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Attorney Profile

John T. Philipsborn


Mr. Philipsborn is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest possible rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Practice areas


  • California, 1978
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1985


  • University of California, MAS, Criminology, Law and Society, 2016
  • University of California, J.D., 1978
  • Antioch College, M.Ed., 1975
  • Bowdoin College, A.B., cum laude, 1971 — departmental honors


  • Certified Specialist, Criminal Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Associations and memberships

  • State Bar of California

Biographical details

  • Fulbright Scholar, Portugal, 1989
  • Fulbright Scholar, Pakistan, 2001
  • University of California, Rosoff Distinguished Research Award, 2016
  • CACJ Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016
  • Recipient: Defenders Inc., 1983, San Diego, Excellence in Defense of the Poor
  • CACJ Award for Amicus Work, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2013
  • Spirit of CEB Award, CEB, State Bar of California/University of California, 2006
  • Awards for West Memphis Three work, 2011-1012
  • Forensic Mental Health Assoc., Cal, 2015, West Award for significant contributions
  • Judge Pro Tem, San Francisco Sup. Court, 2004–
  • Consultant: Legal/judicial education projects in Cambodia
  • U.N. War Crimes Tribunal
  • Coordinator: Intl. Conf. on Adversarial Adjudication in Criminal Cases, Lisbon, 1990
  • Evaluation of Nicaraguan Court System, 1987
  • Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program 2005–
  • Amicus Counsel for Mexico and The Philippines in select cases
  • Advisory Board, The Champion, Journal of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1993–
  • Editorial Consultant, CEB. Author: Chapters 14, 15, 48 “California Criminal Law Procedure & Practice,” 1998-2012
  • 95 Misc. Journal Articles
  • Adjunct Professor, New College of Law, 1991-2007
  • Faculty, Death Penalty College, Santa Clara Law School, 1992–
  • Member, Board of Advisors, U.S. Prison History Museum, Alcatraz
  • Member, Bd. of Dir., CACJ, 1989-1994 and 2002-2005
  • Chair, amicus curiae Committee, CACJ, 1991-present
  • Co-Chair, Governmental Misconduct Commission, 1989-1991
  • Board of Directors, California Indian Legal Services, 1990-1997
  • Joint Advisory Committee, Continuing Education of the Bar (University of California/State Bar, 1991-1994)
  • Consultant, Criminal Law Subcommittee, CEB, 1994–
  • Criminal Law Advisory Committee, California Board of Legal Specialization, 1994-1996
  • Co-Chair, NACDL Governmental and Prosecutorial Misconduct Committee, 1990-1992
  • Task Force on Preservation of Adversarial Process, NACDL, 1989-1990
  • Task Force on Emerging Democracies, NACDL, 1990-1991
  • Lecturer: Intl. Conf. on Social Justice Research; Amer. Coll. Forensic Psychiatry; Amer. Coll. Forensic Psychology; CACJ/CPDA Death Penalty Seminar; American Psychological Association; California Judges Association; ABA; CA Association of Criminalists; Forensic Mental Health Association, NACDL
  • Counsel or amicus counsel in more than 90 published cases
Law Offices of John T. Philipsborn serves clients throughout California and the United States.