Christopher R. Guillen

Christopher R. Guillen



Natural resources attorney combining expertise in land use, CEQA and water resources issues. Specialized experience in infrastructure, real estate development projects and water-related litigation. A committed team leader with an innovative, business-oriented approach to representation and advocacy. 

With combined experience in regulation and litigation, Chris Guillen acts as a trusted advisor on complex projects as they relate to natural resources issues. His expertise spans the intersection of land use and water law, with a particular emphasis in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 

Chris relies on his unique experience to provide strategic counsel on all issues pertaining to water rights, including water-related litigation, water transactions, compliance with state regulations and water right permitting issues. His clients range from public water agencies to corporations and private property owners. Chris also advises landowners, developers, agricultural interests and energy companies on environmental review under CEQA and land use permitting requirements during all phases of project development and litigation. 

Examples of his work include: due diligence for housing developments and natural resources investment companies, representing landowners in water rights litigation, challenging overly restrictive land use ordinances, defending agricultural interests against appeals of land use permits, and helping large landowners and solar project developers vet land transition and natural resource asset opportunities, entitle their projects and withstand litigation when necessary.

Chris maintains a robust pro bono practice and sits on the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.

Representative Matters

Renewable Energy Development

  • Counsel for utility scale solar developer in all water, land use and environmental review related matters for its development and litigation defense of a 90 MW solar / 90 MW battery energy storage project approved in San Diego County.

Water Supply & SGMA

  • Counsel for coalition of agricultural interests in all issues relating to the maintenance of an adequate water supply, including issues pertaining to SGMA, well permitting, and property based assessments.   

  • Counsel for natural resources company in its development of major water supply, storage and infrastructure project. Representation includes advice on all aspects of environmental review and land use requirements and defending the project’s interests in related litigation.

Agricultural Interests & Land Use

  • Counsel for a private equity firm’s multi-million dollar investment in cannabis cultivation company.

  • Represented an alliance of three agricultural organizations (Ventura County Coalition of Labor and Agriculture, Farm Bureau of Ventura County, and Ventura County Agricultural Association) in litigation challenging Ventura County temporary ordinance that significantly limited outdoor hemp cultivation. Successfully supported effort to enact permanent ordinance to strike proper balance in addressing competing stakeholder concerns – reasonably allowing hemp cultivation in the County while protecting sensitive receptors such as homes and schools.

Insights & Publications



  • J.D., 2014, Loyola Law School, Dean's List
  • B.A., 2011, University of California at Santa Barbara, Environmental Studies


  • California


Member, Urban Land Institute (Los Angeles)

Member, Groundwater Resources Association of California

Community Involvement


Board Member, Central Coast Chapter of the Groundwater Resources Association

Board of Directors, Coastal Housing Coalition

Executive Committee, California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section



Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America, 2024

Pacific Coast Business Times, Who’s Who in Commercial Real Estate & Construction, 2022-2024

Pacific Coast Business Times, 2022