California Governor Edmund G. Brown Nominates Sylvia Torres-Guillén as General Counsel for the Agricultural Labor Relations Board

Contact: Zuraya Tapia-Hadley
Phone: (202) 223-4777

August 24, 2011

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Nominates Sylvia Torres-Guillén as General Counsel for the Agricultural Labor Relations Board 

On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, California Governor Edmund G. Brown announced the nomination of Ms. Sylvia Torres-Guillén to serve as General Counsel of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB).  Ms. Torres-Guillén is currently a Federal Deputy Public Defender at the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles and has served in that capacity for the past 18 years.  She has tried nearly 40 federal criminal cases, including complex white collar crimes, mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, public corruption and attempted murder cases. Ms. Torres-Guillén has successfully litigated and tried high profile federal cases, including the first internet hate crime case prosecuted by the United States Government. She served as Acting Directing Attorney of the office’s Orange County branch and has taught trial advocacy at Loyola Law School, California Western School of Law, Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy (ICDA)/Academia de Destreza en Litigación, in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, and the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College.  She also serves as the President of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, as Vice-President of the Mexican American Bar Foundation, and is a member of the State Bar of California’s Council on Access and Fairness.  She has also served as a Temporary Judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Once confirmed, Ms. Torres-Guillén will assume control and management of the Office of the General Counsel for the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB).   The ALRB was created in 1975 to ensure peace in the fields of California by guaranteeing justice for all agricultural workers and stability in agricultural labor relations. The Board seeks to achieve these ends by providing orderly processes for protecting, implementing, and enforcing the respective rights and responsibilities of employees, employers and labor organizations in their relations with each other.

Ms. Torres-Guillén’s nomination is particularly joyous for the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) because she has held a number of leadership positions within it, including service as its Co-Chair of the HNBA Commission on Latinas in the Legal Profession and as an HNBA affiliate board member.  “Today, the HNBA family celebrates Sylvia, one of our leaders and true and committed friend, for this great honor,” said Diana Sen, HNBA National President.  “Throughout her entire career dedicated to public service, Sylvia has demonstrated leadership driven by extraordinary vision, a wealth of management and governance skills, and the rare ability of sound decisiveness, especially when under pressure. Our great state of California stands to benefit significantly from these characteristics as she takes the legal reigns of the ALRB.”

Ms. Torres-Guillén’s personal record is one of overcoming stiff challenges and adversity, and the development of strong character, professional excellence, and national leadership.  Ms. Torres-Guillén is a native of East Los Angeles (Boyle Heights) and is the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents.  She earned the first college degree in her family, graduating from Harvard University in 1988 with an A.B. in Government. After Harvard, she worked at the Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Angeles. In 1992, she graduated from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law. While in law school, she worked at the Berkeley Community Law Center, the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office and Morrison & Foerster, LLP.

Ms. Torres-Guillén is a national leader who makes an indelible, positive impact on the legal profession.  Within the HNBA, her work is a hallmark of commitment, vision, and legacy building achievement.   As Co-Chair of the HNBA’s Commission on the Status of Latinas in the Profession, she developed an HNBA Latina Public Interest Executive Leadership Program to train the next generation of Latina lawyers to promote their professional development in the public sector so that they can advance into leadership positions and be equipped to eventually run their respective organizations.  This innovative program is truly groundbreaking because of its focus on the professional development of Latina lawyers and is a one of a kind program.