Richard c. berra

Founding Partner

Ellen Winick Stross

Ellen Winick Stross

Partner

Joshua M. Cutcher

joshua m. cutcher

Partner

Rebecca C. Levin<br />

Rebecca c. levin

Partner

Michael J. Wess<br />

Michael j. wess

Partner

Elizabeth Gehlhar

elizabeth j. gehlhar

Associate

Jason T. Wong

JASON T. WONG

Associate

Kimberly Ferer<br />

kimberly ferer

Senior Paralegal/Office Manager

Yesenia Pimentel

yesenia pimentel

Paralegal

Amanda Maroney

amanda maroney

Paralegal

Jennifer Garcia

jennifer garcia

Office Administrator

Richard was the founding partner of Berra Spence, the predecessor to Stross Wess Cutcher & Levin. Richard has concentrated his practice during the last 50+ years on the resolution of the complex business, property and support issues involved in marital dissolution cases. For the last 30 years, Richard emphasized 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 Richard’s practice was concentrated in private judging of family law matters, the remainder is mediation.

Richard has lectured on the subject of complex marital settlements to lawyers and other professional groups. Richard is a Certified Family Law Specialist and a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 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.

Richard retired in 2021 but remains the heart and soul of Stross Wess Cutcher & Levin.

Education

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

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

Ellen’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 Ellen a Super Lawyer from 2005 to 2023, one of the top fifty women lawyers in Northern California from 2007-2008 and 2010-2023, and one of the top one hundred lawyers in Northern California from 2005-2023. Ellen received an AV Preeminent Rating and AV Peer Review Rating by Lexis Nexis Martindale-Hubbell. She was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America from 2010-2022.

Education

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

Honors

  • The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County awarded Ellen the Dorothy M. Wolfe Award for outstanding service in 2006.

Leadership/Volunteer Positions

  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Northern California Chapter President 2017-2018; Board of Managers, 2010 to 2018; Annual Symposium Co-Chair 2013; Mentor, San Mateo County, 2011 to 2014
  • Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Co-Chair, Justice for All Luncheon, 2007 to 2012
  • Kids’ Turn, Co-Chair, Annual Fundraiser, 2009-2012; Board of Directors, Kids’ Turn San Francisco, 2009 to 2012
  • NARAL Peninsula Power of Choice Luncheon, Co-Chair, 2019-2020
  • NARAL Peninsula Leadership Council, Chairperson, 2021-2023

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
  • Ellen was previously associated with the law firms of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, LLP (now Bingham McCutchen) and Friedman, Ross & Hersh.

Joshua is a Certified Specialist in Family Law and Partner, handling all aspects of high-asset dissolutions including property characterization and division, business valuation, child support, spousal support, child custody, and visitation.

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

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

Joshua 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.

Northern California Super Lawyers named Joshua a Rising Star for 2020 – 2023.

Education

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

Rebecca is a Certified Specialist in Family Law and Partner, handling all aspects of high-asset dissolutions including property characterization and division, child support, spousal support, child custody, and visitation. Rebecca also prepares pre-marital and post-marital agreements.

Rebecca 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.

Rebecca 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, Rebecca 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.

Rebecca 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).

Education

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

Michael is a Partner, handling all aspects of high-net-worth 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 Stross Wess Cutcher & Levins, Michael was an Assistant District Attorney for the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, in New York City.

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

Michael was the 2022 Chair of the Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association.

Education

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

Elizabeth handles all aspects of high-asset dissolutions, including those involving complex financial issues, property characterization and division, child support, spousal support, child custody, and visitation. Elizabeth also prepares pre-marital and post-marital agreements.

Prior to joining Stross Wess Cutcher & Levin, Elizabeth gained extensive experience in civil litigation at national and regional firms in New York and Northern California. This included substantive experience in real estate, professional liability, trusts and estates, and business litigation.

Elizabeth is admitted in California and New York. She graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 1998, and from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Science, in 1995. While in law school, Elizabeth clerked for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Elizabeth was a member of the Fordham Moot Court Board.

Elizabeth is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association, the Santa Clara Bar Association, and the Bar Association of San Francisco.

Education

  • J.D. 1998 – Fordham University School of Law
  • B.A. 1995 – University of California at Berkeley

Linda handles all aspects of high-asset dissolutions, including those involving complex financial issues, property characterization and division, child support, spousal support, child custody, and visitation. Linda also prepares pre-marital and post-marital agreements.

Linda graduated from University of San Francisco School of Law in 2021. While in law school, Linda interned with Human Rights Advocates and presented a report on water scarcity & transboundary water disputes at the 46th Session of the United Nations on the Right to Food.

Linda graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Political Economy.

Linda is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association, the Santa Clara Bar Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Italian American Bar Association of Northern California.

Education

  • J.D. 2021 – University of San Francisco
  • B.A. 1991 – University of California at Berkeley

Kimberly is a Senior Paralegal and Office Manager at Stross Wess Cutcher & Levin.

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

Kimberly previously worked as a Paralegal/Legal Assistant at Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith PC (now Stimmel, Stimmel & Roeser PC) in San Francisco, where she focused on Civil Litigation and Arbitration, Business and Corporate Law. Her experience also encompasses work in the areas of 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 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.

Education

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

Yesenia is a Paralegal at Stross Wess Cutcher & Levin.

Yesenia brings over 7 years of Family Law experience to the firm. Prior, Yesenia worked as a Paralegal/Office Manager at The Law Offices of Jonathan D. Larose, APC, where she exclusively focused on Family Law matters, was responsible for day-to-day firm operations, and oversaw the junior Paralegals of the firm.

In 2013, Yesenia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from the University of California, Merced.

In 2016, Yesenia received her Paralegal Certificate from California State University, East Bay’s paralegal program.

Yesenia is fluent in Spanish.

Education

  • Paralegal Certificate 2016 – California State University at East Bay
  • B.S. Management, 2013 – University of California at Merced

Amanda is a Paralegal at Stross Wess Cutcher & Levin, LLP.

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.

Amanda has been working in the legal field for over 13 years and has over 8 years of experience exclusively in family law. While her passion is family law, she also has experience in employment law, criminal law, real estate law, and civil litigation. She has experience working with courts in multiple counties, including Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

In 2010, Amanda received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with an Option in Legal Studies, from California State University, Chico. She also received her Paralegal Certificate upon graduating. While attending college, Amanda interned at the Community Legal Information Center (now known as the Community Legal Clinic), assisting students and low-income members of the Chico community with basic legal forms and legal research. Amanda was appointed as the Director of the Family Law Department, which handled paperwork for dissolutions, domestic violence restraining orders, and other basic forms.

In 2019, Amanda graduated from Northwestern California University, School of Law, receiving her Juris Doctorate Degree.

Amanda is a Notary Public and a member of the National Notary Association. She also received a Bookkeeping Certificate from the City of Gilroy.

Education

  • Paralegal Certificate 2010 – California State University, Chico
  • B.A. 2010 – California State University, Chico
  • J.D. 2019 – Northwestern California University School of Law

Jennifer is the Office Administrator at Stross Wess Cutcher & Levin. With years of administrative experience, Jennifer brings an extensive skill set to our office to meet our business goals. She oversees the day-to-day functions to ensure the office runs efficiently and smoothly. As the first-person contact, she acts as a liaison for the attorneys and paralegals to ensure client needs are met with a high level of confidentiality. Aside from her role as the Office Administrator, she also offers her creative skills in coordinating events for the firm.

Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University in 2014.

Education

  • B.A. 2014 – San Francisco State University

Jason handles all aspects of high-asset dissolutions, including those involving complex financial issues, property characterization and division, child support, spousal support, child custody, and visitation.

Jason graduated from University of California, Davis School of Law in 2023. While in law school, Jason was the President of the Law Students Association, part of the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic, the UC Davis Civil Rights Clinic, the UC Davis Workers’ Rights Clinic, and Schwartz/Levi Inn of Court. Jason also served as the pre-law advisor to undergraduate students at UC Davis.

Prior to law school, Jason was a member of the AmeriCorps program, providing assistance in the Self-Help Centers in Los Angeles County for low-income litigants in the areas of Family Law and Unlawful Detainers.

In 2019, Jason received his Bachelor of Arts, with Honors, in Political Science at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona.

Education

  • • B.A. 2019 – California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
  • • J.D. 2023 – University of California, Davis School of Law