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Joan Cassman

Joan L. Cassman

(415) 995-5021


Joan has practiced in the field of municipal law for 45 years with Hanson Bridgett. She is the General Counsel for the San Mateo County Transit District and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. Since 1989, she has served as the City Attorney for the City of Millbrae. In addition, she 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.

She 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, Redwood City and the County of San Mateo, as well as the San Mateo County Mosquito Abatement District and the Woodside School District. For years, she served as one of the Evaluators for the City of San Jose Elections Commission and in that role, she 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 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. Joan has experience 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 and was a founding member of the San Mateo Foster City Education Foundation. She has served on the Board of Trustees of Samaritan House in San Mateo County and of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo.


J.D. UC Law San Francisco (Formerly UC Hastings) ( 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 for 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 ordinances and other legislation and policies, the provision of municipal services including sewer water and solid waste services, 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 agency 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

Super Lawyers, State, Local & Municipal; Legislative & Governmental Affairs (2006-2007)