Jo-Anna Nieves, Esq.
When you are charged with a criminal offense, you need a strong, experienced, and committed advocate. It’s a role that Jo-Anna Nieves has assumed many times, with great success. As a criminal defense attorney who began her post-bar legal career at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, Ms. Nieves has a rare perspective that she uses to support, advise, and defend the firm’s clients. “I love criminal law. It’s captivating and I’m passionate about it,” she says. She is committed to mounting the best possible defense for what she calls “hard working, family oriented, successful professional people who aren’t career criminals…. Some are falsely accused, others make a bad call like driving home after a couple glasses of wine at a work event.
Ebony’s hobbies include traveling, dancing, reading and serving as a coordinator for youth activities at her church. She has a passion for helping youth and young adults, meeting new people, and experiencing life. Her future goal is to create a non-profit organization that is geared towards feeding and clothing the houseless.
A Bay Area Native, Roxane Farmer has over a decade of experience working in criminal law and defense. She graduated with Highest Honors from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2008 and worked for the Department of Justice in Washington D.C., and then as a paralegal on a multi-defendant homicide case in Marin County before attending law school.
While at U.C. Davis School of Law, Roxane worked on death penalty cases at the California Appellate Project, and received a grant through the King Hall Legal Foundation that funded her work as a state certified intern at the San Francisco County Public Defender’s Office. Roxane also externed at the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office, where she argued suppression motions, argued for pre-trial release of incarcerated clients, and wrote motions. Roxane also participated in the Prison Law Clinic at U.C. Davis, responding to prisoner inquiries about conditions of confinement and preparing prisoners for parole hearings.
In addition to working on criminal law issues throughout law school, Roxane was an exemplary student. She was the T.A. to the Dean of Student’s in his Constitutional Law class and advised first-year students on how to succeed in law school. During her final year, Roxane was one of two students on the Law School Admission’s Committee and, together with faculty, selected the incoming law class at U.C. Davis.
Roxane passed the California Bar Exam in 2014, and the Alaska Bar Exam in 2016. She was a judicial law clerk in Anchorage for two years before joining the criminal and habeas team as a staff attorney at The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Most recently, Roxane worked at the San Francisco County Public Defender’s Office where she represented clients charged with misdemeanors and second-chaired homicide cases. As a public defender, Roxane did jury trials and had a robust motions practice that resulted in frequent dismissals of her clients’ cases. In addition to trial advocacy, she performed extensive legal research and writing on serious felony cases.
Simone Christen graduated from Oberlin College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Art degree in Economics. Desiring to have a more direct impact and to further her goals of social justice, Ms. Christen then decided to attend law school. After witnessing the impacts of overincarceration in her community, Simone was inspired to pursue criminal defense as a career. Ms. Christen seeks to limit the criminal justice system’s influence on her clients, so that they can live their lives to the fullest.
During her time at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Simone externed at the Alameda County and San Francisco County Public Defender, where she handled felony and misdemeanor cases. She also worked as a certified law student at Criminal Juvenile Justice and the Racial Justice Clinic, in which a majority of her caseload was criminal defense cases for indigent clients. Simone graduated and received her Juris Doctorate degree in 2019 and passed the California Bar Examination in 2020.
Most recently, Ms. Christen worked as a post-bar law clerk at Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC, where she worked on and managed multiple Alameda County Criminal Court Appointed Attorneys Program felony cases.
Yaneli Gutierrez was born and raised in Oakland, where she grew up witnessing a lot of injustices, discrimination and violence in her community . When Yaneli got accepted into the Summer Legal Fellowship Program in UC Berkeley of Law, she learned about the system of law and government by participating in academic classes, exercises and mock trials. By doing so, she developed leadership skills, critical thinking and emotional intelligence.
Yaneli later graduated with an Associates Degree in Sociology with Honors and continues to support her community through her volunteer work. She has previous management and customer service experience which has contributed to her passion to help others through tough times. On her days off, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, taking road trips and spoiling her pup.
Living in the Midwest her whole life, Nadia Khechfe was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nadia attended undergrad on an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas where she received high athletic achievements in the BIG 12 Conference. She graduated in 2018 majoring in Journalism with a minor in Communications.
The summer after graduation, Nadia volunteered with the People of Peru Project in Iquitos, Peru then attended Duke University’s D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy in Washington D.C.
In August of 2018, Nadia started a job at a local law firm in her hometown where she was the Supervisor of their Intake Department. She was instrumental in creating and launching a new intake system to increase customer retention rates and client satisfaction. She also assisted the firm with marketing tasks such as planning events, social media, client relations, and sales. Nadia always knew she wanted to work in the criminal defense field, and after working at the firm, her passion for criminal defense was confirmed and her desire to help people grew. She feels empathy for those fighting what may be the biggest battle of their lives.
During Nadia’s free time she likes relaxing with her bulldog, watching sports, and chatting with her friends who are scattered around the country. Nadia’s long-term goal is to attend law school and practice criminal defense.