Michael Stephenson’s legal skills have been praised in open court by both state and federal judges, by opposing lawyers, and, of course, by his clients and their families. He is himself a skilled cyclist and is an expert at proving liability and damages in cases where a cyclist has been injured. In his spare time, he volunteers as a legal counsel for bicycle advocacy groups in California, including California Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and others.
Mr. Stephenson has extensive trial experience and began his career trying misdemeanor cases in Oregon as a public defender in 2007. Prior to that, he was awarded “Most Outstanding Trial Advocate” at the American Trial Lawyers Association’s (now The American Association for Justice) West Coast Regional Trial Championships. As an expert trial lawyer, he has also volunteered his time as a Trial Practice Coach, instructing law students in trial-lawyer techniques at the UC Berkeley School of Law, one of the Top 10 law schools in the United States. Mr. Stephenson’s success as a trial lawyer puts pressure on insurance companies to settle cases early to avoid having to go toe-to toe with him in a courtroom. Insurance companies know that if a case proceeds to trial, they face the high likelihood that they will lose and be forced to pay all the additional court and attorney fees on top of the amounts paid to the injured cyclist.
Prior to founding Bay Area Bicycle Law, Mr. Stephenson worked for Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT), one of the top 100 law firms in the United States, at its Portland, Oregon office. During his time at DWT, he worked on many high-profile lawsuits involving some of the largest companies in the United States. He left DWT in January of 2010 to return to the San Francisco Bay Area and work exclusively on behalf of cyclists.
Mr. Stephenson’s legal writings have been featured in the Portland Business Journal, the State Bar Litigation Journal, the State Bar Professional Liability Newsletter, Davis Wright Tremaine client advisories, and other publications.
Mr. Stephenson graduated top of his class with Honors at the University of Oregon Law School and was a Managing Editor of the prestigious Law Review. During law school he was also an extern for the Honorable Ann Aiken, the Chief Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Oregon District Federal Court. Mr. Stephenson was awarded the law school’s “Pro Bono Award” in recognition of his substantial volunteer legal work in defending low-income clients in hearings and jury trials in state court. Mr. Stephenson earned his Bachelor’s degree in three years at Brown University, Rhode Island.
Michelle Weiss’ litigation and courtroom advocacy has received praise from clients and opposing counsel alike. A cyclist herself, Ms. Weiss’s career is devoted to assisting injured cyclists and helping to make the roads of California safer.
Ms. Weiss has tried numerous cases, including having first chaired a recent trial victory in San Francisco Superior Court wherein she returned with a verdict multiple times the Defendant’s top settlement offer. Ms. Weiss also heads pre-trial negotiations and mediations, prepares pre-trial motions and trial briefs for numerous cases, works extensively with accident-reconstruction and medical experts, and regularly conducts/defends client and witness depositions.
Ms. Weiss loves working as a personal injury attorney. An accident is a painful and traumatic event and unfortunately, insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented individuals by unjustly denying their claims or severely undervaluing their injuries. Full of energy and enthusiasm, Ms. Weiss enjoys a good fight and helping hurt cyclists navigate an insurance system designed to promote profits over helping negligently injured individuals. And as someone that commutes to work by bike, Ms. Weiss enjoys helping cyclists in particular — a group that is generally under-represented and especially vulnerable on the roads.
Having been an active participant in debate and mock trial throughout school, Ms. Weiss thoroughly enjoys advocating for others. One of those rare individuals who likes bartering, Ms. Weiss is highly involved in her cases and prides herself on negotiating the greatest settlement possible for her clients. Intellectually curious, Ms. Weiss takes as many continuing education courses as possible and has received extensive training in litigating traumatic brain injuries — an important issue considering the prevalence of head injuries in cycling accidents.
Ms. Weiss speaks fluent German and Chinese, having lived in both Germany and China. In her free time, Michelle enjoys samba dancing, learning languages, fitness, traveling, and reading. Despite having taken Chinese lessons twice per week and working as a fitness instructor throughout law school, Michelle graduated in the top quarter of her class from Santa Clara University. During law school, Michelle was active in moot court and was assistant coach to the international arbitration moot court team.
Lucy Allen first began investigating bicycle accidents and assisting injured cyclists in 2012, and is now an Associate with Bay Area Bicycle Law. A cyclist herself, she has a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, one of the top 10 law schools in the country.
Before joining Bay Area Bicycle Law, Lucy defended Northern California’s forest ecosystems and worked on cases involving the Equal Access to Justice Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Her legal work has included drafting an amicus curiae brief to the California Supreme Court. In law school, she worked for a number of public interest organizations, received numerous awards including an American Jurisprudence award, served as Publishing Editor for the Ecology Law Quarterly, and served as a student supervisor for a Student-Initiated Legal Services Project. Upon graduating she was awarded a Berkeley Law Public Interest Fellowship.
Kyle R. Smith has been riding a bike since 1989 and practicing law since 2013. As an avid cyclist himself Mr. Smith focuses his practice on representing injured cyclists and making the Bay Area a safer place for biking. Outside of his legal practice he serves as a member of the Berkeley Public Works Commission, working to improve roads and paths for bicycle travel.
Mr. Smith graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law where he was Lead Business Development Editor of the High Tech Law Journal and the Student Bar Association Vice President. Inside the classroom he focused his coursework on civil litigation and was named to the Dean’s List. Beyond the classroom he provided over 300 hours of pro bono services through the Alexander Community Law Center, representing plaintiffs in workers rights suits for unpaid wages and discrimination.
Mr. Smith began his career as a defense attorney and has represented clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies in state and federal court in individual and class actions. His extensive inside knowledge from years working with insurance companies enables him to get inside the mind of the defendant insurance companies and get the results his clients deserve.
Mr. Smith is lead volunteer staff for California YMCA Youth and Government, a model legislature and court program for high school students where he trains the next generation of attorneys. He instructs teens in reading court cases to understand the constitution and civil rights through established legal precedent then craft oral arguments to be delivered in court.
Marissa Herrera is a Legal Secretary at Bay Area Bicycle Law. She graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and hopes to enter law school in the near future. Before joining Bay Area Bicycle Law, Marissa interned for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, where she realized her love for public interest and for public policy that establishes positive changes in the community. Her work experience has provided her with resourceful skills to organize a more compelling case. She is passionate about public interest and immigration law, as well as civil rights law.
In her spare time Marissa is an active hiker and enjoys backpacking trips, yoga, and spending time with her two dogs – Mowgli and Tink. Growing up in San Francisco, she is also an avid fan and supporter of the San Francisco Giants and musical talent uprising from the Bay Area.
Tarina Yasmoothr is Bay Area Bicycle Law’s paralegal, and resident law student at San Francisco Law School. Tarina graduated from Antioch University with a concentration in Race and Class Studies. A cyclist herself, she has logged hundreds of miles on Bay Area roads, and unfortunately understands all too well the dangers that threaten cyclists on a daily basis.
Before embarking in law school, Tarina spent five years at high profile public interest law firm, Disability Rights Advocates. Throughout law school, Tarina continued her commitment to serving vulnerable communities, clerking with the Homeless Action Center, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. In addition, she serves as Board Member of her law school chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and has organized panels and presentations on the issues of Legislation Impacting Migrant Worker’s Rights, Predatory Housing Lending Schemes on Low Income Communities of Color, and the Intersection of Race, Poverty and the Death Penalty.
A natural and passionate advocate, Tarina applies her background knowledge of both cycling and the law to serve Bay Area Bicycle Law’s clients to the fullest.
Emily Davis is a Legal Secretary at Bay Area Bicycle Law. As a Legal Secretary Emily, keeps the office running smoothly. She is in constant communication with the lawyers, clients, and medical clinics to verify that Bay Area Bicycle operates as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Before starting at Bay Area Bicycle Law, Emily studied biology at Linfield College in McMinnville Oregon. Emily worked in a biochemistry lab that researched how infectious proteins spread in S. cerevisiae. During that time, Emily also volunteered at the Emergency Department and Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, where she learned the ins and outs of the medical system. Emily applies her knowledge of medicine and biology when reviewing medical records and coordinating with hospitals. Her scientific and medical background makes Emily a valuable resource.
Emily has always had a passion for helping those in need. After graduating college, she made the courageous decision to join the Peace Corps, where she was sent to a rural island in Fiji. There she founded the Vunivutu Kindergarten, increasing the quality of education for the children of her Village. Emily became a part of her community by becoming fluent in Fijian and learned how to weave traditional mats. During her time in the Peace Corps, Emily helped those in need and now she is bringing that passion to help cyclists at Bay Area Bicycle Law.
Emily is planning to attend medical school in the near future. Her ambition is to become a rural primary care physician, where she can help those who have traditionally been underserved. In her spare time Emily enjoys playing piano, scuba diving, and running.