Special Districts

Special districts are tasked with providing state and local water, wastewater, transportation, electric and other public services while confronting drought, climate change and other challenges under heightened regulatory scrutiny at the state level.
With one of California’s most extensive practices, Best Best & Krieger LLP provides comprehensive legal counsel services to special districts and all other types of public agencies. In fact, we have the largest full-service public agency practice in the state and a reputation as a leader in the field.

  • BB&K represents all types of special districts including:
  • Local agency formation commissions (LAFCOs)
  • Regional councils of governments
  • Water districts and agencies
  • Transportation
  • Joint powers authorities
  • Multi-species habitat conservation agencies
  • Sanitation, wastewater, community services districts
  • Fire protection, park and recreation, hospital and resource conversation districts 
  • We also advise private developers and landowners, mutual (private) water companies and privately owned entities such as wind, solar and other renewable, green and sustainable energy companies.

Comprehensive Service
All matters involving special district services, operations, administration and regulation are handled by our team. These range from district formation, service area overlap and consolidation issues, policy matters and regulatory concerns to employment and labor disputes; real estate acquisitions, development and disposition; public works projects; land use and construction issues.

We offer guidance on public agency governance, including the Ralph M. Brown Act (open meeting law), the Political Reform Act, Public Records Act requirements, conflicts of interest and other procedural matters. Agencies rely on us to advise on everything from the introduction and adoption of minute orders, resolutions and ordinances through the timing and structure of public hearings, presentations to the public, and elections.

Recognized as the foremost authority on water law, we are general and special counsel to dozens of water agencies throughout California, advising on allocating scarce water supplies, and acquiring, developing and maintaining surface and groundwater rights.

Our special counsel services include:

Additionally, we appear on behalf of clients before regulatory bodies and assert and defend their interests in courts at all levels.

How Can Government Relations Help You?

Environmental, water, telecommunications and transportation projects by both public agencies and businesses can benefit from our advocacy services. Let us help you be heard!

Learn more about BB&K's Government Relations services.

Election Law Resource Center

Election Law Resource Center

BB&K’s Election Law Resource Center gives California cities the Vote of Confidence they need to ensure legal compliance with all aspects of local elections. This unique service includes:

  • A digital copy of BB&K’s Election Law Toolkit
  • ​Email and telephone hotline

Areas of Focus: Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) | Municipal Law | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Business | Labor & Employment
Areas of Focus: Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | General & Special Counsel | Special Districts | Water
Areas of Focus: Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Police & Public Safety | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Air Quality | Renewable Energy | Special Districts | Water Quality
Areas of Focus: Business Transactions | Finance & Banking | Mergers & Acquisitions | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Eminent Domain | Public Agency Litigation | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Public Agency Litigation | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: California Public Utilities Commission | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Renewable Energy | Transportation | Water
Areas of Focus: Education Law | Eminent Domain | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Special Districts
Press Releases Apr 21, 2021

Shawn Hagerty Named a San Diego Best Attorney 2021

Annual San Diego Metro Magazine List Includes BB&K Partner

BB&K In the News Apr 20, 2021

Legal Analysis Reports Following Groundwater Pumping Decision

Daily Journal and Law360 Go In-Depth on BB&K Antelope Valley Groundwater Adjudication Success

Event Apr 14, 2021

Rate Setting Under Propositions 218 and 26

California Special Districts Association Virtual Workshop

Authored Articles & Publications Apr 13, 2021

Court Grants Attorneys' Fees Against City in Development Litigation

CEQA Appellate Court Decision Analyzed by BB&K's Amanda Daams in PublicCEO

Press Releases Mar 30, 2021

Latino Leader Worth Watching: BB&K Partner Ruben Duran

Municipal Law Attorney Recognized by Profiles in Diversity Journal

Legal Alerts Mar 25, 2021

Appellate Decisions Limiting Groundwater Pumping in an Overdrafted Basin

Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin Adjudication

Client Successes Mar 17, 2021

BB&K Secures Key Groundwater Pumping Rights Ruling

Decision in Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin Adjudication First of its Kind

Legal Alerts Mar 11, 2021

COVID-19 Relief Package Provides Substantial Aid to States, Counties and Cities

$1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Federal Relief Package – American Rescue Plan Act

Free Webinar Feb 18, 2021

2021 Public Records Act Legislative Update

BB&K Free Webinar

Event Feb 16, 2021

Government Utility Rate Setting and Propositions 218 and 26 in Times of Uncertainty

California Society of Municipal Finance Officers' 2021 Annual Conference

Press Releases Feb 10, 2021

BB&K Announces Election Law Practice Expansion and New Client Services

A “Toolkit” and Hotline Among New Offerings

Press Releases Feb 03, 2021

BB&K Office Makes Sacramento Top 10 Law Firm

Sacramento Business Journal’s Annual Law Firm Rankings

Legal Alerts Feb 03, 2021

Court Provides Guidance in Applying “Racially Polarized Voting” Analysis to a California Voting Rights Act Challenge

Court of Appeal Decision in Yumori-Kaku et al. v. City of Santa Clara

Authored Articles & Publications Feb 01, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions About New Social Media and Open Meeting Laws

BB&K’s HongDao Nguyen and Albert Maldonado Answer Public Officials’ Questions on AB 992 on the CSDA Blog

Press Releases Jan 28, 2021

ARC: Advanced Records Center’s Christine Wood Named a Top Minority Attorney by L.A. Business Journal

A Trusted Advisor in the Business of Public Service

Press Releases Jan 26, 2021

Six BB&K Attorneys Make Southern California Super Lawyers List

BB&K Attorneys Spanning Across Los Angeles and Irvine Receive 2021 Honor

Legal Alerts Jan 25, 2021

Redistricting in California

What Public Agencies Must Know Ahead of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Data Release

Authored Articles & Publications Jan 20, 2021

Public Record Costs

Director of PRA Services and e-Discovery Counsel Christine Wood Discusses National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward in Sacramento Magazine

Legal Alerts Jan 19, 2021

Elected Officials Entitled to Some, Not All, Public Agency Records

Access Depends on if Record Request is from “Elected Official” or “Member of the Public”

Legal Alerts Jan 14, 2021

Wage & Hour, Leave and Other New Laws for California Employers

Part 2: New Labor & Employment Laws for Businesses and Public Agencies in 2021

Legal Alerts Jan 13, 2021

COVID-19 Laws Impacting California Employers

Part 1: New Labor & Employment Laws for Businesses and Public Agencies in 2021

Authored Articles & Publications Jan 08, 2021

Best in Law: Protecting Privacy on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

Glen Price Discusses Privacy Issues Around COVID-19 CA Notify App and Others

Legal Alerts Jan 07, 2021

California Public Records Act Update

New CPRA Case Law and Legislation for 2021

Legal Alerts Jan 06, 2021

Court Confirms FPPC's Authority to Punish Public Agencies That Spend Undisclosed Public Money to Influence Voters at Elections

California Trial Court Rules on Campaign-Related Public Spending

Legal Alerts Jan 06, 2021

Housing and Environmental New Laws

Part 2: New Laws Impacting California Public Agencies for 2021

Legal Alerts Jan 05, 2021

New Public Agency Laws on Safety, Finance, Contracting and More

Part 1: New Laws Impacting California Public Agencies for 2021

Press Releases Jan 04, 2021

New Partner, Leaders and Diversity Committee

BB&K Announces Changes for 2021

BB&K In the News Dec 28, 2020

Historic Cemetery Land Dispute

Media Reports on BB&K Attorneys Mark Velasquez Efforts to Identify Graves and Next of Kin

Authored Articles & Publications Dec 28, 2020

Partner Jack Clarke Honors Colleague John Brown

Riverside Lawyer Magazine Feature on Brown, the Krieger Meritorious Service Award Winner

Legal Alerts Dec 21, 2020

Special Taxes by Voter Initiative Only Require Majority Voter Approval

For the Second Time This Year, California Appellate Court Upholds Voting Requirement

Legal Alerts Dec 17, 2020

Taxpayer Actions Can be Used to Challenge Government Contracts Even After Contract Completion

California Court of Appeal Decision in School District Case Applies to Public Agencies

Legal Alerts Dec 16, 2020

New Surplus Land Act Requirements to Take Effect Jan. 1

California Public Agencies Impacted by AB 1486 Mandates

Legal Alerts Dec 14, 2020

New Tribal Consultation Process for Multi-Family Housing

California’s AB 168 Adds Requirements to Approval Process

Legal Alerts Dec 10, 2020

EPA Issues Guidance on Groundwater Releases in Wake of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

Clarity Provided for New “Functional Equivalent” Test

BB&K In the News Dec 03, 2020

BB&K Partner Ryan Baron Advising Calif. Cities on CCA Energy Path

Orange County Cities Seeking Guidance, According to News Reports

Legal Alerts Dec 01, 2020

SB 1383 Regulations on Organic Waste are Finalized

Local Government Agencies Should Begin Preparing for Jan. 1, 2022 Effective Date

Legal Alerts Nov 30, 2020

FPPC Finds Potential Conflict of Interest Based on Elected Officials’ Spouses’ Positions

The Spouses Work at Health Care Facilities that Compete with Project Under City Council Consideration

Event Nov 20, 2020

California Land Use Law & Policy Conference 2020

Argent Communications Group

BB&K Webinar Nov 18, 2020

Comments, Likes and Emojis, Oh My! An Update on Evolving Social Media Law for Public Officials and Agencies

BB&K Free Webinar

Legal Alerts Nov 16, 2020

CPRA Requesters Could Pay Agency Costs to Store Emails

Requesters Must Post an Undertaking if Public Agency Will Suffer Certain Damages During Injunction Proceedings

BB&K Event Nov 09, 2020

AEP 2020 Virtual Conference

Association of Environmental Professionals

Press Releases Nov 05, 2020

BB&K’s 2021 Best Law Firms Rankings Include New Tier 1 Recognitions

Annual U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers List

Legal Alerts Oct 26, 2020

SLONs Authorization Extended for California Special Districts

Governor Approves AB 2107 to Allow for Securitized Limited Obligation Notes by Special Districts

Authored Articles & Publications Oct 20, 2020

Public Officials' New Social Media Open Meeting Law

California's AB 992 Analyzed in PublicCEO by BB&K's HongDao Nguyen and Albert Maldonado

Free Webinar Oct 15, 2020

AB 1234 Ethics Training (Oct. 15, 2020)

BB&K Workshop via Webinar

Press Releases Oct 08, 2020

Public Finance Partner Lutfi Kharuf Recognized As One of San Diego’s 40 Under 40

SD Metro Magazine Honors Young Professionals

Legal Alerts Sep 30, 2020

DOL Clarified the Federal Family First Coronavirus Response Act

New Rules and a Court Decision Followed the FFCRA’s Passage

Event Sep 29, 2020

CSDA Virtual Workshop: Rate Setting Under Propositions 218 & 26

California Special Districts Association

Legal Alerts Sep 29, 2020

SB 1383 Expands Calif. Family Rights Act

New Law Takes Effect Jan. 1

Press Releases Sep 28, 2020

Partner John E. Brown Receives James H. Krieger Meritorious Service Award

Riverside County Bar Association Honors Long-Term Community Service

Legal Alerts Sep 24, 2020

Western Joshua Trees Receive Temporary Protection Under the California Endangered Species Act

Designation Impacts Local Ordinances and Developments Involving the Tree

Press Releases Sep 23, 2020

BB&K Partner Nancy Park is a Woman Worth Watching

Profiles in Diversity Journal Named the Business Practice Leader to its Annual List

Client Successes Sep 22, 2020

Nevada Water Rights Victory

BB&K Attorney Rod Walston Successful in Public Trust Doctrine Dispute in Nevada Supreme Court

Legal Alerts Sep 21, 2020

AB 992: Open Meeting Laws and Social Media

New California Law Addresses Prohibition on Serial Meetings on Social Media

BB&K Webinar Sep 17, 2020

Financing Options and Strategies for Groundwater Sustainability Plan Development

BB&K Free Webinar

Press Releases Sep 15, 2020

BB&K Receives High Ranks for Law Firm Diversity

Firm Leadership Renews Commitment to Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Press Releases Sep 11, 2020

BB&K Attorney Nicholaus Norvell Named a Top 40 Under 40 in San Diego

San Diego Daily Transcript Recognizes Young Professionals

Legal Alerts Sep 10, 2020

Critical Habitat Designation Regulation Change Proposed

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Proposes New Rule Regarding Exclusion of Lands from Critical Habitat for Federally Listed Species

Press Releases Sep 09, 2020

Rio Plaza Elementary Students Received Donated Backpacks Filled with Supplies

BB&K’s Annual Operation Backpack Help Students Learn at Home

Legal Alerts Sep 08, 2020

DWR Releases Draft Guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans

Stakeholders Have Until Sept. 21 to Review and Comment

Legal Alerts Sep 02, 2020

New Filing Requirements for CEQA Documents

Significant Changes begin Nov. 3

Legal Alerts Sep 01, 2020

California Supreme Court Clarifies Ministerial vs. Discretionary Actions Under CEQA for Well Construction Permits

Decision in Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus Case

Authored Articles & Publications Sep 01, 2020

City Officials Must Be Neutral & Unbiased

PublicCEO Article Examines California Precedent-Setting Bias Tainting Decision

Legal Alerts Aug 25, 2020

“You Can’t Stand in the Way of Progress”

California Appellate Court Says Public Utility Must Pay to Relocate Pipelines to Make Way for Public Transportation Project

Legal Alerts Aug 06, 2020

Local Utility Charges Cannot Be Challenged by Referendum

Calif. Supreme Court Decision in Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir

Press Releases Jul 31, 2020

San Diego Business Journal Top Law Firm 2020

BB&K Remains in the Top 25 of the Annual Ranking

Authored Articles & Publications Jul 27, 2020

The CCPA's Impact on Public Agencies

BB&K's Gregg Kettles Writes About the California Consumer Privacy Act in PublicCEO

BB&K Webinar Jul 15, 2020

AB 1234 Ethics Training (July 15, 2020)

BB&K Webinar

Press Releases Jul 10, 2020

Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars 2020

BB&K Attorneys Honored by Legal Industry

Legal Alerts Jul 07, 2020

A Toll Increase for Toll Bridge is Not a Tax Increase

California Appellate Court Says Toll is a Fee to Use Government Property, Exempt from Tax Definition

Authored Articles & Publications Jul 06, 2020

COVID-19 Orders: Government Takings?

In Law360, BB&K's Gene Tanaka and Emily Chaidez Evaluate if COVID-19 Orders are Temporary Takings

Legal Alerts Jun 24, 2020

Coronavirus Relief Funds Can Be Used for FEMA Public Assistance Cost Share

Public Agencies Should Be Aware of Requirements

BB&K Webinar Jun 11, 2020

Reopening During the Coronavirus Pandemic: How to Serve the Public and Avoid Liability

Free Webinar

Authored Articles & Publications Jun 10, 2020

E-Discovery and Public Records Lessons from California Supreme Court

BB&K's Annie Loo Provides Analysis in Association of E-Discovery Certified Specialists Blog

Authored Articles & Publications Jun 03, 2020

Investigatory Privilege and California Public Records Act Requests

It's the Information, Not the Record, that Must be Considered, Say BB&K's Christine Wood and Isaac Rosen in PublicCEO

Legal Alerts May 29, 2020

California Supreme Court: Government Cannot Charge Fee to Redact Police Body Camera Footage

California Public Records Act Provision Permitting Public Agencies to Charge for “Extraction” Analyzed

BB&K Webinar May 21, 2020

AB 1234 Ethics Training (May 21, 2020)

BB&K Webinar

Legal Alerts May 20, 2020

Update: California COVID-19 Readiness Criteria for County Variance on Reopening

More Counties to Potentially Qualify for a County Variance Under New Requirements

Event May 18, 2020

2020 Virtual Special Districts Legislative Days

California Special Districts Association

Legal Alerts May 12, 2020

California Applicant’s Briefings for COVID-19 FEMA Public Assistance Scheduled

Cal OES Providing Information via Live Webinars

Legal Alerts May 08, 2020

COVID-19: California to Begin Reopening Businesses

Resilience Roadmap Charts Course for Workplaces and Counties

Legal Alerts Apr 23, 2020

Fourth COVID-19 Federal Relief Package

Paycheck Protection Program, Small Business Administration Disaster Loans and Health Care Funding

Legal Alerts Apr 16, 2020

When is a Franchise Fee a Tax?

Franchise Fees Charged to Waste Hauler are Not a Tax if Reasonably Related to the Value of the Franchise

Legal Alerts Apr 03, 2020

COVID-19: Water Shutoff Moratorium for Homes and Critical Small Businesses

California Governor Restricts Water Supply Discontinuation for Non-Payment

Legal Alerts Mar 27, 2020

Third Federal Funding Bill Provides $2.2 Trillion for COVID-19 Impacts

The Legislation’s Key Provisions for Public Agencies and Local Governments

Legal Alerts Mar 20, 2020

COVID-19: Health Care Districts, Nonprofits and FEMA Emergency Assistance

What Costs May or May Not Be Eligible for Funding

Press Releases Mar 10, 2020

Six BB&K Attorneys Named San Diego Top Lawyers 2020

San Diego Magazine’s Annual List

BB&K Webinar Feb 18, 2020

The Firefighter Bill of Rights: A Presentation for Directors, Chiefs and Supervisors

BB&K Free Webinar

Authored Articles & Publications Feb 12, 2020

PublicCEO: BB&K Municipal Law Team Discusses New Public Agency Laws - Part 1

Elections, Public Safety, Surplus Funds and More

Press Releases Feb 06, 2020

BB&K Sacramento Office Earns High Ranking

Sacramento Business Journal’s Annual Law Firm Survey

Legal Alerts Feb 04, 2020

Organic Waste Regulation Cost Impacts

CalRecycle Study Makes Recommendations to Local Agencies

Legal Alerts Jan 13, 2020

New Environmental and Telecommunications Laws

Part 3: California Laws Impacting Public Agencies for 2020

Legal Alerts Jan 08, 2020

New Housing & Land Use, Local Government and Public Contracting Laws

Part 2: California Laws Impacting Public Agencies for 2020

Legal Alerts Jan 07, 2020

New Election, Conflict of Interest, Firearm and Cannabis Laws

Part 1: California Laws Impacting Public Agencies for 2020

Press Releases Jan 02, 2020

Eight BB&K Attorneys Promoted to Partner

Additional Changes at Firm Reflect Growth, Diversification

BB&K In the News Dec 03, 2019

Illinois Bribery Scandal Draws Comparisons to Calif. Ethics Rules

BB&K's Gary Schons Interviewed by The Associated Press

Legal Alerts Dec 03, 2019

Single Contractor Not Precluded from Providing Both Design and Construction Services

Case Provides Valuable Guidance for Public Agencies Wanting One Contractor for Two Phases

Legal Alerts Oct 31, 2019

Reminder: New Federal 911 Law Goes Into Effect in February

Kari’s Law Sets New Requirements for Multi-Line Telephone Systems

Legal Alerts Oct 24, 2019

When Public Opinion Surveys Become Reportable Expenditures Under the Political Reform Act

FPPC Advises When Public Agencies Can Survey Voters and Disseminate Results

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