The General Counsel heads the Legal Department, which represents Metropolitan, its directors, officers and, on occasion, employees in litigation and administrative proceedings. The office renders legal advice; reviews contracts; and monitors legislation; administrative proceedings; and state and federal legislative and regulatory proposals that could affect Metropolitan. The General Counsel reports directly to the board of directors.
The General Counsel manages outside counsel and coordinates representation of Metropolitan in significant litigation matters. These can include issues related to the State Water Project, Colorado River, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the environment, water quality, real property and workforce matters. The Legal Department occasionally argues cases in courts, but is more often engaged in settlement discussions, and helps craft language for both legislation and policy.
The body of law dealing with the Colorado River dates back roughly 100 years, and the system of California water rights stretches back to the Gold Rush. As this grand edifice of law has added rooms and wings over the years, Metropolitan’s legal team has helped interpret and shape that structure. When the complexities of water rights are added to the legal challenges of involving matters such as water quality, contract disputes, labor law and environmental statutes, the Office of the General Counsel stays engaged and busy.