A graduate of Northeastern University School of Law (1986) Matt began his practice as a solo practitioner in 1995, having spent the previous nine years working as a law professor, college administrator, and consultant for worker-owned businesses.
Matt has integrated his passion for civil rights, labor rights and support for businesses into his law practice. Matt has represented hundreds of state and federal civil rights clients (individual and class actions) since 1995 with over $5 million in verdicts and settlements.
Matt is well known on taking on powerful defendants, including the United States Government, State of California, Citizen Counties and large employers. He currently is a co-counsel with John Burris, Tony Busby and Patrick Goggin in August 2012 mass tort action against Chevron for its negligent refinery fire at its Richmond facility.
In 2013, Matt and a group of attorney colleagues will argue in front of the 9th Circuit Court that the federal government’s cannabis prohibition violates the constitutional rights of cannabis patients in California. This case, which Matt spearheaded, could fundamentally alter the landscape of federal drug policy.
Matt has successfully provided comprehensive full-spectrum representation to many small and medium sized businesses, medical cannabis dispensaries, collectives/cooperatives, and non-profit organizations. Matt has also litigated the only United States Tax Court case addressing the income taxation of medical cannabis operations (Champ v. Com’r of the Internal Revenue Service, 128 T.C. No. 14 (May 2007).
Matt's litigation experience has taken him to many forums, from state and federal courts throughout the country, to bankruptcy courts in California and South Carolina. He has also litigated in other forums including the National Labor Relations Board, the California Labor Commission and the California Unemployment Appeals Board.
Matt founded Medical Cannabis Counsel in defense of patient rights and community healthcare and has conducted numerous “know-your-rights” trainings and medical marijuana compliance workshops throughout the United States.
Matt sits on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Epilepsy Treatment Foundation. He is a member of the National Lawyers Guild, and the NORML Legal Committee. Matt has taught Legal Research and Writing and Labor and Corporations Law as a part-time Adjunct Professor of Law since 1986 at Santa Clara Law School, Golden Gate Law School, Hastings College of the Law and New College of California Law School.
Matt has made pro bono and discounted legal services an important part of his practice since opening his practice in 1995. He has also organized legal challenges. For example, Matt has personally raised over $100,000 to fund two different lawsuits challenging the federal government’s restrictions on cannabis patients, including a constitutional challenge in the 9th Circuit as Sacramento Nonprofit Collective, et al. v. Eric Holder, et al. No. 12-15991.
People know John for his prominent work in California upholding civil rights and forcing municipalities, counties and the State of California to rein in the excesses of their law enforcement departments. We know John, most importantly, as a mentor.
In 1995, when we opened the practice, John offered guidance, experience and opportunities to practice with Matt in federal court. In 1997 John, Steve Collier (the firm's other "of counsel") and Matt Kumin tried the federal case, Patterson et al. v. City of Oakland et al. That case, stemming from the 1994 riots at Oakland's Festival at the Lake, set the stage for nearly a decade of mutual cooperation. Since then, John has worked on numerous cases with our offices and the relationship continues to grow.
John's background is extremely diverse. He has an MBA. He worked as a prosecutor in Chicago. He handles criminal defense matters and also a range of civil matters. He was Rodney King's attorney during the civil suit against the Los Angeles Police Department. He is a television commentator and provides a cogent and accessible analysis for viewers, whether discussing the strategy of O.J. Simpson's defense team or the process of jury selection in the Scott Peterson trial.
Steve Collier and Matt Kumin met when both were young law students in 1984 working for Marc Van Der Hout. Steve was a student at Golden Gate Law School in San Francisco and Matt attended Northeastern University in Boston (interning for the summer in San Francisco.) Steve displayed a brilliance and clear thinking that marks his practice. Both Steve and Matt were also kindred spirits in the fight for civil rights.
After law school Steve worked first as an immigration attorney. Eventually, he began working as an attorney at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in the City.
When the practice first opened Steve become "of counsel" to the firm. His presence in the practice has proven invaluable, helping it to grow and earn its reputation. Steve has co-counseled on numerous cases, scoring impressive victories in one case, on behalf of a young woman sexually assaulted by her employer and in another case, on behalf of the residents of an artists' live-work building. As a team, Steve and Matt always manage to "out-lawyer" the other lawyers, whether they are with large firms or small ones.