Sandra Ribera Speed was born and raised in San Francisco, California, where she graduated from St. Ignatius College Preparatory. Ms. Ribera Speed attended college at Loyola Marymount University, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in Psychology.
While at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Ms. Ribera Speed uncovered her passion for helping those injured by the negligent or intentional acts of others. At Girardi & Keese, a firm well-known for its involvement in the Erin Brokovich case (later made famous by the movie of the same name), Ms. Ribera Speed worked on cases filed on behalf of persons who suffered injuries as a result of being exposed to toxic chemicals, use of defective products including prescription drugs, or negligent acts of another including motor vehicle operators and medical providers.
Upon graduating from Loyola Law School, Ms. Ribera Speed worked at Rosen Saba, LLP in Beverly Hills where she continued to gain legal experience advocating on behalf of the legal interests of her clients in cases involving claims for personal injury, medical and legal malpractice, product liability, intentional torts, as well as employment law claims. Notably while at Rosen Saba, Ms. Ribera Speed assisted on Billy Blanks, et al. v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC308355. The case resulted in a $38,332,931 jury verdict for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence on behalf of the creator of Tae Bo, Billy Blanks, his wife Gayle Blanks, and their company, BG Star Productions, Inc. against their former law firm.
After spending several years in Los Angeles, Ms. Ribera Speed’s passion for the law resulted in an opportunity of a lifetime, which eventually led to her relocation back to her hometown of San Francisco. Ms. Ribera Speed was on vacation when she read an article in Rolling Stone about a case in which a mistrial had been declared because the court found that the LAPD had concealed critical evidence implicating LAPD officers’ involvement in the murder of rapper Christopher Wallace, better known as Notorious B.I.G. Having actively followed every detail of the case since the murder of Mr. Wallace in 1997, Ms. Ribera Speed knew that she had to be a part of the legal team representing Mr. Wallace’s heirs in Estate of Christopher Wallace, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No.: 2:02-cv-02929 JHN (RZ). Not knowing exactly how to go about achieving this ambitious goal, Ms. Ribera Speed naively decided to pick up the phone and call lead counsel on the case in the hopes that she may be able to convince this well-known and very experienced attorney that he somehow needed her help.
Miraculously, Ms. Ribera Speed’s call was answered and she continued to call until she was hired as the youngest member of the legal team representing Mr. Wallace’s family in a $360 million wrongful death lawsuit against the LAPD.
Upon her return to San Francisco, Ms. Ribera Speed single-handedly litigated a case on behalf of her injured clients against a team of several, more experienced attorneys representing an internationally recognized package delivery corporation. Ms. Ribera Speed took her clients’ negligence claims to the next level by amending their complaint to allege malicious conduct by the corporation, thereby providing her clients with the opportunity to also obtain punitive damages from the defendant. After successfully opposing a motion for summary adjudication on the issue of punitive damages, Ms. Ribera Speed was able to negotiate an impressive settlement on behalf of her clients at trial.
Ms. Ribera Speed has continued on her ambitious career path. In 2011, she started Ribera Law Firm. Since the firm’s inception, Ms. Ribera Speed has had the honor and privilege of representing Katherine Jackson, the mother of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, in a variety of matters including the probate of her son’s estate, the guardianship of Michael’s three children, and labor-related issues. In 2012, Ms. Ribera Speed joined the blockbuster legal team headed by the renowned personal injury firm, Panish, Shea, and Boyle, to represent Mrs. Jackson and Michael Jackson’s children in the wrongful death action against concert promoter AEG Live. Throughout 2013, Ms. Ribera Speed was on the front lines at the nearly six month trial in Los Angeles, which ultimately found AEG Live responsible for hiring the doctor that was convicted of causing Michael Jackson’s death.
In more recent years, Sandra Ribera Speed has obtained a collective seven-figure settlement on behalf of three performers in the porn industry who alleged that they were infected with HIV during a shoot for porn giant, Kink.com. Ms. Ribera Speed obtained another seven-figure settlement in a premises liability action in which the plaintiff fell out of a motel room window while under the influence of drugs. In addition to being involved in the Ghost Ship fire litigation and PG & E wildfire litigation, Ms. Ribera Speed has found that her passion lies in representing victims of sexual abuse. This year, Ms. Ribera Speed settled a sexual abuse case on behalf of her client, Plaintiff John Doe, against the Diocese of Oakland for $3.5 million. Plaintiff was sexually abused by three Diocese of Oakland priests both as a minor and as an adult. The case involved almost two years of hard-fought litigation, which included Ms. Ribera Speed taking the depositions of approximately 30 witnesses as well as extensive law and motion work. Ms. Ribera Speed also overcame a significant threat from the defense who wanted Ms. Ribera Speed disqualified as Plaintiff’s counsel all because a whistleblower from the Diocese had disclosed allegedly confidential documents to Ms. Ribera Speed showing evidence of the Diocese’s cover-up of a past instance of sexual abuse involving one of Plaintiff’s perpetrators.
No matter what type of client, Ms. Ribera Speed understands that involvement in legal action of any sort can be an emotional experience. Thus, she prioritizes making herself available to her clients as much as possible in order to provide them with the peace of mind that their legal concerns are being addressed competently and to their satisfaction.
Ms. Ribera Speed is on the Board of Governors for the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), where she has been the recipient of the CAOC’s Champion of Justice Award. Ms. Ribera Speed is also on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA), where she serves on its Executive Committee as well as co- chair of the Women’s Caucus and the Task Force for the Eradication of Implicit Bias.
Ms. Ribera Speed is on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California, and a member of the Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court.