Steven Montanez



phone: (714) 573-0900

Areas of Practice
Mr. Montanez provides counsel to school district clients in a variety of areas including personnel matters dealing with classified and certificated employees, labor relations, negotiations, grievance handling, employee discipline, and student matters.

Work Experience
Mr. Montanez had a career in human resources for 15 years prior to law school.  He worked in human resources in the private sector, including Human Resources Director for Charter Oak Hospital, Personnel Supervisor for Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Employee Relations Manager for CIGNA, and Personnel Relations Manager for Security Pacific Bank.

Legal Experience
Since 1997, Mr. Montanez has provided guidance and counsel in the areas of labor relations, employment, negotiations, and grievance handling.  He has provided counsel to clients regarding interpretation of bargaining agreements for both classified and certificated employees, advice regarding interest-based bargaining, and conflict resolution.  Mr. Montanez has extensive experience working with school districts that have a Personnel Commission for both community college districts and K-12 school districts.  Mr. Montanez has appeared before the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”) in defending school districts from allegations of an unfair labor practice.

Mr. Montanez is considered an expert in student matters, including issues of discipline, residency, compulsory school attendance, grade change, challenges to pupil records, and complaints filed under the uniform complaint procedure.  He has a solid history of working with child welfare and attendance departments. He is also experienced in handling parent complaints against district personnel, district programs, and allegations of discrimination.

Mr. Montanez has provided in-service presentations and training to school district clients.  Training topics have included sexual harassment, employee evaluations, employee discipline, handling subpoena requests, and disclosure of public records.

Employment History
Mr. Montanez’s legal experience includes civil litigation, personnel/labor relations, employee training and development, and student matters. Listed below is his legal employment history:

  • Partner in the firm of Parker & Covert LLP, 2006
  • Associate with firm of Parker, Covert & Chidester, 1997
  • Associate with firm of Bolden & Martin, 1997
  • Associate with firm of Schell & Delamer, 1995
  • Associate with firm of Hamrick, Garrotto, Briskin & Pene, 1993

Publications and Presentations

  • AB 1825 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training.
  • Invited presenter at Southern California Personnel Commissioners’ Association Conference in Indian Wells, 2000: “Performance Evaluations and Discipline.”
  • Invited presenter at Management Team Retreat, Val Verde Unified School District, San Diego, 2000: “Individual Liability for Harassment.”
  • Invited presenter at Management Team Workshop, Long Beach Community College District, Long Beach, 2001: “Impasse Resolution Procedures” and “Fact-Finding Procedures Under the EERA.”

Professional Affiliations

  • California State Bar
  • U. S. District Court, Central District of California
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Member, Orange County Bar Association
  • Member, Hispanic Bar Association, Orange County

Academic Background

  • J.D., Southwestern University School of Law, 1993
  • B.A., Occidental College, Los Angeles, 1975 (Biological Sciences – Ford Foundation Scholarship Recipient)

Areas of Practice
Michael provides practical and effective legal advice to school and community college districts regarding personnel matters, student issues, litigation, administrative hearings, workplace investigations, policy development, and employee training.

Legal Experience

Michael has been recognized as one of California’s top attorneys in the field of schools and education law, having been selected as a “Rising Star” in the prestigious “Super Lawyers” list of exceptional lawyers for four years running, from 2012-2016.

Michael has an exceptionally high success rate in representing public entities in litigation matters, labor arbitration, and workplace violence restraining order hearings.  He has successfully obtained judgments in favor of public entity clients in cases involving the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”), including attorney fee awards.

Beyond litigation and administrative hearings, Michael also provides advisory services to public entity clients. His innovative and concise legal advice provides clients with lasting solutions and the tools they need to continue effectively doing business.

Representative Cases

Californians Aware et al. v. Orange Unified School District et al.  (2008) 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 3, No. G038499 [2008 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 7487]  Appeal upholding Board of Education’s right to participate in public debate and awarding attorney fees under California anti-SLAPP statute (Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16).

Professional Affiliations

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California


  • Author: “Orange Unified victory benefits public,” Sacramento Bee, originally published Sunday, April 12, 2009, accessible here

Academic Background

  • J.D., Chapman University School of Law, 2006
  • B.A., Pepperdine University, Journalism, 2003