Tel: 510-839-5200



Police Misconduct →
Discrimination →
Personal-injury →
Employment →


-JD UC Berkeley – School Of Law
-MBA UC Berkeley Graduate School of Business


John Burris has practiced law for more than 40 years. He is primarily known for his work in the areas of Civil Rights with an emphasis on police misconduct excessive force cases raising federal questions under Federal Code Section 1983. His other practice areas include employment litigation, criminal defense, personal injury, and toxic torts and mass class actions.

Before founding the Law Offices of John L. Burris, his previous employment included Harris, Alexander, and Burris, 1979 to 1985; Deputy District Attorney with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office from 1977 to 1979; Assistant State’s State Attorney in Cook County, Illinois from 1975 to 1976; Associate Attorney, Jenner and Block, Associate 1973 to 1975; and Summer Associate, Associate with Jenner and Block, Summer 1972 where he worked on Metcalf Commission investigating police brutality claims in Chicago.

Burris loves to travel. He has traveled throughout the world with memorable trips East and West Africa, Europe, South America, Cuba, and China. He is an voracious reader on the topics of history, criminal/social justice, and contemporary domestic and international issues.

Mr. Burris frequently provide legal commentary for local and national print and televised media including KTVU Channel 2, KRON 4, MSNBC and other cable Television and radio. He is a frequent lecturer on the topics of police and criminal justice issues. Burris regularly participates in charitable events for breast cancer, heart cancer such as Bay to Breakers and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk. He is disciplined about his daily workout routine which includes jogging and weights.


  • 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

Courts Admitted

  • 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

Published Works

  • “Blue vs. Black: Let’s End the Conflict between Cops and Minorities, Saint Martin’s press, 1999;
  • “The Forgotten Victims” (Psychological impact on children whose parent/or close family figure killed by the police), 2013;
  • “Burris Report I and II” (Independent investigation into shooting death of 14 year old African America), 1976.

Civic Groups and Volunteer Organizations

  • 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

Awards and Recognition:

  • 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
  • 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