Our Legal Team
JOHN L. BURRIS formed the Law Offices of John L. Burris in 1985, after several years in private practice with the firm Harris, Alexander, and Burris in Oakland, California. He earned a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law - Boalt Hall and MBA from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Business. He is best known for his work in the area of plaintiff's civil rights over the last 25 plus years and as a legal analyst on Fox, MSNBC, Court TV, CNN and many local television and radio stations. His primary areas of focus for his practice include cases involving police misconduct, employment discrimination and criminal defense. His initial participation with police misconduct issues occurred in April 1979 when he was hired by the Mayor and the City Council of Oakland to conduct an independent investigation into the fatal police shooting of 15-year-old Melvin Black and the entry into the Oakland office of the NAACP by Oakland police officers. He is the author of the book BLUE vs. BLACK: Let's End the Conflict between Police and Minorities.
See the Full Biography of John L. Burris
BENJAMIN NISENBAUM is an associate with the Law Offices of John L. Burris. He earned his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz (1997) and is a graduate of New College of California School of Law (2002). Mr. Nisenbaum was admitted to the California State Bar in December 2002.
Ben joined the law office as a law clerk in 2001, where he made significant contributions to the "Riders" class-action civil rights lawsuit that started in 2001. Ben has been an integral part of many of the firm's high profile cases, including the successful civil defense of retired NFL star Keyshawn Johnson, and several significant wrongful death settlements, including Denmon v. County of San Joaquin, et al; Saulsbury, et al. v. City of Pacifica, et al;
Mr. ADANTÉ D. POINTER is an associate attorney with the Law Offices of John L. Burris. He primarily practices in the area of civil rights litigation, specializing in representing victims of police abuse. In addition, he fights to recover funds on behalf of clients that have suffered catastrophic personal injuries due to the negligent or intentional conduct of others. Mr. Pointer also regularly provides aggressive criminal defense on behalf of clients facing serious criminal charges in courts throughout the Bay Area.
CHERYL E. AMANA-BURRIS is a Professor of Law at North Carolina Central University School of Law where she teaches Family Law and Property as well as seminars in Bioethics, AIDS and the Law and Children and the Law (on a rotating basis). She has served as senior consultant with the Law Offices of John L. Burris since 2002. She received her undergraduate education at Rutgers University. She received her juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and her Masters of Law (LLM) from Columbia University School of Law, Graduate Division, where she successfully completed the course work for the doctorate of jurisprudence (SJD).
Prior to coming to North Carolina Central University, she was a senior assistant to Willie L. Brown Jr., who at the time was Speaker of the California Assembly. She has served as a judicial law clerk and represented the City of Philadelphia as an Assistant City Solicitor.
Professor Amana-Burris has written and lectured in the field of reproductive rights. She has focused particularly on maternal-fetal conflict arguing for non-coercive and culturally sensitive intervention in the lives of pregnant women who are HIV positive or substance dependent. She has served as a member of several community boards including the Board for the Department of Social Services for Durham County, Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the Board for the Center for Child and Family Health-North Carolina (CCFH-NC). She has served as president of that Board. She is a co-founder of the Center which is a collaborative effort of North Carolina Central University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and which addresses child maltreatment. She is also the co-founder of Strivin' and Thrivin' a support program for young single parents at North Carolina Central. She and her husband, Attorney John Burris, have established an endowed trust that benefits the CCFH-NC as well as a student at NCCU who is/was an adolescent parent and is enrolled full time at the university.
Professor Amana-Burris has received a number of awards including being selected as a fellow for the sixth annual medical institute for law faculty at the Cleveland Clinic, and as an "Every Day Hero" and "Carolinian of the Week" by Fox News. She received the Torchbearer and Trailblazer award from the North Carolina Equity Women of Color Program; the North Carolina Human Relations and Governor's Citizen of the Year Award for "Exemplary Service by an Individual in the Area of Human Rights" and the Woman of the Year Award from the Chapel Hill Women's Center. She was selected to be the Charles B. Bretzfelder Constitutional Law Scholar at the Columbia University School of Law Graduate Division. Additionally, she has been featured in a video on Leading Women produced by the Southern Oral History Project.
Professor Amana-Burris was an adolescent parent and she has been active with that population in every community where she has lived. As mentioned above, she is married to renown civil rights attorney John L. Burris. Together they have nine children and ten grandchildren.