Michael Stephenson, founder and Senior Attorney at Bay Area Bicycle Law, has been selected as one of the “10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys” in California by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, and is a member of the National Trial Lawyers’ prestigious “Top 40 Under 40,” of the “Million Dollar Advocates Forum,” and of “Lawyers of Distinction” (which limits its membership to the top 10% of attorneys in the United States). He began his career trying misdemeanor cases in Oregon as a public defender in 2007. Mr. 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.
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 bicycle coalition newsletters, the State Bar Litigation Journal, the State Bar Professional Liability Newsletter, the Portland Business Journal, and other publications.
In law school, Mr. Stephenson was awarded “Most Outstanding Trial Advocate” at the American Trial Lawyers Association’s (now The American Association for Justice) West Coast Regional Trial Championships. He graduated top of his class with Honors at the University of Oregon Law School and was a Managing Editor of the 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. 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 Smith has been riding a bike since 1989 and practicing law since 2013. At Bay Area Bicycle Law Kyle focuses his practice on representing injured cyclists in personal injury claims and products liability cases. In addition to his legal practice he serves as a Board Member of Bike East Bay working to improve safety, infrastructure, and equitable access for cyclists throughout the Bay Area.
Kyle 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.
Kyle 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.
When he is not in the office Kyle is an active cyclist and has ridden centuries and fondos throughout California. He also serves as a Board Member for California YMCA Youth and Government, which runs model legislature and court programs for middle and high school students to promote civic engagement.
James Cheney worked as a Law Clerk at Bay Area Bicycle Law prior to being sworn into the Bar in March of 2019. He graduated with honors from Notre Dame Law School in May 2018. He has extensive legal writing experience and has already taken the lead on several cases in pre-trial negotiations with insurance. He assists litigation cases by drafting documents such as complaints, discovery motions, mediation briefs, and more.
James is committed to using the law to fight for people in need. At Bay Area Bicycle Law, James is focused on making sure injured cyclists recover 100%. In law school, James spearheaded housing cases for the Notre Dame Economic Justice Legal Clinic, interned for the local Public Defender’s office, and defended low income individuals in social security matters. James further developed his advocacy skills by competing on the Notre Dame Moot Court Board, and by coaching a high school mock trial team. These experiences, in addition to his undergraduate Mock Trial excellence, have made James highly focused and effective in litigation.
James Cheney has been an avid bicycle rider since childhood, he knows first-hand the benefits bicycling and other man-powered forms of transportation have for his community. James is a supporter of bike-sharing, and the non-bart portion of his commute is often by go-bike. James also uses his bike to make food deliveries for caviar, for fun. James translates his passion for bicycling into his legal work on behalf of bicyclists. He has a can-do and will-do approach to life and to being a lawyer.
James lives in San Francisco and spends his free time hanging out with friends, working in his garage, or exploring the city in search of the perfect hamburger.
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.
Beth Farkaly received her paralegal certificate in 2013 from the University of California, San Diego where her academic performance gained her admission to the honor society for paralegal studies, Lambda Epsilon Chi.
She spent the first year of her legal career learning the ins and outs of California Courts by working in a civil litigation firm. While there, she assisted attorneys gain favorable verdicts at several trials.
She transitioned to an insurance defense firm, which has given her an insiders perspective on how insurance companies operate after claims have been filed. She has taken that knowledge to assist Bay Area Bicycle Law clients to navigate insurance procedures, and is happy to be advocating for cyclists who are oftentimes underrepresented.
In her spare time, Beth enjoys testing out new recipes, crocheting, reading, and scouring thrift stores and flea markets for vintage wares.