Hilda Cantu Montoy

Hilda Cantú Montoy

Fresno, California

I have dedicated my career to public agency law and have gained an excellent statewide reputation in my field and in working with City Councils, governing boards, management, and staff of numerous public agencies. I offer a wealth of general counsel experience, broad public agency law knowledge, timely responsiveness, and the ability to provide the full range of public agency services that may be required. I am service oriented, creative in finding solutions, and proactive in serving clients to minimize legal costs.

My experience includes serving as in-house City Attorney for the City of Fresno for more than 10 years.  Currently I serve as contract City Attorney for the Cities of Kerman and San Joaquin; General Counsel to the Selma-Kingsburg-Fowler County Sanitation District and  the Oversight Board to the Successor Agency for the City of Santa Clara Redevelopment Agency; and special counsel to various public agencies.  My special counsel work is broad.  It has included work place investigations, school district reorganizations, a Brown Act investigation, written legal opinions, election matters, legal advisor in administrative hearings, and  representation of  Oversight Boards to Successor Agencies involving the S.F. Forty Niners and the Oakland A’s.

In sum, I hold a strong public service passion.

Areas of Practice

  • Municipal Law
  • Business & Commercial Law
  • Personnel
  • Land Use & Zoning

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1977
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California


  • Stanford Law School, Stanford, California
    • J.D. - 1976
  • Stanford University
    • B.A. - 1973
    • Major: Political Science

Representative Clients

  • City of Kerman
  • Selma Kingsburg Fowler County Sanitation District
  • City of San Joaquin
  • City of Fresno
  • Santa Clara Oversight Board
  • Milpitas Oversight Board
  • Madera Unified School District
  • Merced Personnel Commission
  • Merced DLA


  • Municipal Law, San Joaquin College of Law , 2011
  • Municipal Law , San Joaquin College of Law , 2013

Honors and Awards

  • Justice Pauline Hanson Award, 2007
  • Rebozo Award – Arte Americas, 2006
  • Woman of the Year – State Legislature, 2003
  • Top 10 Professional Women of the Year, 1995
  • Honorary Chair - American Diabetes Association Hispanic Education Kick Off, 1999
  • “Special Recognition Award” Presented by La Raza Lawyers Association, 1996
  • “Latinas Beyond Boundaries Award” Presented by Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 1997
  • “Latinas Beyond Boundaries Award” Presented by Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 2001
  • Recognition Award Presented by League of Mexican American Women, 1997
  • Appreciation Award Presented by Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1998
  • Outstanding Leadership Award in "Legal/Justice" Category, Presented by Assembly Member Sara Reyes , 1999

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • League of California Cities – City Attorneys Department Report of the Department’s Ad Hoc Due Process Committee, Contributor, 2005
  • The Rutter Group, California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation , Contributing Editor, 2009
  • Eastern District Judicial Screening Panel for Senator Feinstein
  • “Measurement of Staff Workload and Performance,” League of California Cities Large Cities Conference, Facilitator, 1998
  • “The Changing Role of the City Attorney in the New Millennium”, Speaker, 2001
  • “Providing Conflict Of Interest Advice Under The Political Reform Act”, Continuing Education Seminar For Municipal Attorneys, Speaker, 1999
  • Federal Bar Association Board, San Joaquin Valley Chapter, Executive Board
  • Fresno County Bar Association
  • Fresno County Bar Association Board of Directors
  • Fresno County Women Lawyers - “Breaking the Glass Ceiling,” , Presenter, 2005
  • Fresno County Women Lawyers
  • La Raza Lawyers Association
  • League of California Cities – City Attorneys Department: “Open & Public IV: A Guide to the Ralph M. Brown Act”, Editorial Board, 2006
  • League of California Cities Fair Political Practices Commission Committee
  • Merit Selection panel for New Federal Magistrate Judge, Fresno
  • Due Process at IMLA Conference, Presenter
  • Brown Act Serial Meetings for State Bar, Presenter
  • San Joaquin College of Law – Taught Municipal Law Course
  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of California Legal Services Trust Fund Commission
  • Maddy Institute , Board of Directors
  • California School Personnel Commissioners Association
  • Census 2000 Outreach Program
  • Centro La Familia Board of Directors
  • Edison H.S. School Site Council
  • Fresno Metropolitan Museum Board of Directors
  • Golden Valley Girl Scout Council Board of Directors
  • Math/Science Conference for High School Girls (American Association of University Women), Keynote Speaker
  • California State University, Fresno, Lecturer
  • St. Agnes Medical Center, Board of Directors
  • Stanford Alumni Association , Executive Board
  • State Center Community College District Personnel Commission
  • United Health Centers , Board of Directors

Past Employment Positions

  • Alameda County Legal Aid Society , Staff Attorney , 1976 - 1978
  • U.S. Community Services Administration , Assistant Regional Counsel, 1978 - 1980
  • City of Fresno , Deputy City Attorney, 1980 - 1985
  • Law Office of William J. Smith , Associate, 1985 - 1987
  • Private Practice, 1987 - 1990
  • City of Fresno , Assistant City Attorney, 1990 - 1995
  • City of Fresno , Acting City Attorney, 1995
  • City of Fresno , City Attorney, 1995 - 2006
  • Dowling, Aaron & Keeler, Inc. , Public Practice Department Chair, 2006 - 2009


  • English
  • Spanish