• ADR Neutrals


    The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division maintains a panel of ALJs who have been trained, and who have served, as ADR neutrals. These ALJs have completed a 40-hour program at the CPUC, the National Judicial College (NJC), or other providers. Many ALJs have received supplemental training at the NJC, Harvard Law School, University of Southern California, U.S. District Court, and programs. ALJs also receive periodic short-training courses throughout the year. The current ADR panel is made up of the following ALJs.

    Clicking the name of each ALJ will reveal their bio:

    • Peter V. Allen

      Peter V. Allen is an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) at the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission).  He was previously a Judge from 2001 to 2007.  Then in 2016, he returned to being a Judge, after working as an advisory attorney in the Commission’s Legal Division and as Deputy Director of the Commission’s Safety and Enforcement Division.

      Judge Allen has adjudicated numerous energy and environmental proceedings at the Commission, including initial implementation of the renewables portfolio standard and allocation of energy crisis electricity contract costs.  Judge Allen has mediated energy, water, and rail safety proceedings.  Judge Allen has also spoken at conferences on energy and environmental issues and taught Utility Regulatory Adjudication at the National Judicial College.  In addition to his experiences at the Commission, Judge Allen also worked as an attorney for two major law firms, the City of San Diego, and The Utility Reform Network, and has litigated major energy and telecommunications proceedings before the Commission.

      Judge Allen has received extensive in-house training in mediation at the Commission. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of California Santa Cruz, and a J.D. cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law. 

    • Karl J. Bemesderfer

      Karl J. Bemesderfer is an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) at the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission).  He joined the Commission as a Judge in 2002 after practicing law in Illinois and California for 30 years.   

      Judge Bemesderfer has adjudicated numerous telecommunications, transportation, water and oil pipeline matters at the Commission.  Judge Bemesderfer has mediateddisputes between customers and water utilities, customers and electric utilities, disputes between certificated telecommunications carriers and disputes between municipalities and gas and electric utilities.

      Prior to joining the Commission, Judge Bemesderfer served as in-house counsel to several major corporations, as a partner in a San Francisco law firm, an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a receiver of large commercial properties.  Judge Bemesderfer brings all of those experiences and insight to the cases he presides over, facilitates and mediates.

      Judge Bemesderfer received arbitration training from the American Arbitration Association. Judge Bemesderfer received his B.A. from The University of Chicago and J.D. from the Harvard Law School. 

    • Dan H. Burcham

      Dan H. Burcham is an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) at the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission).  He joined the Commission as a Judge in 2013.  

      Judge Burcham has adjudicated telecommunications, water, energy, oil and gas pipelines and transportation matters at the Commission.  

      Prior to joining the Commission, he served as a Judge for four years with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.  Judge Burcham also has prior experience in the electric utility industry and in area code relief planning and administration. Judge Burcham has served as a mediator for the Superior Court of Los Angeles County for four years and in private practice for six years, hearing a wide range of disputes involving property rights, contracts, trusts and estates, marital dissolution, property settlement and child custody cases.  At the Commission, he facilitated the resolution of a dispute between a regulated utility and a municipality. Judge Burcham brings all of those experiences and insight to the cases he presides over, facilitates and mediates.

      Judge Burcham received formal mediation and arbitration training through the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He received additional mediation training through the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Judge Burcham received his J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles and a B.A. in Political Science - Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach. 

    • W. Anthony Colbert

      W. Anthony Colbert is an Acting Assistant Chief Administrative Law Judge (Judge) at the California Public Utilities Commission.  He joined the Commission as a Judge in September 2010.  Since joining the Commission, Judge Colbert has focused on adjudicatory proceedings.  He is currently the Coordinator for the Commission’s Expedited Compliant Proceedings Program (analogous to small claims court matters) and served as a Coordinator for the Administrative Law Judges Division’s Intern/Externship program from 2011 to 2016.  Judge Colbert is a certified mediator and has conducted mediations at the Commission since 2011. 

      Prior to his service with the Commission, Judge Colbert was a Senior Counsel and Hearing Officer at the California Department of Corporations (now Department of Business Oversight).  There, he presided over a variety of high profile hearings including Google’s acquisition of YouTube and the dissolution of the Pacific Stock Exchange as well as hearings approving acquisitions by Apple, Cisco and Yahoo. 

      Judge Colbert received his J.D. from the University of Virginia, School of Law, and did his undergraduate work at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. 

      Judge Colbert has been a panelist/presenter for various continuing education courses, the State Bar convention and at the Conference of California Public Utility Counsel Convention, as well as, a speaker on Fairness Hearings and California Securities Law before the Santa Clara Bar Association, San Francisco Bar Association, and Los Angeles Bar Association. The California Business Law Practitioner published an article by Judge Colbert on Fairness Hearings in its spring 2010 edition. He has served as an expert witness in Criminal, Civil and Administrative Hearings.  Judge Colbert is married with two children. He is currently a mentor at the De Anza High School Law Academy and a past mentor at the Balboa High School Law Academy.

    • Michelle Cooke

      Michelle Cooke is an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) at the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission). She began her career at the Commission as an analyst assigned to energy issues in 1990, served as Commissioner Henry M. Duque’s advisor on Energy and Transportation matters. She became a Judge in 1999.  Between 2006 and 2016, Judge Cooke served in various management capacities at the Commission, during which she served as an Assistant Chief Judge, Interim Director of the Consumer Protection and Safety Division, and as Deputy Executive Director of the Commission’s internal operations (Human Resources, Information Technology, Budget, and Procurement).  

      Judge Cooke has adjudicated revenue requirements, rate designs, energy policy, and transmission siting matters at the Commission. 

      Judge Cooke is a natural and skilled facilitator.  Judge Cooke has successfully mediated and facilitated parties in both complex multi-party and simpler two-party disputes to mutually beneficial resolutions.  During her years at the Commission, Judge Cooke has gained unique and invaluable insight which she effectively uses when she mediates or facilitates a matter before her.  This insight is based on her experiences working in various capacities and divisions within the Commission, including her work as analyst, advisor, Judge, manager, or budget advocate for every subject area the Commission regulates, as well as her experience running internal operations and working with people.  

      Judge Cooke has received extensive in-house training in mediation at the Commission. Judge Cooke has a B.A. in Mathematical Economics from Pomona College, a Certificate of Business Administration from Berkeley Extension, and has attended several National Judicial College trainings. 

    • Julie Fitch

      Julie Fitch is an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) at the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission).  She joined the Commission in 2000 and became a Judge in 2011.  Judge Fitch is also currently serving as an Advising Judge to the Docket Office. 

      Between 2000 and 2011, she served in numerous positions at the Commission, including Energy Division Director, Policy and Planning Division Director, Chief of Staff to a Commissioner, lead energy advisor to a Commissioner, and lead regulatory analyst.  Judge Fitch brings all of those experiences and insights to her cases and to mediation and facilitation.

      As a Judge, she has primarily handled energy policy cases. She has participated in and served as a mediator in several multi-party settlements, including for qualifying facilities, net metering tariffs, and other renewable energy issues. Her technical expertise includes most clean energy areas, including renewables, energy efficiency, distributed generation, demand response, and storage policy. She is also familiar with transmission and distribution planning issues.

      Judge Fitch has received her mediation certificate and training from Hastings School of Law. Judge Fitch holds a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University and an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Harvard University. 

    • Kimberly H. Kim

      Kimberly H. Kim is an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) at the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission). She joined the Commission in 2008 as a Judge.Judge Kim is also currently serving as the Commission’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Coordinator and an Advising Judge to the Docket Office.

      Since joining the Commission, Judge Kim’s docket has focused on energy and transit safety proceedings, but she has also presided over proceedings in a variety of other subject areas including water, gas and telecommunications proceedings.  Judge Kim has successfully mediated numerous complex, multi-party and sensitive cases, including general rate cases, complaint cases, and other legally challenging cases which have been in litigation and/or appeal for many years.

      Judge Kim began her legal career in the San Francisco Public Defenders’ Office.  She since has worked as in-house counsel, both in private and public sectors, but the majority of her professional legal experience has been in administrative and civil litigation as well as appellate work which spanned more than two decades. The specific subject areas of her litigation and appellate work have been in, inter alia, the following legal subject areas: environmental, land use, transportation, social service and employment. Judge Kim brings all of those experiences and insight to the cases she presides over, facilitates and mediates.

      Judge Kim has received her mediation certificate and training from State Bar of California, National Judicial College and Hastings School of Law. She received her J.D. from Hasting College of the Law and B.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara.

    • Katherine Kwan MacDonald

      Katherine Kwan MacDonald is an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) at the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission). She joined the Commission in 2009 as a Judge. Her case assignments as an ALJ have focused on telecommunications and energy matters.

      Prior to joining the Commission, Judge MacDonald was a hearing officer at the Board of Equalization hearing appeals of California income and business tax matters. She also served as tax advisor to elected Board Member Johan Klehs from 2000-2002. Between 1996 and 1999, Judge MacDonald practiced general civil litigation with a focus in professional liability defense, employment, and landlord tenant matters. Judge MacDonald brings all of those experiences and insight to the cases she presides over, facilitates and mediates. 

      Judge MacDonald has received her mediation certificate and training from State Bar of California, National Judicial College and Hastings School of Law. Judge MacDonald obtained a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles, a J.D. from Whittier Law School, and an LLM in Taxation from Golden Gate. 


Immigration Guide