Alameda County
Bar Association

Introducing the 2016 ACBA Board of Directors 

The Alameda County Bar Association is proud to introduce you to its leadership for 2016, a diverse and talented group who give generously of their time and talent to the ACBA and the community.

Best Board Oath Shot 2016-01-14 18.24.53
2016 ACBA Board of Directors taking the Oath of Office


Sato_Stephanie_2015Stephanie Sato, President

Stephanie Sato is the owner of  the Law Offices of Stephanie K. Sato in Oakland, specializing in family law. Stephanie has been selected for inclusion in the Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars List since 2013 .  In 2009, she received the ACBA Distinguished Service Award for a Young Lawyer and in 2011-2012 she served as Chair of the ACBA Barristers Section Executive Committee.

HandlerEric Handler, President-Elect

Eric Handler is a partner at Donahue Fitzgerald LLP in Oakland, specializing in IP law, commercial litigation, and bankruptcy. He is the 2016 Secretary-Treasurer of, and an active volunteer with, the ACBA VLSC. Prior to law school, Eric worked extensively in the computer software industry as a software developer and management consultant.

Johnson, MichaelMichael Johnson, Vice-President

Michael Johnson is an Executive Director and Senior Legal Counsel  with AT&T Services Inc. in San Francisco, specializing in healthcare and governmental contracting issues. A former business and civil litigator, he is also the 2016 President of the ACBA VLSC Board of Directors.


Colin Bowen is a Supervising Deputy City Attorney in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office.  He has previously served on several committees within ACBA, including JAEC and Long Term Strategic Planning.  Colin devotes significant time to youth “pipeline” efforts, and has developed a number of programs and workshops concerning youth and their interactions with law enforcement and the justice system.  He is also a member of the Charles Houston Bar Association.

Megan Burns is a partner with the law firm of Bonjour, Thorman & Burns where she specializes in high stakes litigation in the areas of criminal defense and plaintiff personal injury. Ms. Burns spent many years advocating for indigent defendants at the San Francisco County and Solano County Public Defender’s Offices prior to joining the firm.  She is a member of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court and previously served on the board of directors for California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) and Women Defenders.

Joy Ricardo-Clay is the managing attorney at East Bay Children’s Law Office, a Nonprofit Child Advocacy organization that provides legal representation to children and youth involved in foster care, delinquency and probate proceedings in Alameda County  She is also serves as the 2016 Secretary for the Charles Houston Bar Association’s Board of Directors.

Pelayo Llamas is a Deputy City Attorney in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, where he has served in many litigation and advice roles since 1999. Pelayo is the 2015-2016 president of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court, and a former board member of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California. He is a Member-At-Large for statewide Bench Bar Coalition Executive Committee for Northern/Central region. Pelayo was recently sworn-in as a temporary judge for the Alameda County Superior Court.

Lauren Powe is a lawyer with the California State Compensation Insurance Fund. She served as  the 2014 Barristers Executive Committee Chair, and was an active member until she termed out this year.  Lauren was the 2015 recipient of the ACBA Distinguished Service Award for New Lawyer. She is also a  member of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court and the Charles Houston Bar Association.

Pamela J. Ross, Jr., is the founder and CEO of the All for the Family Legal Clinic, Inc., a public benefit corporation dedicated to providing low cost legal assistance to the San Francisco Bay Area. She primarily handles family law cases, but also works in the areas of estate planning and landlord-tenant law. Pamela has served on the ACBA Family Law Section’s Executive Committee since 2012, and as its Chair since 2014. Pamela was the 2015 recipient of the Volunteer Legal Services Corporation’s award for Volunteer of the Year.

Vincent Tong is the owner of Tong Law, an employment and business law practice in Oakland. He is an active member of the ACBA and its Barristers and Labor and  Employment Sections, and served as Chair in 2015. He is a member of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court, California Employment Lawyers Association, Asian American Bar Association, National Lawyers Guild, and California Lawyers for the Arts. Vincent is the 2016 recipient of the ACBA Distinguished Service Award for New Lawyer

Paul Wellenkamp is a private criminal defense attorney in practice since 1981. He has served on the CAAP Advisory Committee  for five years and is now its 2015 Chair. He is also an organizing member of the South Alameda County Criminal Defense Bar.


Toni Mims-Cochran, of The Law Office of Toni Mims-Cochran, practices family law, landlord/tenant litigation, and juvenile dependency trials and appeals in Oakland. Toni is the co-chair of the East Bay Diversity Bar Coalition, the Second Vice President and District 3 Governor of California Women Lawyers,  a member of the Charles Houston Bar Association, and a former President of Women Lawyers of Alameda County.

Jo-Anna Nieves is the owner of The Nieves Law Firm, APC in Oakland. She is a member of the Criminal Court Appointed Attorneys Program and the Judicial Appointments Evaluation Committee. Jo-Anna is the 2016 Chair of the ACBA Barristers Section’s Executive Committee. She is also a volunteer with the VLSC.