Attorney Virna L. Santos is highly qualified to assist clients in a variety of legal matters as a result of her varied and distinguished career. Ms. Santos has 26 years of legal experience dedicated to public service and justice for neglected communities, particularly those in Latin America.
Ms. Santos served in the U.S. Department of Justice for nearly 20 years, first as Assistant Unites States Attorney for the Eastern District of California in Fresno and until 2014 in Washington, D.C. in the Criminal Division.
In Washington, she led a team that provided criminal justice training to judges and prosecutors throughout Latin America, including Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico. Ms. Santos has also worked closely with Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor to establish the first ever Judicial Studies Institute in Puerto Rico, which has served many Latin American jurists in mastering criminal justice issues.
As Assistant United States Attorney, Ms. Santos earned a reputation of as a tough but fair prosecutor handling many complex white collar and drug cases in the District Court for the Eastern District of California. Ms. Santos was equally successful in handling criminal and immigration asylum appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ms. Santos served as a law clerk for the Hon. Gilberto Gierbolini Ortiz (deceased), Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Ms. Santos began her career as an environmental attorney with the California Attorney General’s Office.
Ms. Santos’ public service has transcended the courtroom. She volunteered as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California and served as its Board President and fundraiser for several of those years. Ms. Santos currently serves on the Board of Directors of Girls Scouts of Central California South and as coach to the Fresno High School Mock Trial Team.
Ms. Santos earned her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1990 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1987.
Central District of California 1990
Eastern District of California 1993
First Circuit Court of Appeals 1994
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 1996
United States Supreme Court 2014