ACBA member Givelle Lamano, Founder and Principal, Lamano Law, is a Bay Area criminal defense attorney who truly cares about her clients. She has represented people from all walks of life including gang members in prison appealing their life sentences to first time offenders who have never been arrested. She is licensed in both state and federal courts and has served as a court appointed attorney for the Alameda County Bar Association.
Ms. Lamano received the Super Lawyer Rising Star award in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 for her professional achievement and peer recognition. She ranks in the top 2% of over 65,000 attorneys. She received the Client’s Choice award with Avvo from 2013 – 2016 and has a 10 ranking. In 2018, she was nominated as one of the top 40 under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers.
Ms. Lamano takes a more holistic approach to criminal defense by taking time to understand why a person was arrested in the first place and what factors contributed to an arrest or allegation. By doing this, she highlights the good traits in people who find themselves in a bad situation. She then uses that information to present her clients in the most positive light when negotiating deals in court. Ms. Lamano does not believe one bad act should ruin a person’s life or define who they are. Her goal is simple – get the charges dismissed and help clients avoid legal trouble in the future.
Ms. Lamano is also the founder of the Three Strikes Justice Center, a non-profit organization focused on alleviating the overcrowding of prisons through restorative justice. For 5-years, she served as a Board Member for Insight Prison Project, an organization providing services to prisoners and parolees all over California. She currently serves as a Board Member for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, an Oakland-based non-profit organization that advocates to release incarcerated people, restore human and civil rights, and reunify families.
Preceding her criminal defense work, Ms. Lamano represented low-wage and immigrant workers at the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University. Ms. Lamano began working at a young age in various blue-collar jobs so she is no stranger to hard work. She has spoken as a panelist for Women in Leadership and spends her free time with family and two dogs.
When did you know you wanted to be a lawyer?
When I started my practice. It wasn’t until I started going to court and witnessed other lawyers fighting tooth and nail for the liberty of their clients that I realized I wanted to be that kind of gladiator. It was inspiring to see my colleagues take hard punches and then come back the next day stronger. I can’t believe that was almost 10 years ago.
If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what would you be doing instead?
Finding ways to make passive and recurring income. The more days I can go without working is an indication of my financial freedom. I yearn for that so I can use my time on things that are the most important to me like improving my health, raising a family, and being more involved with organizations that further social and restorative justice.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were first admitted to practice?
I am an average of the five people I surround myself with. I had good and bad mentors. I was also very impressionable. I now surround myself with women who empower other women and men who treat people who can’t do anything for them with the same respect they would towards someone who can.
What is the biggest challenge facing you as a lawyer today?
This question took me awhile to think about because there are so many challenges – the pandemic forcing us to work from home, the new way of going to court remotely and online, and the historical issue of women minorities not adequately represented in the legal field. But personally, the biggest challenge I face today is turning off my “attorney way of thinking,” especially in my personal life. Going to law school is like being in the military. We are trained to think logically and reasonably the way a soldier is trained for combat. Sometimes this affects my personal relationships because I don’t know how to chill out. Everything has an analysis and two sides to the coin. Like do I really need to analyze the entire menu at a restaurant to think of how to order food? I might get a tattoo that says “keep it simple” or “it’s not that serious” or “relax” to remind myself that not every issue requires an analysis.
What is your favorite part of being a lawyer?
My “attorney way of thinking.” I know that conflicts with my answer above but having the intellectual tools to make sound decisions and take calculated risks has been helpful in life, love, and business. I was born in a small town in the Philippines. Where I’m from, you were lucky if you went to college or finished high school. Here, in America, the government will loan you all the money you need (with a high interest rate of course) to pursue higher education. I may be in some serious student loan debt but it’s not like the government can go inside my brain and take back what I learned. Now I have the intellectual tools to strategize how to navigate life and make money while I sleep.
What is your dream vacation?
I’d like to go back to Italy with my partner and eat a whole bunch of pasta all over Rome, Florence, and Venice. I would end the vacation in the Amalfi coast which is probably one of the top five places I’ve ever visited
What are you reading now?
Traction (Get a grip on your business) by Dan Sullivan. It’s gives practical methods for running a company with more focus, growth, and enjoyment.
What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?
I used to win rap battles on radio shows when I lived in Los Angeles.
What person, living or dead, real or fictional, would you like to have dinner with?
Michelle or Barack Obama. My heart always skips a beat when I hear one of them speak about change and what is necessary as individuals and as a society for that change to happen.
Why do you choose to be a member of the ACBA? What is the greatest benefit you have enjoyed as a member?
I first joined ACBA so that I could qualify for the conflicts panel. That experience opened up many doors and possibilities. The greatest benefit I’ve enjoyed are the relationships I’ve cultivated through ACBA, specifically the networking events and CLE’s. Some people I met years ago as colleagues are now close friends that are part of my inner-circle.
To learn more about joining the Alameda County Bar Association, please visit: Why You Should Join the ACBA.