J. Carlos Orellana is the District Counsel for Valley Water. The Board appointed Carlos to serve as Valley Water’s chief legal officer in April 2021, with an effective date of June 1, 2021.
Carlos was previously the Deputy General Counsel of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). At VTA, he was the primary attorney responsible for construction contracts—including the $9 billion extension of the BART train system into Silicon Valley—and successfully defended the agency’s $6 billion sales tax measure in the trial court and on appeal. Before joining VTA, Carlos was a senior associate at the local firm of Miller, Morton, Caillat & Nevis, practicing construction law and commercial litigation. Carlos began his career at the national firm Fenwick & West, where he practiced in the firm’s litigation, employment, and electronic information management groups.
He graduated from UCLA School of Law and received a BS in Political Science and a BA in Spanish Studies from Santa Clara University.
Carlos recently chaired the La Raza Lawyers of Santa Clara County Charitable Foundation, which awarded over $40,000 in scholarships in 2020.
Originally from El Salvador, Carlos grew up in the Bay Area and has called San Jose his home since he was 10 years old.