Russell McGlothlin


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Russell (“Russ”) McGlothlin is an experienced water resources attorney who has spent decades advising clients on water use and management matters in California and the western United States. His expertise includes compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), water rights permitting and compliance, water transfer agreements, groundwater banking, water quality, regulated water utilities, mutual water companies, and reclamation issues. He represents private companies, large agricultural producers and investors, municipalities, special districts, and landowners with transactional negotiations, litigation, and administrative agency proceedings.

Highly active in the development of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, as well as laws designed to reform judicial procedures related to groundwater basin disputes, Russ has an exceptional understanding of high stakes groundwater management issues in California.

A frequent writer and speaker on water topics, Russ’ writings include several law journal articles and two chapters of California Groundwater Management, which is published by the Groundwater Resources Association.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2023 as "Lawyer of the Year" for Water Law in Los Angeles, CA; Litigation - Environmental and Water Law in Century City, LA
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2022 for Water Law in Century City, CA
  • Who’s Who in Professional Services, Pacific Coast Business Times (2015, 2018)
  • Who’s Who in Clean Tech & Sustainability, Pacific Coast Business Times (2015)
  • Top 40 Under 40, Pacific Coast Business Times


Bar Admissions

  • California


  • University of Michigan, J.D., with honors, 2000
  • University of Oregon, B.A., with honors, 1994

Professional Activities



  • Co-Author, “California Groundwater Management,” Groundwater Resources Association of California, Second Edition, 2005

Law Review Articles

Other Publications



Community Involvement

  • Partnership Council Member, Community Environmental Council
  • Seminar Instructor and Liaison to the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, U.C. Santa Barbara
  • Member, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management’s Council of Legal Advisors

Water Management and Transactions

  • Counsel to one of California’s largest agricultural growers in its compliance efforts with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
  • Counsel to large golf course owner in desert groundwater basin negotiating groundwater pumping rights and other matters to comply with SGMA.
  • Counsel to a large group of agricultural landowners that are parties to the first groundwater basin adjudication in California following the enactment of SGMA.
  • Legal counsel to California’s largest avocado grower for water rights matters.
  • Represented a group of local agencies in Ventura County in connection with the negotiation and drafting of a joint powers agreement to form a Ground Sustainability Agency pursuant to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.