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Joan Cassman

Joan L. Cassman



Named one of the "Top 25 Municipal Lawyers of California" by the Daily Journal in December of 2011, Joan has practiced in the field of municipal law for 45 years with Hanson Bridgett.

Joan is the General Counsel for the San Mateo County Transit District,  and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. These agencies provide public transportation services and infrastructure funding and support for transportation projects on the Bay Area Peninsula, including projects to electrify the Caltrain right of way from San Francisco to San Jose, to establish grade separations in San Mateo County, to improve the highway system, to implement an express lane system along Highway 101, and to ensure enhancements, accessibility, sustainability and relevancy for all modes of transportation.

Since 1989, Joan has served as the City Attorney for the City of Millbrae. In addition, Joan is General Counsel for the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance, a transportation demand management joint powers authority of 17 cities and the County of San Mateo. Throughout her career, Joan has also served a number of cities and public agencies as special counsel, including the cities of Gilroy, Windsor, San Carlos, Costa Mesa, Brentwood, San Luis Obispo, Berkeley, and the County of San Mateo, as well as the San Mateo County Mosquito Abatement District and the Woodridge School District. For years, she served as one of the Evaluators for the City of San Jose Elections Commission and in that role recommended disposition of complaints alleging ethical violations under the San Jose Municipal Code.

Joan understands the art of serving a client as General Counsel and she understands how local government agencies function. She is often called upon to provide guidance as special counsel when crises occur, such as employee embezzlements or the misconduct of public officials serving an agency. Joan has expertise in a wide spectrum of issues including election law, federal funding requirements, environmental and real property matters, railroad operations, purchase of service and franchise agreements, public works projects, municipal finance, and government reorganization matters. She has represented both public and private entities in government proceedings involving all aspects of development, contracts, procurement, and bid protests.

Joan serves on the Board of Trustees of UC Hastings Law School. She was a founding member of the San Mateo Foster City Education Foundation and she has served on the Board of Trustees of Samaritan House which provides medical services, shelter, food and clothing. assistance to those in need in San Mateo County, and on the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo.


J.D. University of California, Hastings College of the Law ( 1977 )
B.A. Williams College and Wellesley College ( 1974 )

Admissions and Courts



Government Ethics Practice Leader

San Mateo County Transit District. Oversees and manages the legal services required to support this transportation mobility manager agency in San Mateo County which also serves as the Managing Agency for the Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, including the development of contractual arrangements for shared serves, and the implementation of major improvement projects such as the zero emission infrastructure and vehicles program, with the attendant real property acquisition, procurement, and federal and state funding issues.

City of Millbrae. As the City Attorney since 1989, she oversees all legal work for the City, including advice on developments, the drafting of legislation, the provision of municipal services including sewer and water, and the implementation of infrastructure projects, such as the multi-million dollar Millbrae Avenue Railroad Overpass Project which involved real property acquisition and eminent domain. Provides the general counsel services to assist this organization with establishing and offering creative demand management transportation services.

City of Gilroy. Provided special counsel services to the City in addressing an appropriate response and consequences of a tragic incident involving a city official.

Bar Association of San Francisco, Member

Bay Area City Attorneys Association, former President

San Mateo County Bar Association, Government and Municipal Law Section, Member

Senator Dianne Feinstein's Judicial Advisory Committee for Northern California, Member

California Women Lawyers, Member

Queen's Bench Bar Association, Member