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A History of Excellence

Since the early 1980’s, our firm has consistently ranked as one of the top criminal defense firms in the United States, attracting clients from as far away as New York and as high-profile as O.J. Simpson. The firm originated in 1982, when Cris Arguedas—the acknowledged star of the federal public defender’s office in San Francisco after just two years on the job—joined Penny Cooper, a Bay Area legal luminary, in private practice. The next year, Cris—at the tender age of 29—was named one of the five most promising women lawyers in the country by Time magazine. Since then, Cris has been regularly singled out by such leading publications as the Wall Street Journal, the National Law Journal, and California Lawyer. She is one of the few lawyers to be listed in “Best Lawyers” for each of the last 25 years, and is a member of both the American and International Trial Lawyers Associations. In 2010 she was inducted into the California State Bar Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame, an honor that has been bestowed on only 21 attorneys. She has also chaired advisory panels for the selection of federal judges and served on advisory groups convened by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. Without doubt, Cris is one of the preeminent trial attorneys in the country.

Ted Cassman joined the firm in 1984. Educated at Stanford University and Berkeley Law, he promptly established his own statewide reputation as an excellent trial attorney and appellate advocate. Over the years that followed, the three-lawyer firm continued to achieve remarkable success at all levels of criminal law, including a victory before the U.S. Supreme Court. For more than a decade, Ted has been recognized by “Best Lawyers”, Super Lawyer and other organizations as one of the outstanding criminal defenders in California. In 2009, he served as President of CACJ, the largest private statewide criminal defense bar in the country. Ted continues to lead the firm’s appellate and pre-trial motions practice.

In keeping with its tradition of selecting the best and brightest lawyers, our firm hired Laurel Headley in 1991 after her graduation from the University of San Francisco Law School. A former co-chair of Women Defenders, a statewide criminal-justice group, Laurel has a well-deserved reputation for shrewd, meticulous, creative, and compassionate approach to defending every case—and for her superb results for her clients. Routinely listed as aSuper Lawyer and “Best Lawyer,” her expertise includes complex antitrust and white collar fraud cases, and she is a respected master of state court practice.

Raphael Goldman joined our firm in 2007 and became a partner in 2016. Raphe graduated from the University of Michigan with a J.D. and a Masters of Public Policy in 2003. He received the Order of the Coif and was an Associate Editor on the Michigan Law Review, and after law school served as a law clerk for the Honorable William W Schwarzer in San Francisco. Raphe earned the 2017 California Lawyer of the Year award for “extraordinary achievement in white collar criminal defense,” and is recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer. Recognized throughout Northern California as a gifted and passionate advocate, Raphe has won numerous court cases at both the trial and appellate level, helped many clients avoid prosecution in the first place, and successfully represented business executives in internal investigations.