Rachel Lederman

Rachel Lederman represents victims of police or government brutality and misconduct; people who have been in car, bike or pedestrian accidents; tenants subjected to bad housing conditions, discrimination, or wrongful eviction; prisoners and persons challenging convictions and involuntary commitments. She has defended hundreds of progressive demonstrators in court, and has obtained significant victories in impact litigation to stop police and government repression and civil rights violations.

In 2014, Rachel Lederman and Jim Chanin settled Scott Olsen’s lawsuit against the City of Oakland for $4.5 million. Mr. Olsen, an Iraq war veteran, was shot in the head with a lead-filled “beanbag” round during an Occupy Oakland demonstration. The shooting violated Oakland Police crowd control policies that Rachel had helped overhaul ten years earlier. In related litigation, Rachel and colleagues enforced these policies and changed mass arrest procedures to stop the practice of jailing protesters for extended periods without charges. When OPD looked the other way while Alameda County deputies used dangerous munitions on protesters during the 2020 George Floyd protests, Rachel and colleagues obtained an injunction to prevent this from happening again. She is currently lead counsel on NAACP v. City of San José, seeking compensation and reforms for racial justice protesters shot or beaten by the San José Police in May 2020.

Rachel is a founding member of the Oakland Law Collaborative. She is proud to serve on the Board of Water Protector Legal Collective, originally the legal team at Standing Rock which now provides support and advocacy for Indigenous peoples, the Earth, and climate justice movements. Rachel was the President of the National Lawyers Guild, S.F. Bay Area Chapter, from 2014 through 2015. She is a member of the San Francisco Tenant Bar, the NLG National Police Accountability Project, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and California Appellate Defense Counsel. She has received the NLG’s Unsung Hero award, and awards for pro bono work. Rachel is a graduate of Cornell University and New College Law School, and has been a practicing attorney since 1987.