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Ernest Calderon  

Ernest Calderón




Education Law


Employment Law

Commercial Litigation

Administrative Law

Construction Licensing

Professional Licensing

Appellate Law

Erest Calderon bio

Ernest Calderón, a native of Morenci, Arizona, and a sixth-generation native of what was New Mexico Territory, has practiced law in Arizona since 1983.

Ernie Calderón began his tradition of leadership as student body president at Northern Arizona University. His career has included elected and appointed service as:

  • president of the Arizona Board of Regents,

  • president of the State Bar of Arizona,

  • president of the Boy Scouts of America (Grand Canyon Council), and

  • chair of the Catholic Community Foundation, Diocese of Phoenix.

Six Arizona governors have appointed Mr. Calderón to leadership positions.

Legal Practice

In addition to conducting an effective and diverse law practice that encompasses a broad scope of litigation, administrative, transactional and appellate skills, Mr. Calderón has substantial in-house legal experience as the Director of Legal Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and as a litigation attorney for Arizona Public Service.

Government Litigation. Mr. Calderón has more than 25 years of experience in litigating cases in Arizona’s state and federal trial courts and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is also experienced in the areas of civil rights litigation, construction litigation, vendor actions, business defense contract litigation, liability claims and appellate law.

Business Law and Commercial Litigation. Mr. Calderón has represented numerous clients in business disputes and commercial litigation matters. He offers expertise in unfair competition and business interference disputes along with offering business succession planning. He has litigated disputes over commercial leases, ownership and shareholder disputes, financial and misrepresentation disputes, contract breaches and business torts.

An extensive knowledge of the litigation process enables Mr. Calderón to efficiently assess cases and form an effective and economical litigation plan. His litigation planning has involved all commercial settings, including business dissolutions, partnership disputes, defense against personal injury claims, construction defect disputes and employment law cases. He also excels in pursuing plaintiff personal injury cases, plaintiff’s wrongful death disputes and various malpractice proceedings.

Education Law. Mr. Calderón has represented several school districts throughout Arizona on a wide range of issues. He regularly handles investigations of teacher misconduct, teacher termination hearings, and defense against employee claims of discrimination and sexual harassment. He has provided advice and representation on numerous student issues, including student discipline, student records and constitutional issues. He has advised governing boards on statutory and procedural issues and sensitive open meeting law matters. He has extensive experience in representing school districts in all aspects of the procurement and construction process, including administrative hearings, arbitration and litigation. He has been involved in the negotiation and drafting of complex intergovernmental agreements.

Employment and Labor Law. Mr. Calderón regularly provides employment law advice and litigation representation to public and private employers on issues involving age, sex, race or disability discrimination and wrongful discharge. Mr. Calderón has handled numerous cases involving sexual harassment and negligent hiring and supervision. He regularly advises employers on employment policies and procedures and due process/discipline issues. He has also represented executive-level employees in limited plaintiff employment claims.

Administrative Law. Mr. Calderón has extensive experience in representing clients before local, state and federal administrative agencies. He represents employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Arizona Civil Rights Division (ACRD) and other agencies. He has represented public entities in employee disciplinary and termination hearings. In the construction arena, he has represented public and private construction project managers in procurement and other administrative hearings.

He has guided clients in their dealings with the Arizona Department of Insurance, particularly with regard to the establishment of public entity insurance and benefits pools. He represents many businesses in disputes with the State of Arizona particularly involving regulation and procurement disputes.

Health Care and Professional Licensing. Mr. Calderón has assisted dental, behavioral health and other healthcare providers in professional licensure and disciplinary cases before professional boards. As a former President of the State Board of Dental Examiners and State Bar of Arizona, Mr. Calderón has significant professional liability defense experience. Further, as former Director of Legal Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona, health care law has been at the heart of his practice. He currently serves on the Cancer Treatment Centers of America – Western Hospital Board. He has also represented school districts and governing boards in teacher disciplinary actions and group health insurance matters.

General Business Law. Mr. Calderón regularly represents clients in contract negotiation, drafting and review, business transactions, corporate governance, compliance counseling, and numerous other matters ranging from major deals to day-to-day business operations.

Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mr. Calderón has served as a pro tempore Arizona Superior Court Judge to preside over mediations and settlement conferences. He has also been appointed a Special Master and Mediator by Arizona’s state and federal Courts. He works diligently to help parties resolve their disputes before costly litigation overshadows their dispute.

Civic and Academic Distinction

Harry S. Truman Scholar, 1977 (Arizona's first)

Doctor of Humane Letters, Northern Arizona University, 2013

Victoria Foundation: Edith Sayre Auslander Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues in Higher Education Award, 2012

Judge Learned Hand Award (Community Service), 2004

Society of St. Vincent de Paul: Dan O’Meara Award, 2003

University of Arizona: Distinguished Citizen Award, 2003

Hispanic National Bar Association: Latino Lawyer of the Year, 2002

Anti-Defamation League: Leaders of Distinction Award, 1998

Chicanos Por La Causa: Community Advocacy Award Recipient, 1993

Valle del Sol “Profiles of Success” Hispanic Leadership Award

Civic Leadership

Arizona Board of Regents: Member, 2004-2012; Past President (2009-2010); President Emeritus

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Western Regional Medical Center: Board of Directors, 2008-present

Aquila Municipal Trust: Trustee, 2001-present

Northern Arizona University Foundation: Board of Directors, 1986-present

Catholic Community Foundation, Past Chair (1998-2000), Past Board Member (1992-2002)

Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Phoenix

St. Theresa Roman Catholic Parish, Parishioner

Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (Papal Order), Knight Grand Cross, Vice Councillor, 2003-2006

Diocesan Finance Council, Member, 1994-2001

Diocesan Human Development Council, Past Member

Diocesan Immigration Task Force, 2007-2008

Grand Canyon Council, Boy Scouts of America: Past President (2004-2006); Former Cubmaster (Pack #148)

Valley Leadership: Past Chair (1994-1995); Man of the Year (Metro Phoenix), 2004

Gubernatorial Transition Team Member, Governors Napolitano and Brewer

Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners: President, 1990; Member, 1986-1993

Arizona Community Foundation: Past Board Member

American Red Cross, Greater Phoenix Chapter: Past Board Member

Valley of the Sun United Way: Past Board Member

American Diabetes Association, Phoenix Office: Past Board Member

Central Arizona Shelter Services: Past Board Member

Northern Arizona University: Professor, Adjunct Faculty

Mayor’s Ethics Task Force, City of Phoenix: Member

Arizona Town Hall: Member

Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent
Rated by Super Lawyers 
Arizona's Finest Lawyers
Litigation Counsel of America

Professional Honors and Awards

AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell®

Super Lawyers, 2007-2017

Litigation Counsel of America: Founding Fellow; Barrister, Order of Juris; Advocate, Order of Certus

Arizona’s Finest Lawyers: Sustaining Member

Professional Activities

State Bar of Arizona:
Past President (2002-2003); Board of Governors, 1987-1988, 1997-2003; Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, 1990; Appointments Committee Chair, 1999-2000; Executive Council Member, Labor and Employment Law Section; Construction Law Section

Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, 1993-2000

Past Judge Pro Tem, Arizona Court of Appeals, 1993, 1994, 1996

Past Judge Pro Tem, Arizona Superior Court

Arizona State University Law Society: Board of Directors, 1992-1997

University of Arizona Law College Association: Board of Directors, 1986-1994

Arizona Appellate Practice Institute: Faculty Member

Supreme Court of Arizona Professionalism Course: Faculty Member

Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges: Past Member, Council of Board Chairs

Professional Memberships

American Law Institute: Elected Member

American Bar Association: Member, 1983-present; House of Delegates, 2004-2006

American Bar Foundation: Fellow

State Bar of Arizona

Federal Bar Association

Maricopa County Bar Association: Volunteer Lawyer of the Month, June 1989, August 2001

St. Thomas More Society: Past President (1992-1993)
Los Abogados, Hispanic Bar Association: Member of the Year, 1998; Vice President, 1985-1987; Board of Directors, 1985-1992; Co-Founder, Valdemar Cordova Fund

National School Boards Association: Council of School Attorneys

Court Admissions

Arizona, 1983

U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1983

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1983

U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1984

U.S. Supreme Court, 1986

Published Opinions

Florez v. Sargent, 185 Ariz. 521, 917 P.2d 250 (1996)

R.L. Augustine Construction v. Peoria Unified School District No. 11, 188 Ariz. 368, 936 P.2d 554 (1997)

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission v. Fields, 206 Ariz. 130, 75 P.3d 1088 (Ariz. App 2003)

Gallo v. United States District Court, District of Arizona, 349 F.3d 1169 (2003)

Judicial Clerkship

Hon. Walter E. Craig, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1982-1984


Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Graduate Course Certificate, 2009

J.D., University of Arizona, 1982: President, Student Bar Association

B.S., Northern Arizona University, 1979: President, Associated Students of Northern Arizona University, 1978-1979; President’s Award (Outstanding Graduating Senior), 1979; Gold Axe Award, 1979


Morenci, Arizona