Tom has been an attorney with Lagerlof, LLP, for more than 30 years. He practices business law and business litigation, with emphasis on water and water rights, public agencies, real estate, commercial transactions and bankruptcy.
In water matters, Tom represents both public agencies and private clients, with special expertise in Proposition 218 and Proposition 26 compliance and litigation, groundwater, water rights and water transfers. Currently he is working in a number of groundwater basins toward the formation of groundwater sustainability agencies and groundwater sustainability plans under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. He has participated in the negotiation and implementation of groundwater management plans, and represents water producers in litigation, including groundwater basin adjudications, and before the State Water Resources Control Board. He represented Western Water Company in a groundbreaking water transfer, marking the first time that the Metropolitan Water District exchanged water with a private company for delivery within its service area.
Tom has substantial experience in complex negotiations with multiple issues or multiple parties. In those negotiations, he has developed a reputation for good judgment and integrity. As a result, he has been able to lead warring parties to a mutually acceptable resolution. For example, Tom was instrumental in developing and implementing a settlement between Newhall County Water District and Castaic Lake Water Agency, culminating in legislation to merge the two entities into the newly created Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency.
Tom is general counsel for Crescenta Valley Water District and the Hemet–San Jacinto Watermaster, and is co-general counsel for the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency. He represents Palmdale Water District in connection with the Antelope Valley groundwater adjudication and the formation and operation of its watermaster.
Tom’s real estate practice embraces all types of clients and matters, including real estate purchase and sale transactions, leasing transactions, ground leasing and all types of real estate and construction disputes. For many years he has acted as pro bono counsel for San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity, including development agreements, subdivisions, and homeowner associations.
Tom’s business practice includes commercial agreements, financing, security agreements and contracts of all kinds.
Tom also represents clients in matters of litigation, and has achieved significant victories with reported opinions in the court of appeal and the California Supreme Court.