O’Melveny Welcomes Water Resources Attorney Russell M. McGlothlin

May 06, 2019


LOS ANGELES—May 6, 2019—Russ M. McGlothlin, a water resources attorney with decades of experience advising clients on water use and management matters, has joined O’Melveny as counsel in the firm’s Water Practice in Los Angeles.

McGlothlin’s extensive experience with water matters in California and the western U.S. includes litigating water controversies concerning both groundwater and surface water, water rights and environmental permitting, water transfer agreements, formation and management of water agencies and districts, water quality, and reclamation issues. McGlothlin has represented investors, companies, and property owners in water adjudication matters within numerous groundwater basins across California. He participated in a team of lawyers and policy advisors assisting the Association of California Water in the drafting of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, a groundbreaking California law designed to facilitate the management of scarce water resources across the state during California’s historic drought. He was also intimately involved in the development of laws to reform the judicial procedures for resolving California groundwater basin disputes. McGlothlin is an active speaker and author on the implications of the law on municipalities and major water users.

Matt Kline, chair of O’Melveny’s Water Practice, said, “Russ McGlothlin is a highly-respected and knowledgeable water attorney. He has an exceptional record of fighting and winning groundwater disputes in California and throughout the West, and has been at the forefront of water management policy in California. He will be a tremendous asset to our clients and our practice.”

O’Melveny of counsel and Stanford Law School’s Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law Buzz Thompson commented that, “With his years of experience at the forefront of water management issues, particularly with many of the acute challenges during California’s recent drought, Russ will be a fantastic addition to O’Melveny’s Water Practice and will complement the exceptional talent already within our group.”

O’Melveny’s bench of water lawyers is among the deepest in the country. The team helps a wide range of clients navigate all of the complicated legal issues implicated by this ever-more-important resource, from complex deal work to high-stakes litigation. In March 2019, Water Practice chair Matt Kline was named California Environment/Natural Resources Litigation Attorney of the Year and O’Melveny was honored as California Environment/Natural Resources Firm of the Year at the Benchmark Litigation U.S. West Coast Awards in San Francisco.

Some of O’Melveny’s recent water work includes:

  • securing dismissal of many of the water rights claims filed against the Coachella Valley Water District and its board in federal court by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in an ongoing U.S. district court case;
  • representing Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in its acquisition of Broetje Orchards, an 8,000 acre apple orchard and one of the largest family owned agriculture producers in the State of Washington;
  • obtaining a victory for the California Resources Corporation (CRC) in a bench trial over constitutional issues and drilling rights related to Monterey County’s Measure Z;
  • representing port operators throughout California in connection with the development, redevelopment, and operation of port terminal facilities and related transportation issues; and
  • representing large institutional investors in the acquisition of agricultural farmland in California and throughout the United States, including advising on related water rights and access issues.

“I’m excited to join O’Melveny,” McGlothlin said. “O’Melveny has successfully handled almost every conceivable issue that a water business, investor, financier, user, or government entity could face. I look forward to adding my experience to their exceptional water practice.”

Prior to joining O’Melveny, McGlothlin was a Shareholder in the Santa Barbara office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He earned his law degree, with honors, from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A., with honors, from the University of Oregon. A frequent writer on water topics, McGlothlin’s writings include two chapters of California Ground Management, published by the Groundwater Resources Association, and several law review articles concerning water management.

About O’Melveny

It’s more than what you do: it’s how you do it. Across sectors and borders, in board rooms and courtrooms, we measure our success by yours. And in our interactions, we commit to making your O’Melveny experience as satisfying as the outcomes we help you achieve. Our greatest accomplishment is ensuring that you never have to choose between premier lawyering and exceptional service. So, tell us. What do you want to achieve? Visit us at omm.com.


Brandon Jacobsen
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
+1 213 430 8024