Catherine J. K. Sandoval

Associate Professor of Law

Professor Sandoval is well known in the world of academia for her research on telecommunications, antitrust, and contract issues. She is a tenured member of the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty which she joined in 2004. She has had extensive experience as a leader in numerous government organizations, as well as in the private sector. In January 2011 Governor Brown appointed Professor Sandoval to serve as a Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) which regulates energy, water, telecommunications, and rail services in California. The California State Senate unanimously confirmed her to serve in that post. She is on a partial leave and is teaching Antitrust and Energy law courses at SCU Law while she is serving her term at the CPUC. She was appointed to the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services, and the Telecommunications Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. She has written numerous articles on Communications Law, Antitrust Law, and Contracts issues. In 2010 she won the SCU Public Interest and Social Justice Achievement Award in recognition of her legal scholarship.

Prior to joining the Santa Clara Law faculty, Professor Sandoval served as the Undersecretary, and previously as the Staff Director of the State of California’s 47,000-employee Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency. From 1994-1999 she was a senior manager at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and was the Director of the FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities. She helped develop the FCC’s first spectrum auctions, worked on spectrum policy, and initiatives to increase opportunities for Internet, broadcast, and telecommunications service. In the private sector, she was the Vice-President and General Counsel of Z-Spanish Media Corporation, providing legal advice on media mergers and acquisitions, FCC regulatory matters, and Department of Justice merger approval. At the Law Offices of Munger, Tolles & Olson, Sandoval was an associate, focusing on business litigation including securities, contract, and labor matters. She clerked for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1990-1991.

Sandoval attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, and she was the first Latina in the nation to receive this honor. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University, earned an M. Litt in Politics at Oxford, and a J.D. at Stanford Law School where she served on the Stanford Law Review. She hails from East Los Angeles and lives with her family in the Silicon Valley.

Recent Presentations and Commentary

Allegations of false comments based on identity theft and criminal impersonation submitted in the FCC’s Net Neutrality Proceeding must be investigated

Presentation: “Net Neutrality Powers Energy and Forestalls Climate Change” from the Climate and Energy Law Symposium at University of San Diego School of Law on 11/3/17

Presentation “Net Neutrality Protects Democracy” from the Scholar Commons Soiree Lightning Lectures on 10/26/17

August 30, 2017 comments to the FCC opposing their proposal to repeal net neutrality rules

Exhibits for August 30, 2017 comments to FCC

November 8, 2017 comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opposing their proposal to pay more to energy resources with 90 days fuel on hand to address undefined electric reliability issues


J.D., Stanford University, 1990

Master of Letters, Oxford University, 1990

B.A., Yale University, 1984

Areas of Specialization

Communications and Internet Law, Antitrust Law, Contracts, Regulated Industries, Administrative Law, Business Organizations, High Tech Law, Social Justice Law, International and Comparative Antitrust and Communications Law

Affiliations and Honors

  • Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission, 2011-2016
  • Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services
  • National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; Telecommunications Committee, Federalism and Telecommunications Committee, and Utility Market Access Committee, 2011-present
  • Undersecretary, State of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, 2003-04
  • Director, Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities, 1995-99
  • Vice-President, U.S. Delegation to the World Telecommunications Development Conference, 1994
  • Member, California Bar
  • Member, Federal Communications Bar Association
  • Member, Santa Clara County La Raza Lawyer’s Association