Alexandra Atencio

Alexandra V. Atencio


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Public Agency
Public Agency
San Francisco

Alex represents a variety of public sector clients including cities, counties, transit agencies, special districts and regional planning entities in a wide range of civil matters in state and federal court. Alex also chairs the Public Sector Litigation Practice at Hanson Bridgett.

Alex litigates in areas including code enforcement, civil rights, public contracting, employment, land use, and disability access. She is experienced in civil rights and tort defense cases involving Section 1983 claims, Title II of the ADA, as well as dangerous condition of public property, design immunity, and other personal injury matters. Alex also provides risk management advice to public sector clients, including government claims procedures and defenses, as well as Brown Act and Public Records Act issues.

Representative Work

Secured a published 9th Circuity victory on behalf of petitioner, a gay Nigerian client seeking asylum and protection under the Convention Against Torture in the United States after he was discovered being intimate with his boyfriend in a Nigerian hotel and was threatened with death as a result of that discovery. The Immigration Judge (IJ) found that the petitioner was not credible because he got the name of the hotel wrong, which led the IJ to find that the petitioner was not gay and did not face persecution in his home country. The IJ and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denied all relief. Following expert briefing by Hanson Bridgett attorneys David Casarrubias, Breana Burgos, and Alexandra Atencio, and David’s compelling oral argument, the Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review, holding the BIA failed to give “reasoned consideration” to all of the evidence. Further, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the petitioner’s asylum application was not “frivolous” merely because he got the name of the hotel wrong. While potentially relevant to his asylum claim, the location of the hotel was not a central element of his asylum claim.

Won summary judgment in favor of a local public agency in a wrongful termination action alleging whistleblower retaliation. The court found the agency had a legitimate, non-retaliatory basis for the termination.

Won summary judgment in favor of a local public agency in a challenge to the agency’s design immunity for lack of a median barrier. The court found that technological advances do not strip the agency of design immunity where no dangerous condition exists.

Won summary judgment in favor of a local public agency in a case involving a bicycle accident on the agency’s property. The court found the agency entitled to trail immunity.

Won summary judgment in favor of a non-profit healthcare facility in a qui tam action alleging violations of the False Claims Act.


"Pandemic-Era Extensions for Presenting Government Claims to Public Entity Defendants Expired on October 27, 2022," co-author, Government Law Alert (October 2022)

"County's Exclusion Of Anti-Israel Bus Advertisement Did Not Violate 1st Amendment," Litigation & Dispute Resolution Alert (April 2015)

"Public Entities Risk Losing Design Immunity Where They Fail to Present Evidence Of Discretionary Approval Of A Design," Public Agency Law Alert (April 2014)

"New Ruling Affects Prelitigation Settlements of Wrongful Death Claims," Litigation & Dispute Resolution Alert (January 2012) (April 2012 – opinion ordered depublished)

"Risks of Using Social Media to Solicit Clients," Litigation & Dispute Resolution Alert (March 2012)

See All Publications


"A New Look at Design Immunity – Expanding Protection for Public Entities," California Special Districts Association Conference (September 2017)

"Design Immunity – A Valuable Tool for Avoiding Dangerous Condition Claims," Hanson Bridgett Public Agency Roundtable Series (August 2013)

See All Presentations

Professional Affiliations

California Special District Association

State Bar of California

Bar Association of San Francisco

Women in Transportation International


J.D., cum laude, University of San Francisco School of Law (2003)

B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Betta Kappa, San Diego State University (1997)

Admissions And Courts


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

San Francisco

415-995-5870 Direct Phone
415-995-3495 Fax

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Firm Leadership

Public Agency Litigation Practice Leader

Pro Bono Committee, Member