Chief Legal Counsel
Kelly Welchans is an experienced litigator with a background in high-profile litigation in state and federal courts. Before joining CAL FIRE as Chief Counsel, Kelly spent over five years as a Deputy Attorney General in the Natural Resources Law Section at the Office of the California Attorney General, where she represented CAL FIRE and other state agencies and departments in litigation throughout the state. Prior to her time at the Office of the California Attorney General, Kelly was an associate at Arnold and Porter LLP in Los Angeles and San Francisco from 2007 through 2017. At Arnold & Porter, she focused on complex state and federal court civil litigation and spent six months in 2012-2013 assigned to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted criminal misdemeanor cases.
Kelly graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and worked for a biotechnology company for two years before attending law school at the University of California, Davis, where she earned a Juris Doctor degree.