Heather Welles pairs litigation and appellate success at the highest levels with substantive expertise in water, a field of growing importance to even the largest companies. A diverse set of clients, including innovative farmers, major movie studios, large water districts, champion athletes, skin-care pioneers, private equity funds, and environmental conservation and recreational organizations rely on Heather to write case-winning briefs, develop persuasive legal theories, and creatively resolve disputes.
Heather’s briefs have repeatedly carried the day in federal and state trial and appellate courts and arbitrations, including merits, certiorari, and amicus briefing at the US Supreme Court. She has briefed subjects including federal and state constitutional law, federal courts and jurisdiction, statutory interpretation, water law, land use, public trust, contracts, administrative law, and trademark law. A founding member of O’Melveny’s formal water practice, Heather regularly speaks on water issues, including guest lecturing at Harvard, NYU, and UCLA law schools. Heather also maintains an active pro bono practice focused on civil rights and impact litigation.
In 2023, Law360 recognized Heather as a Rising Star, one of six top attorneys under 40 nationwide in environmental law. In 2022, the Daily Journal recognized Heather as one of the forty top lawyers under the age of 40 in California, highlighting her water work and appellate practice.
Prior to joining O’Melveny, Heather served as a law clerk for the Honorable David S. Tatel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable William A. Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Heather graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she was awarded the Thelen Marrin Prize for Academic Excellence for graduating first in her class and served as the Editor in Chief of the Ecology Law Quarterly. She previously served as a legislative director in the Texas House of Representatives, where she worked on groundwater regulation, water quality, energy, and land use.