John Burris

John Burris's picture

Profile Information

Profile Title
Of Counsel
Bar Information

All California courts; inactive member of the Illinois State Bar. A/V rating, Martindale-Hubbell


J.D. (1973), Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. M.B.A. (1970), University of California, Berkeley. B.A. (1967), Golden Gate College, San Francisco, California.

Other & Prior Employment

1985 – Present Law Offices of John L. Burris. Special Emphasis on plaintiff’s civil rights litigation (police misconduct and employment), mass tort and criminal defense.
1984 – 1985 Alexander, Burris, Millner & McGee. Partner.
1979 – 1983 Harris, Alexander & Burris. Partner.
1976 – 1979 Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Deputy District Attorney.
1975 – 1976 State Attorney’s Office, Cook County, Chicago, Illinois. Assistant States Attorney.
1973 – 1974 Jenner & Block. Chicago, Illinois. Associate Attorney.


People know John for his prominent work in California upholding civil rights and forcing municipalities, counties and the State of California to rein in the excesses of their law enforcement departments. We know John, most importantly, as a mentor. In 1995, when we opened the practice, John offered guidance, experience and opportunities to practice with Matt in federal court. In 1997 John, Steve Collier (the firm’s other “of counsel”) and Matt Kumin tried the federal case, Patterson et al. v. City of Oakland et al. That case, stemming from the 1994 riots at Oakland’s Festival at the Lake, set the stage for nearly a decade of mutual cooperation. Since then, John has worked on numerous cases with our offices and the relationship continues to grow. John’s background is extremely diverse. He has an MBA. He worked as a prosecutor in Chicago. He handles criminal defense matters and also a range of civil matters. He was Rodney King’s attorney during the civil suit against the Los Angeles Police Department. He is a television commentator and provides a cogent and accessible analysis for viewers, whether discussing the strategy of O.J. Simpson’s defense team or the process of jury selection in the Scott Peterson trial.


National Bar Association (Special Assistant to President, 1979-1980), California Association of Black Lawyers (President, 1979-1980), Charles Houston Bar Association (President, 1980-1982), Alameda County Bar Association, American Association for Justice.

Awards and Honors

2003 Clinton White Outstanding Trial Advocacy Award. Charles Houston Bar Association.
2003 Peace and Justice Award. California State University, Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution.
2001 Local Hero Award. Pueblo Annual Dinner. Oakland, California.
1995 Best Attorney. From the Valley to the Bay, Seventh Annual Reader’s Choice Survey (Alameda Newspaper Group / Oakland Tribune).
1994 Proclamation from the Office of the Mayor, Oakland, California. June 23 as “John Burris Day” based on contributions to civil rights and the citizens of Oakland, by Mayor Elihu M. Harris.


Member for
1 year 6 weeks
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