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.
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:
“I think that Mr. Marzan is an excellent lawyer across the board.”
“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.
VILMA A. LOPEZ
associate - Ms. Lopez received her Juris Doctorate from McGeorge School of Law. Ms. Lopez participated in Mock Trial and the McGeorge Law Clinic. She was also awarded the Public Service Commendation Award while in law school. She was admitted to the California Bar in 2021.
Ms. Lopez has practiced in various areas including real estate law, landlord/tenant disputes, contract law, and immigration law. She has appeared in multiple trials, hearings and mediations in California. Ms. Lopez is a member of the Cruz Reynoso Bar Association, Women’s Lawyer Bar Association, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
In her spare time, Vilma enjoys hiking with her husband, hot yoga, and reading.
senior litigation paralegal - Ms. Johnson was born on the East Coast but has made her home here in California for the last twenty-five years. While raising her three young sons, she received her Legal Secretary Certificate from California State University at Monterey and later obtained her Paralegal Certificate from the Professional Career Development Institute.
Ms. Johnson has been working as a paralegal for over fifteen years assisting attorneys in both state and federal civil litigation cases. She is knowledgeable in the areas of Insurance Defense and Personal Injury litigation, including expertise with pretrial discovery and trial preparation. Ms. Johnson has also had extensive experience with Unlawful Detainer/Habitability cases and is well versed in the eviction process as well as a landlord’s obligations and tenants’ rights. She has excellent organizational skills and is capable of working on a wide range of legal matters.
In her free time, Kim enjoys dancing, playing board games, traveling and spending time with her husband, children and six pets.
litigation paralegal - Ms. Haase was born in Northern California and has lived in the East Bay area for more than thirty years. She has a strong research and analysis background and was a market intelligence analyst working for Big Four tax and accounting firms for eighteen years.
After an organizational restructuring, Ms. Haase was looking for a new opportunity. She was always interested in the law and obtained an ABA approved Paralegal Certificate from California State University, East Bay.
Her experience as a paralegal has been focused on insurance defense, personal injury, and medical malpractice. The skills she acquired as a market intelligence analyst have served her well as she continues to build her knowledge in the exciting field of law.
Ms. Haase earned a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in German from California State University, Chico.
Monica loves to travel and studied German at a Goethe-Institut sponsored program in Austria for a summer during college. In addition, she loves camping, spending time with her two children, and being with family and friends.
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.