Chris Lawson

San Diego District Attorney's Office

Young Attorneys 2011: Practicing 6-7 years

Chris Lawson is a felony trial attorney with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. He is currently assigned to the Gang Prosecution Unit, where he is tasked with prosecuting murders and other violent crimes committed by San Diego’s most dangerous gang offenders. Prior to serving in the Gang Prosecution Unit, he also served in the East County Branch, Central Pretrial, Juvenile and Superior Court Divisions of the District Attorney’s Office.

During his five years with the District Attorney’s Office, Lawson has tried more than 50 jury trials, including more than 25 felony jury trials. He has tried cases involving charges of attempted murder, assault with a firearm, arson, kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, home invasion robbery, residential burglary, armed robbery, grand theft, possession for sale of narcotics, and DUI. Many of these cases involved mental health defenses, including two cases involving pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity. 

In addition to jury trials, he has conducted more than 100 felony preliminary examinations and several juvenile bench trials. Lawson regularly advises law enforcement on Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment issues, as well as other criminal procedure issues. He has also helped to coordinate and organize investigations utilizing multiple law enforcement agencies within the county, including the Cross Border Violence Task Force, to try and combat and curb cartel violence.

Lawson received his bachelor's degree in political science and history from the University of San Diego in 2002. He received his J.D. from California Western School of Law in 2005, where he graduated magna cum laude. During his law school career, he served as a member and associate editor of the <I>Law Review</I>, competed in multiple national trial team competitions, served as a large group tutor for Civil Procedure and Criminal Law, and began working with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office through two full-time summer internships.

Recently, Lawson finished serving a year-long term as the recent graduate representative to the California Western School of Law Board of Trustees, and he will assume the role of president of California Western’s Alumni Board of Directors in January 2012 after serving as vice president for the past year. He has served as a member of the law school's adjunct faculty for the past several years, teaching “Trial Skills for Distinguished Advocates,” and he has also coached numerous trial teams at the law school that have competed around the country since his graduation in 2005. 

Lawson is an active member of the San Diego County Bar Association and volunteers some of his free time to judging local law school trial and appellate advocacy competitions. He is also heavily involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County, where he has served as a mentor and Big Brother for the past two years.

The Daily Transcript congratulates Young Attorneys 2011

This is the culmination of a peer nominating process that asked San Diego County lawyers to name the best young attorneys in San Diego County who are: Hard-Working & Detail-Oriented, Knowledgeable & Enthusiastic, Ethical & Professional, and Committed to Furthering the Interests of Justice in Society.

Young Attorneys 2011 Finalists


Oleg Cross

Cross Law Group

Andrew Haden

United States Attorney’s Office

Anna Romanskaya

Stark & D'Ambrosio LLP

Practicing 1-2 years

Andrew Botros

Law Office of James D. Scott

Andrew Custer

Foley & Lardner LLP

Melissa Deleon

Deleon Law

Francis DiGiacco

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP

Brittanie McCloskey

Law Offices of Daniel Grunbaum

JP Roach

Hughes Marino

Joe Villaseñor

Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc.

Practicing 3-5 years

Amanda Allen

Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP

Alissa Bjerkhoel

California Innocence Project, California Western School of Law

Theresa Bowen

Carpenter Zuckerman & Rowley LLP

Jenny Bratt


Laura Buckley

Higgs, Fletcher & Mack

Robert Chambers, II

McClellan Law Firm

William Concidine

East Village Law Group

Craig Countryman

Fish & Richardson

AnneElise Goetz

Higgs, Fletcher & Mack

Catherine Hanna

Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel

Ryan Harris

Harris Personal Injury Lawyers

Sondra Levine

UTC Aerospace Systems

Jenna Leyton

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia & Lutz

Joseph McMullen

Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

Julie Park

Morrison & Foerster

Matthew Riopelle

Foley & Lardner LLP

Kristin Rizzo

Rizzo Law Firm

Jason Ross

Higgs, Fletcher & Mack LLP

Andrea Russell

Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge LLP

Puja Sachdev

Sachdev Legal Group APC

Michelle Schill

Martinez & Schill LLP

Kirsten Solberg

Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP

Tyler Theobald

Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton

Robert Williams


Practicing 6-7 years

Alyson Amerson

Doyle Lowther LLP

Ilona Antonyan

The Law Office of Ilona Antonyan, APC

Jimmy Cheng


Bibianne Fell

Fleming & Fell PC

Ariel Javier

Law Office of Ariel A. Javier

Dan Kehr

Kehr Law

Brooke Kim


Chris Lawson

San Diego District Attorney's Office

Kate Mangan

Mayer Mangan

Megan Mazza

Allen Matkins

Ashley Palmer

Robbins Umeda LLP

Rachel Scatizzi

Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

Brett Schreiber

Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire

Jason Sheinberg

San Diego Law Firm

Sean Stapleton

Alere Inc.

Devin Storey

The Zalkin Law Firm PC

David Zachry

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP

Get Involved

Don't miss this opportunity to recognize your peers or congratulate the San Diego Young Attorneys. Highlight your company's expertise by advertising or sponsoring Young Attorneys 2011.

Contact us at 619.232.4381 or to receive additional information today!

Important Dates

Nominations Open: September 14
Nominations Close: October 26
Nominees Announced: November 2
Finalists Notified: November 4
Sponsorship/Advertising: December 13
Publication Date: December 21


Past Events

Young Attorneys reception

Transcript reporter Doug Sherwin talks to Nadia P. Bermudez of the Brown Law Group LLP at the 2007 Young Attorneys reception.