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Liah M. Burnley

Liah M. Burnley

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Liah is a southern California native, raised in the high desert town of Palmdale, California. She graduated from California State University, Northridge summa cum laude, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Liah received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia.

While attending the University of Virginia, Liah was a senior editor for the Virginia Journal of International Law, vice president of the Black Law Students Association, and interned for the Hon. Dean D. Pregerson, Senior United States District Judge, the California Attorney General’s Office, and the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Western District of Virginia. In the spring of her second year of law school, Liah traveled through Sierra Leone to provide legal training to local community advocates.

Following admission to the California Bar, Liah moved to Sacramento to begin her legal career as a Deputy Attorney General in the Correctional Law Section of the California Attorney General’s Office. As a Deputy Attorney General, Liah gained diverse litigation experience representing state agencies in both state and federal court. Since then, Liah has honed her legal and policy experience, serving as a legislative policy advocate for a nonprofit organization, Counsel for the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety where she advised elected members of the state legislature, and as the Senior Policy Advisor at Tesla. Prior to joining Smith, McDowell & Powell, Liah practiced at a Sacramento law firm specializing in public entity and municipal law.

When not working, you will likely find Liah kayaking down the American River, playing volleyball (grass, sand, and indoor), or traveling.

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