Our Legal Team
About Our Managing Partner
Mr. Benjamin began his legal career at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, and continued his career at Coblentz, Patch, Duffy and Bass. He started Benjamin Law Group, P.C., after spending almost three years as a Deputy City Attorney in San Francisco. As a Deputy City Attorney, he managed an array of labor matters and employment litigation matters including labor negotiations, arbitrations, hearings, and trials.
Mr. Benjamin is a trial attorney with vast experience resolving cases of many levels of complexity. Since opening Benjamin Law Group, P.C., Mr. Benjamin has been recognized as a 2015 Rising Star by Super Lawyers, and then elevated to 2016 Super Lawyer status in just one year. Mr. Benjamin has also been recognized as a top attorney by The National Black Lawyers – Top 100, and The Global Directory of Who’s Who as a Top Lawyer 2016.
Mr. Benjamin has successfully litigated antitrust class actions; securities class actions; wage and hour class actions, multi-plaintiff cases under the Private Attorney General’s Act, and other multi-plaintiff and single-plaintiff matters. Mr. Benjamin has practiced in state court, numerous federal courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, before arbitrators, Administrative Law Judges, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Public Employment Relations Board. He has represented all of his clients by employing the same tenacity, focus, attention to detail, and rigor; regardless of the size of the case or the amount of money at issue.
In addition to managing a thriving litigation practice, Mr. Benjamin also handles business transactions for technology start-ups and established businesses. These business transactions include licensing agreements, formation documents, agreements between founders and investors, employment agreements, and other negotiations key to the success of revenue growth and business viability.
Before attending law school, Mr. Benjamin attended the University of California at Berkeley. At Cal, Mr. Benjamin was an All Pac-10 wide receiver, punt returner, and kick off returner. He played every game during his four-year playing career and broke several records along the way. More importantly, Mr. Benjamin committed to mentoring youth in West Oakland by mentoring Roy Haskins at McClymonds High School. Mr. Benjamin became a spokesperson for the Athletic Speaker’s Bureau, Touchdowns For Kids, and Stiles Hall. Mr. Benjamin was honored with the Brett E. Merriman Award for his commitment to community service.
After Cal, Mr. Benjamin pursued a career in the NFL and enjoyed time with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, and the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe. After leaving football, Mr. Benjamin worked for Siebel Systems, Inc., a market-leading Fortune 500 company before being bought by Oracle. Mr. Benjamin also created, owned, and managed several companies; including a real estate company, an investment and asset management company, and a trucking and brokerage company. These lasting relationships and experiences led to Mr. Benjamin representing professional athletes with respect to their business transactions, as well as connecting them with opportunities and resources to carry them beyond their playing years. Mr. Benjamin has also been involved with consulting with start-ups and providing business advice to entrepreneurs.
Mr. Benjamin is a graduate of the University of California at Hastings College of the Law. He graduated with a concentration in civil litigation, he participated in Hastings’s renowned Civil Justice Clinic, and he externed for the well-respected Honorable Thelton Henderson of the United States District Court, Northern District of California. While in law school, Mr. Benjamin participated as a mentor in Alameda County’s diversion program for first time drug offenders.
Mr. Benjamin has remained active in business and his community throughout his legal career. He has also been active in supporting various political candidates and political action committees. Most notably, in 2007 and 2008, Mr. Benjamin was an active fundraiser during President Obama’s first presidential race. He was also involved with fundraising for California Attorney General Kamala Harris, as well as other successful local and state-level campaigns.
Mr. Benjamin is also currently enjoying his second term as a Board member for the California Association of Black Lawyers, and he has served as a Board member for the Charles Houston Bar Association, and on the Advisory Board for the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Diversity Pipeline Programs. Mr. Benjamin is also a very active member of the California Football Alumni Club, he is often speaking on panels and speaking with students about the practice of law, and he continues to mentor students at all levels of education.
James Soncuya, Partner
James Soncuya is a Partner at Benjamin Law Group. James advises companies and individuals on a wide range of business transactions, including commercial leases, buy/sell agreements, startup financing, business partnerships and contract negotiation and drafting. James also counsels startup small businesses, providing advice on strategic entity formation, entity conversions, entity dissolution, employment agreements, equity compensation and reorganization.
Before Benjamin Law Group, James worked for the City and County of San Francisco advising on government transactions. Prior to that, James was a corporate associate in the Emerging Companies practice of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in Silicon Valley and Assistant General Counsel of SMART Modular Technologies.
A sample of James’ transactions include representation of the following clients.
- Oraya Theraputics, in its US$8,000,000 Series A Preferred Stock Financing.
- Crossing Automation, in its US$3,000,000 Series A Preferred Stock Financing.
- Provade, in its US$4,000,000 Series B Preferred Stock Financing.
- Medlogics, in its US$5,000,000 Series B Preferred Stock Financing.
- Securimetrics, in its US$6,000,000 Series C Preferred Stock Financing.
- Convergence CT, in its US10,000,000 Series C Preferred Stock Financing.
- Advent Solar, in its US$72,000,000 Series D Preferred Stock Financing.
- VirnetX, in its US$4,500,000 Bridge Financing.
- Castle Brands, in its US$10,000,000 Bridge Financing.
- Ganji, Inc., in its sale to Google, Inc.
James received his JD from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and his B.A., cum laude, from the University of California, Davis.
Keith J. Moten, Of Counsel
Attorney Keith J. Moten is a Los Angeles Entertainment Lawyer specializing in Entertainment and New Media/Digital Law, Business Succession and Estate Planning, and Wills and Trusts. A Los Angeles native, Mr. Moten graduated from Loyola High School, before moving on to U.C. Berkeley, where he received his undergraduate degree.
While at Cal, Mr. Moten lettered in track. He was All Pac-10 in the 110m High Hurdles, and he became Cal’s school freshman record holder in the 110m High Hurdles. Mr. Moten returned home to Los Angeles to attend law school at Southwestern University School of Law.
Mr. Moten handles matters in both northern and southern California. He is a member of the Trusts and Estates section, the Intellectual Property section, and the Real Estate section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mr. Moten’s experience litigating challenging and complex matters enables him to provide effective counsel and advocacy for his clients, and to secure favorable results on a consistent basis.
As a native Angeleno, Mr. Moten is keenly aware of the need for effective counsel for artists, writers, directors, and talent agents in the entertainment industry, and the importance of the role of a good attorney in preserving and maintaining a healthy, long, and profitable career through sound business decisions, which only comes through strong negotiation and effective resolution of disputes when they arise.
Mr. Moten also chose to focus a substantial area of his practice on business succession and estate planning. As a fellow entrepreneur, Mr. Moten is also a Los Angeles Estate Planning Attorney and Business Planning attorney who understands first hand the challenges facing small businesses, start-ups, and today’s entrepreneurs. Through these shared experiences, Mr. Moten is able to provide counsel for today’s small business owners.
Lastly, Mr. Moten’s estate and trust practice is one that is near and dear to his heart. After losing his parents at the early age of 25, Mr. Moten has dedicated a significant area of his practice to not only estate planning, but probate, estate, and trust litigation and administration, to help Los Angeles families get through an incredibly difficult time. Mr. Moten is a Los Angeles Wills and Trusts Attorney whom you can rely on.
Mr. Moten built his practice on respect, understanding, courtesy and trust. He prides himself on being a man of his word. After thorough investigation of a case, Mr. Moten is a lawyer who truly does give his clients his all.
Mr. Moten has given many Continuing Legal Education lectures on Probate and Estate Practice, and has had multiple guest speaking engagements, including the 20th Annual California Minority Counsel Program, and a brief appearance on TV One’s R&B Divas, LA, episode 4. He is available for guest appearances or speaking appearances upon request.
Mr. Moten is a member of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the John M. Langston Bar Association, California Association of Black Lawyers, and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. He is a member of both the California and Texas State Bar Associations.
Jamaal Buchanan, Of Counsel
Mr. Buchanan is a Chicago native that has always possessed an intellectual, artistic, and versatile character. He is an attorney and talent manager focused on addressing the management and consulting needs of entertainers, athletes, business entities, and politicians.
Upon receiving a Jesuit high school education, educational pursuits led him to Bradley University which is a private liberal arts and sciences college in the Midwest. Mr. Buchanan also studied at both American University and Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
Mr. Buchanan has interned with the Public Defender Services in Washington D.C, the Chicago Law Department, and also the Chicago Board of Elections. His interest in the law and how it affects our society, businesses, and the arts, led him to Vermont Law School. While there, he honed the skills that would make him a successful advocate in any area of law. Good fortune provided clerkships for Mr. Buchanan with Illinois Federal Magistrate Judge W. Thomas Rosemond Jr., and also Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Lee Preston.
Special interests led Mr. Buchanan to become the co-founder of the Vermont Law School’s Sports and Entertainment Society. After law school, Mr. Buchanan traveled back to Chicago to work for a boutique public interest law firm. Chicago’s political climate provided the appropriate avenues for Mr. Buchanan to volunteer on the front lines of many political campaigns. By and through volunteering with public strategy firms such as Wilhelm & Conlon, various political organizations, and grassroots organizations like Meetup.com, Mr. Buchanan worked on political campaigns for local aldermen, county board presidents, the 2004 Howard Dean Presidential Campaign, and also on Barack Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate Campaign.
Very dear to Mr. Buchanan is his love for the entertainment industry. Mr. Buchanan relocated to Los Angeles to work in the Law Office of Johnnie Cochran, and also to provide excellent management, consulting, and public strategies to individuals that are passionate about their craft and or business. Driven purely by passion, Jamaal Buchanan started Buchanan Management and Consulting in 2006.
Since then, he has been a vital part of the careers of numerous SAG, AFTRA and Equity actors, musicians, writers, and producers. He has provided assistance to various actors, musicians, producers, writers, comedians, models, and DJ’s; all of whom currently work in the entertainment field. He has also assisted in executive producer and co-producer capacities with short films, feature films, and documentaries featuring his clients.
Jamaal Buchanan is a board member of the Talent Managers Association, member of numerous Bar Associations, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., and The Recording Academy.
It is his belief that excellence can be achieved through passion!
Patrice Harper, Of Counsel
Ms. Harper has top-notch academic and professional qualifications. She began her career at Squire Sanders, an international law firm, after graduating from Swarthmore College and then obtaining her law degree from Harvard. Ms. Harper’s broad legal experience includes practicing in state and federal courts, as well as numerous courts of appeal. She has handled corporate investigations, securities fraud, multi-party and class action litigation, labor and employment litigation, intellectual property litigation, unfair business practices, construction litigation, insurance coverage disputes, bankruptcy, criminal cases and habeas corpus matters. Her experience in criminal cases has been enhanced by her tenure in the United States Attorney’s Office.
Ms. Harper has resolved matters at every stage of litigation; including pre-trial motions and appeals. She has extensive experience representing clients as both witnesses and targets in complex government investigations; including witness interviews, grand jury testimony, and the production of paper and electronic documents.