Before retiring in May 2020, Antonette Cordero served almost 25 years with the California Attorney General’s Office. As Chief of Legal Affairs from 2017 to 2019, Ms. Cordero was a member of the Attorney General’s executive team and directed the work of the office’s 1,200 attorneys. She spent the rest of her AG career in the Civil Rights Enforcement Section and the Environment Section, where she represented the AG, Native American Heritage Commission, the Fair Employment and Housing Commission, Department of Toxic Substances Control, and other client agencies. She also wrote several amicus briefs to the U.S. and California Supreme Courts on behalf of California and multi-state coalitions. Ms. Cordero was a member of DOJ’s Bankruptcy Practice Group and Environmental Justice Practice Group and co-chaired the Native American Employees’ Advisory Committee.
Two California Governors appointed Ms. Cordero to executive positions with the Department of Toxic Substances Control, first as the agency’s Chief Counsel, and in 2016 as the Deputy Director of the Hazardous Waste Management Program. Ms. Cordero directed staff attorneys, scientists, inspectors, criminal investigators and peace officers. She managed operating budgets of more than $30 million and, as part of the executive team, helped set and implement Department policy. As an Assistant County Counsel with Ventura County from 1997 to 2001, Ms. Cordero represented the County in land use and hazardous waste matters, including significant CEQA litigation challenging the practice of approving new development without a showing of sufficient water availability.
Most recently, Ms. Cordero was a Clinical Supervising Attorney with the Berkeley Law School Environmental Law Clinic. She has also taught appellate advocacy and Libel, Slander, and the First Amendment as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Cordero is a native of Santa Barbara, California, an enrolled member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash
Nation, and a paddler of a traditional tomol (plank canoe) on the Chumash community’s annual crossing of the Santa Barbara Channel. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples. She also served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California for almost 20 years, where she co-founded the Committee on Civil Rights and the Environment. She has been an advisor to the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association (formerly the State Bar) since 2002.
Ms. Cordero received her law degree from Stanford University, Master of Science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California. Before attending law school, Ms. Cordero was a newspaper reporter with the Press-Telegram in Long Beach,