Our Legal Team

Our lawyers bring decades of robust litigation experience to clients. Our partners have large-firm backgrounds. Robert Frassetto is AV Preeminent* peer review-rated, the highest rating through Martindale-Hubbell. A perennially recognized “Northern California Super Lawyer,” he is a seasoned litigator, private mediator, court-appointed neutral and Past President of the nationally recognized Alameda County Bar Association. He applies these skills and professional experience to benefit clients through creative and sensible problem-solving strategies.

Learn more about our legal team through the links below.

Robert J. Frassetto


Partner
Location: Oakland, California
Phone: 510-817-0466
Fax: 855-710-7474
Email: rjf@frassettolaw.com

Admitted to the California Bar in 1982, Robert Frassetto regularly defends major professional sports organizations, national commercial retailers, colleges, universities and other educational institutions, consumer and industrial product manufacturers, private residential and commercial property owners, and large and small business organizations. Mr. Frassetto’s practice integrates remarkably diverse litigation experience throughout Northern and Central California, where he has defended claims involving personal injury, intentional tort, premises liability, strict product liability, closed head injury, sports, leisure, recreational and entertainment liability, catastrophic loss, wrongful death, fire, design professional liability, construction defect and delay, ADA, Unfair Business Practices (B&P Section 17200), environmental and multiple chemical exposure claims (including Proposition 65), and Medicare issues in third party litigation.

Mr. Frassetto’s Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating is “AV Preeminent.”

Since 1996, Mr. Frassetto has served both as a private and court-appointed mediator, assisting litigants and courts to resolve an array of tort and contract disputes. In addition to providing private mediation services, he has served as a Panel Mediator, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District; Settlement Mentor and Panel Mediator, Contra Costa County Superior Court; Day-of-Trial Settlement Mentor/Mediator, Alameda County Superior Court; and Panel Arbitrator, Alameda County Bar Association Attorney-Client Fee Dispute Committee.

Mr. Frassetto served on the Boards of Directors of the Alameda County Bar Association (2010-2014) and Friends of UCLA Rowing (2004-present). He has also served as a Director (2002-2007) and two-term Education Committee Chair (2004, 2005) of the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada (“ADCNC”). He is a past two-term Chair of the Alameda County Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section. He is a member of the Bar Associations of Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, and San Francisco Counties, the State Bar of California, the ADCNC, and the Defense Research Institute (DRI).

Mr. Frassetto regularly makes continuing education presentations to professional groups, trade
associations, and claims organizations and he has written and lectured on a variety of subjects, including effective cross-examination techniques, legal ethics, neck and back injury claims, closed head injuries, how to take a pre-litigation statement effectively, indoor air quality, the language of negotiation, mediation, and California’s adoption of CACI jury instructions.

Mr. Frassetto is one of six founding members of the 2006 grass-roots Medicare Reform Task Force which formed the Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC) in 2008 to advocate the improvement of the Medicare Secondary Payer program for beneficiaries and affected companies.

A California native, Mr. Frassetto attended law school at Santa Clara University (J.D., 1982), where he was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award in Torts and served both as Comments Editor of the Santa Clara Law Review and Editor-in-Chief of The Advocate; and at Magdalen College, Oxford University (1980). He completed his undergraduate education at UCLA (B.A., 1979, English Lit.), where he also earned three NCAA Varsity letters, served as Team Captain (Rowing) for three years, and was awarded Most Valuable Oarsman his Senior year.

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury
  • Intentional Tort
  • Premises Liability
  • Strict Product Liability
  • Closed Head Injury
  • Sports, Leisure, Recreational and Entertainment Liability
  • Catastrophic Loss
  • Wrongful Death
  • Design Professional Liability
  • Construction Defect and Delay
  • ADA
  • Unfair Business Practices (B&P Section 17200)
  • Environmental and Multiple Chemical Exposure Claims (including Proposition 65)
  • Medicare issues in third party litigation

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1982
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 1982
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 1998
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1999

Education

  • Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, California
  • J.D. – 1982
  • Honors: American Jurisprudence Award, Torts
  • Honors: The Advocate, Editor-in-Chief
  • Law Review: Santa Clara Law Review, Comments Editor
  • Magdalen College, Oxford University – 1980
  • Jurisprudence, Computers in Law
  • University of California, Los Angeles, California
  • B.A. – 1979
  • Honors: UCLA Men’s Rowing Team
  • Honors: Freshman Team Captain
  • Honors: Varsity Team Captain (two years)
  • Honors: Most Valuable Oarsman (1978)
  • Major: English Literature

Honors and Awards

  • Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating is “AV Preeminent”
  • Thomson Reuters Northern California “Super Lawyer” – Defense Litigation and Mediation

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Bar Associations of Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, and San Francisco Counties, Member
  • Alameda County Bar Association, President, 2014
  • Alameda County Bar Association, Vice-president, 2013
  • Alameda County Bar Association, Director, 2010 – 2012
  • California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Panel Mediator, 2003 – 2012
  • Alameda County Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, Two-term Chair, 2009 – 2010
  • Contra Costa County Superior Court, Settlement Mentor – Panel Mediator, 1996 – 2012
  • Alameda County Bar Association Attorney – Client Fee Dispute Committee, Panel Arbitrator and former Vice-Chair, 1990 – 2013
  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada, Member, Director, 2002 – 2007
  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada, Education Committee Chair, 2004 – 2005
  • Friends of UCLA Rowing (FOUR), Director/Director Ex Officio), 2004 – Present
  • Defense Research Institute, Member
  • Medicare Reform Task Force – Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC), Founding
    Member

Dirk Larsen


Partner
Location: Oakland, California
Phone: 510-817-0467
Fax: 855-710-7474
Email: dl@frassettolaw.com

Admitted to the California Bar in 2006, Dirk Larsen has successfully represented businesses, public entities, and nonprofit organizations in cases involving commercial disputes; employment practices; wageand-hour claims, including as class action; defamation and invasion of privacy; personal injury; products liability; and civil rights. Before joining Frassetto Law LLP, Mr. Larsen worked for several years with founding partner Robert J. Frassetto in San Francisco, zealously defending major manufacturing, retail, and athletic organizations at the trial and appellate levels.

Mr. Larsen’s experience encompasses all stages of the litigation process, from the initial claim through discovery, law and motion, settlement, trial, and appeal. He has litigated extensively in federal court, including second-chairing a high-profile trial and conducting appeals before the Ninth Circuit. His accomplishments on behalf of his clients include:

  • Obtaining enforcement of a contract at summary judgment and the ensuing appeal, overcoming the plaintiff’s claim of mediation privilege
  • Prevailing against claims of dangerous condition of public property (Government Code§ 835) on behalf of municipalities and special districts at the summary-judgment and appellate levels Alameda County Bar Association, Vice-president, 2013
  • Bringing successful anti-SLAPP motion resulting in dismissal of all claims against his client and an award of attorney’s fees in its favor
  • Successfully defending employers against claims of discrimination, constructive discharge, and vicarious liability for employee misconduct
  • Obtaining the Ninth Circuit’s partial reversal of the district court’s denial of summary judgment to government employees under the principle of qualified immunity
  • Successfully preventing claimants against public entities from pursuing their untimely claims under the Government Claims Act (Government Code § 900 et seq)
  • Obtaining numerous dismissals of claims and cases ranging from personal injury to civil rights at the dumurrer, motion to dismiss, and motion for summary judgment stages

Mr. Larsen graduated cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 2006, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and earned the highest grade in his Legal Writing & Research and Copyright courses. In his final semester at law school, Mr. Larsen performed an externship for the Hon. Vaughn R. Walker, then-Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Before law school, Mr. Larsen lived for over five years in Berlin, Germany, where he worked as a technical translator and localization project manager, serving major German and European clients.

Mr. Larsen is admitted to practice before all courts of the State of California, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Areas of Practice

  • Civil Litigation
  • Commercial Disputes
  • Employment Practices
  • Wage-and-Hour Claims
  • Class Action
  • Defamation and Invasion of Privacy
  • Personal Injury
  • Products Liability
  • Civil Rights

Bar Admissions

  • California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit

Education

  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
  • J.D. cum laude – 2006
  • Honors: Order of the Coif
  • Law Review: Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Articles Editor
  • University of California, Berkeley, California
  • Honors: With Honors
  • Major: History
  • Major: German

Professional Associations and Memberships
Alameda County Bar Association

Past Employment Positions
Hon. Vaughn R. Walker, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judicial Externship

William L. Darby


Senior Counsel
Location: Oakland, California
Phone: 510-817-0468
Fax: 855-710-7474
Email: wld@frassettolaw.com

William Darby joined Frassetto Law LLP as Senior Counsel in 2021. Mr. Darby is an accomplished, Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney with over twenty-five years of litigation and business law experience. Mr. Darby’s extensive experience includes trials, appeals, arbitration, contract and business matters, disputes and negotiations, and all conventional forms of alternative dispute resolution. He spent eight years as General Counsel with an engineering, process design, and heavy equipment sales company serving the mining and mineral process industries. Previously, Mr. Darby was partner at Wulfsberg Reese Colvig & Firstman, P.C., a nationally known construction and engineering law practice based in Oakland,
California. Mr. Darby’s sophistication, professional acumen, and can-do attitude combine for a resultsoriented approach sensitive to client objectives, standards, and reputation.

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1988
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Education

  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., Cum Laude, 1987
  • Carleton College, B.A., 1983 Political Science, Concentration in Economics, Cum Laude

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Alameda County Bar Association
  • Marin County Bar Association
  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada

David S. Ramsey


Associate
Location: Oakland, California
Phone: 510-817-0469
Fax: 855-710-7474
Email: dsr@frassettolaw.com

Before becoming a lawyer, David Ramsey worked for Trader Joe’s Company for 22 years, managing stores in Monterey, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties. While managing Trader Joe’s busy Monterey store, Mr. Ramsey attended Monterey College of Law, where he is now member of the MCL faculty. Mr. Ramsey brings valuable real-world experience to the team, parlaying a deep understanding and appreciation of client service and an industry-insider’s knowledge of store operations, efficiency, and problem solving to the firm’s premises liability and product liability defense practice. Previously, David was an English teacher in Mexico and Santiago, Chile, and he is conversant in Spanish and German. As a new addition to the Frassetto Law team, David has quickly become an integral part of the firm’s core civil litigation and personal injury defense practice.

Bar Admissions

  • California, 2021

Education

  • Monterey College of Law, M.L.S., J.D., 2019
  • University of Colorado, B.A., 1993 Classics

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Alameda County Bar Association
  • Monterey County Bar Association
  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada

Vanessa Buffington

An integral member of the firm’s litigation team since 2013, Vanessa Buffington is a certified paralegal  with over 20 years of experience in both litigation and transactional matters. Her experience includes work  in both the public and private sectors and encompasses multiple areas of law, including labor and  employment, insurance and self-insured defense, construction defect, education, personal injury, medical  malpractice, investigations, business, and labor relations and negotiations. 

In addition to her extensive pretrial and trial-support expertise in California courts, Ms. Buffington  regularly conducts trainings, seminars and webinars for legal professionals.

“Winning with Defense!”