Jim Chanin’s interest in police misconduct began over thirty-five years ago when he was part of a group that successfully established a Police Review Commission (PRC) for the City of Berkeley. He served on the first Commission starting in 1973 and was twice elected Chairperson of the Commission. He helped establish the PRC’s complaint procedures and assisted in crafting several important policy decisions relating to the Hostage Negotiation Team, Mutual Aid and the meaningful integration of the Berkeley Police Department.
Mr. Chanin’s growing interest in civil rights and police issues led him to pursue a legal career and he became a lawyer in 1977. Less than two months later, he began representing a variety of clients including victims of civil rights abuse and police misconduct, as well as a variety of people injured by automobile driver negligence and other negligent conduct by third parties.
Jim expanded his practice through the years to include car accidents, police officers with claims against their departments, victims of violent crimes who sued their perpetrators, people who have been poisoned by toxic emissions, and victims of fires and explosions.
He has also counseled dozens of people who have lost their jobs and want a legal review of their termination agreements. He has provided hundreds of hours of free advice to people in need. He received a Certificate of Appreciation for providing free legal services to victims of the Oakland fire in 1991. He received an official “Mover and Shaker” Award from the Mayor of the City of Berkeley in 1994. He has been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers every year since 2007.
Jim has been a member of the Alameda County Human Relations Commission and was a member of the City of Berkeley/University of California Committee that met regarding Berkeley’s People’s Park from 1990 to 1994. He is an avid collector and is a life member of the California Historical Radio Society. He also collects baseball memorabilia and rock and roll posters. Click the links below to read more about Jim's specific experience in each area of practice.