Max Carter-Oberstone

(415) 421-7151 ext. 309

B.A., Georgetown University
J.D., Stanford Law School

Hon. John Noonan, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Hon. Susan Illston, United States District Court, Northern District of California

Max is an experienced appellate advocate that has litigated dozens appeals across a range of subject areas, with a particular emphasis on constitutional law and statutory interpretation. He was an attorney in the Supreme Court & Appellate group of a large international law firm, and before that, an Associate Deputy Solicitor General at the California Department of Justice.

Max has litigated numerous high stakes matters that implicated the personal liberty of a litigant or the legality of state or federal laws. He was, for example, the lead attorney representing California and four other States in an appeal challenging federal regulations that weakened the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. He also argued a case before the Ninth Circuit in which he secured a published opinion granting his client—who had been subjected to physical abuse and death threats by a Mexican drug cartel—relief from removal under the Convention Against Torture.

While Max has litigated in courts all across the country, much of his practice has been before the California Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court. These cases presented a diverse array of legal issues, including the legality of the federal government’s rescission of the DACA program, whether a $3 billion judgment should be vacated for violating the First Amendment’s Petition Clause, and the application of the independent source doctrine (an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement).

As an Orrick Justice Fellow at the Policing Project—a nonprofit think tank at NYU Law School—Max designed and implemented an impact litigation strategy aimed reforming the law of suspicionless searches, and drafted state-level model laws regulating various forms of police conduct.

Max is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his work, including the California Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award (2018), the National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 in California (2022), the Society of Professional Journalists James Madison Freedom of Information Award (2023), and the California Attorney General’s Award for Best Litigation Team (2018).

Max serves as the Vice-President of the San Francisco Police Commission—the volunteer citizen agency charged with overseeing the San Francisco Police Department—where he has spearheaded numerous reforms, including a regulation to curtail the use of pretextual traffic stops.