Meet John D. Forsyth


John D. Forsyth

Criminal Defense Attorney

John D. Forsyth is a San Francisco native. His education is entirely local: St. Brendan Elementary, Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, U.C. Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law.

John is a tribally enrolled member of the Covelo Indian Community in Mendocino County. Family members still reside on the Hoopa Valley Reservation in Humboldt County. During law school, John spent his summers working there for the tribal attorney and environmental protection division. That experience instilled his desire to stand up for the rights of those who lack a voice against the government.

After graduation from law school, John spent 2 years with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office assisting in the prosecution of white collar crimes. Since then John has dedicated himself to defending those accused by both state and federal agencies. In the last 20 plus years nearly 90% of this work involved accusations of sexual misconduct and other serious violent felonies.

John has served on the faculty at the Stanford Law School Trial Advocacy Program since 2001 and has served as a judge at the Stanford Law School Moot Court Trial Competition.


Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA Juris Doctorate, December 1993

University of California, Berkeley, CA Bachelor of Arts, English Literature and Native American Studies June 1989

Saint Ignatius College Preparatory San Francisco, CA Class of 1977

St. Brendan Elementary, San Francisco, CA Class of 1973


“California Criminal Procedure and the Native Defendant”
News from Native California, Volume 12, nos. 1 – 4.

A series of magazine articles detailing a step-by-step guide for Native defendants and how they can be affected by the criminal justice system.

Teaching Experience

Stanford Law School Advocacy Skills Workshop
2002 to present

Instructor for law school program designed to teach 2nd year law students trial techniques and skills.

Stanford Law School Moot Court Competition
2007 to present

Judge for national moot court trail competition.