Law Practice

Phil Williams is a California water, environmental, and public agency attorney who counsels public and private clients on how best to achieve their objectives in today’s challenging operating environment. This includes counseling public agencies regarding their most challenging issues regarding resource planning and management, litigation strategy, and governance.

Phil negotiates for and counsels his clients regarding complex environmental issues surrounding the National Environmental Policy Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, the federal and California Endangered Species Acts, California’s Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act, the federal Clean Water Act, and California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. He represents his clients in some of today’s most significant and complex water and resource conservation efforts. As such, he engages with federal and state agencies at nearly every level of government, with particular experience before California’s State Water Resources Control Board in both rulemaking and administrative proceedings. Phil counsels his clients and their staffs on the myriad laws imposed on public agencies today, including the Brown Act, Public Records Act, the various public conflicts laws, and public contracting requirements. He also advises his clients on how to develop robust institutions and durable systems capable of ensuring success in today’s asymmetric political and regulatory environment.


Phil grew up as a child in Saudi Arabia and later served over eight years as an Officer and Army Ranger, including two combat tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. He has organized and participated in numerous fundraisers for local non-profit organizations that treat the homeless veteran community. He has spoken at a variety of conferences and seminars on issues of water and resources law and policy, and has guest-lectured on aspects of public agency and water law and on the philosophical and moral implications of modern warfare.

Prior to joining Briscoe Ivester & Bazel, Phil served as General Counsel to Westlands Water District.

His greatest joy and privilege lies in being a husband to his wife Emily and father of their two beautiful children.



birdmen (2010); a novel based loosely on his experience serving in Iraq and then coming home.

Peace Like a River: Institutionalizing Cooperation over Water Resources in the Jordan River Basin, 28 Colo. Nat. Resources Energy & Envtl. L. 313 (2017); an analysis of how to institutionally remove water resources from the conflict calculus in the Middle East.


Prior Experience

United States Army Officer (2001 – 2010)
Deputy General Counsel, Westlands Water District (2013 – 2016)
General Counsel, Westlands Water District (2017 – 2018)



U.C. Davis Police Department Citizen Appreciation Award (1999)
Combat Infantryman’s Badge (2003)
Bronze Star Medal (2004 and 2006)
Meritorious Service Medal (2010)
Tim Naccarato Leadership Award (2018)

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Direct: (415) 402-2715

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The United States Army Ranger School (2002)
Master of Public Administration, University of Utah (2009)
J.D., McGeorge School of Law (2013)
LL.M., Domestic Water Resources, McGeorge School of Law (2014)



State Bar of California
United States Court of Federal Claims