Ms. Berkey has practiced specifically in the areas of municipal, public and redevelopment law for over fourteen years and has represented a variety of public agencies including municipalities, community service districts, redevelopment agencies, and public cemetery districts. During this time, Ms. Berkey has advised on all pertinent areas of public law and acquired a wide range of skills through her unique experiences of advising public agencies on transactional matters and governmental processes and representing public agencies in court on various criminal and civil litigation matters.
Ms. Berkey advises municipalities and redevelopment agencies on, and prepares the requisite documents for, such matters as affordable housing development projects (involving funding from various state and federal sources), real property and development project workouts, mixed-use and commercial real estate development projects, and real property acquisitions and dispositions. In addition, Ms. Berkey advises on environmental review of projects pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, regulations of the Ralph M. Brown Act and the Political Reform Act, and the appropriate uses of tax increment funds pursuant to the California Community Redevelopment Law.
Prior to joining Kane, Ballmer & Berkman, Ms. Berkey served as Senior Deputy City Attorney/Senior Deputy General Counsel with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. In this regard, Ms. Berkey was the primary legal advisor to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego and supervised and managed the Redevelopment Unit of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. Serving in this capacity, Ms. Berkey regularly attended meetings of the City Council and the Board of Directors of the Redevelopment Agency and advised in the areas of redevelopment, capital projects, housing, land use, planning, zoning, environmental, public contracting, open government, public record, conflicts of interest, committee appointment and election, and pending and potential litigation matters. Ms. Berkey negotiated and prepared a variety of agreements such as disposition and development agreements, owner participation agreements, purchase and sale agreements, site assistance agreements, cooperation agreements, and financial assistance agreements for development projects (including mixed-use and affordable and market rate housing) involving multi-million dollar financing structures. In addition, Ms. Berkey prepared guidelines and related real property documents for housing rehabilitation loan programs, first time homebuyer programs, and commercial storefront improvement programs. Further, Ms. Berkey assisted with public bidding processes and prepared public works contracts, assisted the litigation team with case strategies and facilitating settlements, and conducted training sessions for public officials on open government, public records, conflicts of interest, and the impacts of new legislation.
Prior to joining the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, Ms. Berkey was a senior associate attorney with the law firm of Green, de Bortnowsky & Quintanilla, LLP, formerly Sabo & Green, LLP, and served as the designated Assistant City Attorney, Assistant General Counsel, and City Prosecutor for several of the firm’s clients. In this regard, Ms. Berkey regularly attended meetings of the City Council and the Redevelopment Agency, District Board of Directors and Board of Trustees, Planning Commission, and other City commissions, and advised on a variety of issues pertaining to code enforcement, planning, land use, zoning, environmental, public contracting, open government, public record, conflicts of interest, search and seizure, committee/board/commission appointment and election, redevelopment, cable franchise, waste and recycling franchise, and pending and potential litigation matters. In addition, Ms. Berkey regularly prepared court pleadings and attended court hearings in civil and criminal cases. Further, Ms. Berkey assisted with land use entitlements and planning approvals such as conditional use permits, variances, development permits, plan and code amendments, zoning regulations, and maps, and negotiated and prepared a variety of agreements such as cable, waste and recycling franchise agreements, professional services agreements, service provider agreements, disposition and development agreements, reimbursement agreements, and public nuisance abatement agreements. Ms. Berkey also conducted training sessions for public officials on ethics, open government, public records, and conflicts of interest.
During law school, Ms. Berkey served as an extern for The Honorable Kevin Midlam of the Superior Court of California where she assisted Judge Midlam with case management and trial preparation. In addition, Ms. Berkey clerked for Cynthia Chihak, Esq. (a recipient in multiple years of the Outstanding Trial Lawyer and Trial Lawyer of the Year awards), the Office of the United States Attorney, and the Office of the Public Defender. Further, Ms. Berkey served as Law Review Editor for project and planning and Vice President of the International Law Society, and received a Director’s Scholarship based on academics and honors in legal research and international business transactions.
Ms. Berkey is a past recipient of the Athena Award in recognition for contributions to the business community and community service and has served as a Program Speaker for the City Clerk’s Association of California on municipal law issues. Further, Ms. Berkey served as pro bono counsel for CASA for Riverside County, Inc. (which assists children who are dependents of the juvenile court), a past president of the Cathedral City Rotary Club, and a member of the Inns of Court.
Ms. Berkey is licensed to practice law in the States of California, Florida and Connecticut, and before the United States District Court, Southern District, and the United States Supreme Court.