Our Attorneys

Our Attorneys

Experienced Attorneys in Multiple Disciplines

Real Estate Attorneys in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County


Roy Johnston brings a unique and strategic perspective to the practice of law. As a successful former businessman with strong managerial and marketing education and experience, he understands the opportunities and challenges facing the modern business owner and manager. He is an active member of the Business, Real Estate and Trusts & Estates Sections of both the California State Bar and the Sonoma County Bar Association. He is currently the chair of the Trusts & Estates Section of the Sonoma County Bar Association, and a member of the North Bay Association of Realtors and the North Coast Builders Association. He is a regular speaker at business and estate planning seminars and workshops.

Roy received a Juris Doctorate from Empire College of Law, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Wyoming, and an Associate Degree from Casper College. He and his wife, Barbara, are active members of Bayside Church Santa Rosa and when not spoiling their five grandchildren and Petey, their Bichon Frisé dog, they enjoy sailing their sailboat “Lucy!” on the San Francisco Bay.

Roy N. Johnston

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Ryan represents a wide range of clients in the areas of residential and commercial finance and real estate matters throughout the United States. His clients range from Wall Street investment banks, loan servicing companies, and financial institutions to small business owners and individual investors. His background includes matters involving lender liability and regulatory actions, repurchase litigation, mortgage guaranty insurance claims, and title, escrow, and appraisal claims and litigation. He also has experience with commercial finance matters including SBA lending and the Uniform Commercial Code.

Ryan received his undergraduate degree in economics from Sonoma State University. He received his Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University, where he was the Managing Editor of the Law Review and a Moot Court finalist. He is a frequent speaker on a variety of residential real estate topics to national and regional trade industry associations.

When not working, Ryan is active in a number of church and civic activities. He is married and the father of two children, Jocelyn and Zachary, and is an avid golfer.

Ryan F. Thomas

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As the manager of the mortgage banking group, James Brody actively manages all the complex mortgage banking litigation, mitigation, and compliance matters for Johnston Thomas and its diverse clientele (e.g., national mortgage lenders, warehouse lenders, secondary market investors, loan servicing companies, Wall Street banking firms and insurers).

Mr. Brody has successfully resolved hundreds of mitigation and litigation cases that involve complex mortgage fraud schemes, as well as large-scale repurchase and/or make-whole disputes. Mr. Brody’s experience centers on those legal issues that arise during and through loan originations, loan purchase sales, loan securitizations, foreclosures, bankruptcy actions, and repurchase and indemnification claims.

Mr. Brody received his B.A. in International Relations from Drake University in 1997. He received his J.D., with a certified concentration in Advocacy, from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 2000. Mr. Brody also earned a Certificate of International Legal Studies in 1999. While in law school, Mr. Brody was a member of the McGeorge National Moot Court Team and participated in McGeorge’s Business Law Forum. He was a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Bancroft-Whitney Award and the Adrian and Annebel McGeorge Academic Achievement Scholarship.

Mr. Brody is licensed to practice law in California and has been admitted to practice in front of the United States District Courts for the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California. In addition, Mr. Brody has served as lead litigation counsel for numerous mortgage banking and commercial related disputes venued in both state and federal courts, in a direct capacity or on a pro hac vice basis, in AZ, CA, FL, MD, MI, MN, MO, OR, NJ, NY, PA, TN, and TX.

Mr. Brody has made numerous media appearances and industry presentations regarding the prevention, detection, and resolution of mortgage fraud matters. Mr. Brody continues to be a featured speaker in the area of repurchase and make-whole claims, mortgage banking litigation, and regulatory compliance matters.

James W. Brody, Chair, Mortgage Banking Group

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Ingrid Petersen is well versed in mortgage banking from origination, underwriting, appraisal, title, and mortgage insurance through to secondary market, repurchase, litigation, trade secret, unfair competition and compliance issues.  Ingrid has resolved high-stakes contract matters, involving complex issues such as defenses to formation, interpretation, modification, and discharge, in defending lenders against breach of contract claims. For example, Ingrid has persuaded investors to rescind breach of contract claims in many cases where the facts were unfavorable for our clients, such as obtaining a rescission of damage claims from Fannie Mae by identifying an ambiguity in Fannie Mae’s own appraisal guidelines.  Her practice has included negotiating and drafting commercial agreements concerning risk allocation, remedies, and representations and warranties. In addition, Ingrid has advised companies on consumer privacy law.

With fintech startups increasingly poised to disrupt traditional lending practices in the mortgage industry, Ingrid, with a background in both the tech and mortgage industries is prepared to handle the legal challenges associated with blockchain, enterprise and SaaS solutions.  Ingrid has helped companies reach their business objectives and minimize legal risk in Software Licensing, Independent Contractor Agreements, Settlement Agreements, SaaS Agreements, Credit Agreements and Insurance Policies.


  • Bachelor of Arts Honors, Cum Laude (Valedictorian) from the University of Natal, South Africa in 2001
  • Juris Doctorate with Intellectual Property Certificate (Member: Traynor Honor Society) from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 2008

Ingrid K. Petersen, Co-chair, Mortgage Banking Group

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Bill’s practice is primarily serving as general counsel for public entities, homeowners’ associations, private businesses, and high-wealth family offices.  A native of Chicago, Bill has more than 30 years of experience in successful strategic planning, policy implementation, and leadership team development in both the public and private sectors. An innovative, solution-oriented attorney, he serves as a counselor and advocate for clients across the spectrum of legal services from proactive risk advice and cooperative transactions to crisis resolution and complex litigation. Bill has built his practice on sustaining relationships with clients, many of whom he has represented for a decade or more.

A frequent speaker at professional conferences and continuing education events, Bill earned degrees in history and political science from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in international security studies from the National Defense University, and his law degree from the University of Oregon, where he served as managing editor of the Oregon Law Review. Bill was President of the Sonoma County Bar Association in 2004 and retired from the United States Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel.

A resident of Windsor since 1993, Bill is actively involved in youth sports, local schools, and a wide range of community programs addressing literacy, hunger, and economic development. In addition to providing legal services, Bill has served in appointed and elected positions for numerous local, regional, and statewide organizations.

Bill Adams

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Contact our Sonoma County Legal Team Today

To get in touch with our real estate attorneys in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, or for legal guidance in any of our specialized areas, contact us today.