Maria Antonieta Grasso, fluent in Spanish and conversational in Italian, feels fortunate to be a lawyer — especially considering her humble background of immigrating to this country at age 4, and being raised in poverty by parents who did not know how to read, write, or speak English. But her Italian father encouraged her to become a lawyer at a young age and her Salvadoran mother supported her along the way. As a result of her beginnings, Maria has always had to work hard at all she does and has learned to never give up, no matter the obstacle — traits she uses to represent her clients.
With an undergraduate degree in social work, she interned during law school for the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Battered Women’s Alternatives — experiences that prepared her to be a workers’ comp attorney. And after more than 17 years representing injured workers at Boxer+Gerson, she still truly loves coming to work each day. She often tells people that joining Boxer+Gerson was one of the best decisions of her life, as the firm has treated her with kindness and respect from day one. Boxer+Gerson has also supported Maria’s professional development, allowing her to grow as a lawyer in ways she wouldn’t have elsewhere. For this, she will always be grateful. Maria is certified by the State Bar of California in workers’ compensation law.
Maria’s work extends both within the law community and beyond. She’s served on the board of directors of Centro Legal de la Raza for six years, three of them as chair. She is currently the chair of Centro Legal de la Raza’s Youth Law Academy Advisory Committee, which helps disadvantaged Oakland students graduate from high school and enter college and law school. Maria also collaborates with the San Francisco–based Consulates of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras to educate their citizens about workers’ comp law. In August 2019, she was named an attorney consultant of the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco. In addition, Maria was chair of the reception committee for the City of Oakland Community Toy Drive from 2010 to 2019, where she helped bring together hundreds of people from the workers’ comp community to help thousands of Oakland children during the holidays. She’s currently an advisor to this committee. Maria also spent one year as chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association (CLA), which serves around 3,200 workers’ compensation lawyers and judges in the state, after having served for five years as an executive committee member and officer. She’s currently their immediate past chair and also representative of the workers’ comp section of the CLA Board of Representatives, which serves around 100,000 lawyers in the state. Maria is also a Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board judge pro tem in Oakland, and has presented to various groups on workers’ comp law, including Centro Legal de la Raza, La Raza Centro Legal, Puertas Abiertas, and various unions such as AFSCME Local 2019, AFSCME Local 3299, and SEIU Local 2007.
Maria is a frequent speaker on the radio program "Informacion es Poder" ("Information Is Power") on KIQI 1010AM, where she discusses workers' comp law in Spanish.