Education and Background
I was fortunate. Despite never finishing high school or college, I was able – albeit with a lot of hard work – to gain admission to, and to excel at, one of the finest law schools in the country: U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. While I was at Boalt, I was privileged to be an editor for the California Law Review and a Member of the Moot Court Board, advising on brief writing and appellate advocacy for other students. After I left law school, in my early years of practice, I taught legal writing and appellate advocacy at University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Also, over the years, I have been presenter at continuing legal education events.
I have been an attorney for 30 years. I have devoted my practice exclusively to representing employees, consumers, and investors in the state and federal trial courts and courts of appeal. I relish going to court for my clients and I have tried many jury cases in the state and federal courts.
Examples? In 2010, I was the lead attorney, along with the other attorneys in the firm, in Williams v. Union Pacific Railroadwhere, after four years of preparation, the firm obtained a jury verdict of $1,670,000 for an African-American female employee. In Rivero v. Surdyka, I was lead trial and appellate counsel in a civil rights case that lasted 15 years, including a full trial and three appeals to the Ninth Circuit, finally concluding in a judgment for plaintiffs of over $2,300,000. These cases illustrate the firm’s motto: commitment – results. You have to commit to a case, sometimes over a very long time, to get the result the client deserves.
We don’t always win in the trial court. When that happens, commitment means taking the case to the next level and appealing it. In the Rivero case, above, that’s what happened: the court dismissed the case – we had lost – but we appealed and achieved a victory for our clients which we kept through two more appeals. Since then, the firm has had many appellate victories that vindicate the rights of employees and consumers.
Over the years I have been counsel for plaintiffs in numerous individual cases and class actions. It may sound corny, or hard to believe, but after all this time, and after all the great experiences I have had, my favorite part of being a lawyer is when I get to give my client a check.
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|State Bar of California||Member||N/A|
|University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1986|