O’Melveny Formalizes Water Practice, Renowned Natural Resources Expert Rejoins Firm

February 25, 2016


LOS ANGELES--FEBRUARY 25, 2016--Backed by more than seven decades of experience, O’Melveny’s Water Practice helps a wide range of clients navigate the complicated legal issues that surround this ever-more-important resource. By formalizing the water-related work that the firm has been doing since the 1940s, the multidisciplinary group is able to pool its resources to respond to recent demand from clients for long-term strategies to handle both water quantity and quality issues. From cutting-edge transactional work, to high-stakes litigation and regulatory matters, O’Melveny’s new industry group incorporates a broad swath of expertise in issues ranging from water transfer, wheeling, ownership, and infrastructure issues; to project finance, litigation, government regulation, water quality, and tax questions.

“The most sophisticated businesses around the world are focused on water not only as a cost source, but as a part of investment and growth strategies,” said partner Matt Kline, who heads O’Melveny’s Water Practice. “Our lawyers have been advising clients in these various areas for decades, but with a new formal water group, we are able to hone that advice across various disciplines, and help businesses and policy makers find good pragmatic solutions to address new demands.”

O’Melveny’s water group is bolstered by the addition of Of Counsel Buzz Thompson, who is a sought-after thought leader on water issues and an O’Melveny alumnus. In addition to his legal work, Thompson is a professor of Natural Resources Law at Stanford Law School, the director and senior fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment, and the author of several books on water law and policy. In 2008, the Supreme Court appointed Buzz to serve as the Special Master in the Montana v. Wyoming original jurisdiction water-law dispute.

“O’Melveny has a history of being at the forefront of cutting-edge issues that are critical to its clients, which is of special importance today in the water field as water law and the water sector look to change more in the next five years than they have in the last 50,” said Thompson, who officially joined the firm’s Silicon Valley office in January. “I’m thrilled to be joining such a distinguished group of litigators, advisors, and dealmakers to navigate the complex world of water issues for our clients.”

O’Melveny’s experience litigating water-related cases dates back to one of the first underground water basin cases in California. In the years since, O’Melveny has handled many more such adjudications, along with a variety of tideland, development and environmental cases, and coastal development zoning matters. The firm’s multidisciplinary team of attorneys works seamlessly with environmental experts to assist clients both on the feasibility of proposed projects and in the documentation of the transaction to protect our client’s rights.

The Water Practice draws from O’Melveny attorneys around the world, including several leading practitioners in California, where water issues are so key, including partners John Laco, Kelly McTigue, and Greg Thorpe, as well as up-and-coming counsel like John Rousakis (a former general counsel at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection), Dimitri Portnoi, and Brittany Rogers. As Thorpe noted, “whether it’s for a large real estate development project, a public agency that needs to deliver more water to urban users, agricultural or environmental constituents, or outside investors, we really enjoy working as a team on these matters and delivering timely results.”

About O’Melveny & Myers LLP

O’Melveny’s clients shapes markets, set precedents, and break boundaries. They are stalwarts and innovators, the names you trust and the next big thing. And for more than a century, O’Melveny has been right beside them, kicking down walls and putting up defenses to help our clients achieve their most important goals. With approximately 700 lawyers in 15 offices worldwide guided by the principles of excellence, leadership, and citizenship, we uphold a tradition of treating our clients’ challenges and opportunities as our own. What do you want to achieve? For the answers, please visit www.omm.com.

Julie Fei