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.
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.
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.
Andres O’Sullivan-Comparan grew up in San Diego, California as well as Tijuana, Mexico. Through Andres’ childhood he received a very unique intercultural understanding because of the places he lived in. He had the opportunity to interact with a multitude of people from all different cultures and backgrounds.
In 2020, Andres graduated from Brown University with a degree in History with a specialization in the 20th Century Latin America.
Criminal defense has always been a fundamental part of Andres’ interests and prior experiences. Andres completed a summer internship with the San Diego Public Defender’s office. Throughout his internship, Andres witnessed inadequacies of the criminal justice system first hand. This experience redefined the criminal justice system for Andres and motivated him to do his part in creating a more accessible and dignified path to actively defend all those who are in need.
Andres intends to assist clients to the fullest at The Nieves Law Firm while utilizing this experience to better prepare himself to pursue a career as a criminal defense attorney. During Andres’ free time he likes attending art shows, metalworking, and hanging out at the beach.
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.
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.
Dakota grew up in the Bay Area and studied Criminal Justice at Cal State East Bay. She graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice. After her undergraduate studies concluded, Dakota went on to Paralegal Certification classes at California State University East Bay. She wanted to become an advocate for others, especially those who are seeking guidance through the difficult and trying processes of the legal justice system.
Part of her strong core values is that everyone is capable of change and people deserve second chances to rectify their decisions. Community outreach is one such way that Dakota feels she can make a difference. She previously spent time volunteering at Glide Church in San Francisco. Staying connected within her community is how she feels she can continue to join the fight against injustices of all kinds.
Her studies of the Criminal Justice System will continue to grow over the years and propel her passion and knowledge of advocating for others. In her spare time, Dakota enjoys reading books, spending time with her loved ones, and working out. She enjoys taking long walks in nature and taking in all of the scenic beauty The Bay has to offer.
Julianna Barreto-Jackson was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, but she has always felt that her heart was in the Bay Area. The day after she graduated from The Art Institute of Phoenix with a Bachelors of Arts in Fashion Marketing and Management, she drove all of her belongings to Berkeley.
Julianna bounced around the Bay, but ultimately she found a permanent home in Oakland where she fell in love with Oakland’s beautiful diversity and culture. After working in the fashion industry for several years, she didn’t feel satisfied with her current career path. Julianna wanted to be able to be a part of a team that wanted to help those in need.
Julianna decided to switch careers and go back to school to pursue a paralegal certification from Cal State East Bay. During school, she realized that the legal industry was where she needed to be and was excited to start a more rewarding career in the criminal legal field. Julianna is passionate about helping others because she believes every person goes through life, down their own path, and sometimes that path may end them up in a negative situation. She believes that some people may need a lending hand and everyone, no matter their story, deserves a chance. During her free time, Julianna enjoys finding new recipes to cook, hiking and exploring new trails, and spending quality time with her loved ones.
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.