Attorney Profiles



Kenneth S. Katzoff, Partner

Mr. Katzoff is both a transactional and litigation attorney with an emphasis on representing real estate owners and developers, contractors, architects and other design professionals. Mr. Katzoff represents significant owners and developers throughout Northern California and specializes in handling complex real estate transactions. Mr. Katzoff has 19 years experience in litigation of real estate, business, construction defect and designer liability claims. He has served as lead attorney in numerous complex construction litigation matters both as plaintiffs' and defendants' counsel.


Mr. Katzoff is a graduate of Tulane University and the University of San Francisco Law School, where he received his J.D. degree in 1981. He has served as a law clerk for the United States Department of Justice, in the United States Attorney's office in San Francisco, with an emphasis on litigation of tax cases. From 1981 until 1983 he practiced with the firm of Hancock, Rothert & Bunshoft, in San Francisco, specializing in the field of business and tort defense.


In 1983, Mr. Katzoff left the Hancock firm to establish his independent law practice in Berkeley, California. In this practice he has successfully handled commercial, real estate, and civil litigation. Currently his trial practice focuses on litigation of issues arising from real estate transactions, construction defects, engineering and architectural errors and omissions, and other issues generally relating to the construction and real estate industry.


Mr. Katzoff, representing a homeowner in 1999 with partner Robert Riggs, tried a major construction defect and real estate case involving damage from the "Northridge" earthquake to a jury in Los Angeles County Superior Court. After a three week trial the jury returned a total verdict in favor of the firm's client. The client also received punitive damages and an additional award of her attorney's fees and expenses in excess of $300,000.


Mr. Katzoff is a member of the Alameda County Bar Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and the American Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California. Mr. Katzoff has served as a mediator on numerous matters for the San Francisco Superior Court and as a Judge pro tempore for the Alameda County Courts. Mr. Katzoff also serves on the City/Port Liaison, Commercial Real Estate, and Maritime committees of the Port of Oakland.


Mr. Katzoff is admitted to practice before all courts of the State of California and the United States District Court for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California.


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Robert R. Riggs, Partner

Mr. Riggs directs the firm's appellate and law and motion practice and is involved in supervising all aspects of the firm's real estate, leasing and construction law activities. Mr. Riggs also has substantial experience in the areas of family law, probate litigation, employment law, and technology licensing.

Mr. Riggs represents architects, developers, project owners and construction contractors throughout California.

His published cases include: In re Marriage of Walrath, 17 Cal.4th 907 (1998), Saad v. City of Berkeley, 24 Cal.App.4th 1206 (1994), Thompson v. Enomoto, 915 F.2d 1383 (9th Cir. 1990), and Toussaint v. McCarthy, 597 F.Supp. 1388 (N.D. Cal. 1984). He is also a specialist in constitutional law and has published an article, Punishing the Politically Incorrect Offender through "Bias Motive" Enhancements: Compelling Necessity or First Amendment Folly?, Ohio Northern University Law Review, Vol. XXI, Issue 3 (1995).

Mr. Riggs is an experienced trial attorney with a lengthy record of success in contested litigation matters. Based on his experience has expertise in drafting venture agreements, construction and design professional contracts. Starting in 2002 he has served as panel coordinator for a Lorman education seminar, Real Estate Development in California From Beginning to End.

Mr. Riggs earned his undergraduate degree with Honors in the field of International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He studied law at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California where he won awards for First Year Honor (highest grades in class), Order of the COIF, and Best Team and Best Brief, Marion Rice Kirkwood Moot Court competition. After graduating from Stanford in 1982, he was employed as a judicial law clerk by two federal court judges, the Hon. Betty B. Fletcher of the U. S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington, and the Hon. Stanley A. Weigel of the U. S. District Court in San Francisco, California. Mr. Riggs was formerly with the construction litigation practice of the San Francisco law firm of Pettit & Martin. In 1989, Mr. Riggs left Pettit & Martin to found his independent law practice.

Currently, Mr. Riggs serves as the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Redevelopment for the City of Clearlake.

Mr. Riggs is a member of the State Bar of California, the District of Columbia Bar (currently inactive), the Alameda County Bar Association and the Lake County Bar Association. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and numerous federal district courts. He has won the commendation of the State Bar Board of Governors for outstanding contribution to pro bono legal services in the state of California.

Mr. Riggs is an experienced speaker and writer in Italian and French is available to assist clients who are more comfortable in those languages.


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Sung E. Shim, Partner

Mr. Shim has practiced with Katzoff & Riggs LLP since 1997. Mr. Shim is a graduate of Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California. Mr. Shim has extensive experience with litigation of construction defect cases. Among his recent cases are successfully concluded litigation involving the Gaia Building, in Berkeley, California, 601 Fourth Street Lofts, in San Francisco, California, and the Rago-Navato projects, in Navato, California. Mr. Shim was also co-counsel with Mr. Katzoff in the reported case of Rogers v. Peinado, (2000) 85 Cal. App. 4th 1.

Mr. Shim is a 1996 graduate of Hastings College of the Law, where he was elected to the Thurston Society based on receiving grades placing him in the  top 10% of his class in his first year of law school. He also served as a judicial extern to the late Hon. Richard P. Figone of the San Francisco Superior Court during 1995. Before joining Katzoff & Riggs LLP, Mr. Shim served as a law clerk and contract attorney with the Law Offices of Michael S. Sorgen in San Francisco.Mr. Shim earned his undergraduate degree in the fields of Sociology and Economics from the University of California at Berkeley with honors in Sociology.


Mr. Shim is fluent in Korean and is available to assist Korean speaking clients.


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Stephen G. Preonas, Associate Attorney

Mr. Preonas joined Katzoff & Riggs LLP in 2006. His practice focuses on construction litigation and real estate litigation and transactions. He graduated from the University of San Francisco, School of Law in 2006 where he was an Editor of the Intellectual Property Law Bulletin. His article on copyright law appeared in the Bulletin in the fall of 2006.


Mr. Preonas received his undergraduate degree in History from Stanford University. He has extensive experience working for local start-up technology companies in the areas of online content sales and licensing, information security systems, internet advertising, web traffic acquisition and search engine/website partnership agreements.


Mr. Preonas is available to assist Spanish-speaking clients.


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