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In 1985, John L. Burris created a law firm committed to serving, largely underserved clients. While Mr. Burris’s practice initially focused on criminal defense, he quickly shifted to an emphasis on civil rights litigation, particularly in police misconduct and racial and sexual discrimination in employment. Today, the firm serves the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Central California, Los Angeles, and Southern California. With a commitment to fight for justice worldwide!

Over the years, John Burris, Benjamin Nisenbaum, Ayana Curry, DeWitt Lacy, and associated counsel have represented everyday people and victims of police misconduct whose names became synonymous with police reform, such as Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Theresa Sheehan. Our attorneys have also represented a number of public officials and high-profile clients: Earl Sanders, the former Chief of Police of San Francisco, recording artist Tupac Shakur, actor Del Roy Lindo, NFL player Keyshawn Johnson, NBA players Gary Payton and Jason Kidd, and Aaron Goodwin (former sports agent for NBA phenomenon LeBron James).

BNCL has been and will continue to be instrumental in social reforms of police policy, governing racial profiling, Asphyxiation, Canines, Deadly Force, Tasers, In-Custody deaths, and other inhumane practices. Our work has also changed police department protocols for crowd control tactics and handling the mentally impaired. BNCL has been successful in identifying and rooting out police corruption and sexual abuse, including the infamous “Oakland Riders” case.

Contact us today if you need legal assistance with any of the following: 

  • Police Misconduct
  • Civil Rights
  • Personal Injury
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Appellate

Call 888-876-9151 today to arrange your free initial consultation

­­­Attorney John L. Burris

Bar Admissions:

  • United States Supreme Court
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Illinois
  • All California State Courts
  • All Illinois State Courts


  • University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, Berkeley, California
    • J.D. – 1973
    U. C. Berkeley Graduate School of Business
    • M.B.A.
    Golden Gate University
    • B.S. – 1967
    • Major: Accounting

Professional Memberships and Achievements: 

  • Board of Directors, National Police Accountability Project
  • Member Board of directors, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
  • Member Stigma Phi Pi and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternities
  • Member 100 TOP Black Lawyers
  • Member National Association of 100 Top lawyers
  • Member Million Dollar Advocates
  • Solano Community College, Alumnus of the year, 2022
  • National Bar Association, Legacy Award, 2021
  • California Lawyers Association, Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame, 2020
  • Life Time Achievement award, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Oakland 2020
  • National Bar Association, Hall of Fame, Toronto 2017
  • Charles Houston’s Hall of Fame award Dec. 2015
  • National Bar Association Vince Monroe Townsend Legacy Award, July 2015
  • National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Chapter’s Champion of Justice Award, March 2015
  • John F Kennedy black Law Student Appreciation Award, February 2013
  • Legal Leader San Francisco Top Rated Lawyers of 2013
  • San Francisco Chronicle Profile “Powerhouse Behind Police Reform, September 2012
  • National Bar Association’s Heman Marion Sweatt Award for excellence in the legal profession, March 2011
  • Golden Gate University ‘ Profile in Prominence 2011
  • Solano County’s Council of Negro Women Achievement Award February 2011
  • Solano Community college: Living the Dream Achievement Award, 2011
  • San Francisco Daily Journal’s Top 100 Leading “Lawyers in California, 2009
  • National Bar Associations’ C. Francis Stradford Award: the highest award given by the association for inspiration, and contribution to the legal profession, 2008/2009
  • 100 BLACK MEN OF THE BAY AREA: Life Time Achievement Award December 2008
  • San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journal’s 100 Top Lawyers of Spheres of Influence 2005
  • San Francisco Chronicle Magazine profile “Oakland’s Johnnie Cochran, June 2005
  • Charles Houston Bar Association : Clinton W White Advocacy Award, December 2003

­­­Attorney Ben Nisenbaum

Bar Admissions:

  • California, 2000
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
  • All California State Courts


  • University of California in Santa Cruz, B.A., Psychology (1993)
  • New College of California School of Law, J.D. (2002)

Professional Memberships and Achievements: 

  • Rising Stars, 2011 – 2015
  • Super Lawyers, 2021 – Present
  • Top 40 under 40, 2013

­­­Attorney Ayana Curry

Bar Admissions:

  • California, 2000
  • Georgia, 2005
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
  • All California State Courts
  • All Georgia State Courts


  • Columbia College, Columbia University, B.S., Political Science (1997)
  • University of California, Davis School of Law, King Hall, J.D. (2000)

Professional Memberships and Achievements: 

  • Board Member, LIFE Courses, Inc.
  • Board Member, National Black Women’s Justice Institute
  • Former Board Member, Operation Hope, Northwest Advisory Board

­­­Attorney DeWitt M. Lacy

Bar Admissions:

  • California, 2008
  • U.S Central District Court of California
  • U.S Eastern District Court of California
  • U.S Northern District Court of California
  • U.S Southern District Court of California
  • Supreme Court of California


  • Golden Gate University School of Law, Juris Doctor (J.D.) (May 2005)
  • San Francisco State University, B.A., Speech and Communications (May 2000)

Professional Memberships and Achievements: 

  • California Association of Black Lawyers
  • Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • National Bar Association
  • Black Law Students Association, President 2003 – 2004
  • Mock Trial Competition Team, 2004 – 2005

Since 1997, the "Lead Counsel Verified" status has been granted to attorneys who possess:

  • The Right Professional Experience
  • A Spotless Record

The following attorneys at this firm are Lead Counsel Verified:

John L. Burris

John L. Burris

This attorney is Lead Counsel Verified in the following practice areas:

Practice Area Year
Civil Rights Since 2022
Practice Area Year
Civil Rights Since 2022
For Attorneys:Download Lead Counsel Badge

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