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, water rights, water quality, administrative law and land-use matters.

Legal Experience

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

  • Endangered Species Acts (Federal and State)
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits
  • California Water Rights

Prior to and during law school, Ms. Leeper gained a wealth of practical experience, especially in the areas of water and environmental law, through various internships and law clerk positions, including a summer associate position at Kronick where she worked with attorneys in the natural resources and public agency departments. As a summer associate, Ms. Leeper researched and drafted memoranda on a variety of legal issues, including the creation of view easements, criteria for water permit time extensions and constitutionality of sign ordinance amendments. She also analyzed and interpreted legislative history of Water and Government Code sections. Other examples of Ms. Leeper’s experience include:

  • As a Law Clerk for the firm Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP, she researched and drafted memoranda on permissible mitigation measures under CEQA, eviction procedures on tribal lands and the constitutionality of local government ordinances.
  • As a Law Clerk for the United States Department of Justice, Environment & Natural Resources Division, she researched and drafted memoranda on the nature of water rights under Federal reclamation and California law, CERCLA’s “innocent landowner” defense, subrogation of rights under the Oil Pollution Act, and agency authority to announce rules in an adjudication under the Administrative Procedures Act.
  • As a summer intern for the California Department of Transportation Legal Division, she researched case law & statutes for environmental, construction, eminent domain and tort litigation.  She also conferred with scientific experts and reviewed scientific reports in support of environmental litigation.

Professional Activities and Affiliations

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


  • 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)
  • Seminar Research Paper, “California’s Water Rights In An Uncertain Future: How To Protect The Public Interest In A Changing Climate” (2010)
  • Recipient, Best Brief, Moot Court (2009)

B.S. University of California, Berkeley, 2006

  • Major in Conservation and Resource Studies
  • Recipient, California Alumni Association Leadership Scholarship (2005)