Fredericka L. McGee
General Counsel and Deputy Chief of Staff, California State Assembly Speaker
Area of Practice: Capital Lawyering
Year Graduated: 1991
Ms. McGee is currently deputy chief of staff and general counsel to California State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins. She also served as general counsel to former Speakers John A. Pérez, Karen Bass, Fabian Núñez and Antonio Villaraigosa. She currently handles litigation in which the Assembly or the Speaker is a party, creates training and retention programs for Assembly employees, spearheads the Speaker's constituent affairs unit, and oversees the state court budget and judiciary policy on behalf of the Speaker. Most recently, she served as the Assembly lead attorney in drafting legislation to ensure that unaccompanied undocumented minors arriving in California would have access legal representation for their immigration hearings. She also shepherded legislation on behalf of Speaker Pérez to protect the Californians' 1st Amendment right to provide on line comments that may be disparaging to a business. Ms. McGee was one of the lead legislative staff persons who drafted and assisted in the passage of the landmark Homeowners Bill of Rights foreclosure legislation of 2012. In 2006, in her capacity as general counsel to Speaker Núñez, Ms. McGee advocated for and negotiated the passage of legislation that furthers a vitally important public policy goal in the legal profession: increasing diversity on the bench. Because of Ms. McGee's efforts, the judicial appointments process now provides a mechanism for tracking diversity in judicial candidates and appointments to the bench on an annual basis. As a result of her work, she was selected one of California Lawyer's Attorney of the Year and named one of the Daily Journal's Top 100 Lawyers of 2007. In 2008, she also received the Wiley Manuel Law Foundation's Diversity on the Bench award and the Lawyer of the Year award from California Association of Black Lawyers. Later that year, she was appointed by Senator Dianne Feinstein to the Federal Judicial Nomination Evaluation Advisory Committee for the Eastern District of California to recommend applicants for U.S. District Court Judge, U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Marshal who are ultimately forwarded to President Barack Obama. In 2011, the California Legislative Black Caucus awarded her the Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Leadership Award and she was identified as one of the Top 100 Political Warriors by the Capitol Weekly. More recently, The Recorder named her one of 40 Women Leaders in the Law for 2012 for her networking skills and was named 2013 Attorney of the Year by the Wiley Manuel Bar Association.
Ms. McGee has a vast background in state politics and has served in various professional positions including chief of staff to two former Assemblymembers and as legislative director to the Honorable Cruz Bustamante. She has extensive policy experience from her consultant positions on Assembly Insurance Committee, Assembly Public Safety Committee and Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy. Ms. McGee has also worked as legislative counsel to the State Bar of California.
Prior to focusing her practice on public policy, Ms. McGee practiced as a defense litigation attorney with Murtaugh, Miller, Meyer & Nelson where she handled personal injury, bankruptcy and employment cases. Before attending law school, she served as Sr. District Assistant to the late Congressman Glenn M. Anderson of Long Beach.
She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Marketing from California State University, Long Beach. She later received her Juris Doctorate degree and was voted the Faculty's Most Outstanding Student from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
Ms. McGee is a member of the California State Bar where she serves on the Council on Access & Fairness and the 2015 Mentoring Task Force. She previously volunteered as a Probation Monitor and mentor for the Bar's Volunteers on Parole program. She has worked with several youth programs, acted as a mock trial judge and taught paralegal courses. She is also the founding president of the Black Youth Leadership Project, Inc., a non-profit organization which offers interactive legislative and debate programs to African American high school students throughout California. She was a member of the 2005 class of Leadership California and the 2015 class of American Leadership Forum. She has served on the board of the Wiley Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento for several years in many capacities, including president.