Noreen Evans is a California native and has been practicing law in Sonoma County since 1982. She served in the California State Legislature for a decade.
Noreen received her B.A. degree in Political Science (with honors) in 1978 from California State University, Sacramento. She graduated from University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1981. In her third year at McGeorge, she wrote for and edited the first-ever edition of the Silversheets, a review of Nevada law. From 1980-81, she clerked for Justice Edwin Regan of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.
After graduation, Noreen studied International Business Law at the University of Salzburg, Austria and clerked for A & L Goodbody, Solicitors in Dublin, Ireland. After returning to the United States in early 1982, Noreen began working at Spridgen, Barrett, Achor, Luckhardt, Anderson, James & Ziegler, as the firm’s first full-time female litigation attorney. When the Spridgen firm dissolved later that year, she became a litigation associate with O’Brien Watters & Davis’ predecessor, Gray, O’Brien, Watters & Davis, and was made an equity partner in 1987. She retired in 1993 to raise her family and pursue a political career.
Noreen was appointed to the Santa Rosa Planning Commission in 1993, where she worked extensively with land-use planning issues and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In 1996, Noreen was elected to the Santa Rosa City Council, and re-elected in 2000. She served until 2004, when she was elected to represent the 7th Assembly District in the California State Assembly. While in the Assembly, Noreen was appointed to chair the Joint Legislative Committee on Budget in 2008 which was charged with balancing the state’s budget in the face of the global economic crisis.
In 2010, Noreen was elected to the State Senate to represent the 2nd Senate District, including Solano, Napa, Marin, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties. In 2012, Noreen chaired the Joint Legislative Committee on California’s Foreclosure Crisis, which resulted in the passage of the Homeowners Bill of Rights (AB 278/SB 900). The Homeowners Bill of Rights implements the historic 49-State Attorneys General settlement with five of the national’s largest banks and was the first of its kind in the nation. Noreen also chaired the Joint Legislative Women’s Caucus in 2010-2012 and served on the State Commission on the Status of Women.
From 2010-2014, Noreen chaired the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. She was appointed to the prestigious Judicial Council in 2010 and served until the end of her term in 2014. In 2011, Noreen became the first and only woman to receive the Judicial Council’s Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award.
Noreen returned to O’Brien Watters & Davis LLP as Of Counsel in 2012. Her current practice focuses on representing private clients in major law and motion matters, civil appeals, and writ proceedings. She also provides consulting in governmental affairs.