Attorneys

Richard C Berra - Of Counsel

Richard C. Berra

Of Counsel

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Ellen Winick Stross - Partner

Ellen Winick Stross

Partner

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Gretchen M. Wallacker - Partner

Gretchen M. Wallacker

Partner

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Nancy Encarnacion Mass - Partner

Nancy Encarnacion Mass

Partner

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Joshua M. Cutcher - Partner

Joshua M. Cutcher

Partner

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Rebecca C. Levin - Partner

Rebecca C. Levin

Partner

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Michael J. Wess - Associate

Michael J. Wess

Associate

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Aaron Einhorn - Associate

Aaron Einhorn

Associate

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Richard Berra

Richard C. Berra

Of Counsel

Education

  • J.D. - University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • M.A. - San Francisco State University
  • B.A. - Stanford University

Mr. Berra has concentrated his practice during the last 40+ years on the resolution of the complex business, property and support issues involved in marital dissolution cases. For the last 20 years, Mr. Berra has been emphasizing the use of mediation as a means of settling marital disputes which often result in less cost to his clients, reduce friction and less acrimony. A substantial portion (approximately 80%) of Mr. Berra's practice now is concentrated in private judging of family law matters, the remainder is mediation.

Mr. Berra has lectured on the subject of complex marital settlements to lawyers and other professional groups. Mr. Berra has been certified as a specialist in family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California since 1981. He is a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, State Bar of California and the San Mateo County Bar Association. He is also the Past President of the San Mateo County Bar Association (1986) and is the Past President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers of Northern California for 1997 and 1998.

As of January 1, 2021, Mr. Berra is Of Counsel with Berra Stross Wallacker & Mass.

Ellen Stross

Ellen Winick Stross

Partner

Education

  • J.D. 1992 - Northwestern University School of Law
  • B.A. High Distinction, 1988 - University of California at Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa

Ms. Stross is a Certified Specialist in Family Law and a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Ms. Stross's practice encompasses all aspects of family law, including complex issues of property, support, and custody. She has successfully represented corporate executives, venture capitalists, and other high-net-worth individuals throughout the litigation process and in trial.

Northern California Super Lawyers named Ms. Stross a Super Lawyer from 2005 to 2020, one of the top fifty women lawyers in Northern California from 2007-2008 and 2010-2020, and one of the top one hundred lawyers in Northern California from 2005-2020. Ms. Stross received an AV Peer Review Rating by Lexis Nexis Martindale-Hubbell. She was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America from 2010-2020.

Honors

The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County awarded Ms. Stross The Dorothy M. Wolfe Award for outstanding service in 2006.

Leadership Positions

  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Chapter President 2017-2018, Board of Managers, 2010-2018, Annual Symposium Co-Chair 2013; Mentor, San Mateo County, 2011 to 2014
  • Co-chair, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Justice for All Luncheon, 2007-2012 Co-chair, Kids' Turn Fundraiser, 2009-2012 Board of Directors, Kids' Turn, San Francisco, 2009 – 2012
  • Co-chair, NARAL Peninsula Power of Choice Luncheon, 2019-2020

Speaking Credits

  • Moderator, Judge’s Panel: “What Judges Want and Don’t Want From Forensic CPAs,” American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Symposium, 2018
  • Presenter, “The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: The Characterization and Allocation of Challenging Compensation Structures,” American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Symposium, 2017
  • Presenter, “A-Cross the Great Divide: Journeying Beyond ‘Isn't It True?’: New Perspectives on the Age-Old Art of Cross-Examination,” American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Symposium, 2014
  • Presenter, "Direct Examination," American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Trial Practicum, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018
  • Presenter, “Calculating Child Support in High-Earner Cases,” American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Symposium, 2010
  • Presenter, “Psychiatric Evaluations in Family Law and Juvenile Courts: Problems and Possibilities,” Stanford University Medical School, Center for Psychiatry and the Law, 2003

Author

"Murphy Brown v. Mike Brady, Mary Poppins, and Known Donor, Advice for Women Who Want to Become Single Autonomous Birth Mothers," ACFLS Newsletter, Spring 2008

Participation

  • Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court, Associate, 1994-1996
  • Coro Foundation Fellowship in Public Affairs, 1998-1989, St. Louis, MO
  • Member of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists and the Bar Associations of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties
  • Ms. Stross was previously associated with the law firms of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, LLP (now Bingham McCutchen) and Friedman, Ross & Hersh.
Gretchen Wallacker

Gretchen M. Wallacker

Partner

Education

  • J.D. - University of Michigan
  • B.A. Cum Laude - University of California at Davis

Gretchen Wallacker has practiced all aspects of family law since 1993 and has substantial experience settling a full spectrum of complex family law matters that involve child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and property division. She is recognized by the State Bar of California as a Certified Family Law Specialist and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Drawing on more than 25 years of practice in San Francisco, the Peninsula, and Silicon Valley, Gretchen understands the Bay Area’s unique economic climate and is skilled at managing high-net worth cases that involve private equity and other property valuation and characterization issues. Gretchen also handles complex child custody and visitation issues. She understands the highly sensitive nature of these cases and compassionately works to ensure that the children’s best interests are prioritized.

While her background is in family law litigation, a large and increasing portion of Gretchen’s practice is devoted to Alternative Dispute Resolution processes that include mediation and Collaborative Practice. Whether Gretchen serves as a mediator, collaborative counsel, consulting attorney, or settlement judge, she works to minimize the emotional and financial cost to her clients and helps guide them toward a result that will meet their interests and the interests of their families. Gretchen believes that resolving issues outside of the courtroom allows both parties to retain control of the divorce process and provides them the opportunity to reach a resolution that is specifically tailored to their lives and situation.

In addition to the divorce portion of her practice, Gretchen also prepares premarital, post-marital, and cohabitation agreements. She offers her clients a variety of process options to create these agreements, including more traditional negotiations between counsel, collaborative 4-way meetings with counsel and clients, and mediation with consulting attorneys.

Gretchen received her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1992, after graduating cum laude from the University of California at Davis in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Honors

  • NorCal Chapter Fellow of the Year, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California, 2018
  • Top 100 Northern California Attorneys, Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers, 2015-2020
  • Best Lawyers, Northern California, 2011-2020
  • AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubble, 2009-2020
  • Top 50 Northern California Women Attorneys, Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers, 2009-2020
  • Northern California Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers, 2005-2020

Leadership Positions

  • President, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California, 2021
  • President-elect, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California, 2020
  • Secretary, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California, 2019
  • Legal Counsel, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California, 2017-2018
  • Co-Chair, Mentoring Committee, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California, 2015-2020
  • Co-Chair, Bi-annual Trial Practicum, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California, 2018, 2012
  • Chair, Collaborative Practice San Mateo County, 2003
  • Chair, San Mateo County Bar Association, Family Law Section, 2002
  • Co-chair, San Mateo County Bar Association, Family Law Section, 2001

Speaking Credits

  • Presenter, “Child Custody Evaluation Legal Update,” Santa Clara Psychological Association, Custody Evaluator and Domestic Violence Training, 2019
  • Moderator, “Tips for Mediators and Consulting Attorneys,” American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Symposium, 2018
  • Presenter, “Spousal Support Update,” Collaborative Practice California, 11th Annual Statewide Conference, 2016
  • Presenter, “Divorce Options,” Collaborative Practice San Mateo County, Periodic
  • Presenter, “Second Saturday Divorce Workshops,” Second Saturday, Periodic

Professional Participation

  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • Association of Certified Family Law Specialists
  • Collaborative Practice San Mateo County
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • San Francisco County Bar Association
  • San Mateo County Bar Association
  • San Mateo County Family Law ADR Mediation Referral Panel
Nancy Mass

Nancy Encarnacion Mass

Partner

Education

  • J.D. 2002 - University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • B.A. Cum Laude 1998 - University of California at Los Angeles

Ms. Mass is a Certified Specialist in Family Law and a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Ms. Mass handles all aspects of high-asset dissolutions, including those involving complex financial issues, property characterization, business valuation, child custody, child support, and spousal support, from the inception of a case through settlement or trial. Ms. Mass also prepares prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and works with clients as a consulting attorney, as needed. She represents clients in domestic violence actions, as well.

Ms. Mass was previously associated with Hammer & Jacobs in San Jose, where she also practiced family law exclusively. Prior to that, Ms. Mass' practice focused on civil litigation, which included defending businesses in tort and employment litigation actions.

Ms. Mass graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2002. Ms. Mass graduated cum laude from University of California at Los Angeles, having attained a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English and French.

Ms. Mass is fluent in Spanish and French.

Honors

  • Selected as a Northern California Super Lawyer for 2017 through 2020 by Super Lawyers Magazine.
  • Selected as a Northern California Rising Star for 2011 through 2016 by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Leadership/Volunteer Positions

  • Volunteer for Department 15 of the San Mateo Superior Court, Family Law Status Conference Calendar.
  • Pro bono attorney handling domestic violence cases for the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Domestic Violence Collaborative.
  • Member of the Diversity Committee of the San Mateo County Bar Association (2017-2020).
  • 2012 Chair of the Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association.
  • 2011 Co-Chair of the Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association.

Memberships

  • Association of Certified Family Law Specialists
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Chapter
  • San Mateo County Bar Association
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
Joshua Cutcher

Joshua M. Cutcher

Partner

Education

  • J.D. cum laude 2012 - University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • B.A. high honors 2009 - University of California, Berkeley

Mr. Cutcher is a Partner, handling all aspects of high-asset dissolutions including property characterization and division, child support, spousal support, child custody, and visitation. Mr. Cutcher also prepares pre-marital and post-marital agreements.

Mr. Cutcher joined Berra Stross Wallacker & Mass as an Associate in 2013.

Mr. Cutcher graduated cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. While at Hastings, Mr. Cutcher was Senior Supervising Editor of the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly.

Mr. Cutcher graduated with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Anthropology.

Mr. Cutcher was the 2019 Chair of the Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association. He is also a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco.

Rebecca Levin

Rebecca C. Levin

Partner

Education

  • J.D. 2006 - University of Michigan, cum laude
  • B.A. 2001 - University of Virginia, with distinction

Ms. Levin is a partner, handling all aspects of high-asset dissolutions including property characterization and division, child support, spousal support, child custody, and visitation. Ms. Levin also prepares pre-marital and post-marital agreements.

Ms. Levin joined Berra Stross Wallacker & Mass as an Associate in March, 2016.

Ms. Levin previously worked at Crivello Carlson, S.C. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, practicing civil defense litigation, including general insurance defense, medical malpractice defense, products liability defense and civil rights litigation.

Ms. Levin graduated with distinction and phi beta kappa from the University of Virginia in 2001. She graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 2006. While in law school, Ms. Levin interned for the Honorable Bernard A. Friedman of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and for the University of Michigan Health Systems Legal Office.

Ms. Levin is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association, the Santa Clara Bar Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).

Michael J. Wess

Michael J. Wess

Associate

Education

  • J.D. 2012 – Fordham University School of Law
  • B.A. 2008 – Union College

Mr. Wess handles all aspects of high-asset dissolutions, including those involving complex financial issues, real property transfers, pre and post-marital agreements, property characterization, business valuation, child custody, child support, and spousal support, from the inception of a case through settlement or trial.

Prior to joining Berra Stross Wallacker & Mass in February of 2018, Mr. Wess was an Assistant District Attorney at Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, in New York City.

Mr. Wess graduated from Fordham University School of Law, during which time he interned for the Honorable Robert K. Holdman, at the Westchester and Bronx County Supreme Courts.

Mr. Wess graduated magna cum laude from Union College with a B.A. in Political Science.

Mr. Wess is the 2021 Co-Chair of the Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association.

 Aaron Einhorn

Aaron Einhorn

Associate

Education

  • J.D. 2020 – University of California, Hastings College of the Law, cum laude
  • B.A. 2014 – San Francisco State University

Mr. Einhorn joined the firm as an Associate Attorney in February 2021.

Mr. Einhorn handles all aspects of high-asset dissolutions, including property characterization and division, spousal support, child support, child custody, business valuation, and pre and post-marital agreements.

Mr. Einhorn graduated cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2020. While at Hastings, Mr. Einhorn was a member of the Hastings Honors Society and Academic Support Team. Mr. Einhorn was also a judicial extern for the Honorable Brendan Conroy, and a law clerk for two different civil litigation firms.

Mr. Einhorn graduated with honors from San Francisco State University in 2014, with a B.A. in Sociology. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Einhorn managed a youth mental health facility in San Francisco, California.

Staff

Kimberly Ferer

Kimberly Ferer

Paralegal / Legal Assistant

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Jeffrey Ward, II

Jeffrey Ward, II

Paralegal / Legal Assistant

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Cheryl Burnett

Cheryl Burnett

Legal Assistant

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Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia

Receptionist

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Kimberly Ferer

Kimberly Ferer

Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Education

  • Paralegal Certificate 2007 - University of California, Berkeley
  • B.A. with Honors 2004 - University of Nottingham, England, UK

Kimberly is a Paralegal/Legal Assistant and Office Administrator at Berra Stross Wallacker & Mass. She joined the firm in January 2011.

Kimberly has extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of family law and assists families in transition by providing detailed support to the attorneys and the firm’s clients. As a litigation paralegal, she assists in every phase of litigation, from inception through discovery and trial, document examination and management, drafting of pleadings, deposition preparation, hearing preparation and trial preparation. In addition, Kimberly assists clients in mediation and the firms Private Judging practice.

She previously worked as a Paralegal/Legal Assistant at Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith PC in San Francisco where she focused on Civil Litigation and Arbitration, Business and Corporate Law, including related areas which affect corporate clients such as Intellectual Property and Estate Planning.

In 2004, Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts, with Honors, in English Studies from the University of Nottingham in England. She received her Paralegal Certificate from UC Berkeley in 2007. Kimberly has been working in the legal field for over 17 years since graduating and returning from her studies overseas, and has over 10 years of experience exclusively in family law.

Kimberly is also a Notary Public and a member of the National Notary Association, as well as a member of the San Mateo County Legal Professionals Association, the San Mateo County Bar Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Santa Clara County Bar Association.

Jeffrey Ward, II

Jeffrey Ward, II

Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Education

  • B.S. Cum Laude 2017 – San Francisco State University

Jeffrey joined Berra Stross Wallacker & Mass as a Paralegal/Legal Assistant in November 2017.

Having previously worked for a family law firm in San Francisco, California, Jeffrey brings years of experience managing complex child custody and asset division matters to the team. He possesses excellent analytical skills and is well versed in a variety of family law practices, including litigation, mediation, Collaborative Practice, and private judging.

In 2019, Jeffrey was the Admin to the Chair of the Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association. In this role, he helped coordinate and organize monthly continuing legal education events as well as the year-end holiday party, which had over 160 attendees.

Jeffrey is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association and Bar Association of San Francisco. He is also a member of the San Francisco Paralegal Association, where he serves on the Pro Bono Committee – a program that offers Paralegals throughout the Bay Area the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and expertise while serving nonprofit organizations.

Jeffrey received his Bachelor of Science, with Honors, in Business Administration from San Francisco State University in May 2017.

Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia

Receptionist

Jennifer joined Berra Stross Wallacker & Mass as the Receptionist in 2019. She believes providing great hospitality is vitally important as Jennifer is the first person to welcome clients and visitors to the firm. She also assists with daily office and administrative needs to ensure the office runs efficiently.

In 2014, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from San Francisco State University.

Jennifer is also a Notary Public and a member of the National Notary Association.

Cheryl Burnett

Cheryl Burnett

Legal Assistant

Cheryl is a Legal Assistant at Berra Stross Wallacker & Mass. She joined the firm in May 2021.

Cheryl previously worked in family law at the Law Office of Kristi Cotton Spence where she assisted in all aspects of the dissolution and mediation process, which included assisting clients from the beginning of their case to the conclusion, drafting documents and meeting with clients. She has extensive experience in the family law field and understands the nature of the family law process. She works closely assisting clients with a sense of empathy and professionalism. She also worked at Hickey & Moutoux where she assisted on civil litigation matters, family law and estate planning.

Cheryl graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Minor in Business.

Cheryl is also a Notary Public and a member of the National Notary Association.