay out a defense. This resulted in a dismissal of the charges.
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Posted by anonymous | October 14, 2010
Probation Violation
Mr. Kaman Represented my husband in a violation of probation case. although the case was over three years old, Mr. Kaman was able to get us the best possible outcome. My husband was let go completely with no more probation and no restitution. Kaman was great at letting us know what was going to happen before we even stood in front of the judge. He answered all of our questions promptly and completely. He was well worth the price.
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Posted by anonymous | August 5, 2010
Answered my question with no strings attached
Thank you for John Kaman for answering my question so quickly. My tricky question was, "Instead of going to jail is their a get out of jail card by joining the army?" The majority of attorneys said no, but John Kaman sent me a link that was quite useful in my research for the book I'm working on now. That technically no the service can't allow that, but in some States its really up to the judge, making this decision.
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Posted by anonymous | July 1, 2010
Best of the Best
Mr. Kaman helped me resolve an embarassing criminal case that had been interfering with my job prospects. Throughtout the whole procedure he kept me informed and was kind but aggressive in my defense. I'd recommend him to anybody.
Posted by anonymous | June 7, 2009
Thank you Mr. Kaman,You are very informative.
Knows the law like the back of his hand.Comes recomended by me. Thank you sir.
Posted by anonymous | May 30, 2009
My 5 Star rating of my opinion of Attorney John M. Kama
John seems to have a phenonmenol ability to grasp and to retain so much knowledge of the Judicial system. He is truly amazing, as well as genuinely a caring, considerate Lawyer. If you have a legal problem, don't hesitate to retain John.
Posted by anonymous | May 9, 2009
Great Lawyer and Friend
He guided me through a difficult time in my life and obtained the best result possible in my case. I would not hesitate to recommend him.
Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2009
He Helped Rebuild My Life
He helped me clear up an early criminal record and even get a governor's pardon. I was able to start life afresh and am now in nursing school.
Response from John Kaman June 29, 2010
This positive endorsement troubles me because I have never applied for, much less obtained, a governor's pardon for any client. I assume this is an ex client and I am glad that s/he was content with my services but I did NOT obtain a governor's pardon.
Posted by anonymous | January 23, 2009
Best of the Best
Mr. Kaman helped me with an embarrassing criminal case and eventually cleared me of all charges. He was aggressive when he needed to be but always sensitive with me. I would recommend him to anyone in trouble.
Posted by anonymous | July 18, 2008
He's the man
He worked for me at the hardest time of my life, and won me the case. Strongly recommended.
Posted by Kristie | July 14, 2008
KN Very Grateful Client
I found Mr. Kaman at a crucial time in my case. My case improved dramatically with his representation. He was always there to answer my questions and returned phone calls within hours if not sooner. I can't say enough positive things about Mr. Kaman and his ability as an attorney. He is very professional, yet he cares about your situation and truly wants his client to prevail. I owe so much to this man for everything he has done for me, I would recommend his services to anyone in need of a qualified, reliable attorney!! He also happens to be very pleasant and puts you at ease during what can be a very stressful time.
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  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Kaman Law Office
  • 1987 - Present
  • Adjunct Professor
  • University Of Paris V
  • 2009 - 2009
  • Attorney
  • Pettit & Martin
  • 1983 - 1986
  • Attorney
  • Ware, Fletcher & Freidenrich
  • 1980 - 1983
View all work experience


  • University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1980
  • Stanford University
  • PhD - Doctorate
  • 1973
  • Rhodes Coll
  • BA
  • 1966

Legal Cases

  • People v Morrow
  • Plea--paper committment after 1 year CJ
  • People v Martin
  • 7 counts NG; 1 count hung
  • People v Walker
  • NG on 7 out of 8 counts
View all legal cases


  • Serious Felony Panel
  • IDA
  • 2015 - Present
  • UCLA Moot Court Competition
  • Judge
  • 2009 - Present
  • San Joaquin Bar Association Lawyer's Referral Service
  • Member Special Circumstances Panel
  • 2009 - Present
  • California Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member
  • 2008 - Present
  • Lawyer's Referral and Information Service (San Francisco)
  • Attorney
  • 2005 - Present
  • Volunteer Legal Services
  • Attorney
  • 2005 - Present
  • Indigent Defense Administration
  • Attorney
  • 2005 - Present
  • Member Court Appointed Attorney Panel
  • Conflicts Attorney
  • 2005 - Present
  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • Solicitor
  • 2003 - Present
  • California State Bar Association
  • Attorney
  • 1980 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • French

Honors and Awards

  • Top Contributor Award
  • Avvo
  • 2017
  • Avvo
  • Superb 10/10
  • 2015
  • French Consulate
  • Recommended Lawyer
  • 2015
  • Superb 10/10
  • Avvo
  • 2014
  • Certificate of Merit
  • Jeune Notariat (Sponsor)
  • 2013
  • Outstanding Rating Reviews
  • Bar Association of SF
  • 2013
  • Adjunct Professor
  • University de Paris Dauphine
  • 2009
  • Outstanding Service Awards
  • Volunteer Legal Services Project
  • 2008
  • Certificate of Merit
  • SF BAR VLSP Program
  • 2006
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
  • Ford Foundation
  • 1966
View all awards


  • For the Defense
  • Why We Don't Have the Greatest Criminal Justice System in the World
  • 2013
  • For the Defense
  • Nancy Tung Dismisses Bungled Case
  • 2011
  • For The Defense (Defense Research Institute)
  • West Memphis 3: New DNA Evidence
  • 2010
  • For The Defense
  • Black Man Accused
  • 2008
  • For the Defense
  • Verdict In
  • 2008
  • For the Defense
  • Berzerk DA
  • 2008
  • For the Defense
  • Penal Code 288 Trial
  • 2008
  • PhD Dissertation: Stanford
  • Lonely Hero in Hawthorne, James Twain and Melville
  • 1973
  • Honors Thesis: Rhodes College
  • Paternity Motifs in James Moyce's Ulysses
  • 1966
  • City of Buds and Flowers
  • Untitled Poems
  • N/A
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Annual International Conference
  • Justice and Inquisitionary Systems
  • 2013
  • French Notaries Association
  • Civil v Common Law Practice
  • 2007
  • Federal Publications Construction Law Conferences
  • Federal Claims Process
  • 1993

Attorney endorsements

Received (163)
Given (157)
Endorse John
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Day after day Mr. Kaman fields criminal law and procedure questions here on Avvo with remarkable insight, judgment, and candor. The depth of his knowledge and experience in criminal matters is truly impressive and his ability to provide concrete straight-talk in difficult and challenging matters is a gift to those who submit questions and to attorneys throughout the state. There are lots of different ways to make a pro bono contribution to those in need and to the legal profession. Mr. Kaman's daily Avvo participation is in the highest and purest pro bono tradition."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 03
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I had a few cases Mr. Kaman when I was a prosecutor in San Francisco. He was every prosecutor's worst nightmare, as he was always prepared, knew the law, and well respected by the judges! Now as a defense attorney, I have tried my best to emulate the qualities I feared and admired in Mr. Kaman."
Criminal defense Attorney | Dec 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. John Kaman works hard for his clients, and gets great results. He really cares for his clients, and it shows in the passionate way that he advocates for them. If he is your lawyer, you are certainly in good hands."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. I have seen attorney John Kaman in and around several local courtrooms. He is always well prepared and very knowledgeable about criminal defense matters."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is an excellent attorney committed to providing the highest quality representation to clients. I endorse this attorney without reservation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is a knowledgeable and experienced defense lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John has an excellent reputation in the legal community and is an asset to Avvo."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is an asset to Avvo, plain and simple. He has demonstrated his vast legal knowledge by providing thorough, spot-on answers to thousands of questions on Avvo. His clients are in good hands."
Unknown Attorney | Feb 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is an inspiration. The questions he answers on AVVO provide a much needed community service. He is highly regarded in the legal community."
Domestic violence Attorney | Feb 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I highly endorse this lawyer. John is a highly skilled and well-known attorney in the legal community for his outstanding professionalism and work ethic. I highly recommend this lawyer to anyone who needs quality legal representation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this attorney. His professionalism, remarkable knowledge and vast experience place Mr. John among the top notch lawyers in his areas of practice. With utmost dedication and quick critical thinking, he has successfully resolved an impressive number of cases over the course of his career. I highly recommend this lawyer to anyone who needs quality legal representation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. John is an incredible member of the Avvo community. He tells it to you like it is, and I highly recommend him to anybody seeking legal counsel in his area."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 08
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer. His answers to legal questions on Avvo are always on the money, helpful and to the point."
Unknown Attorney | Dec 24
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer without reservation. He is highly knowledgeable and experienced. Whatever your situation is, you will be in good hands with Mr. Kaman."
Criminal defense Attorney | Nov 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"A Superb Criminal Lawyer who will fight like a lion for you. I endorse him!"
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I highly endorse Mr. Kaman. Very experienced and caring attorney who produces great results in representing clients! I want all people with legal problems to contact him first."
View more endorsements
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