PETER P. EDRINGTON
partner emeritus - Bachelor of Arts Degree, cum laude, University of California at Los Angeles, 1972. Juris Doctor Degree, Hastings College of Law, University of California, 1976. Mr. Edrington's practice is in public entity defense throughout the greater Bay Area, including counties, cities, school districts, BART, East Bay MUD, sanitary and water districts, park and recreation districts, housing authorities and utility districts. He has handled numerous high profile and politically sensitive cases. Cases tried to verdict include wrongful death claims, catastrophic automobile accidents, dangerous condition claims against numerous public entities, civil rights, landslide, property damage, construction, discrimination as to employment, hostile work environment as well as gender/race/sexual preference, whistleblower claims and cases alleging violations of FAPE, 401 Plans, IEPs as well as IDEA. He has represented police departments throughout the Bay Area as well as state and county law enforcement agencies. He has provided advanced officer training to police in the area of civil liability, excessive force, racial discrimination, high-speed pursuits, report writing, and has taught at the Los Medanos Police Academy. He has represented numerous public officials, including Superior Court Judges, School Superintendents and Board Members, the District Attorney, Chiefs of Police, Mayors and Councilpersons. He has lectured at the annual Public Agency Risk Management Association (PARMA) Conference on developments in recent case law concerning county, municipal and school district liability. He has spoken before the Association of Bay Area Governments, County Risk Managers and Public Works Directors as well as East Bay Adjusters on dangerous condition of public roads, highways and sidewalks. He has addressed Northern California PARMA on a variety of litigation issues, and has been the featured speaker for the Bay Area City Attorneys (BACA) and the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO). He has lectured county department heads on sexual harassment in the workplace as well as hostile work environment. Mr. Edrington has tried numerous cases to juries in both State and Federal courts and has had hundreds of court trials and judicial arbitrations. He has argued cases in both State and Federal Courts of Appeal. He has an AV Preeminent rating through Martindale-Hubbell and, for many consecutive years prior to his retirement, was honored as a Northern California Super Lawyer, a distinction limited to only 5% of lawyers in Northern California.
KEITH R. SCHIRMER
founding partner - Bachelor of Arts Degree, Stanford University, 1976. Juris Doctor Degree, University of San Diego, 1979. Admitted to California Bar, 1979. Mr. Schirmer’s practice emphasizes the defense of serious personal injury, commercial liability, construction defect, and public entity actions. His public entity practice includes defense of claims of the dangerous condition of public property involving wrongful death, claims of civil rights violations against public employees, claims of alleged excessive force against police officers, including police shooting cases, and claims against municipalities for alleged dangerous daycare practices. His practice includes all Bay Area Superior courts, resolving hundreds of cases through mediation and arbitration, including complex, multi-party mediation work with special masters, with over fifteen jury trials and briefing and oral argument in the California Court of Appeal. Mr. Schirmer has been an invited presenter at the annual NorCal ReLiEF Defense Counsel Summit on the topic of school district molestation claims. His volunteer work has included sitting as a Trial Judge for the local high school moot court competitions. Mr. Schirmer has also served as Judge Pro Tem, Contra Costa Superior Court, and as Arbitrator for the Contra Costa Superior Court.
Keith, originally from the Chicago area, met his wife Zoe while they were attending Stanford University. They raised their two children in the Bay Area and have enjoyed many weekends together camping and/or cheering on their Cardinal sports teams. Keith also enjoys cooking, particularly on the grill and spending time reading books to his grandsons Samuel and Kyren.
TIMOTHY P. MURPHY
founding partner - A native of Oakland, California, Mr. Murphy graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and then graduated, cum laude, from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1985. During law school, Mr. Murphy earned membership in the prestigious McAuliffe Honor Society and was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award for the highest grade in Constitutional Law. He was admitted to the California Bar in December 1985. He is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court, Northern, Central and Eastern Districts. Mr. Murphy's practice emphasizes defense litigation, representing public entities, businesses, and individuals. His scope of practice includes civil rights litigation, dangerous conditions of public property, alleged excessive force by police and correctional officers, employment discrimination, sexual abuse claims, premises liability, including commercial establishments and public accommodations, construction site accidents, automobile accidents, and representation of landlords in tenancy disputes. He regularly represents public school districts and their employees in cases involving employment discrimination and harassment, school site injuries, negligent supervision, dangerous conditions of public property, sexual abuse by students or staff, FAPE, IDEA, and cases involving 504 Plans, IEPs and/or failures of plaintiffs to exhaust administrative remedies related to special education issues. He has represented the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation and its employees as well as cities, contractors, developers, and individuals involved in civil litigation. He represents clients throughout the State and has successfully resolved cases in jury trials in State and Federal courts, in court trials, through dispositive motions, in binding arbitration, in mediation, and through direct negotiations. Mr. Murphy has successfully briefed cases in the California Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court and has argued before panels of the California Court of Appeal. He has lectured and provided training to various groups based on his areas of practice, including recent presentations concerning the firm’s success in the Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court, wherein it was determined that California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act is not applicable to public school districts. The decision has far-reaching implications and protects public school districts from the Unruh Act’s remedies, including treble damages and attorney’s fees.
Brennon B. v. Superior Court (2022) 13 Cal.5th 662.
Mr. Murphy has an AV Preeminent rating through Martindale-Hubbell and has been annually selected as a Northern California Super Lawyer since 2011, a distinction limited to only 5% of lawyers in Northern California. He has again been elected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants.
Here are a few testimonials from other attorneys who have litigated cases with Timothy:
“Tim Murphy is among the very, very best of attorneys working defending public entities. He is always extremely well prepared, has an excellent knowledge of the law, premier client communication skills and very good judgment. His written and spoken word re both clear and concise. He is highly regarded in the legal community as preeminent in his field.”
“I have only had one case with Tim but was extremely impressed with his lawyering and his demeanor. He was both an advocate for his client and a pleasure to work with.”
“I have personally litigated several cases with Mr. Murphy, and many more with his firm. I find him to be an exceptionally able attorney and of the highest ethical character.”
Tim and his wife, Linda, live in Walnut Creek, where they have raised their four children. He enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, particularly on a grill or smoker, and is an avid fan of Cal and Bay Area sports teams. He also enjoys travel and hiking in the Sierras or in the ample open space in and around Walnut Creek.
JAMES M. MARZAN
partner - James obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of San Francisco in 1984. He graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, in 1987. After taking a year off for family reasons, James was admitted to the California State Bar in 1988.
For over 30 years, James’ practice has emphasized insurance and public entity defense, including the representation of cities, counties, school districts, community college districts, sanitary districts, and BART. He has defended civil rights actions, claims of wrongful termination, employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and hostile work environment, police excessive force matters, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, dangerous condition of public property claims, serious personal injury, and wrongful death actions, child abuse/sexual assault cases, claims brought pursuant to Title IX, IDEA and 504, wage and hour labor violations, complex litigation involving construction defect and asbestos, breach of construction contract/delay claims, stop notice matters and insurance declaratory relief actions. He has also represented local Housing Authorities in unlawful detainer actions.
James has substantial trial experience. He has had numerous court and jury trials in Superior Court and briefing and oral argument in the California Court of Appeal. He handled the landmark “Vandal Watch” Wage and Hours Litigation for Fremont Unified School District, obtaining a 12-0 defense verdict. In a clear liability, wrongful death case tried in Nevada County where the plaintiffs’ attorney asked the jury to award $22 million, James obtained a verdict in the low six figures. He also successfully defended a school district employee against allegations of assault and battery by a special education student who demanded $12 million during a jury trial in Fresno County Superior Court.
Here are a few testimonials from other attorneys who have litigated cases with James:
“Mr. Marzan and I worked together in the early-1990's, and we have represented parties in several cases together since then. In my opinion, he excels in his professionalism, legal knowledge, and case-handling abilities.”
“A solid attorney.”
James is married to Jocelyn, an expert quilter, and is the proud father of three grown children. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, DIY home projects, karaoke, and beating family in Scrabble.
CODY L. SAAL
associate - Ms. Saal received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Washington in 2009. She received her Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco in 2012. She graduated earning Certificates with Distinction in both Litigation and Criminal Law. She was admitted to the California Bar in 2012. During law school, Ms. Saal participated in Mock Trial, competing in a national competition, and took first place in the Spring 2011 Appellate Advocacy Competition. She also earned several academic awards, including the Witkin Award for the highest grade in Evidence.
As an attorney, Ms. Saal’s practice emphasizes public entity defense in state and federal court, primarily on behalf of public school districts, handling cases involving personal injury, sexual abuse, alleged civil rights violations, cases involving special education issues, negligent supervision, dangerous condition of public property, and employment discrimination/retaliation/harassment.
She has extensive successful motion practice experience, including motions to dismiss, demurrers, motions to strike, and motions for summary judgment. In a recent trial, Ms. Saal obtained a defense verdict on behalf of her client in a $24 million multi-defendant personal injury/dangerous condition of public property trial in Santa Clara County involving a minor plaintiff who suffered catastrophic injuries. Ms. Saal capably represented an ESM public school district client in an appeal from a trial court ruling finding that the Unruh Civil Rights Act does not apply to California public school districts. Ms. Saal briefed and argued successfully in the Court of Appeal, resulting in a ruling upholding the trial court decision. The appellate holding was appealed to the California Supreme Court, where Ms. Saal again prepared the client’s brief and presented oral arguments. In August 2022, the California Supreme Court issued its decision and conclusively established that the Unruh Civil Rights Act is not applicable to public school districts in California. Among other things, the decision serves to protect public school districts from Unruh Act remedies, including treble damages and attorney’s fees. Brennon B. v. Superior Court (2022) 13 Cal.5th 662. This was a case of first impression in the California Supreme Court and stands as a landmark ruling in favor of our client and public school districts statewide.
Ms. Saal has conducted several lectures and presentations regarding the Unruh Act and its application to public schools, most recently for Pepperdine University, Graziadio Business School, business law class (Political, Regulatory, Ethical and Legal Issues of Business).
Ms. Saal lives in San Francisco and loves spicy food, live music, Krav Maga and spending time with her two dogs and cat.
JORDAN C. MEYER
associate - Bachelor of Arts Degree, University of California, Berkeley, 2003. Juris Doctorate, Santa Clara University, 2009. Admitted to the California Bar in 2009. During law school, Mr. Meyer externed at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office where he worked on a special circumstances murder trial. As an attorney, Mr. Meyer’s practice has focused on public entity representation, and specifically representation of school districts. Mr. Meyer’s emphasis is in labor and employment, special education, public contracting and bidding, and general tort liability. Mr. Meyer has handled cases involving teacher dismissals, employment discrimination and harassment, alleged civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C § 1983 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, abuse and negligent supervision, sexual abuse, and alleged violations of the Education Code and Labor Code. Mr. Meyer twice argued before the California Court of Appeal and has extensively represented clients on appeals from administrative agency decisions in federal district courts and California superior courts. Mr. Meyer has also independently represented clients or served as co-counsel before the Public Employment Relations Board, the Department of Industrial Relations, and Commissions on Professional Competence. Mr. Meyer has an extensive motion practice, including motions to dismiss, demurrers, motions to strike, and motions for attorneys’ fees.
Jordan is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. He and his family live in the East Bay where they enjoy cooking, swimming, bike riding and hiking.
MEGAN M. SYMONDS
associate - Native of Contra Costa County- Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 2002. Juris Doctorate, with Highest Honors from Golden Gate University in 2006. Admitted to the California Bar in 2007. Ms. Symonds clerked for Justices Patricia Sepulveda and Maria Rivera, State of California, First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. Ms. Symonds has over ten years’ experience as an insurance defense attorney, representing Corporate entities and public agencies. For the past three years, Ms. Symonds was one of the managing attorneys of the Law Offices of Santana, Vierra & Symonds. As part of her practice, Ms. Symonds has successfully won several motions for summary judgment in third party criminal conduct cases, premises liability and products liability cases. Ms. Symonds has successfully tried cases to verdict as a first chair. Ms. Symonds obtained a defense verdict in a binding arbitration, wherein her client was accused of causing millions of dollars in property damage. Currently, Ms. Symonds handles insurance defense and public entity defense primarily on behalf of cities and school districts.
Megan is married to Peter, a Civil Engineer, whom she met while they were members of the University of California Marching Band. They have three children. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking, travelling with her family, all things Disney, and watching a lot of sports (kids, college (especially her beloved Cal Bears) and professional).
VANCE R. WILLIAMS
of counsel - Bachelor of Science Degree, cum laude, Saint Mary's College of California, 1986. Master in Business Administration, University of Southern California, 1988. Chancellor, Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity. Juris Doctor Degree, John F. Kennedy School of Law, 1992. American Jurisprudence Award Constitutional Law. Admitted to California Bar, 1993. Mr. Williams’ practice emphasizes insurance defense, public entity defense, and landlord-tenant law. This includes personal injury, premises liability, construction defect litigation, and landlord-tenant disputes. His practice includes trials, arbitration, and mediation in California court actions. Mr. Williams also acts as an arbitrator for the California Better Business Bureau.