20 May 2010

Got water problems? Call a lawyer!

There's a conference on California Water Law happening today and tomorrow in San Francisco.

What's funny sad to me is that:
  1. A lot of water problems can be blamed on lawyers. (Just read that the Colorado River is the "most litigated" in the world.)
  2. These folks are not hearing from very many non-lawyers. I am obviously thinking of myself, but -- seriously -- can't they get some other views in the room?
Overall, this seems to be about credit hours, cocktail hours and billable hours, not resolving our conflicts.

Bottom Line: It will take a lot of different views to come up with a solution to California's water problems, but law views are more likely to hinder than help.


  1. DZ - You're right about both points. In the first place, attorneys are often paid to be the adversarial counter-part whether that's private on private, or private on state matters. In the second, they are not USED to hearing from others on "law" since they think that the law is basically immutable in most circumstances. But open discussion on point 2 is possible, and I've had some of my best and most honest chats with attorneys willing to listen to natural and social scientists....whether about water metering, pricing, or straight-up adjudication issues.

    But water law is too important to leave to the lawyers (only)!

  2. The underlying problem is that the legal profession, as a whole, is generally too insular. This goes from its barriers to a legal education (should be undergrad) to conferences like the one you describe (should include policy wonks, scientists, economists, and other experts).


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