Joe Byrne

California Water Commission

Joseph Byrne is an of counsel attorney in the Los Angeles office of Best Best & Krieger and is a member of the firm's Environmental Law & Natural Resources, Special Districts, Municipal and Business Services practice groups. He advises both public and private sector clients on water law, public law and government and legislative strategies, with additional experience in general business law.

Joseph has considerable experience advising public and private clients on various issues related to water, including helping clients secure water supply, negotiating and drafting many types of water-related agreements, analyzing water rights, and advising on regulatory and policy issues. He also advises a number of public entities — primarily cities and special districts — on a broad range of issues, including various contracts, the Brown Act, CEQA, conflicts of interest, personnel, public works bidding and contracts, the Public Records Act, land use and general compliance with state and federal laws. He works closely with a number of cities and districts on a daily basis.

Joseph is also very familiar with California’s legislative process as well as water policy issues. He worked on water policy issues at the State Capitol for a number of years and recently taught a water policy class at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Policy. In May 2010, Joseph was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve on the California Water Commission, where he serves as chair. He was re-appointed to another term by Gov. Jerry Brown in July 2014. The Commission has a number of important statewide responsibilities related to water.

In addition to his public sector work, Joseph advises private sector clients on a wide variety of general business law issues, including general litigation, corporations, employment, contracts and general counsel work. He has specific experience working with apparel and water technology companies on many aspects of their businesses, including negotiating and drafting licensing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, manufacturing and distribution agreements, and employment and settlement agreements.

Joseph worked in the government practice group at Mayer Brown, where he advised clients on transactional matters and gave strategic advice on state legislative and regulatory matters. He also worked at Burke, Williams & Sorensen for a number of years in its public law practice group. From 1998-2002, he worked in the California State Assembly, serving two years as counsel to the speaker of the California State Assembly and as the speaker's chief policy consultant on water/environment and public safety. He also served as the speaker's appointee to the California Court Reporters Board and the California Earthquake Authority.

He was born, raised and continues to lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. Joseph enjoys spending time in the outdoors, sports and learning about California history.