On November 2009, Jo Anne Bernal became the first female County Attorney in El Paso County’s history. Before Commissioners Court appointed her, Ms. Bernal had been working with the County Attorney’s Office for 16 years, 14 years as First Assistant County Attorney.
As County Attorney, Ms. Bernal manages an office with an annual budget of 7.5 million and supervises more than 100 employees. In addition to handling complex litigation, she oversees 39 attorneys who practice both civil and criminal law in areas that range from civil rights litigation to juvenile prosecution.
Jo Anne Bernal was born and raised in El Paso, and received her law degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. Since then, Ms. Bernal has been a practicing attorney representing elected and appointed officials in litigation in state and federal courts.
Prior to joining the El Paso County Attorney’s Office in 1993, Ms. Bernal served 6-years as an Assistant Attorney General in the Law Enforcement Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
Ms. Bernal is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is currently the only female attorney board certified in Civil Trial Law in El Paso Texas.
Since becoming a lawyer, Ms. Bernal has been very involved in community organizations that seek the welfare of El Paso residents. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Advocacy Center for the Children of El Paso that takes care of children who are victims of crimes. Ms. Bernal has also served on the State Bar of Texas’ Committee on Legal Services to the Poor and the El Paso Police Department Citizen’s Advisory Committee.
In addition, she regularly volunteers at the Opportunity Center for the Homeless of El Paso, has served as a mock trial coach for area high school students, is a member of the El Paso Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and is a founding member of the El Paso Women’s Political Action Committee.
Ms. Bernal has received several awards that recognize her professional work, among them the “2009 Outstanding Lawyer of the Year” by the Mexican-American Bar Association (MABA), and the “Outstanding Young Lawyer of El Paso” by the EP Young Lawyers Association in 1996.
Jo Anne Bernal has been married for 12 years to Eddie Castillo, and has 2 daughters, Cassie and Alexis.