The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Job Details

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of twenty-six cities and water districts, which provide drinking water to a service area of nearly 19 million people in Southern California. Metropolitan’s mission is to provide its service area with adequate and reliable supplies of high quality water to meet current and future needs in an environmentally and economically responsible way. Metropolitan’s facilities include the 242-mile Colorado River Aqueduct, five conventional water treatment plants with a combined capacity of 2.3 billion gallons per day, nine surface water reservoirs, 800 miles of pipeline, and 16 hydroelectric power plants.

The Legal Department of the Metropolitan Water District has multiple openings for a Senior Deputy General Counsel in the General Counsel's Office. 

These positions will report to the General Counsel and will have the opportunity to work in an invigorating, collaborative and challenging legal environment as a member of a highly professional and effective team of 20 attorneys plus paralegals and support staff, providing a variety of legal services in many different areas. 

This Senior Deputy General Counsel serves as a legal expert for and on behalf of Metropolitan, and is responsible for safeguarding and enhancing Metropolitan’s rights, entitlements, interests, and assets. In general, the Senior Deputy should feel comfortable handling litigation in a variety of substantive areas and be willing to learn new matters. The Senior Deputy needs to work well with others, both internally and externally, and be comfortable working as part of a team. May act as a lead coordinating and reviewing work assignments of employees and outside counsel performing the same general work on a day-to-day basis. The job duties and minimum qualifications for the Senior Deputy General Counsel position in general are described below.

For this posting, Metropolitan is seeking to fill multiple Senior Deputy General Counsel positions with expertise in one of more of the following areas: litigation/environmental resource law, real estate law including transactions, leasing and litigation, labor/employment law, and public finance law. For each of these positions, knowledge of public agency laws such as the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act and experience working for or representing public agencies, providing legal advice, working with boards, committees or legislative bodies, including serving as counsel during public meetings and hearings, is preferred.

For litigation/environmental resources law, the ideal candidate will have knowledge and experience in CEQA/NEPA, CWA, ESA litigation, natural resources, and/or water law and experience in California water resource issues including the Law of the Colorado River and the California State Water Project. The ideal candidate will have experience as a first chair litigator of complex matters, experience in negotiation and documentation of complex transactions, and/or experience in representing parties in administrative proceedings at the local, state and/or federal level.

For real estate law, the ideal candidate will have knowledge and experience representing public clients in negotiating and drafting purchase and sale agreements, easements, and leases; dispute resolution and litigation. The position requires the ability to handle elimination of encroachments, filing unlawful detainer actions; eminent domain and inverse condemnation actions and other forms of real property litigation. The job requires collaboration with real property staff and outside counsel.

For labor/employment law, (This is an unrepresented position) the ideal candidate will have knowledge and experience representing public agencies in labor and employment matters. The position requires experience conducting or overseeing investigations; negotiating labor and employment agreements, including collective bargaining agreements; advising on and managing disciplinary matters and grievances, from initial administrative stage through litigation; handling employment litigation; and providing staff with day-to-day advice on a range of labor and employment issues. The position also requires working closely with human resources staff and other senior management and providing recommendations regarding personnel policies.

For public finance law, the ideal candidate will have knowledge of public agency finance law and experience with issuance of a variety of debt instruments and instruments and agreements connected with such debt instruments including but not limited to revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, variable rate debt obligations, direct placements, commercial paper and liquidity facilities. The candidate will also have knowledge of required disclosure documents, continuing disclosure obligations, the roles and responsibilities of Municipal Advisors, bond counsel, disclosure counsel, and underwriters. The ideal candidate will have familiarity with public finance-related litigation including validation and reverse validation actions, constitutional challenges and gift of public funds.

1. Takes lead role in performing complex legal assignments, including document preparation, negotiations, litigation and appeal, in a wide range of highly complex legal specialties that may include water, environmental, natural resources, public finance, public contract, construction, labor, property, power, and/or tort law.

2. Advises the General Counsel, senior management and Metropolitan’s Board on highly complex agreements, negotiations, administrative proceedings, and litigation in respective areas of expertise; performs, and may manage, legal analyses of issues related to areas of expertise; assists General Counsel and management with development of viable courses of action to achieve appropriate management decisions and protect Metropolitan’s interests.

3. Manages an area or areas of legal expertise within the Legal Department and may manage outside counsel and experts in the preparation of materials, documents, and plans related to legal assignments to ensure that the presentation of Metropolitan’s position is complete, accurate, legally sound, and supports near and long-term strategic objectives.

4. Prepares and presents information to the Board, in written form and/or by spoken presentation, on more complex legal matters; conducts legal research and prepares written legal opinions on more complex legal issues responding to questions from staff and the Board.

5. Coordinates activities related to legal assignments with internal and external contacts (including other Legal Department staff and management) to ensure that preparation, negotiations, administrative proceedings, and litigation occur in a timely manner and that Metropolitan’s interests are protected.

6. Reviews, analyzes and drafts legislation in areas of expertise and prepares responses to legislative and regulatory proposals to promote laws, legal interpretations, and regulations that are in Metropolitan’s best interest. May draft resolutions for the Board and amendments to Metropolitan’s Administrative Code and reviews contracts, operating policies, standards, and procedures for compliance with internal guidelines and objectives and conformity with applicable laws and regulations.

7. Serves on ad hoc and formal committees and task forces related to areas of expertise. Represents Metropolitan’s interests in a collaborative, informed, and timely manner.

8. Provides guidance and legal expertise to other employees and external representatives to ensure that actions taken are in compliance with objectives, guidelines, legal requirements, precedents, and policies; assists in the performance of administrative duties related to budget development and administration, approval of Board Letters, and preparation of annual business plans for Legal to ensure timely and cost-effective accomplishment of administrative activities.

9. Performs other related job duties as required.

Job Summary

Education and Experience:

Juris Doctor Graduate degree from an accredited law school and seven years of progressively responsible, directly related law practice experience performing complex and varied legal assignments. Experience representing public agencies is preferred.

Directly related law practice experience includes but is not limited to one or more of the following areas: litigation/environmental resource law, real estate law, labor/employment law, and public finance law. Knowledge of public agency laws and experience working in or for the public sector is preferred. Candidates should specify their substantive area of expertise.

Required Knowledge of: Administrative proceedings and litigation before state and federal agencies and courts in primary and/or assisting capacity; water, environmental, natural resources, public finance, contract, construction, labor, employment, property, power and/or tort law.

Required Skills and Abilities to: Conduct more complex problem-solving related to administrative, regulatory, and legislative law in area of expertise, interpret and apply Federal, State and local policies, laws, and regulations; perform duties using a high degree of independent judgment; communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing to a wide variety of audiences; establish and maintain effective working relationships; prepare detailed, more complex verbal and written communications on a wide variety of legal issues related to Metropolitan’s rights, entitlements, interests, and assets; manage cost effective legal representation; read, understand and accurately interpret more complex rules, regulations, laws, legislation, policy, and guidelines applicable to area of expertise; provide timely and accurate legal analyses and advice in area of expertise to management and the Board of Directors; conduct more complex contract negotiations involving more sensitive and controversial issues and/or conduct litigation on complex assignments; promote mutually beneficial working relationships with member agencies, external regulatory agencies and other government agencies.

Certificates, Licenses and Registrations Requirements:
California State Bar Member (member in good standing, with either active membership or the ability to activate membership prior to employment).

The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met or may be encountered by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Physical Demands: The work is sedentary. Typically, the employee may sit comfortably to do the work. However, there may be some walking; standing; bending; carrying of light items such as paper, books, or small parts; driving an automobile, etc. No special physical demands are required to perform the work.

Work Environment: The work environment involves everyday risks or discomforts that require normal safety precautions typical of such places as offices, meeting and training rooms, libraries, and residences or commercial vehicles, e.g., use of safe work practices with office equipment, avoidance of trips and falls, observance of fire regulations and traffic signals, etc. The work area is adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated.

This classification performs work that requires maintaining confidentiality and is routinely privy to matters that either involves confidential information, sensitive personnel issues, or exposure to confidential and sensitive strategic corporate information.

Work Schedule: 9/80 (Alternating Fridays off)


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