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Santa Clara Council Hires Municipal Law Giants

In hiring the law firm Lozano Smith to provide interim City Attorney services, the Santa Clara City Council chose veteran public agency attorneys with exceptional breadth and depth of experience. Partner Steven Ngo and Senior Council James Sanchez will jointly support the City’s legal needs.

Ngo has extensive experience representing public agencies, including in financial disputes, prosecuting disciplinary charges against employees and public agency litigation. He is also an expert in Public Records Act litigation and a recognized authority on the Brown Act, open government policies and labor issues.

A member Bay Area Asian American Bar Association, Ngo serves on the California Student Aid Commission and the Hastings College of Law Board of Governors. In addition, he’s an active supporter of the Asian Women’s Shelter and received the Next Generation Champion Award from Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth as well as the Policy Innovation Award from the San Francisco Family Support Network.


Ngo earned his Juris Doctor at UC Hastings College of the Law and clerked for the California Attorney General’s Energy Task Force. He has a Master of Science in Public Policy from Georgetown and a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA. Following graduation, he received a Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship and served as a staffer to the State Assembly Budget Committee and is a certified Civil Rights investigator.

Jim Sanchez has served Sacramento, Fresno and Salinas as City Attorney, and Fresno County as Deputy County Counsel. He was a Legal Extern* to California Justice Cruz Reynoso in the firm’s local government practice. Sanchez received his Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University and his Juris Doctor from UC Hastings School of Law.

One of Sanchez’s most notable accomplishments in Sacramento was his successful navigation of a series of complex legal wrangles that threatened to derail development of the Golden 1 Center arena. Since its opening, it’s estimated Golden 1 Center has generated $6.5 billion worth of investment in Sacramento’s downtown.

Over his more than 30 years working in local government, Sanchez has also led legal teams dealing with housing, infrastructure financing, environmental, “quality of life” issues, labor negotiations, public works contracts and personnel investigations.

Sanchez has also been an active member of the [legal community] He’s a past president of the Fresno La Raza Lawyers Association, served on the Editorial Committee of the League of California Cities Municipal Law Handbook, and represented Monterey Bay and South San Joaquim Valley on the League of California Cities statewide Legal Advocacy Committee and the National League of Cities. He was also invited by the National League of Cities to advocate for cities in addressing environmental liabilities with the EPA.

When he joined Lozano Smith in 2017, Sanchez said his “mission and passion is to serve local communities and their officials in resolving complex social and economic challenges.”

*Similar to an internship


  1. CSC 2 years ago

    Good, hopefully Mr. Ngo can help the City of Santa Clara resolve the following issues in favor of residents…
    • financial disputes – bring a transparent and accurate resolution to financial quarrels with private entities doing business in the city, to include the 49ers.
    • prosecuting disciplinary charges against employees – he should investigate why substantiated claims of crimes committed Greg Deger, Wahid Kazem, and other SCPD officers have not been investigated and forwarded to the County District Attorney’s office.
    • Public Records Act litigation – get ahead of all documented PRA violations the City of Santa Clara has committed.

  2. Ed Richartds 2 years ago

    Some good comments by CSC. Although there are items that are past happenings that could be considered as lower priority. I would place a high priority on correcting the course of the good ship Santa Clara. Can we stop the Police Officers Association from financing council campaigns? Same with Fire Department. Get rid of the Idea of tying police & fire Salaries to the 13 jurisdictions in the bay area. The need to be paid well but we are past that point.
    The doubts expressed by the mayor and Kathy Watanabe can be seen as what they were. Watanabe continually complains about how poor motions are and cannot support them. She is not supporting what is best for the City, nor is she representing District 1 in the manner they deserve.
    Karen Hardy once again exceed expectations in finding legal advice. A Job well done.
    We need to move ahead with what is best for Santa Clara.

    • CSC 2 years ago

      Ed, thanks for your acknowledgement. The points I mention above aren’t that old and, unresolved, they serve as a template for city employees who want to get away with crimes/policy violations in the future. They need to be completely resolved.
      Employee unions representing police and fire staff should be ignored by the City Council, there are departmental supervisors and human resources to manage grievances. And the greater majority of them don’t live within the City of Santa Clara, they are literally paying to influence liabilities they aren’t affected by. Agreed on the high salaries, Santa Clara residents should not be paying more for services than what taxpayers in Campbell, Santa Clara County (Saratoga/Cupertino), and San Jose are paying.
      Yes, kudos to Karen Hardy and “gabroni award” to those who speculated she was unqualified to research a highly experienced legal resource.

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