|At the annual testimonial dinner of the National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Chapter on April 29, 2017, the Carpenter Mayfield law firm was honored as "Champions of Justice". |
Dan Mayfield is president and Jeff Lake is a Board member of the Collins Foundation, the fiscal sponsor of the Peace & Justice Center and responsible for the Collins House.
Photo shows Constance Carpenter, Dan Mayfield, Jeff Lake
The following write-up appeared in the Internal Affairs column of the Mercury News on Sunday April 30:
Two local lawyers honored as ‘Champions of Justice'
Impeccably dressed in a suit and silk tie, defense lawyer Dan Mayfield blends in seamlessly with other counselors at the Hall of Justice.
But he and his law partner Constance Carpenter are anything but conventional, according to the Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
The group, which has been at the forefront of movements for social change since 1937 - including labor and civil rights - recognized them Saturday at an annual fundraising dinner in San Francisco as "Champions of Justice."
Or, as Mayfield puts it: "Whenever I walk into court, they say, ‘Oh, there's Dan, he's the radical lawyer.' And Candace practices left-wing family law."
Mayfield, 68, is no wild-eyed agitator, though.
"He's a consummate professional - tenacious, even-keeled, compassionate and extraordinarily skilled," said Sylvia Perez-MacDonald , executive director of the county's Independent Defense Counsel Office, which represents indigent defendants. "Dan is probably one of the best lawyers we have."
Mayfield said he and Carpenter, 67, have viewed the law as a vehicle for social change since their college years during the Vietnam War protest era.
Carpenter, 67, also chaired the guild chapter's first antisexism committee in the 1980s, said chapter treasurer Rachel Gendell . Both Mayfield and Carpenter are superb mentors to other lawyers, she added.
Last year, Mayfield got the charges dropped against Salvador "Chava" Bustamante , executive director of Latinos United for a New America, who was arrested at an East San Jose Target store in September while trying to register voters in front of the store.
He's also represented Donald Trump protesters and the so-called "Irvine 11," a group of Muslim students, 10 of whom were convicted in 2011 of misdemeanors for disrupting a speech at UC Irvine by Israel's ambassador. In criminal court earlier this year, he got a client acquitted of murder in a case that involved expert testimony from a hip-hop artist about African-American slang and culture.