Thursday, January 27, 2011

First Latina on utility oversight commission

Santa Clara University Law Professor Catherine Sandoval Named Commissioner of CPUC

Catherine Sandoval
SANTA CLARA, CA - Santa Clara University (SCU) Law Professor Catherine J. K. Sandoval has been named by Gov. Jerry Brown to be one of two new commissioners on the five-member California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Sandoval, a Democrat, joined SCU in 2004. She is a tenured associate professor and teaches telecommunications law, antitrust law, and contracts. She has been an active participant in Santa Clara University School of Law’s academic programs in high-tech, international, and social-justice law.

Sandoval is the first Latina to be named to serve as a CPUC Commissioner in its more than 100-year history. The San Francisco-based CPUC oversees rates and other rules for privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, rail, and passenger transportation companies. CPUC commissioners are appointed by California’s governor and must be confirmed by the state Senate for their six-year, staggered terms.

“We are extremely proud to learn of Professor Sandoval’s appointment to the California Public Utilities Commission,” said Donald Polden, dean of Santa Clara University School of Law. “She has a wealth of experience, industry knowledge, and legal expertise to offer the state of California in this important role, and we know that she will do an outstanding job. We expect that our students will benefit from her service on the CPUC.” 
Prior to joining the SCU Law faculty, Sandoval served as the undersecretary for California’s Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency where she worked on infrastructure and energy issues. Previously, she was the vice president and general counsel for Z-Spanish Media Corporation, a Sacramento-based communications company, which provided broadcast and Internet services in several languages.

From 1994 to1999, she was a senior official at the Federal Communications Commission, where she directed the Office of Communications Business Opportunities

Sandoval graduated with a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and received her law degree from Stanford Law School. She received a Master of Letters in Politics (Political Science) from Oxford University, which she attended through a Rhodes Scholarship—the first Latina to receive the prestigious award. She hails from East Los Angeles and was the first person in her family to receive a bachelor’s degree.

After law school she clerked for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, then was an associate at the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles.

Sandoval will be on a sabbatical next academic year, and may resume a modified teaching schedule thereafter.

About the CPUC
The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies. The CPUC serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy. More information about the CPUC is available at:

About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, founded in 1911 on the site of California’s oldest operating higher-education institution, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. One of the nation’s most diverse law schools, Santa Clara Law offers its 975 students an academically rigorous program, including graduate degrees in international law and intellectual property law; combined J.D./MBA degree; and certificates in intellectual property law, international law, and public interest and social justice law. Santa Clara Law is located in the world-class business center of Silicon Valley, and is distinguished nationally for our top-ranked program in intellectual property. For more information, see

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