Welcome to the Barristers Section!

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Barristers Section of the ACBA! Our section focuses on developing programming (both educational and social) dedicated to attorneys in their first 10 years of practice.  Our goal is to encourage the members of the Barristers Section to engage, learn, network, and lead.

Throughout 2017, we will host a variety of continuing legal education programs, Dine with a Judge lunch events, networking opportunities and socials.  Our exciting programs include meeting with the Warriors General Counsel, David Kelly, and then watching the Warriors dominate the Kings on February 15, 2016 as well as the popular annual Judges-Barristers Social in September 2017.  You can also look forward to the 13th Annual Barrister’s Golf Classic in the summer.

In addition to these wonderful events and programs, our members will 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.  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

2017 ACBA Barristers Section Executive Committee

ACBA Barristers 2017 Executive Committee
Barristers and Judges Social 2016
Barristers and Judges Social 2016
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Upcoming Events

March 15, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Using Practice Guides for Initial Pleadings, Responsive Pleadings, and Motions
Come learn about the best practices for utilizing civil practice guides for California State court pleadings. This program will focus on initial and responsive pleadings, utilizing guides to determine next steps and assist with thinking a few steps ahead in litigation.

March 22, 2017 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Navigating the Requirements for Analyzing Climate Change Impacts Under CEQA
Join the Environmental Law, Real Estate, and Barristers Sections for a panel discussion exploring various approaches for evaluating greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and climate adaptation in this rapidly evolving area of the law.

March 30, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
How to Open a Successful Criminal Defense Practice
Interested in opening a solo criminal defense practice? What are the pros and cons of going solo? This program will cover the basics, including, business licenses, finding and buying/leasing office space, banking and financial management, and more!

April 12, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Law and Motion – Motion Writing
This program will cover the best practices for writing commonly filed motions in California State court, including Motion to Compel, Motion to Shorten Time, Motion to Dismiss, Motion for Summary Judgment, and more.

New events are added regularly. Visit the ACBA calendar for more upcoming events.

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.

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!

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. To that end, she developed an interest in community economic development and revitalization of depressed communities at the global level. 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 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

Coming soon!

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