Our Core Philosophy

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”

Steve Maraboli

Author, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

At New Beginnings Law Center, we believe that:

  • Everyone makes mistakes.
  • Criminal offenders especially face a variety of challenges for the mistakes they have made.
  • These mistakes hinder their ability to socially reintegrate into the community and become law-abiding citizens.
  • Successful social reintegration of criminal offenders into the community can be achieved by collaboration between the justice system and community agencies/organizations.
  • Collaborative support fosters individual empowerment.
  • When individuals are empowered, they develop the confidence and strength necessary to fulfill their potential.  They are able to take control of their lives by making positive choices and setting goals.  By doing so, their tendency to fall back into old patterns decreases.

Meet Our Awesome Team

Elissa Lasserre

Executive Director/Managing Attorney

Ms. Lasserre has worked in the legal field for 36-years. She began her legal career as a Court Clerk in the West Los Angeles Courts. Thereafter, she went to work in private law practices working her way up from receptionist, to legal secretary, to paralegal and finally office manager.

Read More About Elissa

Ms. Lasserre attended law school at Southern California Institute of Law.  She worked fulltime in a law office during the day and attended law school at night.  In 1995, she graduated law school at the top of her class and earned several awards of merit in Evidence and Trial Advocacy.  Immediately after graduating, she sat for the California State Bar and began practicing law.

Although her passion from her early days as a court clerk was criminal law, Ms. Lasserre’s early experience as an attorney was in the area of complex civil litigation.  During this time, she litigated cases involving millions of dollars in damages.  This experience taught her the invaluable skills of case evaluation, written and oral argument and court preparedness.

In 2003, she left civil litigation to pursue her passion as a criminal defense attorney.  She opened her own criminal defense practice where she began representing indigent juvenile and adult defendants by court appointment.

In 2005, Ms. Lasserre was offered the position of Bay Area Staff Attorney for the Cochran Firm-Criminal Defense Division.  It was an honor to be considered for this position as Johnnie was a brilliant litigator and inspiration to those in the trenches practicing criminal defense. She accepted the position and represented Cochran Firm clients throughout the bay area.   The Cochran Firm – Criminal Defense Division dissolved in 2006 due to Johnnie’s untimely passing.

Ms. Lasserre immediately re-opened her criminal law practice and continued to represent indigent defendants in criminal and juvenile proceedings.  Over the years, she has represented defendants charged with many different crimes including driving under the influence, drug possession and sales, theft, domestic violence, serious and violent felonies, strike offenses, assault, gang violence, sex crimes and attempted murder.  She has also been appellate counsel on several cases including a life-sentence rape case.

After years of watching people’s lives negatively defined by involvement in the criminal justice system, Ms. Lasserre decided to focus her efforts on helping clients assess and redefine their lives.  In late 2015, Ms. Lasserre founded the New Beginnings Law Center.  The Center’s focus is to help clients diminish the effects of a criminal record thereby increasing self-worth and lowering recidivism rates.

Marcia Bunney

Legal / Administrative Assistant

Marcia’s varied background includes office positions and a 29-year term in the California state prison system. Determined to utilize her time productively, she obtained her A.A. degree and vocational certification (Graphic Arts/Forms Specialist) while incarcerated. Initial interest and exposure to legal work came through assisting her peers with grievance forms and other administrative matters.

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Substandard prison medical care led to major litigation (Shumate v.Wilson), affording her first-hand exposure in that area, working with attorneys as an organizer and named plaintiff.Her university coursework led her to explore a talent for writing.

She has published articles and essays in such diverse media as the San Jose Mercury News (Silver Pen Award, 1990); The Sonoma County Free Press; the California Prisoner ; National Lawyers Guild/Prison Law Project Legal Journal ; workshop literature distributed at the U.N. World Conference on Women (Huairou, China, 1995); Frontiers of Justice, Volume 2: Coddling or Common Sense (Brunswick, Maine: Biddle Publishing Co., 1998); and Harsh Punishment:International Experiences of Women’s Imprisonment (Boston, Massachusetts: North-eastern University Press, 1999).

John M. Rogers


John M. Rogers has been licensed by the state of California as a Private Investigator since 1977. J. M. ROGERS & ASSOCIATES offer a range of services from case organization, the identification, locating and interviewing of witnesses, comprehensive background investigation of witnesses, report preparation, trial testimony and post-trial juror interviews.

Read More About John

J. M. Rogers & Associates has conducted criminal investigations including capital murder case, murder cases with special circumstances charged and first degree murder cases as well as a variety of criminal and white collar investigations including fraud, embezzlement, petty and grand theft, kidnapping, assault and battery, driving under the influence when charged as a felony and all types of sexual offenses.

Mr. Rogers’ company has worked for private law firms by retainer and by court appointment on the county and federal level. J. M. Rogers & Associates has worked in all levels and variety of investigations for both plaintiff and defense bar in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and has participated in national investigations.

Civil investigations have included product liability, auto, estate and will contests, missing persons, wrongful termination, all types of work place discrimination and personal injury cases.

Board of Directors

Jonathan Frieman – President
Gina Jackson – Secretary
Elissa Lasserre – Treasurer
Joshua Barrow – Board Member

Advisory Board

James Ricci

Financial Reports

FY 2013-14

FY 2014-15

FY 2015-16

At New Beginnings Law Center, we believe that in order for clients to avoid recidivism, they must become empowered. We help empower our clients by providing an environment of trust, respect, accessibility, and direction from commencement to conclusion of their case. After the case is over, we maintain a relationship with the client and provide referrals according to their needs.