Justina E. Lara was born and raised in Southern Oregon. After attending the University of Oregon, she graduated from California Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Ms. Lara received her Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar in 2019. She eventually left San Diego and moved back to Oregon in order to be closer to family and practice criminal litigation.
Justina got her first taste of criminal law in high school shadowing a criminal defense attorney. This experience inspired a passion for advocating for people in their darkest hour against systems designed to oppress them. Later, during law school, she interned for the Attorney General's Office, before pivoting to criminal defense and never looking back. Justina’s unique ability to evaluate cases from all angles after seeing cases prepared and tried from both sides of the courtroom is a huge asset to our firm. With this experience, she will strategize relentlessly to ensure the best results for her clients.
Prior to law school, Justina’s fierce advocacy led her to serve as a project manager for an environmental justice project focused on farmworkers and pesticide exposure. During her work with the farmworkers, she gained meaningful insight into working within marginalized communities and the many unmet legal needs within those communities. At the conclusion of the project, she returned to school in order to gain the tools necessary to effect change. While in law school she received scholarships based on academic performance, diversity, and commitment to serve underrepresented communities.
After being admitted to the California Bar, Justina worked at a large civil litigation firm in San Diego. She defended clients in an array of civil matters, including business law, personal injury, insurance defense, property disputes, employment, family law, and public entity litigation. Having handled various types of cases in every stage of the defense process, she understands the care and attention that every case needs and deserves. Justina is proud to have the opportunity to be an ally to people in need of zealous defense. She feels it is a life calling of the highest order. She knows that at the end of the day, the most gratifying part of her job is being able to help her clients navigate our complicated legal system and protect their future.
Justina is also active in many community organizations and enjoys getting involved in various charity projects. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and helping children in the community get active by serving as a basketball and soccer coach. It’s on fields and courts of play where her competitiveness was born.
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
- William Deatherase Inn of Court
- Jackson County Bar
- Fiorenzo Lopardo Inn of Court
- San Diego Defense Lawyers
- Lawyers Club
- San Diego County Bar Association
- North County Bar Association