The Chief Counsel’s Office provides legal advice on a variety of matters, including power plant licensing, energy forecasting, energy efficiency, clean transportation, and renewable energy programs, the California Environmental Quality Act, the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, and the Political Reform Act. The Chief Counsel's Office manages Public Record Act requests. It is organized into four units.

Attorneys represent Commission staff that serve as an independent party in power plant license certification proceedings, compliance and enforcement matters, and other quasi-adjudicatory proceedings before the Commission. They advise the  Commission on compliance with environmental laws, including the California Environmental Quality Act . Attorneys also provide legal advice to the Commission and its staff on Public Records Act, confidentiality requests, and other data collection matters as well as perform legislative analysis and varying degrees of civil litigation and administrative litigation before other state and federal agencies.

Matthew Pinkerton is the Assistant Chief Counsel for the Advocacy and Compliance Unit within the Chief Counsel’s Office. Matt moved to the United States in 2006 and attended McGeorge School of Law in 2008. Matt has worked at several state agencies including supporting hazardous cleanup projects at the Department of Toxic Substances Control and prison services at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Matt also worked for the Sacramento Regional Transit District in several different roles. Matt joined the Energy Commission in 2020 as an attorney in the Transactions Unit.

Attorneys serve as hearing officers, making evidentiary rulings, advising committee members and commissioners, and drafting decisions, in administrative adjudications for power plant licenses, amendments to licenses, and compliance and enforcement actions. Attorneys also provide advice and legal support on open meeting laws, conflicts of interest, environmental justice and equity, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and statewide energy policy development.

Lisa M. DeCarlo is the Assistant Chief Counsel for the Hearing and Advisory Unit within the Chief Counsel’s Office. Lisa has been with the CEC since 1999 and earned a B.A. in Environmental Analysis and Design from UC Irvine, graduating cum laude, and a J.D. from George Washington University School of Law.

Attorneys assist the Commission on rulemakings and provide legal support to implement Commission regulations and programs in the following areas: building and appliance efficiency, renewable energy, and decarbonization.  Attorneys also provide legal advice and support on legislative analysis, participation in US Department of Energy rulemakings and coordination of the Chief Counsel’s law clerk programs.

Allan Ward II is the Assistant Chief Counsel for the Regulatory & Advisory Unit within the Chief Counsel’s Office.  He first started working at the CEC in 2001.  He earned a B.A. in Geography from Boston University and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. 

Attorneys support the Energy Commission’s programs to award contracts, grants, and loans in such areas as clean transportation, which includes increasing the number of electric vehicle chargers, hydrogen refueling stations, and electric school buses in California; energy efficiency; research, development, and demonstration projects related to electricity, natural gas, and geothermal energy; renewable energy, including offshore wind; and improved ventilation and plumbing in schools.

Christina Evola is the Assistant Chief Counsel of the Transactions Unit within the Chief Counsel’s Office and has been with the CEC since 2020. Prior to joining the CEC, Christina worked as an attorney for philanthropic organizations benefiting the environment, climate change resilience, and healthy communities. Christina also served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Chief Judge Frances Tydingo-Gatewood, as a research attorney for the Supreme Court of Guam, as an assistant attorney general in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, and litigated transactional, antitrust, and wildfire class and mass actions in Southern California. Christina earned a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas graduating cum laude, and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.