Sanaz Nikaein is Dean Litigation's managing principal. Her practice is focused on criminal defense and family law. In 2014, she was appointed to San Francisco Superior Court as a Judge Pro Tem. She continues to serve as a Judge Pro Tem while managing her practice.
In 2013, Sanaz was chosen by a panel of San Francisco Superior Court judges to serve on the Bar of San Francisco's Indigent Defense Panel and Juvenile Delinquency Panel. Sanaz dedicates approximately 25% of her practice to representing individual adults in criminal cases and minors in delinquency cases who are not able to afford their own legal counsel.
Before founding Dean Litigation, Sanaz was an assistant district attorney, where she spent almost eight years in the felony trial team prosecuting adults charged with violent crimes. She was nicknamed the "DA of Death" due to her remarkable trial skills and ability to obtain favorable verdicts, even on very challenging cases.
Sanaz is known for litigating numerous high profile cases, some which have received international coverage. Click here for a list of cases.
While at the San Francisco District Attorney's office, Sanaz was one of the two attorneys who was specially assigned to a federal grant to prosecute those with exetensive criminal records who committed serious or violent crimes in a predetermined high crime area (designated by the federal government). Most of her caseload involved prosecuting multiple co-defendants, and individuals who were charged under the three strikes law, or those who had caused significant bodily injuries to others.
Sanaz spent years as an activist, shedding light to the abuse inside of Iranian political prisons, and women's rights in Iran. She has numerous publications in this area, and had numerous speaking engagements on satellite T.V., radio, and universities.
In 2006, Sanaz was honored by now Lt. Governor Newsom, then San Francisco Mayor, for her role and contribution to the Women of Iranian Diaspora. Sanaz has also founded and has been involved in establishing several Iranian society and professional organizations in Northern California, which continue to thrive.
Sanaz has received numerous awards for her volunteer work. Sanaz has been a guest speaker at women's shelters, and high schools throughout the Bay Area. Sanaz mentors several students from Mercy High School and Golden Gate Law School. She also assists in coaching the Golden Gate Law School Trial Team.
After graduating from University of California, Berkeley, Sanaz went to Golden Gate University School of Law on a full academic scholarship, and was admitted in the honors lawyering program. She also received a certificate of specialization in International Law with distinction in honors. While in Law school, she competed in the international moot court and won the 2nd place award. In 2001, during judicial externship in the Iranian Municipal Courts, she presented a new interpretation of Islamic Constitutional Law that was later adopted in a case involving a Chinese Ambassador in Iran.
Languages spoken: Farsi
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|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Outstanding Volunteer in Youth Education||Contra Costa County||2009|
|Honored for role in contribution to Women of Iranian Diaspora||Lt. Governor Newsom||2006|
|Obtained J.D in the Honors Lawyering Program||Golden Gate SOL||2003|
|Certification in International Law with Distinction in Honors||Golden Gate SOL||2003|
|2nd Place Award in International Competition||International Moot Court||2002|
|Highest Honors in Near Eastern Studies||University of California Berkeley||1999|
|Certificate of Honors in Psi Chi Honor Society in Psychology||University of California Berkeley||1999|
|Certificate of Honor in Golden Key National Honor Society||University of California Berkeley||1999|
|Certificate of Honor in The National Honor Society in Psychology||University of California||1999|
|Highest Distinction of Honor in General Scholarship||University of California Berkeley||1999|
|Certificate of Honor in Alpha Gamma Sigma National Honor Society||University of California Berkeley||1997|
|Principle||Dean Litigation||2012 - Present|
|Assistant District Attorney||San Francisco District Attorney's Office||2007 - 2012|
|Deputy District Attorney||Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office||2005 - 2007|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|California Women Lawyers||Annual Conference Committee||2015 - Present|
|Queen's Bench Bar Association||Juvenile Hall Project Committee; Domestic Violence Committee||2014 - Present|
|California Public Defenders Association||Member||2013 - Present|
|San Francisco Bar Association||Member||2007 - Present|
|Iranian American Bar Association||Board of Directors||2006 - Present|
|Iranian Society of Professional||Member||2004 - Present|
|American Bar Association||Member||2004 - Present|
|La Raza Bar Association||Mentorship Committee||1999 - Present|
|California District Attorneys Association||Member||2005 - 2012|
|Let Me Tell You Where I've Been||Bad||2007|
|A World Between||Reoccurring Dreams||2001|
|University of California - Berkeley||N/A||BA - Bachelor of Arts||N/A|
|Golden Gate University School of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||N/A|
|Appearance with Sister Prejean (Author dead man walking)||Death Penalty||2010|
|San Francisco De Young Asian Art Museum||Let Me Tell You Where I've Been||2008|
|Stanislaus County Women Lawyers Association||Women's Rights in Iran||2007|
|San Jose State University||Let Me Tell You Where I've Been||2007|
|World Affairs Council||A World Between||2002|
|Satellite TV||Torture in Political Prisons||2001|
|KPFA Radio||Iranian Political Prisons||2001|