Scott Slater is renowned in the water industry for his ability to deliver strategic solutions and secure reliable water supplies. He has unparalleled water law experience spanning 35 years as a water rights litigator and transactional attorney. His practice emphasizes negotiation and strategic planning for his clients including holistic resource management solutions that seek to integrate all of the client’s business objectives. The successful pursuit of durable solutions (transactional and litigation) that will withstand legal and political scrutiny in the highly charged arena of water requires both experience and innovation. Whether helping guide private companies to serve as public stewards of their water resources or representing public agencies serving the resource needs of their constituents, Scott demonstrates creativity and often changes the paradigm from win-lose to non-zero sum outcomes.
A member of the firm’s Executive Committee, Scott also serves as special water counsel to investor-owned utilities, private equity groups, private corporations, special districts, cities and large landowners. He has more than three decades of experience representing clients in complex water and infrastructure matters, predominantly in the Western United States. He was named one of the top 100 lawyers in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, rated AV by Martindale Hubble, included among the Best Lawyers in America (2010-2018), and selected as Water Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in 2014.
He has developed and implemented strategic initiatives in the most complicated settings in California, provided transactional counseling, negotiated and drafted agreements, proposed legislation and represented clients in groundwater litigation and stream adjudication. He also handles water resource and water quality cases before the California State Water Resources Control Board, the Public Utilities Commission and state and federal courts.
Scott is active in numerous water adjudication and litigation matters and has a working knowledge of every adjudicated groundwater basin in California, including the Chino Basin, the San Fernando Basin, the Six Basins, the Seaside Basin, the Santa Paula Basin, the Central and West Coast Basins, the Mojave Basin, the Goleta Basin and the Sacramento Basin. The consensual stipulation in the Six-Basin adjudication set the standard for expeditious resolution of groundwater conflict resulting in a comprehensive adjudication.
An accomplished author and speaker, Scott is frequently called upon to present at national conferences. He is the author of a two-volume treatise titled California Water Law and Policy. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Pepperdine School of Law (1996-2002), a visiting lecturer at the University of Western Australia and at various universities in the People's Republic of China. In addition, Scott has been appointed to water management boards and frequently serves as an expert witness in water law and the professional standard of care for water lawyers.
Scott is CEO and President for Cadiz Inc., a publicly traded company. While maintaining his shareholder position at Brownstein, Scott serves as the primary architect of the environmentally benign Cadiz Water Project that has now secured two public agency approvals and 12 court opinions validating the project and its review and approval process.
Appointment and Expert Witnesses
Board of Directors, Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency, appointed to Board of Directors for a special act agency with responsibility for managing groundwater in Ojai, California, 1994-1996.
Expert Witness on water, water rights and attorney “standard of care” in administrative and civil proceedings.
- Mojave Water Adjudication Attorney’s Fees, 57 CPUC 2d580 (1994)
- 851 Approval of American States Six Basins Adjudication, CPUC, 1999 Cal.PUC Lexis 647 (1999)
- Approval of Aerojet Settlement, 2005 WL 1798330 Cal.PUC 2nd (2005)
- 851 Approval of Folsom Lease, CPUC, 2004 Cal.PUC Lexis 95 (2004)