John is a Senior Staff Attorney for the Racial & Economic Justice Program at the ACLU of Northern California where he strives to prevent the displacement of low-income communities and communities of color. Through litigation and policy advocacy, he focuses on protecting the rights of people without shelter or housing, eliminating onerous fines and fees in the justice system, and combating biased code and law enforcement. His current docket includes a lawsuit to end a practice of sweeping people and their belongings (Coalition on Homelessness v. San Francisco), a challenge to the automatic imposition of civil assessments for failures to pay or appear (Debt Collective v. Superior Court of California), and a class action regarding rampant discrimination against Asian Americans (Chang v. County of Siskiyou).
Prior to joining the ACLU, John litigated complex cases across the country at the U.S. Department of Justice and counseled public entities like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Army Corps of Engineers. In close to a decade of public service, he brought multi-million-dollar enforcement actions against well-heeled agricultural and mining polluters; defended the regulation of certain coal power plants, pesticides, and renewable fuels in seven U.S. Courts of Appeals; and first-chaired jury and bench trials in California.
Before his legal career, John focused on organizing tenants, fair housing, and affordable housing financing. He was a Rappaport Fellow at MassHousing, and a Jesuit Volunteer at the Justice and Diversity Center of the San Francisco Bar Association.
John acquired his law degree, magna cum laude, from Boston College Law School where he was a Public Service Scholar and an editor of the Law Review. A first-generation college graduate, he received an undergraduate degree in public policy and religion from Brown University.
Now based in San Francisco, John is the proud son of Vietnamese refugees who made a home in the Bay Area. Aside from lawyering, he enjoys woodworking, Giants baseball, and appreciating the reaches of Northern California with his family and friends.