Scott S. Slater - Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP

Scott S. Slater

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2010

Scott is co-chair of the firm’s Natural Resources Department. An experienced litigator, Scott's legal practice now emphasizes negotiation and strategic planning for clients seeking to secure new water supplies and assisting them in meeting their objectives for reliability and sustainability. Scott serves as special water counsel to investor-owned utilities, private equity groups, private corporations, special districts, cities and large landowners.

Scott has nearly 30 years' experience representing clients in complex water matters, predominantly in the Western United States. He has conducted transactional counseling, negotiated and drafted proposed legislation, and represented clients in groundwater litigation and stream adjudication. He has also handled water resource and water quality cases before the California State Water Resources Control Board, the Public Utilities Commission and state and federal courts.

Among his more significant recent water transactions, in 2007 Scott acted as facilitator, negotiator and draftsman of a complex set of court approved agreements that will effectuate a novel groundwater management strategy in the Southern California Inland Empire. The agreements will allow for the harvesting of 400,000 acre-feet of groundwater and 10 mgd of expanded desalting capacity to dramatically curtail outflow to the Santa Ana River. In 2005 Scott completed negotiations for an agreement for the joint use of the Upper American River Project (UARP) for the benefit of El Dorado County, an area of origin community at the headwaters of the American River. Through the Quantification Settlement Agreement, in 2003 he capped nearly a decade of effort by negotiating agreements for transfer of 277,000 acre-feet per year for the San Diego County Water Authority, the largest water transfer in United States history.

Scott has been active in numerous water adjudication and litigation matters and he 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.

An accomplished author and public speaker, Scott is frequently called upon to present at national water and environmental 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 called upon repeatedly to serve as an expert witness in water law and the professional standard of care for water lawyers.

Scott is CEO and General Counsel for Cadiz Inc., a publicly traded company. While maintaining his shareholder position at Brownstein, Scott serves as Cadiz's lead liaison with customer agencies and oversees the company's environmental and resource management efforts.

Additional Information

Court Admissions — U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Obtained reversal in full of two separate, but related trial court decisions denying motions to amend judgments governing the West Coast and Central groundwater basins, which provide local water supplies to the millions of people living and working in the greater Los Angeles region. The motions seek to provide for the conjunctive use and management of the basins, including procedures for use of the basins' available storage space. (Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary v. Golden State Water Co. (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 658 (review denied); Water Replenishment Dist. of Southern Cal. v. City of Cerritos (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 1063 (review denied).)

Represented two private equity firms in successful bid for and acquisition of SouthWest Water Company (SWWC), a publicly-traded, investor-owned water utility with operations in several states in the western and southeastern United States. Brownstein attorneys provided strategic advice, performed due diligence, assisted with the merger and acquisition, and acquired regulatory approvals for the transaction from state public utility commissions. This is the first successful public-to-private conversion of a water company in the past decade, and SWWC was one of only 13 publicly-traded companies in the United States. The transaction matter was nominated for Water Deal of the Year at the Global Water Awards held in Berlin as part of the 2011 Global Water Summit.





University of RedlandsBA 1980University of the PacificJ.D. 1984
Limoneira CompanyCadiz Inc.

Office Location

2049 Century Park East, Suite 3550
Los Angeles, CA 90067-3217
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2014 Lawyer of the Year in Water Law of the Los Angeles Metro Area
Scott S. Slater has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2014!

Practice Areas

Water Law