Steve Churchwell Partner
Steve Churchwell is a partner at Churchwell White LLP. Since 1982, he has assisted clients in charting a successful course through the challenging waters of California government and politics. He represents corporations, associations, Indian tribes and government agencies in regulatory matters, political law compliance and enforcement issues, legislative affairs, and related litigation.
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Steve brings a bit of Southern charm and twang to the Churchwell White office. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee College of Law. Steve was a partner at DLA Piper LLP (US) from 2005 to 2013 and served as General Counsel for the Fair Political Practices Commission from 1993 to 2000.
Steve has served as lead counsel to more than two dozen statewide initiative or referendum measures, and has successfully litigated cases involving many of the measures. He has two 7-0 victories in the California Supreme Court and many other appellate wins.
Steve has worked on issues in many areas of public policy, including ethics/conflicts of interest, charter schools, energy, government contracts, healthcare, infrastructure projects, internal investigations, as well as constitutional law and public finance.
For his accomplishments and experience, Steve has been given the highest rating of AV® by Martindale-Hubbell and was selected for inclusion as a Northern California SuperLawyer multiple times. Steve is a Past President of the California Political Attorneys Association and helped develop methodology used by the Ethisphere Institute, which annually ranks the World’s Most Ethical Companies.
Steve’s scholarly articles have been published in Intellectual Property Law Review, Pepperdine Law Review, Tennessee Law Review and Criminal Law Bulletin.
Steve is very committed to providing pro bono legal services. He is passionate about giving back and creating a better society for others, beliefs which are reflected in the work and culture of the attorneys at Churchwell White. As a result of his commitment to pro bono work, Steve was named by the National Law Journal to its “2013 Pro Bono Hot List.” He was one of only 10 attorneys in the United States selected for this honor, based on his work on juvenile justice issues, including Senate Bill 9 (Yee), the Fair Sentencing for Youth Act. Steve also won the 2009 National Pro Bono Award at DLA Piper for his work in South Africa with Zimbabwean women refugees.
If not a lawyer… If not a lawyer, I would be a “substitute” guitar/keyboard player for 1970s rock bands on tour (e.g., Bad Company, Yes). If a band regular was away (due to the birth of a grandchild, for example), I could fill in for a few dates.
- J.D., University of Tennessee College of Law (Law Review, Articles Editor)
- B.A., cum laude, Vanderbilt University
- National Law Journal “2013 Pro Bono Hot List”
- Past President, California Political Attorneys Association
- AV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Northern California SuperLawyer
- Best of the Bar, Sacramento Business Journal
- General Counsel, California Fair Political Practices Commission
- Chief Counsel, Cal-OSHA Appeals Board
- Legal Counsel, Office of Administrative Law
- Legislative Intern
Douglas White Managing Partner
As a founding and managing partner of Churchwell White LLP, Doug White has set himself apart as a widely respected thought leader and legal practitioner. Doug’s “clients first” approach is focused in the areas of real estate, land use, municipal law and litigation. His diverse groups of clients range from cities, counties, special districts, and other public agencies to developers, builders, lenders, professional associations, unions and business owners. Doug has vast experience in land use entitlements and project approvals, CEQA and NEPA, real estate contracts and commercial transactions, leasing, building and project certifications, project financing, eminent domain, public contracting and regulatory and governmental affairs.
Doug currently serves as the City Attorney for the cities of Dixon and Sonora, as well as Deputy City Attorney for the cities of Oakdale, Patterson, and Riverbank and is also special counsel for a number of other cities. In addition to his work with cities, he also serves as General Counsel for San Miguel Community Services District and California Valley Community Services District. As such, he advises public entities and officials on issues pertaining to the Brown Act, Political Reform Act, Public Records Act, public contracting, code enforcement, and other municipal and public law matters. In addition to his municipal work, Doug has also successfully represented public and private clients in high-profile litigation matters and has obtained favorable judgments and settlements.
Prior to forming Churchwell White, Doug served as legal counsel and Vice President of Government Affairs for the California Bankers Association as well as legal staff for the Fair Political Practices Commission. Doug also benefits from his extensive political experience as Chief of Staff, Legislative Director and consultant to various elected officials, including former Congressman Dennis Cardoza and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell.
Doug has been recognized as one of the leading attorneys in the United States on issues related to renewable energy and sustainability and been named by the California Real Estate Journal as one of California’s Green Leaders. He has also been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine and been featured as a speaker and moderator at state and national conferences. Doug is an AV Rated attorney and was also honored by his peers in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Best of the Bar by the Sacramento Business Journal.
Doug is not only an innovative leader in his field, but also in the office. As managing partner, he leads by example, incorporating his business experience and technical know-how into ensuring Churchwell White LLP remains at the forefront in providing exceptional legal services to its clients. In addition to all of those roles, Doug is a dedicated family man, occasional half-marathon runner, and California wine enthusiast.
If not a lawyer… I would work at a winery in Napa. Obviously I would like to make wine, but I’m probably not qualified for much else other than pouring. I’d just be happy to be there. But if I did produce my own wine, pinot noir (of course), it would be nice to name it after my children.
Significant Projects and Representations
- Amazon.com Distribution Hub in Patterson, California
- Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant Reuse in Riverbank, California
- Douglas Park project in Long Beach, California
- Fountainbleu project in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Newhall Ranch project in Los Angeles, California
- As the City Attorney, represents the cities of Dixon and Sonora in all municipal and legal matters
- Deputy City Attorney for the cities of Oakdale, Patterson, Newman, and Riverbank
- General Counsel, San Miguel Community Services District and California Valley Community Services District
- Facilitated the development of the Restoration Hardware distribution center in the City of Patterson, which is expected to generate over 350 new jobs for the City
- Guided the City of Patterson’s efforts in processing the necessary city approvals for a project consisting of a 120-acre business park, expected to bring over 1,000 new jobs to the City
- Responsible for the planning of a 1,100 acre industrial and commercial business park for the City of Patterson
- Assists cities in the preparation and evaluation of general and specific plan updates and adoptions
- Represented the City of Riverbank in CEQA litigation, resulting in a $4M settlement for the city
- Successfully mediated and settled litigation cases on behalf of both private and public clients
- J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Specialization in Governmental Affairs
- B.A., University of California, Davis
- Member, California State Bar, Real Estate Section
- Member, California State Bar, Environmental Section
- Member, Sacramento County Bar Association
- Licensed California Real Estate Broker
- Selected for inclusion as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2009
- Best of the Bar 2014, 2015 and 2016 by Sacramento Business Journal
- Selected for inclusion as a Northern California Super Lawyer, 2016
- “Retrofitting Office Buildings to be Green and Energy-Efficient,” Peer Reviewer, Urban Land Institute (2009)
- “Special Contribution: Understanding Green Leasing,” Green Technology Magazine (February 26, 2009)
- “All Eyes on Albuquerque,” Central California Builder Magazine (September 2008)
- “California Becomes First State in the U.S. to Adopt Green Building Standards,” Central California Builder Magazine (September 2008)
- “Entitlements Don’t Equal Consideration,” Central California Builder Magazine (July 2008)
- “Gone Green? The Top Three Legal Issues to Consider When Building Green,” Central California Builder Magazine (June 2008)
Barbara A. Brenner Partner
Barbara A. Brenner is a partner of Churchwell White LLP with extensive experience in the areas of natural resources, environmental, land use, energy and municipal law. Prior to joining Churchwell White, Barbara was formerly a partner at Stoel Rives LLP, practicing in their natural resources and environmental group as well as land use. As a leader of the Churchwell White team, Barbara advises public and private clients in permitting, regulatory compliance, transactional and litigation matters involving water resources, water quality, endangered species, land use, energy, eminent domain and general municipal matters.
In the area of water resources, Barbara has extensive experience with the protection and acquisition of water resources, water contract interpretation and negotiations, water supply planning and assessments, aquifer storage and recovery, water transfers and water quality. Barbara’s in-depth experience in water law allows her to represent water districts and other purveyors, growers, ranchers, and other rural landowners, as well as various industry clients, including those involved in the agricultural, timber, renewable energy, and land use and development sectors that are addressing California’s myriad of water supply and quality challenges.
Within her natural resources practice, Barbara assists clients with the state and federal Endangered Species Acts, wetlands, land conservation permitting, and related litigation. She has assisted private and public interests with the evaluation of Habitat Conservation Plans, Natural Community Conservation Plans, Biological Opinion consultations, California Incidental Take Permits, 404 individual permits, timber harvest plans, and conservation easements.
Barbara’s land use practice includes representing private land owners, developers, and public agencies in matters involving local government planning and zoning, Coastal Act permitting, CEQA and NEPA compliance, Clean Water Act compliance, land development strategy, eminent domain and related litigation.
Barbara’s municipal practice includes serving as general and special counsel to special districts, joint power agencies, cities, and counties. Barbara regularly advises on compliance with the Brown Act, Public Records Act, Public Contract Code, as well as various other laws impacting public agencies.
In a case of Barbara’s work rubbing off on her hobbies (or perhaps it’s the other way around), Barbara enjoys scuba diving, cycling, boating, gardening, and traveling when she can get away from the office. Whether vocation or avocation, Barbara’s enthusiasm and appreciation for the great outdoors is evident in all that she does. As an advocate for the outdoors and appreciation of open space, Barbara is an active board member of the Placer Land Trust.
If not a lawyer… I would open a bar or dive shop in Mexico or Central America, somewhere very remote and on the beach, where I could meet people from all different places while they are appreciating the underwater world.
- Lead counsel for an irrigation district through the federal and state entitlements for the development of a water banking project, including state and federal endangered species consultation
- Assisting a biomass project through the land use permit approval process involving CEQA compliance and air permitting including subsequent legal challenges to the favorable permits obtained
- Represented a private enterprise in the development of a unique water project in Northern California involving a number of regulatory agencies, permits, administrative hearings, and litigation (CalFed In-Delta Storage Project)
- Represented City in its damage claim resulting from California Department of Fish and Game’s pike eradication program at Lake Davis
- Special Counsel to City for conjunctive use program
- Lead endangered species counsel for a variety of solar and wind projects
- L.L.M., Pace University School of Law
- J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
- B.A., Sonoma State University
- Member, American Bar Association, Natural Resources, Environmental and Litigation Sections, 1984-Present
- Member, Legislative Committee, Environmental Law Section, State Bar of California, 2001-2006
- Member, Agribusiness Subcommittee Business Law Section, State Bar of California, 2011-Present
- Member, Referendum Review Committee, California Women Lawyers
- Member, Legal Committee, Association of California Water Agencies, 2010-2012
- Member, Federal Committee, Association of California Water Agencies, 2007-2009
- Member, California Building Industry Association
- Member, American Council of Engineers of California, Water Resources and Land Use Planning Committees
- Board Member, Placer Land Trust
- “California Agribusiness Laws Enacted in 2015” (co-author), Business Law News, Annual Review 2016
- “The Bay Delta Conservation Plan: Where Does It Stand?” (co-author), Western Water Law & Policy Reporter, Jan. 2011
- “State Supreme Court Sets Environmental Baseline” (co-author), The Daily Journal, Apr. 1, 2010
- “State Water Resources Control Board Initiates First Step Toward Developing Flow Criteria for the Delta Ecosystem,” Dec. 22, 2009
- “The California Water Deal of 2009: A Look at the Land Use Implications,” Webinar materials, Dec. 10, 2009
- “One Large Step Forward: The California Water Deal of 2009 – A Look at the Historic New State Water Legislation” (PDF), Dec. 4, 2009
- “The California Water Deal of 2009,” Webinar Materials (PDF), Nov. 19, 2009
- “The California Water Deal of 2009: An Historic Turning Point,” Nov. 9, 2009
- “California Seeking to Streamline Solar Plant Permitting” (PDF), June 1, 2009
- “California Regulatory Alert: Office of Planning and Research Holds Workshop on Draft CEQA Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” Feb. 4, 2009
- “Newly Issued California Executive Order Requires Energy Retailers to Deliver 33% of Electrical Energy from Renewable Resources by 2020 and Establishes Facilitating Procedural Framework,” Nov. 25, 2008
- “Recent California Environmental Legislation,” Environmental Law Alert, Nov. 7, 2008
- “FERC Re-Asserts OCS Jurisdiction for Hydrokinetic Projects,” Ocean Law Alert, Oct. 22, 2008
- “FERC Comments on the OCS Alternative Energy/Alternate Use Rule Proposed by MMS,” Ocean Law Alert, Sept. 9, 2008
- “Executive Order S-14-08 and AB 64: California’s Attempt at One-Stop Permitting for Solar Energy in the California Desert,” Solar Industry Magazine, June 2009
- “Water – Know Your Rights,” Wine Business Monthly, Dec. 2008
Randy Pollack Partner
Randy Pollack specializes in developing and directing government and regulatory affairs strategies through lobbying, political grassroots, public relations efforts and organizing industry coalitions. He regularly represents businesses and trade associations before the California Legislature, the executive branch and state agencies.
Randy has served as the lead lobbyist on issues involving chemical policy, dietary supplements, consumer packaging, cosmetics, privacy, financial, education and agricultural issues. Additionally, he has extensive knowledge in working with the California Department of Food & Agriculture, Cal-EPA, Department of Health Services, Consumer Services Agency and various other agencies to resolve issues on behalf of his clients. In a November 2009 survey, California Legislators voted Randy as the “Most Underrated Lobbyist” working at the Capitol – a testament to the effective and pragmatic approach he employs on behalf of his clients.
Before joining Churchwell White LLP, Randy established his own company focusing on legislative and regulatory affairs. Prior to that, Randy was a shareholder of a national law firm where he directed legislative and regulatory strategies for Fortune 500 companies and trade associations. Randy’s 25 years of government experience include serving as Chief Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary to former Governor George Deukmejian, where he counseled the Governor and senior staff on a variety of legal, public policy and legislative issues. As chief consultant to the Assembly Agriculture Committee, he oversaw issues affecting California’s $20 billion agricultural industry. In addition, Randy served as legal advisor to the California Public Employment Relations Board.
Randy Pollack is a registered California lobbyist and a member of the California and New York Bars. He received his J.D. from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and his B.A. degree from the State University of New York, Buffalo. As an attorney and lobbyist, Randy is an AV® Peer Review Rated lawyer, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell for legal ability and ethical standards. Although Randy is happily tied to the Capitol and Sacramento, and enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf in the nice weather, he still holds out hope that the Buffalo Bills will win a Super Bowl sometime in his lifetime.
If not a lawyer… growing up in a retail family, I would be operating a store in a small town.
- Represented dietary supplement companies in defeating legislation that would have placed onerous requirements on dietary supplement manufacturers to place on the label the country origin of every ingredient
- Represented a trade association in passing legislation that will make it easier for self-storage facility operators to run their businesses more effectively and efficiently by streamlining procedures in the operation of their businesses
- Represented a California direct seller in passing legislation that makes it easier for companies who are exporting products to other countries to obtain approval by the California Department of Public Health in an expedited manner
- Represented a data management company in defeating legislation that would have made it difficult for businesses to market to consumers through online ads
- J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
- B.A., State University of New York, Buffalo
- Chief Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor George Deukmejian
- Chief consultant, Assembly Agriculture Committee
- Legal advisor, California Public Employment Relations Board
- Voted “Most Underrated Lobbyist” working at the Capitol by California Legislatures in 2009
- AV® Peer Review Rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell
- “Proposition 65: An Overview,” presented at the Nutritional Law Symposium
Tom Hallinan Partner
Tom Hallinan brings extensive, and a career’s worth, of municipal knowledge to the Churchwell White team. Tom currently represents the communities of Empire, Grayson, Oakdale, Riverbank, Ceres and Patterson as City Attorney and Special District General Counsel. As such, he is experienced in providing legal advice on the Brown Act, Political Reform Act, Public Records Act, contracts and procurement, and all phases of real property development including public finance. He also prosecutes all municipal code violations.
A 20-year member of the Central Valley City Attorney’s Association, Tom is also active in the League of California Cities’ City Attorney Department, where he has served as the Department’s representative to the Annual Conference Planning Committee and on the Transportation, Communication and Public Works Committee. He was recently appointed as the Central Valley representative to the League’s Legal Advocacy Committee.
Tom is an elected member of the Yosemite Community College District Board of Trustees, where he is currently serving his fifth four-year term. He also serves on the Stanislaus-Ceres Oversight Board of the former Redevelopment Agency, and the Stanislaus County Assessment Appeals Board. Hallinan has served as a Governor’s appointee to the 38th District Agricultural Association, and on numerous local non-profit boards and commissions. In 2015, Tom was appointed to the California Law Revision Commission by Governor Brown. He was also recently appointed as a member of the Gaming Policy Advisory Committee of the California Gambling Control Commission.
Prior to joining Churchwell White LLP, Tom worked in the California Legislature, and for the State of California, Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Having served for two decades as both an elected official; and federal, state, county and city appointee, Tom is knowledgeable of and works well with all government agencies.
If not a lawyer… if I wasn’t practicing law, I would be the 5th generation to raise cattle on the family ranch in Coulterville, Mariposa County, California.
- As City Attorney, represents the cities of Oakdale, Riverbank, and Patterson in all municipal and legal matters
- Represented the City of Oakdale in preparing and evaluating general and specific plan updates for development projects
- Advises cities on Prop 218 matters and negotiates related franchise agreements
- Represented the City of Patterson in land use and City code matters in order to expedite economic development projects, such as the Restoration Hardware distribution center
- J.D., Lincoln Law School of Sacramento
- B.A., Philosophy, minor in General Business, California State University, Fresno
- Prosecutor/Clerk, United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California
- Staff Member California State Legislature
- Law Clerk Judicial Council of California
- State of California, Department of Toxic Substances Control
- Member, Central Valley City Attorney’s Association
- Central Valley representative, League of California Cities’ Legal Advocacy Committee
- Elected member, Yosemite Community College District Board of Trustees
- Board Member, Stanislaus-Ceres Oversight Board of the former Redevelopment Agency
- Board Member, Stanislaus County Assessment Appeals Board
- Governor’s appointee, 38th District Agricultural Association
- Governor’s appointee, California Law Revision Commission
- Member, Gaming Policy Advisory Committee of the California Gambling Control Commission
Elisabeth White Partner
Elisabeth L. White is a partner with Churchwell White LLP whose practice focuses on issues related to healthcare law, administrative law, and government affairs. As a registered lobbyist, Elisabeth has assisted a wide variety of both public agencies and private companies. Her experience as an attorney sets her apart as a lobbyist, providing her with a thorough understanding into the nuances of legislation and the language of a bill.
Prior to joining Churchwell White LLP, Elisabeth lobbied on behalf of Costco Wholesale, the California Construction Trucking Association, West Basin Municipal Water District, the City of La Canada Flintridge, and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). In particular, Elisabeth represented the City of Inglewood and advocated on their behalf before the California State Legislature. A significant project of impact involved working with Southern California water agencies and other Southern California cities to successfully oppose the City and its residents from being charged additional money for the water they were receiving.
Apart from lobbying, Elisabeth also advises clients on issues related to healthcare compliance, State licensing and certification, Medicare certification, Medicare and Medi-Cal enrollment and complex healthcare agreements. She also advises clients on, among other things, required governmental filings (e.g., Statement of Economic Interests) and political law issues including committee and campaign reporting.
Elisabeth has represented large hospital systems, foundations and physician groups. She has also worked in an in-house setting as a law clerk for both UC Davis Health System and Dignity Health. As a legislative advocate, she advanced the interests and priorities of healthcare organizations, Southern California cities, large corporations and special interest associations before the State Legislature. Elisabeth is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Health Care Attorneys. She was named a 2015 Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine in the areas of Government Relations, State, Local & Municipal Law, and Health Care. In her time away from the office, Elisabeth stays very active chasing her twin daughters and son (all age five and under).
If not a lawyer… I would be a children’s clothing designer. My twin daughters are very different individuals. I love to see them express themselves in their own unique way. I enjoy putting together looks for them that are cute, coordinate and express their unique personalities.
- Elisabeth worked with a team of attorneys and regulatory specialists for a major health organization to accomplish a change of ownership with applications pending before the California and Federal Administration including the Department of Public Health, Board of Pharmacy, Medi-Cal, Department of Social Services and many others.
- As a lobbyist, Elisabeth represented the City of Inglewood and advocated on their behalf before the California State Legislature. One project of particular impact related to municipal water rights and rates. Her work included working with Southern California water agencies and other Southern California Cities to successfully oppose the City and its residents from being charged additional money for the water they were receiving.
- J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
- B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara
- Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2015-2016
- Attorney, DL White Law Group
- Member, American Health Lawyers Association
- Member, California Society for Health Care Lawyers
- Law Clerk, UC Davis Health System
- Law Clerk, Dignity Health (formerly CHW)
Karl Schweikert Of Counsel
Not many people can claim to be a pilot, much less a CFO and attorney. However, Karl Schweikert has transformed his diverse experiences and natural problem-solving skills into an informed law practice that focuses on litigation, aviation and airport land use, governmental relations, and administrative law.
Prior to launching his legal career, Karl spent 14 years working for Silicon Valley start-ups in marketing and finance, as well as 8 years as a professional pilot. Karl then received his Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law with great distinction. While in school, he served as President of the McGeorge Health Law Association and was admitted to several honors societies, including the Order of the Coif. He additionally worked as a summer associate at DLA Piper and interned with Judge Ronald Sargis in the Eastern District of California Bankruptcy Court.
Since joining Churchwell White, Karl has been able to combine his love for aviation and his talents for communication and problem solving. As an AOPA Panel Attorney and member of the ABA Forum on Air and Space Law, as well as a member of the Healthcare and Business sections of the Sacramento County Bar Association, Karl has gained favorable rulings for a number of professional boards and worked on several issues regarding aviation and airport land use.
And if Karl’s other titles are not enough, he can also add lifeguard, college athlete, springboard diver, and school board trustee to his name.
If not a lawyer… a professor teaching law, business, or flying. I enjoy helping others learn complex concepts.
- Represent licensees in front of the Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists in investigatory and licensing matters.
- Represent licensees in front of the Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB) in investigatory and licensing matters.
- Represent applicants in front of the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.
- Represent parties in front of the California Massage Therapy Council
- Support litigation activities defending municipalities from suit
- Support litigation activities in disputes with airport tenants
- Review materials associated with a Part 13 investigation of airport and airway improvement act compliance.
- Provides Pro-Bono support to the California Pilots Association
- J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
- M.B.A., Marketing and Finance with honors, Santa Clara University
- B.S., Economics, San Jose State University
- President, McGeorge Health Law Association
- Recipient, Witkin Award
- Member, Order of the Coif
- Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
- Traynor Honor Society
- Trustee, Camellia Waldorf School, 2014-2017
- Member, ABA Forum on Air and Space Law
- AOPA (Aircraft Owner and Pilot Association) Panel Attorney
- Sacramento County Bar Association, Healthcare Section
- Sacramento County Bar Association, Business Section
- Pilot Qualifications: ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI
- Former Training Captain, BE-99, Ameriflight Part 135
- Former Check Airman, BE-99, Ameriflight Part 135
- Over 4,500 hours of flight time
Nubia Goldstein Attorney
If Nubia Goldstein’s career seems perfectly tailored towards municipal law, that’s because it is. From majoring in Government at California State University, Sacramento to choosing Public Law and Policy as her academic focus at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Nubia has developed a background in politics and policy that continually influences her diverse municipal work today.
As part of the Churchwell White LLP team, Nubia’s areas of practice include real estate and land use, litigation, eminent domain and legislative advocacy. Nubia serves as City Attorney for the city of Newman, and advises Churchwell White LLP’s municipal clients on issues related to the Brown Act, conflicts of interest, election law and land use matters. She represents the firm’s public and private clients in all stages of litigation, mediation and alternative dispute resolution. She is a member of the Public Law section of the California State Bar, a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and a registered lobbyist.
Before entering law school, Nubia gained both legislative experience working at the Capitol for a California Assemblywoman and political know-how while working on local election campaigns. The time spent staffing bills and communicating with constituents and lobbyists naturally carried over to her desire to practice law. While at McGeorge, Nubia participated in several student organizations and served as President and Executive Chair of McGeorge’s Public Legal Services Society. In addition to graduating with distinction, she earned the Witkin Award for Excellence in two courses, was admitted to the Traynor Honor Society, and received the Outstanding Student service Award for her significant contributions to the McGeorge community.
Outside of her academic honors, Nubia built upon her governmental relations and legal experience at the California Attorney General’s Office, Fair Political Practices Commission, and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. She also previously worked in the Civil Law and Motion Department of the Sacramento County Superior Court. The accumulation of all of these experiences naturally drew Nubia towards municipal law as an intersection of politics, policy, and law.
Although it may seem like Nubia’s entire life revolves around solving municipal matters, she does get out of the office to explore local eateries, museums, and sporting events. And while she is an ardent local sports fan and spends the fall managing her fantasy football team, she leaves the physical participation to the professionals.
If not a lawyer… based on my experiences organizing club and fundraising events, I would probably do event planning, either for business and political organizations or special events for non-profits — possibly both! I like watching all the elements of a well-structured event come together successfully.
- Representing the City of Patterson in all aspects of litigation with local developers
- Assisting the City of Newman in developing an urban growth boundary
- Representing local business owners in obtaining entitlements for emerging industries
- Advising municipal clients in evaluating compliance with California and federal election laws
- Represented the City of Riverbank in CEQA litigation, resulting in a $4M settlement for the city
- Contributor and reviewer of the California Municipal Law Handbook
- J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
- B.A., Government with minor in Psychology, California State University, Sacramento
- Recipient of the Witkin Award for Excellence
- Member of the Traynor Honor Society
- Outstanding Student Service Award recipient
- President and Executive Chair of McGeorge’s Public Legal Services Society
- California Bar, Public Law Section
- Registered with the United States Eastern District California Court
- Registered Lobbyist
- Member, Hispanic National Bar Association
- Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2015-2016
- Designated National Institute for Trial Advocacy Training (NITA) Advocate
- Fluent in Spanish
- “Howeowner Associations 101”, TYL, Winter 2016
Robin Baral Attorney
Robin Baral provides specialized counsel to public and private entities in the areas of land use, environmental law, regulatory proceedings and municipal law. Robin’s practice focuses on the intersection of land use, water supply planning and large-scale infrastructure projects. In the public sector, Robin currently serves as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Dixon and the City of Riverbank, while providing counsel to cities and water districts throughout California. Robin’s land use practice is highlighted by his ability to work with developers and municipalities to negotiate development agreements, process complex entitlement packages, and establish viable finance mechanisms for large infrastructure improvements, such as wastewater treatment upgrades and recycled water facilities. Robin is actively working with several public entities to finance, develop and construct surface water and groundwater storage projects, and treatment projects totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
Robin works closely with public entities, and their constituents, in a variety of matters involving municipal finance, such as Proposition 218 proceedings, the adoption of impact fees, the formation of special assessments and other voter-approved taxes. He is skilled in working with agencies and citizens’ groups in connection with local initiatives and ballot measures. In each case, Robin understands the benefit of providing effective counsel in response to the specific needs and concerns of the local community.
In addition to his public practice, Robin represents industrial operators, natural resource companies and renewable energy companies in obtaining entitlements for new projects, along with providing guidance during regulatory proceedings and administrative actions by state agencies.
Prior to entering private practice, Robin volunteered as a Special Deputy Attorney in the California Attorney General’s office, Environment Section. In law school, Robin interned in the Land Law Section for nine months, through the California Attorney General’s Law School Honors Program in Los Angeles.
Robin has developed close ties with the Sacramento region since relocating to the area in 2011. He currently serves as a director of the Yolo Land Trust, and he also enjoys volunteering and participating in seminars by the Urban Land Institute. These groups exemplify Robin’s passion for balancing smart urban development with the preservation of a vibrant agricultural economy. When he is not serving his community, Robin enjoys exploring and eating his way through the best restaurants and local establishments throughout California.
If not a lawyer… I would return to my brief career as a farmer, and own a restaurant. Sacramento’s conversion from “Cowtown” to “farm-to-fork capital” has been inspiring to watch and be part of, and I would gladly spend more time helping my community understand the issues involved between agriculture and the urban environment.
- Representing a private developer to obtain entitlements in the mixed-use development of 2,700 units and 280,000 square feet of commercial and retail uses, with environmentally sustainable infrastructure;
- Representing the City of Patterson in the development of a 400-acre master development plan and bond financing involving numerous landowners and stakeholders;
- Representing a private entity in the permitting of a $100 million industrial facility in Northern California;
- Represented the City of Patterson in the development of a 1.2 million square-foot distribution center for Restoration Hardware;
- Represented the City of Dixon in the development and financing of wastewater treatment facility upgrades totaling approximately $30 million.
- J.D., Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
- B.A., Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley
- Contributor, California Municipal Law Handbook (Municipal Services and Utilities)
- Contributor, California Continuing Education of the Bar (2014-present)
- Editor, California Water Law Journal (2013-present)
- Young Leaders Group, Urban Land Institute – Sacramento District (2012-present)
- Director, Yolo Land Trust (2013-present)
- SLEWS Mentor, Center for Land Based Learning (2012-2013)
- Law School Honors Program, California Department of Justice, Division of Public Rights, Land Law section (2009)
- Founding Director, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (2009-2012)
- Selected for inclusion as a Super Lawyers Rising Star (2015-2016)
- “A Regional Landscape Review of Climate Programs and Policies”, presented to the Southern California Association of Governments (2010)
Josiah M. Young Legislative Advocate/Attorney*
Josiah Young is both a registered lobbyist and attorney for Churchwell White LLP, providing strategic counsel to the firm’s public and private clients. Josiah seeks to achieve clients’ government affairs objectives by advocating on their behalf before legislative, regulatory and administrative bodies, drawing on his experience in policy and political work including coalition building, grassroots mobilization, strategic planning, legislative/initiative campaigns, direct lobbying, legislative tracking, regulatory monitoring and procurement services. As a Sacramento lobbyist, Josiah has worked on issues including renewable energy, advanced vehicle technology manufacturing, and environmental justice, regularly presenting targeted messages to key stakeholders. As a member of the Churchwell White LLP team, Josiah sits on the 2017 California Special Districts Association Legislative Committee.
Licensed to practice law by the State of New York, Josiah also counsels Churchwell White LLP clients on transactional matters, municipal and special district law, and political issues.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in business management from Morehouse College, Josiah attended American University Washington College of Law where he focused on commercial transactions and was active on campus, serving as President of the Black Law Students Association. While in law school, Josiah interned for a US House of Representatives member, where he worked on legislative research and drafting, as well as constituent outreach. Also, while in law school, Josiah clerked in the Office of the General Counsel for the US Department of Commerce. There, he spent time reviewing contracts, providing general litigation support, and drafting congressional correspondence. Upon graduating from law school in two and a half years, Josiah went on to oversee policy and grassroots advocacy work for several national NGOs.
When not working, Josiah enjoys spending time with his family, reading and exercising to stay fit.
If not a legislative advocate… Josiah would be a clergyman. As the son of a theologian, spirituality has always been an interest of Josiah’s. He would enjoy ministering to others and preaching.
- Represented renewable energy companies in passing legislation making it easier for them to optimize the rate of return on energy investment through the statutory setting of favorable utility tariff rates
- Represented municipal transit authorities in submitting bids on competitive procurement solicitations
- Advising private clients on statutory and regulatory compliance with the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) and AUMA (Adult Use of Marijuana Act)
- Advising municipal clients on statutory and regulatory compliance with MMRSA, AUMA, and federal law including the adoption of municipal ordinances
- Drafted public comments and testified on behalf of advanced vehicle technology manufacturing companies before regulatory rulemaking bodies
- Drafting legislative alerts and updates
- Member of the New York Bar
- J.D., American University Washington College of Law
- President, Black Law Students Association
- B.A., Business Management, Morehouse College
- Legislative Intern, US House of Representatives Member, 111th Congress
- Law Clerk, Office of General Counsel, US Department of Commerce
Kerry Fuller Attorney
Kerry Fuller’s practice focuses on public law, land use, environmental, and political law. She currently serves as Deputy City Attorney to the City of Newman and advises the firm’s other public clients on a variety of matters.
Kerry’s exposure to California’s complex water system started early. Due to her father’s work as an engineer for a water agency in the San Bernardino Valley, Kerry became fascinated with the vast web of infrastructure and accompanying laws and agreements that govern California’s water.
After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara with degrees in Political Science and Psychology, Kerry spent several years working in Washington D.C. for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign, as well as for Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental nonprofit. It was there, encouraged by her mentors and still fascinated by California’s water system, that Kerry became inspired to become a lawyer. As a result, Kerry returned to California, where she graduated from the University of California, Davis with her Juris Doctor. While in law school, Kerry worked as a law clerk at the California Attorney General’s Office in the Environment, Land Law, and Natural Resources Section and continued to explore her interest in water by taking classes focusing on water law and ocean and coastal laws. She also served as an Executive Editor of UC Davis’ environmental journal, Environs, and was selected for a Michael H. Remy Scholarship to attend the 2012 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite.
From inspiration to actuality, Kerry now flexes her decision-making and problem-solving skills as a member of the Churchwell White team. Kerry belongs to the Public Law and Environmental Law Sections of the California State Bar, and channels all of her experiences into her municipal, water, and environmental practices.
If not a lawyer… I would be an interior designer. I enjoy making spaces feel cohesive and inviting. I am obsessed with Flipping Out on Bravo, but find the idea of working with someone that intense slightly terrifying. Thus, I am not an interior designer.
- Drafting ordinances that were successfully adopted in several California cities with topics including limiting the sale and use of e-cigarettes, establishing rules regarding city-owned skate park use, and noise control regulations
- Revising City Council Procedural Rules and Personnel Policies for compliance with updated laws
- Assisting with research and trial preparation for several cases involving contractual disputes
- J.D., University of California, Davis
- B.A., Political Science and Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara
- Member, State Bar of California, Public Law and Environmental Law sections
- Member, California Political Attorneys Association
- Law Clerk, California Attorney General’s Office; Environment, Land Law, and Natural Resources Sections
- Intern, California Assemblymember, Anthony Rendon
- Recipient, Michael H. Remy Scholarship to attend the 2012 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite
- Executive Editor, Environs, UC Davis’ environmental journal
- Hillary Clinton 2008 Primary Campaign
- Special Events Volunteer at the Sacramento Zoo
Helane Seikaly Attorney
After graduating from Southern Methodist University with degrees in Political Science and French, Helane Seikaly spent a year working in Dallas on a Texas Gubernatorial campaign before attending law school in Houston. While in law school, Helane became very involved in South Texas’ nationally renowned Advocacy Program. While she was there, she competed in many mock trial tournaments, winning the American Bar Association’s sponsored Labor & Employment Mock Trial Tournament in 2012.
Because of her passion for being in the courtroom, Helane accepted a position at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office as an intern in the felony division. During her third year of law school, she first chaired a jury trial with minimal supervision by the prosecutor. She received a favorable verdict.
During law school, Helane became very passionate about labor and employment law which led her to an internship at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Houston to further gain inside experience to real world employment issues. During her time with the EEOC, Helane assisted Administrative Law Judges with preliminary hearings on discrimination claims filed by Federal employees. She also wrote decisions for the Administrative Law Judges on motions for summary judgment usually filed by Federal agencies.
Because of her love for France, after college Helane spent a year in a small French town in the center of Burgundy, France teaching English to high school students. While she was there, she was able to take advantage of traveling all over France to experience the country like a local. She also attended the largest wine festival in all of France.
If not a lawyer…the host of her own show on the Travel Channel!
- Train City employees on state and federal anti-harassment policies
- Advise Human Resources Departments on issues regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and anti-discrimination laws until Title VII and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing
- Advise Human Resources Departments on application of pension plans under CalPERS
- Advise Human Resources Departments on issues regarding union activity
- Conduct legal research in a variety of areas including labor and employment law, municipal law, property law, election law and water law
- Draft City Councilmember Handbook and Code of Ethics and Civility
- Draft Employee Handbooks
- Draft motions and pleadings in litigation disputes
- J.D., South Texas College of Law (Dean’s Honor List)
- B.A., French and Political Science, Southern Methodist University
- Member, California Bar Labor and Employment Law Section
- Member, California Political Attorneys Association
- Member, Texas Bar Labor and Employment Law Section
- Registered with the United States Eastern District of California
- Registered with the United States Northern District of California
- Registered with the United States Northern District of Texas
- Member of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Leadership Class, 2014-2015
- The Heart of the South Texas Advocacy Award, 2013
- Recipient of the Houston Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Scholarship, 2013
- Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society—Wood Inn
- 2012 Winner of the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Mock Trial Competition
- Fluent in French
Embert P. Madison, Jr. Attorney
Embert P. Madison, Jr.’s practice focuses on the areas of public law, real estate and land use, and political law. Prior to joining the Churchwell White LLP team, Embert spent several years at the state Capitol. This previous experience with the California Legislature, created a natural transition to working with cities, counties and special districts.
During his time at the Capitol, Embert toed the political ropes staffing taxation, health, and employment issues while working at the Capitol for a California Assembly Member. He also gained unique legal experience working as counsel for the Legislature at the Office of Legislative Counsel (OLC). Embert’s practice areas at the OLC included taxation (income and sales and use taxation), public contracting, and state and local government.
While in law school, Embert served as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable John A. Mendez at the United State District Court, Eastern District. During this time, he diversified his experience reviewing civil rights claims, employment matters and federal rules of court. He also worked for Chairman Emeritus of the California Board of Equalization, Jerome E. Horton, analyzing tax appeal cases. Embert was an active participant on campus as President of the Black Law Student’s Association, and as a member of Moot Court, Real Estate Club and the UC Davis School of Law Business Law Journal.
When he is not working, Embert enjoys learning about real estate markets and being active by biking or playing basketball. He is a lifelong Lakers enthusiast.
If not a lawyer… I would be an executive producer of the Bachelor. Who doesn’t love a fairy tale love story?!
- Drafted Assembly Bill (AB) 35, which would increase the aggregate housing credit dollar amount that may be allocated among low-income housing projects by $100,000,000
- Drafted Assembly Bill (AB) 1399, which would modify credit allowed under the Personal Income Tax Law and Corporation Tax Law to conform with a federal New Markets Tax Credit
- Staffed Assembly Bill (AB) 2535, which would allow employers to exempt from the requirement for information on total work hours an employee exempt from payment of minimum wage and overtime under specified statutes or any applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission
- Staffed Assembly Bill (AB) 2690, which would authorize the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to give greater consideration to small business and disabled veteran business enterprise bidders
- Instructed attorneys within the Office of the Legislative Counsel on income tax matters
- Member, Wiley W. Manual Bar Association
- Member, California Association of Black Lawyers
- Judicial Extern, Honorable John A. Mendez of the United State District Court, Eastern District
- Recipient of Wiley W. Manual Bar Association Scholarship
- President, Black Law Students Association
- J.D., University of California Davis School of Law (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall)
- B.A., English, University of California, Riverside
Vincent Vu Attorney
Prior to joining Churchwell White LLP, Vincent Vu was a Criminal Prosecutor with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Central Trials Unit, where he worked on hundreds of criminal misdemeanor prosecutions—handling jury trials, motions, and other proceedings. During this time, he gained extensive courtroom and jury trial experience. Vincent’s criminal-litigation perspective transitions well into municipal code enforcement and other litigation matters.
Vincent attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. He served as Co-Chair for the 2014 California Water Law Symposium.
During law school, Vincent complemented his academic studies by working with various organizations, including: the Honorable Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, United States District Court for the Northern District of California; Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the California Attorney General’s Office Natural Resources Section; and the California Coastal Commission. He received his B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior with a minor in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine. Vincent also participated in the University of California, Washington D.C. program, where he interned with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division.
If not a lawyer… I would be a travel photographer—photographing and eating my way around the world.
- Drafting municipal code updates
- Drafting legal alerts and updates
- Prosecuted jury trial and argued motions and other hearings as a Criminal Prosecutor with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Central Trials Unit
- Executive Committee, Environmental Law Section, Los Angeles County Bar Association (2016)
- Prosecutor, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Central Trial Unit (2016)
- Law Clerk, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Department of Water and Power (2016)
- Extern, Honorable Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, United States District Court for the Northern District of California (2015)
- Pro Bono Society, UC Hastings (2015)
- Scholarship Recipient, 44th Spring Conference, American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (2015)
- 3L Representative, Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California (2014/2015)
- Co-Chair, California Water Law Symposium (2014)
- Witkin Award, California Water Resources Seminar (2014)
- Law Clerk, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger (2014)
- Law Clerk, Natural Resources Defense Council (2014)
- Law Clerk, California Department of Justice, Office of the
Attorney General, Natural Resources Section (2014)
- Law Clerk, California Coastal Commission (2013)
- President, UC Hastings OutLaw (2013/2014)
- Scholarship Recipient, California Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite (2013)
- Volunteer, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (2013)
- Best Brief, Moot Court Class (2012)
- J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law
- B.A., University of California, Irvine
- Student case summary for the ABA Water Resources Committee: Habitat and Watershed Caretakers v. City of Santa Cruz et al., 213 Cal. App. 4th 1277 (2013), discussing CEQA EIR requirements
- Is the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Adequately Funded?, 21 Hastings W.-N.W. J. Envtl. L. &; Pol’y 163 (2015)
Christopher LaGrassa Attorney
Born and raised in Sacramento, Christopher LaGrassa always knew he wanted to be a professional that could contribute back to his hometown and other local communities. As a result, Chris’s practice focuses on public law, land use, political law and civil litigation.
Chris received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in Political Science. His degree focused on political theory with an emphasis on local government. His passion for politics and local government even inspired him to volunteer for Assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s campaigns in both 2010 and 2014.
Prior to joining Churchwell White LLP, Chris earned a wealth of public and political law experience working as a law clerk for the City of Elk Grove, Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, the Fair Political Practices Commission and Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni, LLP. These experiences gave him a comprehensive understanding of serving public agencies from the inside and out. As a member of the Churchwell White LLP team, Chris is excited to assist public entities in creating innovative solutions and positive change for their communities.
In his spare time, Chris is a passionate Sacramento sports fan. He can be seen attending every Sacramento Republic home game, proudly rooting for his younger brother, Matt (#16). Chris is also well known amongst his peers and friends for shamelessly defending the Sacramento Kings.
If not a lawyer… I would host my own podcast centered around Sacramento sports, politics, and the local restaurant scene.
- Assisting multiple municipal clients with California Voting Rights Act compliance
- Drafting a number of alerts regarding developments in municipal law, including the Public Records Act, Brown Act, CEQA, water law, and other statutory and regulatory developments
- Drafting ordinances and resolutions that were successfully adopted in several California cities with topics including district elections, appointment of city treasurers, and code enforcement regulations
- Assisting the litigation team in responding to and propounding discovery requests
- Develop extensive guides for compliance with campaign finance and lobbying law
- Enforce several violations of the Political Reform Act
- Aid municipalities through code enforcement and nuisance abatement procedures
- J.D, University California, Davis, 2015
- UC Davis Public Law Certificate 2015
- B.A. Political Science, University California, Irvine, 2012
- Member of the California State Bar, Public Law section
- Law Clerk, Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP
- Law Clerk, Fair Political Practices Commission, Enforcement Division
- Summer Associate, Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann and Girard
- Law Clerk, City of Elk Grove, City Attorney’s Office
- Intern, Kevin McCarty Campaign for Assembly, 2010 and 2014
Elaine Won Attorney
Elaine Won has always been guided by her passion for public service and politics. This passion led her to the Office of the UC Student Regent, where she assisted the Student Regent in advocating for policies beneficial to students in the University of California system. She also interned at Congressman Mike Honda’s District Office, where she dealt directly with various local and federal issues in California’s 17th congressional district.
After graduating from the University of California, Irvine, Elaine attended UC Davis School of Law. She began to pursue public law because it complemented her interest in public service and politics. Elaine worked at Churchwell White LLP during the summer after her second year, where she assisted in variety of litigation and transaction law matters and expanded on her employment and labor law experience within a public law context. In order to build her litigation and employment law practice, Elaine also externed at the Office of the Attorney General – Employment and Administrative Mandate Section. At the Office of the Attorney General, Elaine gained firsthand experience interviewing witnesses and engaging in pre-trial matters.
Elaine is passionate about staying involved in her community and assisting low-income individuals access legal services. She plans on working to solidify the structure of the Grace Lee Boggs Asian Pacific Islander Legal Clinic, which she co-founded in law school to assist underserved low-income Asian Pacific Islanders in the Sacramento and Yolo County area.
If not an attorney… I would be an event planner or an Asian American studies professor!
- Revised city personnel handbooks for the cities of Dixon, Oakdale, Riverbank, and Ceres
- Created a detailed policy for City staff and employees to follow when engaging in the Proposition 218, initiative, referendum, and recall process
- Drafted a comprehensive list of California legislation passed in 2015
- Cite-checked revisions to the Municipal Law Handbook
- Drafted special interrogatories
- Created tenant rules and regulations for a military base converted into an industrial park
- Conducted legal research on a variety of issues, including the California Environmental Quality Act, labor and employment, adverse possession, drought rates, Proposition 218, probate, arbitration, and the Public Records Act
- J.D., University of California, Davis School of Law
- B.A., University of California, Irvine
- Extern, Office of Legislative Counsel (2016)
- Extern, Office of the Attorney General – Employment and Administrative Mandate Section (2015)
- Law Clerk, Churchwell White LLP (2015)
- Sacramento County Bar Association Diversity Fellow (2014)
- Senior Notes and Comments Editor, UC Davis Law Review
- Fourth Place Paper, California Legal History (2015)
- Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento Law Foundation Scholarship (2015)
- Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento-Unity Bar Scholarship (2014)
- Outreach Coordinator, Hong Yen Chang Citizenship Project
- Policy Director, Office of the UC Student Regent
- Intern, U.S. Congressman Mike Honda