John Burris

Civil Plaintiff, Civil Rights, Criminal Defense, Employment Law
Law Offices of John L. Burris
7677 Oakport Street
Suite 1120
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 839-5200

John Burris has practiced law for more than 40 years. He is primarily known for his work in the areas of Civil Rights with an emphasis on police misconduct excessive force cases raising federal questions under Federal Code Section 1983. His other practice areas include employment litigation, criminal defense, personal injury, and toxic torts and mass class actions.

Before founding the Law Offices of John L. Burris, his previous employment included Harris, Alexander, and Burris, 1979 to 1985; Deputy District Attorney with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office from 1977 to 1979; Assistant State’s State Attorney in Cook County, Illinois from 1975 to 1976; Associate Attorney, Jenner and Block, Associate 1973 to 1975; and Summer Associate, Associate with Jenner and Block, Summer 1972 where he worked on Metcalf Commission investigating police brutality claims in Chicago.

Burris loves to travel. He has traveled throughout the world with memorable trips East and West Africa, Europe, South America, Cuba, and China. He is an voracious reader on the topics of history, criminal/social justice, and contemporary domestic and international issues.

Mr. Burris frequently provide legal commentary for local and national print and televised media including KTVU Channel 2, KRON 4, MSNBC and other cable Television and radio. He is a frequent lecturer on the topics of police and criminal justice issues. Burris regularly participates in charitable events for breast cancer, heart cancer such as Bay to Breakers and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk. He is disciplined about his daily workout routine which includes jogging and weights.


University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, Berkeley, California
J.D. – 1973
U. C. Berkeley Graduate School of Business
Golden Gate University
B.S. – 1967
Major: Accounting

Courts Admitted

United States Supreme Court
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal
U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Illinois
All California State Courts

All Illinois State Courts

Published Works

“Blue vs. Black: Let’s End the Conflict between Cops and Minorities, Saint Martin’s press, 1999;
“The Forgotten Victims” (Psychological impact on children whose parent/or close family figure killed by the police), 2013;
“Burris Report I and II” (Independent investigation into shooting death of 14 year old African America), 1976.Civic Groups and Volunteer Organizations
Board of Directors, National Police Accountability Project
Member Board of directors, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
Member Stigma Phi Pi and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternities
Member 100 TOP Black Lawyers
Member National Association of 100 Top lawyers
Member Million Dollar Advocates

Awards and Recognition:

Charles Houston’s Hall of Fame award Dec. 2015
National Bar Association Vince Monroe Townsend Legacy Award, July 2015
National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Chapter’s Champion of Justice Award, March 2015
John F Kennedy black Law Student Appreciation Award, February 2013
Legal Leader San Francisco Top Rated Lawyers of 2013
San Francisco Chronicle Profile “Powerhouse Behind Police Reform, September 2012
National Bar Association’s Heman Marion Sweatt Award for excellence in the legal profession, March 2011
Golden Gate University ‘ Profile in Prominence 2011
Solano County’s Council of Negro Women Achievement Award February 2011
Solano Community college: Living the Dream Achievement Award, 2011
San Francisco Daily Journal’s Top 100 Leading “Lawyers in California, 2009
National Bar Associations’ C. Francis Stradford Award: the highest award given by the association for inspiration, and contribution to the legal profession
100 BLACK MEN OF THE BAY AREA: Life Time Achievement Award December 2008
San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journal’s 100  Top Lawyers of Spheres of Influence 2005
San Francisco Chronicle Magazine profile “Oakland’s Johnnie Cochran, June 2005
Charles Houston Bar Association : Clinton W White Advocacy Award, December 2003