Welcome to the Barristers Section!

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Barristers Section of the ACBA! Who is a Barrister? Attorneys of all practice areas in their first 10 years of practice. Our goal is to encourage our members to engage, learn, network, and lead.

Our members benefit from our Mentorship Program where we will pair younger attorneys with more senior attorneys in their fields of practice, as well as the various initiatives spearheaded by the ACBA’s New Attorney Task Force.

In these uncertain times, we must all become more involved in our community by taking full ownership of our opportunity to positively impact the law. The Barristers Executive Committee invites you to actively engage in our events this year, and to take full advantage of the rich resources the ACBA has to offer – including FREE MCLE. We welcome co-sponsorship opportunities with other sections, local bar associations, and neighboring organizations. Should you have any questions, or would like to participate in our executive committee, please do not hesitate to email me at alice@wapnickfamilylaw.com

Here’s to an excellent 2017!

Alice P. Cheng, Barristers Executive Committee, 2017 Chair

ACBA Barristers 2017 Executive Committee
2017 ACBA Barristers Section Executive Committee

Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) programs

The Barristers Section presents MCLEs directed to newer attorneys. The practical skills two-day New Attorney Boot Camp held in August is one of our most popular events. In addition, the Barristers Section started two new programs in 2016: the Introduction to Practice Areas Series and How to Get a Job Series. Keep an eye on the ACBA calendar for more upcoming events!

Barristers Mentorship Program

The Barristers Mentorship Program was created to link new attorneys (mentees) with seasoned attorneys (mentors) in Alameda County so that mentees may gain support and guidance as they embark on their professional legal careers. For mentors, participation in the program is an opportunity to give back and support the profession of law, and help shape its future by coaching the mentees and sharing their experiences and life lessons. Please check out the program guidelines for more information. The Barristers Mentorship Program Committee pairs mentees and mentors twice a year, but you can submit a mentor application or a mentee application at any time!


Throughout the year, the Barristers gather to socialize and to network.  Our events range from simple gatherings at a local restaurant or pub, to co-sponsored and more elaborate events such as Tailgate and BBQ at an A’s v. Giants game.  Regardless of the theme or the venue, each social is designed to create opportunities to network and develop friendships as well as to relax and having some fun.

Annual Barristers Golf Classic

Whether you’re a new golfer wanting to spend an afternoon networking with other attorneys and judges or an experienced golfer looking for a chance to get your name engraved on the President’s Cup, you’re welcome at the annual ACBA Barristers Golf Classic! We hope you will be able to join us on August 4th! Register here

Battle of the Bay: Oakland A's v SF Giants
Battle of the Bay: Oakland A's v SF Giants
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Upcoming Events

Dine with a Neutral
Learn More

ACBA Barristers Night Out: Oakland A’s v SF Giants
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ACBA Barristers Golf Classic
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Practical Skills New Attorney Boot Camp
Learn More

Dine with a Judge: Jennifer Madden
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Corporate Formation, Licensing, Patent, and Compliance Issues Facing Cannabis Entrepreneurs 

Dine with a Judge

The ACBA and Barristers are committed to building a stronger relationship between the Bench and Bar in Alameda County. The Barristers Dine with a Judge programs provide you and several of your peers the unique chance to enjoy a delicious dinner and casual conversation with some of the area’s premier judges. Whether you have already appeared in court for a case or may make a future court appearance, these dinners are terrific ways to gain new insights and become acquainted with a member of the bench outside the courtroom setting. Dine with a Judge affords you an excellent opportunity to ask questions and learn information that may guide you during your court appearances. Ask the judges about their career path and learn about their experiences before they took their seats on the Bench.

Commissioner Clay Dine with a Judge Group Shot

Thank you Commissioner Clay for being our special guest at Dine with a Judge!

Why did you decide to become a lawyer? The idea of going to law school didn’t occur to me until my senior year of college.  At that time I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my life, and I thought that a law degree would provide me with a certain amount of flexibility.  During my second year of law school I took a trial advocacy class which I really enjoyed.  That experience cemented my desire to become a trial attorney.

Who are the people who have had the greatest influence upon your legal career?  I have been influenced by a number of people throughout the various stages of my career.  When I first began working at the Public Defender’s office there were many veteran attorneys who helped teach me the intricacies of being a good defense attorney.  More recently, there have been a number of judges who have had a tremendous impact on the course of my career both in their willingness to give up their time to mentor me and with the encouragement and support they have shown me.

What are you most proud of so far in your legal career? My proudest moment is being appointed as a commissioner of the Alameda County Superior Court.  

What tips can you give other lawyers interested in becoming a judge?  Pay attention to how different judges conduct their courtrooms.  Get involved in the ACBA Judicial Mentoring Program. Be mindful of the way in which you conduct yourself.  The reputation you develop now will follow you throughout the rest of your career and will have an impact on your efforts to become a judge. 

The Executive Committee

Alice P. Cheng

Law Offices of Tracey C. Wapnick
101 Ygnacio Valley Road, Suite 201
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(925) 932-2225


Alice’s favorite aspect of practicing law is using a practical approach to help people solve their problems, whether that is by working with her clients to make positive changes in their lives at her family law practice in Oakland, or through volunteering with the VLSC Family Law Day of Court Clinic. When she is not working, Alice enjoys watching sports (especially baseball), cooking, trying new restaurants, and traveling.

Blake Asdorian

317 Washington Street, Suite 157
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 629-9658


Blake Asdorian is a family law attorney, whose practice is based in Oakland, CA. For Blake, the most satisfying aspect of practice is helping people to successfully navigate issues that can be intensely personal and stressful. In addition to private practice, Blake spends time volunteering in the VLSC Family Law Day of Court Clinic. When not working, Blake enjoys cooking, hiking, and watching films.

Adrieannette Ciccone

The McNamara Law Firm
1211 Newell Avenue
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(619) 727-8997


Adrieannette knew she wanted to be a lawyer when she was a young child. As time progressed, she realized that much societal injustice was the result of socioeconomic inequality. After earning a joint MA in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies, Adrieannette embarked on her legal career. She is now working to defend the legal rights of those faced with civil lawsuits.  She is an active board member of Youth Spirit Artworks, a non-profit dedicated to using art to provide financial resources to homeless and low-income youth and also serves as the 2016 Community Service Chair for the Charles Houston Bar Association. When she is not advocating for others or serving the community, Adrieannette enjoys global travel, practicing Portuguese and Spanish, Afro-Latin dance, and fusion cooking.

Patrick Bears

Oakland City Attorney’s Office
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 238-3750


Patrick Bears decided to become an attorney to put the practical skills learned in his high school and college mock trial programs towards developing a career. After spending his time in law school working on jobs and clinics related to promoting the public interest, he realized his true passion is working in the public sector. Patrick currently works for the City of Oakland’s Office of the City Attorney as a Neighborhood Law Corps attorney, and will seek permanent employment in the public sector after the completion of his term. Patrick is also a member of the Earl Warren Inn of Court and the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom. Patrick enjoys jogging around Lake Merritt, going to concerts, and playing cards.

James Cook

Law Offices of John L. Burris
7677 Oakport Street, Suite 1120
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 839-5200


James Cook’s focus is Section 1983 civil rights litigation. His other practice areas include DUI – DWI Defense, Criminal Defense, Landlord Tenant – housing law, Personal injury law, contract law, and corporate entity formation for profit and non-profits. James volunteers for VLSC’s Unlawful Detainer Mediation, Bankruptcy, and Family Law Clinics, and is an active member of the Earl Warren Inn of Court. Before becoming a lawyer, James was a professional competitor and decorated champion in Muay Thai Full-Contact Kickboxing who competed internationally and throughout the United States. He won Golden Gloves Boxing in two states and he competed in Mixed Martial Arts.
Daniel Hodsdon

East Bay Family Law and Mediation
11501 Dublin Blvd, Suite 200
Dublin, CA 94568
(510) 384-8118

Daniel Hodsdon

Daniel Hodsdon has been practicing family law exclusively for nearly 10 years in all counties throughout the Bay Area and started his own firm in 2016.  He attended high school in the east bay, college at UC Berkeley, and studied law at the University of San Francisco.  His practice focuses on all aspects of family law, from premarital agreements to divorce, child support, spousal support, and complex property division. He has a client-first, settlement oriented philosophy designed to guide clients through difficult, stressful circumstances.  He is a member of the Alameda and Contra Costa County Bar Associations, and the Dublin Rotary Club.

Jo-Anna Nieves

The Nieves Law Firm, APC
505 14th Street, Suite 900
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 588-8580


Jo-Anna Nieves has a passion for criminal law and currently runs her own criminal defense practice in Oakland.  She is a member of the Criminal Court Appointed Attorneys Program, the Judicial Appointments Evaluation Committee, and coaches mock trial for El Centro Legal de la Raza’s Youth Law Academy. Jo-Anna has been recognized as a Thirty Under 30 award recipient from the Florida State University and recently received the 2017 ACBA New Lawyer Distinguished Service Award.  She is originally from Miami, FL and enjoys traveling, reading, and eating at new restaurants.

Lauren Peebles

The Law Office of Lauren N. Peebles
505 14th Street, Suite 900
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 588-8445


Lauren N. Peebles, “The Peebles Lawyer”, was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2012 after obtaining her law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law. Prior to law school, Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Lauren has a diverse legal resume including asbestos litigation, landlord-tenant law, personal injury, criminal defense, and civil litigation. However, it was not until she was appointed as successor trustee of her late grandmother’s estate that Lauren dedicated herself to Estate Planning and Administration. Lauren currently runs her own Estate Planning and General Civil law firm in Oakland. Lauren is committed to service and the community. Her tagline is “the people’s lawyer is the Peebles lawyer!”

William Walraven

William Walraven
317 Washington Street, Suite 210
Oakland, CA 94607
(650) 731-5580


William practices criminal defense and civil litigation. A native San Franciscan, William earned his undergraduate degree from UCLA and law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law.  In his free time William enjoys watching basketball, attending live concerts, cooking and hiking.
Andy Y. Chen

Ericksen Arbuthnot
2300 Clayton Drive, Suite 350
Concord, CA 94520
(510) 832-7770

Andy Chen

Andy Y. Chen is an associate at Ericksen Arbuthnot, where he represents corporations and insurance companies in general liability matters throughout California.  He has litigated cases and counseled clients in a variety of matters, including personal injury, products liability, premises liability, wrongful death, real estate, construction defect, and first party insurance litigation.  Andy received his law degree from the UC Hastings College of the Law, where he served as the Operations Editor for the Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal and Treasurer for both the Hastings Intellectual Property Association and the Hastings Chinese American Law Association.  In his spare time, Andy enjoys yoga, classical music, and photography.

Sophia Ahmad

Sophia Ahmad Law, A.P.C.
39055 Hastings Street, Suite 211
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 421-6188

 Sophia Ahmed

Sophia Ahmad was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. After being intern to the executive team for the grand opening of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Sophia attended Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. She was a Student Attorney and Clinic Chief at the SMU Federal Taxpayers Clinic and  with the Small Business/Self-Employed Division of the IRS. She worked for her family’s CPA firm before opening her own practice. Sophia Ahmad Law, A.P.C. focuses in tax, corporate, and immigration law. Sophia is a huge foodie, loves to travel, and is currently learning Tahitian dancing!

Hadassah Hayashi

Membership & Education Manager
1000 Broadway, Suite 480
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 302-2200