John Hamasaki is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney and the founder of Hamasaki Law. Through his relentless work on behalf of his clients, John has become one of the top criminal defense attorneys in Northern California. While some of his more prominent cases have generated media interest, John focuses each and every day on maintaining discretion as he represents individuals from all walks of life, from the working class to professionals at the top of their careers.
His guiding principle is to litigate each case as if the client’s life is on the line because even the smallest case can have a profound impact on individuals, their families and their careers.
John has built the practice with a focus on defending constitutional protections in complex criminal cases implicating civil rights and civil liberties. Notable recent cases include the defense of a member of the PayPal 14, a federal computer crimes prosecution of the computer hacktivist group "Anonymous" and representation of rapper Laz Tha Boy in a prominent case involving the use of rap lyrics as criminal evidence.
John's work as an attorney has been recognized by organizations such as Super Lawyers an d Best 40 Under 40. He also maintains a perfect rating 10 on Avvo.
In addition to regular speaking engagements on issues of criminal justice, John has maintained a focus on giving back to the community through public service including:
John's public service also includes extensive pro bono work through the National Lawyers Guild representing individuals prosecuted as a result of their participation in political protests and demonstrations.
Kirsten Haigh is a trial defense attorney at Hamasaki Law where she focuses on representing clients in criminal matters ranging from misdemeanors to cases which carry potential life sentences. Prior to joining Hamasaki Law, Kirsten attended University of San Francisco School of Law. At USF, Kirsten competed in the CACJ Criminal Trial Competition and the National Appellate Advocacy Competition. Kirsten sat on the board of the Criminal Law Association and Youth Advocacy Association. As a law clerk at Texas Defender Services, Kirsten represented defendants facing capital punishment in both trial and state habeas corpus proceedings. During law school, Kirsten also worked at public defender offices in Alameda, San Francisco, Solano.
Prior to law school, Kirsten earned a B.A. in Intensive Psychology from UC Santa Cruz where she developed an interest in prison reform. In 2011, she moved to Spain to work at a penitentiary center in Barcelona focused on rehabilitating the incarcerated and their integration back into society.
Kirsten is currently a member of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Bar Association of San Francisco, National Center for Youth Law, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Erica Roth is a certified law clerk at Hamasaki Law and a student at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she has focused her studies on defending constitutional protections and civil rights. During her first year, Erica was selected to participate in the prestigious Keta Taylor Colby Death Penalty Project. As a law clerk for the Federal Public Defender Office in Little Rock, Arkansas, she defended clients accused of capital murder in post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings, submitting work to the United States Supreme Court.
Erica is currently preparing to compete in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition in the spring of 2016. She also sits on the board of USF’s Criminal Law Society. In 2015, Erica organized a panel on Glossip v. Gross, the Supreme Court decision regarding the use of lethal injection in death penalty cases.
Prior to law school, Erica obtained a degree in Sociology from University of California Santa Cruz, while also interning at the Santa Cruz Public Defender’s Office. After graduating, Erica worked at one of the top criminal defense firms in Palo Alto.
Erica is a member of Bar Association of San Francisco, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and Law Students for Reproductive Justice.