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Attorneys


Finals-05

Stephen Acker

Shareholder

Contact Stephen

213.347.0240 ext.137
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Product Liability
  • Securities Broker Dealer Law
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Breach of Contract Claims

About Stephen

Stephen Acker was born on September 1, 1951, in Pasadena, California. He attended Pasadena City Schools and received a B.A. degree with high honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1972 and a J.D. degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1975. He was admitted to the Bar in California in 1975 and in Maryland and the District of Columbia in 1985. Stephen has performed distinguished service to organizations of the legal profession and the community as a member of the City Council of Pasadena, California, from 1979-1983, the Pasadena Housing Advisory & Appeals Board, 1978-1979, the Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena Airport Authority, of which he was a Commissioner from 1981-1983 and the Pasadena Transportation Advisory Commission, of which he is currently a member.  From 1985 to 1988 Stephen was a member of the Foreign Service of the United States, and was assigned from 1986 to 1988 as a Vice Consul and Second Secretary of the United States Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Stephen has held a variety of leadership positions in DRI, a national defense bar organization.  He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) in which membership is by invitation only to experienced trial attorneys “of high personal character and honorable reputation.”  And he has received an AV® Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell.  Stephen has now tried over 50 cases to verdict and continues a very active law practice.  

Publications

 

 

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Anthony H. Whipple

Of Counsel

Contact Tony

213.347.0240
213.623.1957
Email

 
About Tony

A native to Los Angeles, Tony was admitted to the California State and Federal District Court Bars in 1979. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA and a J.D. degree from Whittier College. He tried more than 100 jury trials to verdict. Tony was a delegate to the 1990 State Bar Convention and a member of the 1992 and 1994 delegations to the Inns of Court of the United Kingdom. He served as an arbitrator for the Superior Court, and held memberships in the Litigation and Environmental Law Sections of the State Bar and the of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Italian American Lawyers Association, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel and Defense Research Institute. While a Deputy District Attorney, Tony prosecuted major felonies and environmental crimes. As a Deputy City Attorney and Special Counsel to the City of Hawthorne, he defended the City and other municipalities in matters ranging from alleged police misconduct to toxic waste remediation liability. His practice focused on the defense of insureds in environmental, toxic tort, products, construction, and professional errors and omissions related matters. A firm believer in the wisdom of the jury system, he credits simplification and dogged persistence for his success at trial. He has taught trial advocacy, comparative common law legal systems and law enforcement procedures.

Tony is now enjoying retirement. 

Finals-07

Jerri Lynn Johnson

Managing Shareholder

Contact Jerri

213.347.0240 ext.136
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Liability
  • Serious Bodily Injury
  • Product Liability

About Jerri

Jerri joined Acker, Kowalick & Whipple in 1995 and accepted a shareholder position in 2000. In 2004, Jerri took on the responsibilities of managing partner for the firm. She continues, however, to maintain a full case load of larger exposure litigated matters as well as responsibility for the supervision and training of associate attorneys. Jerri’s impressive legal experience includes 25+ years of defending clients through litigation, including commercial trucking litigation, products liability, construction workplace injuries and general tort claims such as complex automobile accidents and premises liability. Jerri has acted as lead or sole trial counsel on multiple jury and bench trials,  and she is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). She has successfully briefed and argued appellate issues before the California Courts of Appeal and the California Supreme Court.

Jerri is also recognized as one of the leading trial attorneys with expertise in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  Having written papers and given presentations on the defense of CRPS claims, Jerri is frequently consulted and asked to assist defense attorneys and their clients in defending these claims at trial.

Jerri is a member of ABOTA, an organization that is by invitation and nomination only and reserved for prestigious trial lawyers who are of high personal character and honorable reputation, who have met the strict qualifications as prescribed in the ABOTA Constitution.  Jerri was also selected by Chartis (now AIG) Insurance as one of its “Top Ten Lawyers” for 2012 as one who exemplifies the “highest level of excellence and quality client service.” She is a member of and actively participates in several professional associations, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Southern California Defense Counsel Association, and the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA.) She is a member of the Defense Research Association (DRI,) where she takes part in the Law Practice Management and Trial Tactics committees.  She also joined the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, in which membership is by invitation only based on nominations from CLM Fellows.

Jerri obtained a BS degree from Drake University in 1986 and a JD from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1989.

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Leslie Anne Burnet

Shareholder

Contact Leslie

213.347.0240 ext.141
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Product Liability
  • Personal Injury
  • Construction Defect

About Leslie

Leslie was born in Ada, Oklahoma, on June 15, 1963. She received a B.A. degree in accounting from the University of Oklahoma in 1984, and her J.D. from the University of Oklahoma, College of Law in 1987. She was a member of the Oklahoma Law Review, which published two of her articles. Leslie was admitted to the California Bar and local U.S. District Court in 1988. Her law practice includes experience in a wide variety of civil litigation matters, including personal injury, construction defect, and product liability cases. Leslie also has experience in federal court, and she was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. She is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and has been active in various Bar Association activities, including the Landlord/Tenant Settlement Officer Program, the Domestic Violence Project, and the Barristers and the Arts Committee. Leslie and her husband enjoy time with their young son. She also enjoys playing the piano and the guitar, reading, and painting.

Publications

Finals-06

Colette Magnetta

Shareholder

Contact Colette

213.347.0240 ext.130
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Product Liability
  • Premises Liability
  • Construction Accident
  • General Tort Litigation

About Colette

Colette has been increasingly involved in management of the firm’s law practice in the years since she accepted a shareholder position at Acker & Whipple.  Among her management responsibilities, she is particularly committed to the training and mentoring of the firm’s newer associates. Colette still maintains a litigation practice, however, and her defense work is primarily composed of construction cases, product liability, premises liability, and general tort litigation. Colette is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and an active member of the Defense Research Institute, the country’s leading organization of defense attorneys and in-house counsel. Colette’s active involvement in DRI’s Trial Tactics Committee includes chairing the committee and chairing programs such as the 2013 Trial Tactics Seminar and the 2014 Complex Medicine Seminar. Colette has been featured in the Leader Spotlight of DRI’s The Voice.  She also accepted a membership invitation to the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, a nonpartisan alliance committed to furthering the highest standards of litigation management. Colette has been Peer Review Rated as AV Preeminent, the highest category, by Martindale-Hubbell.

Colette earned her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law in 2000, graduating cum laude, after receiving a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of the Pacific. She was admitted to the California State Bar and local United States District Courts in December of that same year. In the earlier part of her law career, Colette actively participated in pro bono activities. She co-developed a Street Law program for the California Youth Authority’s Tools For Success program, in which law students instruct young parolees during a transition period from prison into free society. Colette then worked with Volunteers in Parole to mentor a recently paroled youth. She has also volunteered with L.A. County Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Project. These days, her free time is mostly occupied by her two energetic, young children.

Publications

    • Defense Research Institute Trials and Tribulations, March 14, 2017. Leadership Notes From the Chair.
    • Defense Research Institute For The Defense, March 2017. Honing Skills to Demonstrate Value.
    • Defense Research Institute, July 2017. The Trial Compendium Foreword

Meet me here:
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Sonie Golden

Associate

Contact Sonie

213.347.0240 ext.131
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Accident
  • Product Liability
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • General Negligence Claims

About Sonie

Sonie graduated magna cum laude from UCLA, where she received a B.A. in Anthropology and Communication Studies. In 2010, she earned her J.D. from Loyola Law School Los Angeles. During law school, Sonie was as a Certified Law Student and juvenile advocate with the Center for Juvenile Law & Policy. She also served as the Events Chair for the Evening Student Bar Association and was named the recipient of Loyola Law School’s 2010 National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award. She has since obtained a broad range of defense litigation experience, including second-chairing multiple successful trials.

She also enjoys playing tennis and dodgeball. And eating frosting.

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Bradley P. Childers

Associate

Contact Bradley

213.347.0240 ext.149
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Product Liability
  • Premises Liability
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Transportation and Trucking Claims

About Bradley

 Bradley P. Childers brings a solid history of success with more than two decades of experience in a variety of tort defense work, including product liability, professional liability and general negligence matters throughout southern California. He has successfully defended insurance carriers in  bad faith cases at trial. Mr. Childers also has extensive experience representing insurers in first party property loss appraisals. His published decisions include Cheeks v California FAIR Plan Association (1989)  61 Cal App 4th 423,  and Mahnke v Superior Court (2009) 180 Cal App 4th 565.

Mr. Childers graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law with a J.D. in 1989 and was admitted to the State Bar of California the same year. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Davis. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court of the Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California. Mr. Childers is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

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Alana Martinez

Associate

Contact Alana

213.347.0240 ext.139
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Accident
  • Construction Accident
  • General Negligence

About Alana

Alana Martinez obtained her B.A. in International Studies Economics from the University of California, San Diego.  In May 2015, she earned her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.  While in law school, Alana was a Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles scholarship recipient, served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Richard L. Fruin of the Los Angeles Superior Court, and received a First Honors award for earning the top grade in her Ethical Lawyering class.  Alana also represented Loyola Law School in the 2015 Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court Competition and gained litigation skills through externships at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the County of Los Angeles Office of the County Counsel.  Prior to joining Acker & Whipple, she worked for an insurance defense firm in Pasadena.  Alana is admitted to practice law in the State of California and the United States District Court, Central District of California.

In her spare time, Alana enjoys playing volleyball, skiing, spending time at the beach, and traveling.

 

Finals-08

Nicholas J. Pappas

Contact Nick

213.347.0240 ext.150
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Transportation/Trucking Accident
  • Product Liability
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Medical Malpractice
  • General Negligence Claims

About Nick

Nick Pappas earned his J.D. from Southwestern Law School in 2015 and was admitted to the State Bar of California the same year, after graduating cum laude with a B.A. in History from the University of San Diego. While in law school, Mr. Pappas was awarded CALI and Witkin Awards for academic excellence and worked for the Southwestern Entertainment & the Arts Clinic.  Prior to joining Acker & Whipple, Mr. Pappas worked on the Health Care Liability Team in the Los Angeles office of a well-known defense firm specializing in the defense of claims of medical malpractice and elder abuse.  Mr. Pappas is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to the United States District Court, Central District of California.

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Brendan Smith

Associate

Contact Brendan

213.347.0240 ext.129
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Accident
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • General Negligence Claims

About Brendan

Brendan Smith graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in English Literature before earning his J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles in 2016. While in law school, Brendan earned the top grade in his Ethical Lawyering course and was awarded First Honors. He received a similar distinction for his work in Appellate Advocacy. Outside the classroom, Brendan volunteered in a non-profit legal services organization where he had the opportunity to serve clients with a variety of legal issues including public benefits eligibility and advance planning. Prior to joining Acker & Whipple, he worked in a private law firm in Century City that specialized in personal injury.

Brendan is admitted to practice law in the State of California and the United States District Court, Central District of California. Outside of work, he enjoys classic films, travelling and photography.

 

 

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Ashley Rose

Associate

Contact Ashley

213.347.0240 ext.121
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Accident
  • Product Liability
  • Construction Workplace Accident

About Ashley

 Ashley earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Amherst College in 2007, where she was active in multiple student organizations, including student government. In 2012, Ashley graduated from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. While in law school, she was trained in classic mediation and worked for a number of public interest organizations. Prior to joining Acker & Whipple, Ashley gained litigation experience in product liability, personal injury, construction defect, and premises liability matters.

Ashley is licensed to practice before all state courts in California, as well as in the U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California.

 

 

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Jennine Nwoko

Associate

Contact Jennine

213.347.0240 ext.142
213.623.1957
 Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Collision
  • General Negligence
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Breach of Contract Claims

About Jennine

 Jennine Nwoko graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in philosophy before earning her J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where she completed the Corporate Law Concentration, and was the executive editor of the flagship law review journal, Loyola Law School of Los Angeles Law Review.   At Loyola, Jennine participated in the International Human Rights Clinic, preparing a report to the United Nations.  She served on the Student Advisory Committee for the Career Development Center, as an Admissions Student Ambassador, and as an executive board member of the Business Law Society, and the Black Law Students Association.  Jennine was a judicial extern for the Honorable Richard L. Fruin of the Los Angeles Superior Court, where she prepared judicial opinions, recommended rulings, and other legal memoranda.  Jennine then gained litigation experience as a law clerk at a defense firm, engaging in complex civil litigation on a variety of claims including construction and surety law.  She currently participates in all areas of the firm’s defense practice at Acker & Whipple.

Jennine is admitted to practice law in the State of California and the United States District Court, Central District of California (pending).  Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, exercising, and dinners with family and friends. 

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Noelle Gonzalez

Associate

Contact Noelle

213.347.0240 ext.146
213.623.1957
 Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Collision
  • General Negligence
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Breach of Contract Claims

About Noelle

The firm is pleased to have Noelle Gonzalez join our litigation team. Please check back here soon for her biography.

 

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Q. Mitchell Dao

Associate

Contact Mitchell

213.347.0240 ext.153
213.623.1957
 Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Collision
  • General Negligence
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Breach of Contract Claims

About Mitchell

The firm is pleased to have Mitchell Dao join our litigation team. Please check back here soon for his biography.

 

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Arang Chun

Associate

Contact Arang

213.347.0240 ext.124
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Liability
  • Serious Bodily Injury
  • Product Liability

About Arang

  Arang Chun graduated from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, with a corporate law concentration.   She gained legal experience at entertainment firms and companies as well as through volunteer work with the Mental Health Advocacy services.  Prior to her law career, she earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of California, Davis, where she tutored autistic children and worked as a research assistant at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and the Asian American Center on Disparities Research.  Arang joins Acker & Whipple in all practice areas, bringing experience in complex litigation, soft IP, and business litigation.

Arang is admitted to practice law in the State of California and the United States District Court, Central District of California.  When she is not working, she can be found on the beach, at a museum, or at her local self-defense class.

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Natasha A. Kader

Associate

Contact Natasha

213.347.0240 ext.128
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Collision
  • General Negligence
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Breach of Contract Claims

About Natasha

Natasha Kader earned her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.  She previously obtained a B.A. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of California, Irvine, where she was active in campus organizations and student government.  While in law school, Natasha was selected to participate in the Hobbs District Attorney Practicum where she served as a certified law clerk at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in Inglewood and Torrance.  Through the Federal Public Defender’s Capital Habeas Clinic, Natasha represented individuals who were challenging their murder convictions and death sentences in federal court in order to get a new trial.  Natasha then worked for an insurance defense firm focusing on construction defect litigation in Orange County.

Natasha is admitted to practice law in the State of California and the State of Illinois.  Outside of work, she enjoys live music, fine art, hiking, and camping.

 

 

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Gregory S. Freeburg

Associate

Contact Greg

213.347.0240 ext.154
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Collision
  • General Negligence
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Breach of Contract Claims

About Greg

The firm is pleased to have Greg Freeburg join our litigation team. Please check back here soon for his biography.

 

 

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Oleysa Mikhaylova

Associate

Contact Oleysa

213.347.0240 ext.121
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Collision
  • General Negligence
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • Breach of Contract Claims

About Oleysa

The firm is pleased to have Oleysa Mikhaylova join our litigation team. Please check back here soon for her biography.

 

 

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Amy Ifurung-Cook

Associate

Contact Amy

213.347.0240 ext.156
213.623.1957
 Email

Practice Areas

  • Transportation/Trucking Accident
  • Product Liability
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • General Negligence Claims

About Amy

Amy Ifurung-Cook was admitted to the California State Bar in 2013, after earning her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles the same year.  While at Loyola, Amy represented incarcerated individuals seeking parole, new trials, and lower sentences as part of the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic.  Amy had earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, cum laude, from the University of California, San Diego.  Her senior honors thesis on the political economy of the illicit drug trade in Central and South America was awarded high distinction.

Prior to joining Acker & Whipple, Amy worked at a defense firm in Long Beach, where she specialized in matters related to products liability and premises liability.  Amy is admitted to practice law in the State of California, the Central and Eastern Districts of the United States District Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Amy also volunteers as a pro bono attorney for K.I.N.D., a non-profit that represents the interests of child refugees in the immigration courts.  Outside of work, Amy enjoys exercising, live music, stand-up comedy, and trying new foods.

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Allan Bareng

Associate

Contact Allan

213.347.0240 ext.147
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Accident
  • Product Liability
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • General Negligence Claims

About Allan

Please check back soon to read more about Allan.

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Karla Baer

Associate

Contact Karla

213.347.0240
213.623.1957
Email

Practice Areas

  • Trucking Accident
  • Product Liability
  • Construction Workplace Accident
  • General Negligence Claims

About Karla

Karla Baer graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Psychology before attending Law School at the University of San Diego School of Law. After law school, she became a Deputy Attorney General with the California Attorney General’s office in the Criminal Appeals division in Los Angeles, and then spent the next decade in Philanthropy with two major Los Angeles Foundations. Immediately prior to joining Acker & Whipple, Karla worked with an insurance defense firm in Burbank, litigating general civil liability, professional liability and construction defect cases.
When she is not working, she can often be found at the beach with her husband and her young daughter, Ava.


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