Elizabeth L. Leeper

Ms. Leeper represents public and private sector clients in the areas of natural resources and water law. Her practice focuses on regulatory compliance, groundwater and surface water rights, water quality, administrative law and land-use matters.

Legal Experience

Ms. Leeper performs a variety of legal services for clients, including strategic advisement, in-depth legal research and analysis, regulatory compliance assistance and litigation support. Specific areas of expertise and experience include:

  • California Water Rights
  • Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)
  • Endangered Species Acts (Federal and State)
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act
  • Federal Reclamation Law and the Central Valley Project

Ms. Leeper has extensive litigation experience in both state and federal courts, primarily in water-related cases involving issues of agency authority and regulatory compliance. For example, in 2014 Ms. Leeper and other firm attorneys obtained a favorable federal court decision on a challenge to the Bureau of Reclamation’s statutory authority to make additional water releases from federal reservoirs for fishery purposes. San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Auth. v. Jewell, 52 F. Supp. 3d 1020 (E.D. Cal. 2014).

Ms. Leeper is also an experienced negotiator and has obtained favorable settlements for clients. For example, Ms. Leeper negotiated the settlement of a client’s claim for attorneys’ fees against the federal government and obtained a nearly seven-figure settlement for the client.

    Professional Activities and Affiliations

    • Northern California Rising Star (2015, 2016)
    • Top Lawyer, Sacramento Magazine, 2016
    • Member, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), State Legislative Committee
    • Board of Advisors, California Water Law Journal
    • Member, Water Education Foundation Water Leaders Class (2014)
    • Member, California State Bar Association
    • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association
    • Member, Sacramento MetroEDGE


    • Author, "District Court Grants Injunction Against Klamath River Project After Finding Bureau of Reclamation Failed to Reinitiate Consultation Under the ESA,"  California Water Law Policy Reporter, March 2017
    • Author, "U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Water Resources Release Final Environmental Documents for the California WaterFix Project," California Water Law Policy Reporter, February 2017
    • Author, "State Agencies Release Draft Report Identifying Expansive Regulatory Framework for California's Future Water Conservation Requirements," California Water Law Policy Reporter, January 2017
    • Author, "State Water Resources Control Board Releases Proposed Increased Flow Objectives for San Joaquin River Tributaries," California Water Law Policy Reporter, October 2016
    • Author, "New Lawsuit Challenges the Bureau of Reclamation's EIS Regarding Changes to Coordinated Central Valley Project Operations Under Biological Opinions," California Water Law Policy Reporter, August/September 2016
    • Author, "State Water Resources Control Board to Consider Adoption New General Order for Recycled Water Use," California Water Law Policy Reporter, April 2016

    Academic Background

    J.D. University of California, Hastings School of Law, 2011

    • Co-Chair, California Water Law Symposium VI (2011)
    • President, Environmental Law Society (2009-2010)

    B.S. University of California, Berkeley, 2006

    • Major in Conservation and Resource Studies