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  • Todd O. Litfin, Chair
    Phone: (714) 641-3454
    Email:

Government & Regulatory Law

Expertise in resolving state and local regulatory challenges

Successful projects in California must navigate complex regulatory systems governing all aspects of land use, housing and business activities. These systems present both challenge and opportunity. The key to avoiding one and maximizing the other is knowledge of governmental law and California’s stringent environmental regulations—the kind of expertise you can depend on from Rutan & Tucker.

We currently have almost forty attorneys whose practices focus on governmental and public law, working on behalf of public and private clients throughout the state. We are familiar with evolving legal developments, and are adept at handling specialized and complex problems in a timely and efficient manner. This puts our clients at the forefront of emerging governmental regulations, programs and services, and positions them to devise and implement effective solutions to issues as dynamic as the political climate that creates them.

Our practice is proudly split between both public and private clients operating in this field. Throughout California, we advise private individuals, developers, property owners, commercial and industrial concerns, community organizations and other private entities that have dealings with governmental agencies. Our expertise extends not only to substantive regulatory requirements and restrictions, but also the rules governing the review and processing of entitlements and approvals, and the specialized procedures for challenging or defending governmental decisions.

A longstanding commitment to serving the public sector

That said, public service is also inherent in our firm’s DNA. We have been integrally involved in the practice of public sector law since A.W. Rutan opened his law office in 1906. In fact, our founding partners were pioneers in establishing several cities and water districts in Southern California.

We currently represent scores of public agencies as general counsel, city attorney or special counsel. Our clients include cities, school and community college districts, water districts, public finance authorities, community service districts, counties, and other local governmental entities. The firm’s local government representation extends from advising agencies in public meetings, to representing entities in regulatory, transactional, finance and inter-governmental matters, to prosecuting and defending local agencies in litigation or administrative proceedings covering the entire spectrum of public law.

Areas of Specialization

  • Land use, zoning and subdivision law
  • Regulatory Permitting, federal, state and local regulations and permitting requirements relating to endangered and threatened species, coastal resources, wetlands, historic preservation, archaeological and paleontological resources and mineral extraction
  • Economic development laws including redevelopment, infill, and local incentive programs
  • State and federal regulations relating to hazardous waste, including toxic tort litigation and real property transactions raising environmental law issues
  • Affordable housing projects including federal, state and local housing regulations, and grant, loan and financing programs
  • Election law including initiatives and referenda
  • Government relations and political law 
  • Municipal reorganizations, including annexations, incorporation of new public entities, consolidations, mergers and dissolutions
  • Enforcement of local municipal, zoning and uniform codes and public nuisance law
  • Open meeting issues under the Ralph M. Brown Act
  • Political law including ethics in government, conflicts of interest, Political Reform Act, Government Code Section 1090 restrictions and incompatibility of office issues
  • Public Records Act issues
  • Municipal finance
  • Public agency representation 
  • Cable television regulation
  • Public acquisition and disposition of both real and personal property, including relocation assistance
  • Eminent Domain, inverse condemnation and property valuation
  • Land movement and subsidence litigation
  • Federal Civil Rights Act litigation
  • Constitutional law
  • Regulation of adult-oriented businesses
  • Public works contracting and procurement law, including prevailing wage issues
  • Insurance law issues applicable to public agencies
  • Public sector personnel and labor law
  • Water and water agency law, including the acquisition, transfer and enforcement of water rights, and water quality and pollution issues
  • Education law 
  • Property taxes, fees, assessments and rate issues arising under Propositions 13, 62 and 218, and exaction, dedication and impact fee issues.
  • Redevelopment agency wind-down processes, including interface with the California Department of Finance

When law, business and politics coincide, specialized and experienced guidance is often needed to strike the proper balance, and assure the best available result. Rutan & Tucker has a distinguished legacy of doing exactly that for clients, both public and private.