Law School/Year: American University Washington College of Law, 1994
College/Year: American University, 1990
California; District of Columbia (inactive); Maryland (inactive); U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Central District of California, District of Columbia and District of Maryland; U.S. Courts of Appeals, Fourth, Ninth and D.C. Circuit; U.S. Supreme Court
Appellate; Civil Litigation; Discrimination and Civil Rights; Labor
Cleesattle represents California state agencies in employment litigation, including discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and wage-and-hour litigation. She also represents the state in administrative writ of mandate proceedings and in state personnel board hearings. She practices in state and federal courts in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties and occasionally elsewhere throughout the state.
Cleesattle is a deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice’s Civil Division, Employment and Administrative Mandate section. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office in 2007, she was a partner at Ross, Dixon & Bell LLP, where she litigated complex cases nationwide, including insurance coverage and “bad faith,” commercial, employment law, libel and defamation, and First Amendment cases. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she was a daily newspaper reporter covering politics and legal issues and was editor and co-founder of a national magazine for law students, The National Jurist.
Cleesattle serves on the executive committee of the California State Bar Association’s Public Law Section and will begin a term as vice-chair in September. She edits the section’s Public Law Journal. She also has served on the board of Lawyers Club of San Diego, currently co-chairs Lawyers Club’s Leadership Development Committee and served as editor of the monthly newsletter, Lawyers Club News for three years. She has served on the CLE Advisory Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association, and she was a Barrister in the Welsh Chapter of American Inns of Court from 2005-07.
Cleesattle is a member of the national board of the Society of Professional Journalists, serving as Region 11 director overseeing chapters in four states. She also sits on SPJ’s national Freedom of Information Committee and Legal Defense Fund Committee and serves as SPJ’s Project Sunshine Chair for Southern California. She is a member of the board of SPJ’s San Diego Pro Chapter and served as chapter president from 2007-09. In addition, she is an advisory board member for Run Women Run.
An Ohio native who counts Washington, D.C. as her second hometown, Cleesattle moved from D.C. to San Diego in 2002. She lives in Kensington with her two daughters, Annika, 12, and Josie, 9, and two dogs.