Amy Hertz

New York City, New York
Father Gerald Hertz
Mother Ellen Ginsberg
Spouse Mike Talkovsky
Children Mia Hertz Talkovsky

Laura Hertz

Carol Hertz


BA Women's Studies, Amherst College 1981

JD, Cornell University 1985


1985-87 Attorney, Legal Aid of Los Angeles

1987-1989 Senior Attorney, Legal Aid of Marin

1989-1997 Office of the Attorney General of California, Health, Education and Welfare section

1997-2006 Deputy Attorney General, Tobacco Litigation and Enforcement Section


Award for Excellence as a Team given by the California Attorney General in recognition of outstanding achievements in litigating against the tobacco industry. Amy was a leader on this team of attorneys that took on the tobacco industry and secured the largest civil settlement in U.S. history. The national Amy Hertz Advocacy Award was created in 2007 to honor an individual or organization exemplifying outstanding advocacy and education in smokeless tobacco prevention and control.

Interests and Hobbies

Amy was a committed feminist and an advocate for women, children, the poor, and the elderly. She had a special interest in documenting her life and the lives of others through beautifully crafted scrapbooks and photo albums.

Societal Contributions

As a member of the second class of women admitted to Amherst College in 1977, Amy was thrust into the turbulent early days of coeducation. She lost no time in becoming an outspoken advocate on campus, speaking up about the rights of female students and the negative influence of fraternities on campus. (Frats were eventually banned at the college in 1985.) She also integrated her social and political beliefs with her studies by writing a feminist thesis about mothers and daughters. After her graduation from Amherst, Amy traveled to Oklahoma to work door-to- door on the passage of the state Equal Rights Amendment. She went without friends or family, and every day was confronted with people who were angry and hostile about the ERA. But, as it did on so many occasions in her life, Amy's conviction and passion carried her through. Amy earned a law degree at Cornell University and used this credential to pursue her commitment to issues of social justice. As an attorney at Legal Aid, Amy helped clients fight for basic needs such as food stamps and housing. In her subsequent role as a senior attorney at the California Attorney General's Office, Amy specialized in combating the abuse of the elderly in nursing homes. She later joined the AG's legal team focused on litigating against Big Tobacco. Amy became a nationally renowned expert in opposing the marketing of cigarettes to children and teens.

Additional Comments

Amy was a loving and compassionate wife, mother, and friend. She was always a gatherer of friends, whether at Amherst, at the AG's office, in her book or mothers' group, or in her neighborhood. The outpouring of support during her terminal illness was truly inspiring and an indication of the large number of lives that she touched in a positive way.