Partner - Oakland
Manuela Albuquerque is the firm’s Director of Complex Public Litigation and Projects. On December 5, 2012 the Daily Journal Newspaper named her one of twenty-five Top Municipal Lawyers in California. In Kapler v. City of Alameda in response to Ms. Albuquerque’s special motion to strike, the California Court of Appeal dismissed virtually the entire multiple count complaint as a meritless Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), awarding the City its related attorneys’ fees and costs, determined by the trial court in December 2012 to total $260,000. On June 20, 2013 she obtained reversal of another trial court denial of a city’s anti-SLAPP motion in Gallant v. City of Alameda. Earlier, last year, on a related issue, Ms. Albuquerque helped preserve cities’ right to attorney’s fees under the anti-SLAPP statute by authoring the League of California Cities’ amicus letter to the California Supreme Court opposing a petition for review in the Vargas v. Salinas case.
In May, 2013 Ms. Albuquerque successfully defended the City of Redding’s contracting out of utility call center services in SEIU v. Redding. In April and June 2012 Ms Albuquerque successfully prevented issuance of alternative writs of mandate in suits attempting to stop the June and November municipal elections in the City of Stockton. A final ruling in favor of the City was issued in February 2013. Also in April 2012, she obtained summary denial of an appellate writ petition which sought to enjoin a new minor League baseball team, the San Rafael Civics, from commencing its opening season at a City park pursuant to a City permit. In another important case, Ms Albuquerque recovered $800,000 in City parking tax settlement for the City of Oakland and related legal concessions regarding the applicability of the tax, despite objections mounted on an array of federal and state constitutional and statutory grounds. Ms. Albuquerque has advised and defended client public agencies in other complex legal matters, including preparation of an ordinance regulating the possession and sale of firearms on City property.
Ms. Albuquerque combines wide-ranging expertise across the full spectrum of public law issues with significant litigation experience before state and federal trial and appellate courts. Ms. Albuquerque served as the Berkeley City Attorney for twenty-two years – from 1985 to 2007, the longest tenure of any city attorney in Berkeley’s history, garnering numerous awards for her outstanding work. She advised the Berkeley City Council, Housing Authority, City Manager and staff, and over forty, nine-member City boards and commissions, while also litigating cases at every level of state and federal courts in conjunction with skilled in-house litigators.
Ms. Albuquerque was the President of the City Attorney’s Department of the League of California Cities from 1994-1995, and represented City Attorneys on the League’s Board of Directors from 2003-2005.
Through her litigation advocacy, Ms. Albuquerque has helped shape the law in favor of municipalities in many different areas including the First Amendment, equal protection, impairment of contract, takings, due process, CEQA, charter city powers, tax issues, rent control, subsidized housing and housing element law. She has served on many important City Attorney Department Committees including ethics, due process and Proposition 218. Ms. Albuquerque was the recipient of a California Lawyer of the Year award and a Top Women Litigators’ award in 2007 for her advocacy in Evans v. City of Berkeley before the California Supreme Court. She was selected as the Public Lawyer of the Year by the State Bar of California’s Public Law Section in 2005.
- Morongo Band of Mission Indians v. State Water Resources Control Board
- Evans v. City of Berkeley
- Marina v. Board of Trustees of the California State University,
- Striking Out the Plaintiff Using The Anti-SLAPP Statute, (Code of Civil Procedure Section 425. 16); What, Who, Where, When, Why and How, League of California Cities Webinar, July 18, 2013
- Demystifying Due Process for Decision Makers: The Top Ten List, League of California Cities Annual Conference, September 2012
- How to Litigate a Writ of Mandate Case, League of California Cities, City Attorneys' Department Spring Conference, May 2011
- Brown Act Compliance for City Legislative Bodies: The Top Ten List, 2012
- Ethical Principles for City Attorneys, May 2005
City Attorneys' Department
- Practicing Ethics: A Handbook for Municipal Lawyers, 2004
League of California Cities
- Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers - Martindale-Hubbell - 2013
- Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers - Martindale-Hubbell - 2012
- Preeminent Attorney - Martindale-Hubbell - 2012
- Top Municipal Lawyers - Daily Journal - 2012
- Lifetime Achievement Award, South Asian Bar Association - 2010
- California Lawyer of the Year Award, California Lawyer Magazine - 2007
- Top Women Litigator Award, Daily Journal - 2007
- California State University, Bakersfield Alumni Hall of Fame - 2007
- Public Lawyer of the Year Award, California State Bar Public Law Section - 2005
- Overall Community Service Award, California State Bar Minority Bar Coalition - 2005
- Role Model Award, Clara Folz Feminist Association, Hastings College of the Law - 2002
- Trailblazer Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association - 2000
- Asian Pacific American Leadership Fellow - 1999
- Outstanding Contributions to the Community, Indians for Collective Action - 1999
- Asian American Women of Hope in the United States, Bread and Roses Cultural Project - 1997
- Outstanding Service to the South Asian Community, South Asian Bar Assocation - 1997