Sections

Barristers

Executive Committee Meetings

The ACBA Barristers Executive Committee shapes the educational and social programming for the section. They meet every second Thursday at 6pm to discuss business and recently have started inviting special guests to talk about their careers and professional journeys. Please contact Barristers Chair James Cook for information on how to join these meetings. Check out our playlist of past meetings and interviews below. 

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, typically held in early August! Our 2019 event was held on August 2nd. Check out the photos here.

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. Submit a mentor application or a mentee application at any time!

2020 Barristers Group Shot

2020 ACBA Barristers Executive Committee

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.  Dine with a Judge affords you an excellent opportunity to ask questions and learn information that may guide you during your court appearances. In-person events are on hold.

Executive Committee
James Cook

James Cook

Chair

John Burris Law
667 31st Street
Oakland, CA
james.cook@johnburrislaw.com
415-350-3393

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.

Allegra Anvari

Allegra Anvari

Vice Chair

State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Allegra.anvari@calbar.ca.gov
415-538-2291

Allegra Anvari is Deputy Trial Counsel for the State Bar of California in the Office of Chief Trial Counsel working to protect the public by advancing the ethical and competent practice of law. She studied linguistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she graduated cum laude and received a Language Studies bachelor’s degree. While earning her juris doctorate at the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, she volunteered with Equal Justice Works and interned at multiple non-profit clinics including Disability Rights California, Watsonville Law Center, the McGeorge Immigration Law Clinic, and the Pacific McGeorge Housing Mediation Center. Before joining the State Bar, Ms. Anvari was a civil litigator in the private sector for five years where she represented individuals, entities and municipalities in personal injury, contract, and malpractice cases. In her free time, Ms. Anvari volunteers at the ACBA Community Legal Assistance Saturday Program (“CLASP”) and plays ice hockey on multiple co-ed teams as well as one nationally ranked women’s team.

Ryan Knutson

Ryan Knutson

Secretary

Knutson Law Offices (KLO)
125 12th Street, Suite 100-BALI
Oakland, CA 94607
ryan@klolawfirm.com
408-634-9850

Ryan Knutson grew up in the Vacaville/Fairfield area and has lived in the bay most of his life, except for multiple years spent abroad living in Mexico on study/work abroad, Chile and Peru. He attended Sonoma State University for his undergraduate studies, graduating cum laude and international merit scholar in 2012 with a BA in History, Spanish, and Latin American Studies. Ryan attended law school at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, CA, graduating with a Juris Doctorate in December 2015 and a focus in public interest law. Ryan began his practice in July 2016 as Staff Attorney and Program Coordinator for the Legal Counsel for the Elderly/ Civil Rights program at La Raza Centro Legal in San Francisco, CA. Ryan opened Knutson Law Offices in 2019 to serve the needs of families and individuals in the areas of estate and special needs planning, trusts and estates, civil litigation and real estate, Social Security Disability, health insurance eligibility and appeals, and discrimination with a specific focus in mental health law and policy. On mental health law, discrimination and abuse of the mentally ill and the myriad legal issues affecting their families, Ryan works to make a significant impact in achieving compassionate care, an end to abuse and violence, and effective trust and property planning for the future.

Sophia Ahmad

Sophia Ahmad

Member

Sophia Ahmad Law, APC
39055 Hastings Street, Ste 211
Fremont, CA 94538
sophia@sophiaahmadlaw.com
510-421-6188

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 to box!

Kellyann Estrem

Kellyann H. Estrem

Member

Law Offices of Vernon C. Goins
1970 Broadway, Suite 450
Oakland, CA 94612
kestrem@goinslawfirm.com
(510) 717-3853

Andrea Henson

Member

Eviction Defense Center
350 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Suite 703r
Oakland, CA 94612r
andreahenson911@gmail.com
510-452-4541

Hurston_John

John O. Hurston, JD, MBA

Member

BitTorrent, Inc.
201 13th Street, 792
Oakland, CA 94604
john.hurston@tron.network

John serves as in-house Counsel for BitTorrent, Inc., a decentralized web platform which provides P2P and blockchain protocols to transfer cryptocurrencies and related assets. John advises internal teams on contract negotiation, product development, IP matters, corporate governance, and entity formation. John also advises BitTorrent's related companies which leverage the Tron Foundation blockchain, including cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, and media streaming platform DLive. John began his career as a solo practitioner, working as Commercial Counsel to creators and early stage companies. Prior to joining BitTorrent, John served as Special Counsel for OYO Hotels, where he advised stakeholders on financing agreements and brand protection matters. He also worked for the Corporate and Investment Banking division of Wells Fargo Bank, where he negotiated derivative trading agreements. John earned his BA from the University of California, Berkeley, his MBA from the Golden Gate University Ageno School of Business, and his JD from the San Francisco Law School.

Justice Ojo

Justice Ojo

Member

Law Offices of Justice Ojo
1999 Harrisson St. Suite 1800
Oakland, CA 94612
justice.ojo@justiceojolaw.com 
510-496-4592

Justice Ojo is the founding attorney of the Law Offices of Justice Ojo. In his practice, Justice exclusively represents employees in matters against their employers. Justice specializes in FEHA matters and also routinely helps negotiate severance packages. A bay area native, Justice received his J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law and his B.A. from U.C. Davis. When not practicing law, Justice enjoys spending time with family, cooking and traveling.

Melody Rissell

Melody Rissell

Member

Rissell Law Firm
201 Spear St. Ste. 1100
San Francisco, CA 94105
hello@risselllawfirm.com
(415) 874-7288

Alternate Members
Katherine Alphonso

Katherine Alphonso

Alternate Member

Kaufman, Dolowich, & Voluck LLP
425 California Street, Ste 2100
San Francisco, CA 94104
kalphonso@kdvlaw.com 

Katherine Alphonso is an Associate at Kaufman, Dolowich, & Voluck, LLP. She focuses her practice on data privacy and cybersecurity, general employment law, trademarks, corporate formations and filings, and licensing.

David George

David George

Alternate Member

Geosyntec Consultants, Inc
1111 Broadway, 6th Floor
Oakland, California 94607
510-285-2669

After leaving a law enforcement career where he served as a deputy sheriff, David went to work in the contracts department for a Bay Area software company. Today, he is corporate counsel to an environmental engineering firm. He earned his JD from the Golden Gate University School of Law, and completed his MBA and undergraduate education at St Mary’s College of California. Long before his bar admission, David was been a frequent volunteer for the state bar; having served as a public member on the JNE commission, the Disciplinary Standards Task Force, and the Client Security Fund. He currently serves on the RJNE and is a panelist on the Practice Analysis Working Group.

WookSun (Phil) Hong

WookSun (Phil) Hong

Alternate Member

Law Offices of WookSun Hong
125 12th Street, Ste. 100-BALI,
Oakland, CA 94607
modulegal@gmail.com
(510) 368-8538

WookSun is part of the Bay Area Legal Incubator, a group of attorneys that provide legal services for mid to low income communities. Their practice areas cover employment, immigration, estate planning, real estate, business/corporate law, prisoners’ rights and more. WookSun personally handles real estate, landlord-tenant, immigration, and estate planning. WookSun graduated from Seoul National University with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He pursued Ph.D. degree in biochemistry before switching to law. He is the recipient of the ACBA’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award for Barrister. He is a 2019 extraordinary VLSC volunteer and a member of ACBA LRS 2019 Governing Committee. He enjoys cycling and wants to travel as many countries as possible in the future.

Jason Leong

Jason Leong

Alternate Member

Law Offices of Jason Leong
4123 Broadway #708
Oakland, CA 94611
jasonleonglawoffices@gmail.com
510-421-3327

Jason practices criminal defense and also handles post-conviction writs, petitions, and appeals. Jason has been a long-time resident of Alameda County, going to high school in the East Bay, and graduating from UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law. After more than two years as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of California and a Deputy District Attorney in Madera County, he’s excited to be back home serving the Bay Area. Jason is a former member of the Earl Warren and Kennedy Inns of Court and enjoys staying at the cutting edges of the law.

Paul Leahy

Paul G. Leahy

Alternate Member

Disability Rights Advocates
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
pgl9@georgetown.edu
(313) 549-0768

Paul Leahy joined Disability Rights Advocates from 2017 to 2019 as a DRA Fellowship Attorney. Mr. Leahy received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2017 and his B.A. with distinction in History from the University of Michigan in 2009. From 2009 to 2014, Mr. Leahy served as an associate with the Michigan practice of a national public affairs firm headquartered in Boston. During law school, Mr. Leahy served as a research assistant with the Georgetown Climate Center and Annual Review of Criminal Procedure. He later served as a law clerk on the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and in the Natural Resources Section (NRS) and Executive Office of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice. Mr. Leahy is a past member of the Environmental Law Institute and Disability Rights Bar Association. When not besting his best friend or brothers at board games, Mr. Leahy enjoys running, swimming, and downhill skiing.

Hadassah

Hadassah Hayashi

Staff Liaison

Deputy Director
1000 Broadway, Suite 290
Oakland, CA 94607
hadassah@acbanet.org
(510) 302-2200