About John


  • Born in Pasadena on January 14, 1963. Graduated from San Gabriel High School.


  • B.S. in Business Administration, Marketing Major from Cal Poly Pomona, 1986, Magna Cum
  • J.D. from UC Davis Law School, 1989, Order of the Coif (top 10%), Law Review, Trial Practice


  • Married for 30 years to Amy. Four children: Tom (24), Nate (22), Carolyn (19) and Olivia (15).
  • We moved to Costa Mesa in 1989 after law school. We first lived at the Cape Apartments on South Coast Drive. We moved to Mesa Del Mar (Monterey Ave.) in 1991 and then to Mesa Verde (Capella) in 2000.
  • All four children graduated from St. John the Baptist School. Tom, Nate and Carolyn graduated from Mater Dei. Olivia is a sophomore at Edison. Tom graduated from Cal Poly SLO in 2014 and Nate graduated from Belmont University in Nashville in 2016. Carolyn is a sophomore at UCLA.


  • I have been a business litigation attorney for the past 27 years.
  • From 1989 until January 1998, I worked at Orange County office of the international law firm Paul Hastings. Since 1998, I have owned a law firm. In 2006, I formed Stephens Friedland LLP with Todd Friedland. Our firm has 4 full-time lawyers and a staff of 10 employees.
  • I have given MCLE talks to the OC Bar Association on litigation-related issues, such as electronic discovery and witness preparation.
  • I have been recognized as a Super Lawyer, Best Lawyers of America and Top Attorneys in Orange County. I am a member of the Orange County Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee, which evaluates judicial candidates for the Governor.
  • For the past 10 years, I have been a Group Leader of ProVisors, which is an organization of trusted advisors that collaborate for the benefit of our clients.


  • I was one of the founding members of the St. John the Baptist Finance Council and Pastoral Council
  • For many years, I was the Entertainment Chair of the St. John the Baptist Festival, and have served as that event’s emcee since its inception in 2000.
  • I coached baseball (CMALL), softball (FVGFS), or basketball (NJB) for 19 years. Currently, approximately 30 girls that I coached are playing high school softball. I was on the board of CMALL and FVGFS for many years.
  • I have served as emcee and auctioneer at for many organizations, including St. John the Baptist School, Costa Mesa High School Foundation, Estancia/Costa Mesa High Golf, and Mater Dei Basketball. I am on the Costa Mesa High School Foundation Board.
  • I was a member of Costa Mesa’s Pension Oversight Committee from 2013-2015.
  • I have been on the board of Costa Mesans for Responsible Government.
  • In 2012, I ran for City Council and lost by only 155 votes. I was one of the leaders of the “No” on the Charter campaigns in 2012 and 2014, including intervening in a lawsuit between the City of Costa Mesa and the Orange County Registrar of Voters in 2012.