50 Old Courthouse Square, Suite 601 Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Noreen Evans


Noreen is certified by the California State Bar as a specialist in civil appeals. She has been practicing law in Sonoma County since 1982.

Noreen has decades of experience as both a civil litigator and appellate advocate in a wide range of complex cases involving real estate, partition, tax law, environmental law (CEQA), Public Resources Code issues, land use permit application and compliance, trust disputes, family law, and more.

Noreen is admitted to practice before all the courts of the State of California, the Federal District Court for the Northern District, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States Supreme Court, and the United States Tax Court. Noreen is an adjunct professor of law at University of the Pacific/McGeorge School of Law, teaching legal research and writing.


Noreen received her BA degree in Government (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, Noreen clerked for Justice Edwin Regan of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.

After graduation from law school, Noreen studied International Business Law at the University of Salzburg, Austria. She completed an international law internship in Dublin, Ireland with A & L Goodbody, Solicitors.

Early Legal Career

In 1982, Noreen was hired as an associate at Spridgen, Barrett, Achor, Luckhardt, Anderson, James & Ziegler, at that time the oldest and largest law firm north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Noreen was the firm’s first full-time female litigation attorney.

When the Spridgen firm dissolved later that year, Noreen became a litigation associate with Gray, O’Brien, Watters & Davis, now O’Brien Watters & Davis LLP. She was made an equity partner in 1987. In 1990, she took time off from the full-time practice of law to raise a family and pursue a political career. Noreen has three adult children and two grandchildren.

Public Service

Noreen served on the Santa Rosa Planning Commission from 1993 – 1996 and in 1996 was elected to her first term on the Santa Rosa City Council. She served a second term on the council from 2000 to 2004.

In 2004, Noreen was elected to the first of three terms in the California State Assembly, serving Sonoma, Napa, and Solano Counties. She served as the Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair, Chair of the Committee on Human Services, and Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. In 2010, Noreen was elected to the California Senate, representing Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Marin, Mendocino, and Humboldt Counties. From 2010-2014, Noreen chaired the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and served four years on the Judicial Council, the governing body for all State courts. Among numerous other leadership roles, Noreen chaired the Legislative Women’s Caucus, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, and the Select Committee on California Wine. She served as a member of the California Commission on Women and Girls. For four years, Noreen also served on the California Judicial Council.

In 2011, Noreen was honored as the first woman to receive the Judicial Council’s Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award for her decades of work ensuring access to justice. She was also honored by McGeorge School of Law as its first-ever Distinguished Alumna in 2014. She was recognized by the California Judges Association as Legislator of the Year in 2010 and by Consumer Attorneys of California as Legislator of the Year in 2013.

Significant Legislation Authored

    Administration of Justice:
  • Electronic Discovery Act (AB 5 of 2009; now Code of Civil Procedure §§2016.020 et seq.) Establishes rules for discovery of electronically-stored information in civil cases
  • Expedited Jury Trial Act (SB 2284 of 2010; now Code of Civil Procedure §§630.01 et seq.) Reduces the number of jurors in small civil cases
  • Small Claims Court (AB 712 of 2009 amending Code of Civil Procedure §116.220.) Enables Small Claims Courts to grant equitable relief
  • State Bar Governance Reform (SB 163 of 2011.) Reformed the governance structure of the California State Bar Association, expanding public participation and improving accountability.
  • Homeowners Bill of Rights (SB 900, 2012.) The first legislation of its kind in the nation. This legislation amended multiple Civil Code sections to give homeowners specified rights in foreclosure proceedings.

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