ACBA 2017 Board taking the oath of office

The new ACBA 2017 Board of Directors

The ACBA 2017 Board of Directors were sworn-in at our annual Installation and Distinguished Service Awards Dinner on January 26,2017. Please help welcome our new board – they volunteer their time to help guide the ACBA to keep us relevant and to make the return on the investment in your career worth even more than ever!

ACBA Board Officers

Eric HandlerEric Handler, President
Eric Handler is a partner at Donahue Fitzgerald LLP in Oakland, specializing in IP law, commercial litigation, and bankruptcy. He was the 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.

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

Cheryl Poncini, Vice-President
Cheryl PonciniCheryl Poncini is a Deputy District Attorney in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she is currently assigned to the Elder and Dependent Adult Protection Unit. Cheryl is a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law, and received her Master of Public Administration degree from CSU East Bay in March 2013. She is also a member of the ACBA VLSC Board of Directors.

Board Members

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, Dahm & Wargo where she specializes in high stakes litigation in the areas of criminal defense and plaintiff personal injury. Megan 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.

Leonard E. Marquez, is a partner with Oakland-based law firm Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP and new to the ACBA Board.  His practice focuses on commercial landlord-tenant law, as well as general civil litigation. He is a contributing author for the California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) treatises, Retail Leasing and Office Leasing.  Leonard is also an active member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA).  He currently serves as the General Counsel for the state-wide California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC) and is a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Contra Costa County.

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 of that committee until she termed out last 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.

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 was also the 2016 Secretary for the Charles Houston Bar Association’s Board of Directors.

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 the Chair for the Barristers section in 2015. Vincent currently serves as a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association’s Executive Board. He is a member of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court, Asian American Bar Association, Filipino Bar Association of Northern California, and California Lawyers for the Arts. Vincent has been selected for inclusion in the Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars List since 2015, and was 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 served on the CAAP Advisory Committee  for seven years and was its 2015 –2016 Chair. He is also an organizing member of the South Alameda County Criminal Defense Bar. 

Ex-officio

Stephanie Sato is the owner of  the Law Offices of Stephanie K. Sato in Oakland, specializing in family law. Stephanie served as President of the ACBA in 2016. She 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.

Alice Cheng is a family law attorney with the Law Offices of Tracey C. Wapnick in Walnut Creek. She is an active member of the ACBA Barristers Section, and its 2017 Executive Committee Chair. Alice also speaks Cantonese and basic conversational Mandarin.

Please help us welcome the 2017 ACBA Board of Directors! Contact information is available on the ACBA website for each board member.