Mike represents water utilities, groundwater conservation districts, municipalities, landowners, and various business interests. He advises and represents clients concerning water resource development, management and transactions, water rights, water quality, endangered species, service area disputes, rates, litigation, and board governance. Mike also provides strategic counsel concerning groundwater resource management and development, and negotiates and drafts wholesale and retail water supply agreements and groundwater leases and transfers.

Prior to law school, Mike worked as a litigation consultant and financial analyst. During law school, he served as a law clerk at the Environmental Protection Agency (Region VI), the Natural Resources Division of the Office of the Attorney General, and the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Practice Areas
Education
  • J.D., St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • B.B.A. in Accounting, University of Texas at Austin

Professional Licenses
  • Admitted to State Bar of Texas (1997)
  • Admitted to College of the State Bar of Texas (2005)

Representative Experience
  • Represents landowners and developers on all aspects of water and wastewater issues
  • Provides strategic counsel concerning groundwater resource management and development, and negotiates and drafts wholesale and retail water supply agreements and groundwater leases and transfers
  • Served on the Senate Bill 3 EARIP attorneys workgroup, and represents clients on matters implicating the Endangered Species Act
  • Handles all aspects of water and sewer service area (CCN) issues, including certification and decertification proceedings at TCEQ, litigation at SOAH, § 1926(b) litigation in federal and state court, and resolution of disputes through negotiated settlements
  • Prepares and evaluates applications for drilling and production permit applications on behalf of applicants and as general counsel to several groundwater conservation districts
  • Provides strategic and general counsel to several groundwater conservation districts in support of developing rules, management plans, desired future conditions, and all aspects of regulatory programs and board governance
  • Offers compliance counsel on TCEQ regulations governing utility standards and Edwards Aquifer Protection Program
  • Provides counsel on retail and wholesale water utility ratemaking and rate appeals
  • Handles litigation and appellate work in state court and SOAH, including disputes involving water rights, water reuse, service area, water quality, easement/real property, and groundwater permitting
  • Represents municipal and investor-owned utilities on TPDES permitting and sourcewater protection initiatives

Publications & Presentations
  • Speaker, “Analysis of Texas Supreme Court’s Coyote Lake Ranch v. City of Lubbock Decision,” presented at the Texas Water Conservation Association Groundwater Panel with co-panelist E. McCarthy (2016)
  • Speaker, “Moving Groundwater in Texas,” presented with co-panelists J. Beach, B. Dugat, R. Johnson, A. Valdez, and K. Vickers at the Texas Groundwater Summit (2016)
  • Speaker, “A Discussion of Recent Court Cases and Decisions Affecting Groundwater Management,” presented with co-panelists D. Caroom, B. Dugat, R. Johnson, E. McCarthy, and D. Miller at the Texas Aquifer Annual Conference sponsored by the American Groundwater Trust and Texas Water Development Board (2016)
  • Speaker, “Groundwater Case Law, Court Decisions, Affirmation of Groundwater Management,” 15th Annual Bell County Water Symposium (2015)
  • Speaker, “Texas Water Policy and Developments in Texas Water Law,” Texas Rural Water Association’s Texas Rural Water Foundation Lecture Series (2015)
  • Speaker, “Groundwater Rights and Policy,” Texas Aggregates & Concrete Association Environmental Seminar (2015)
  • Co-Author with T. Embrey and T. Brewer, “Groundwater Management and GMA Joint Planning Process,” Texas Water Conservation Association Confluence (2015)
  • Texas Tribune Trib+Water Interview (2015)
  • Speaker, “Water Policy,” Texas City Management Association Annual Conference (2014)
  • Speaker, “Life After the Endangered Species Designation: What Protecting the Springs Means for Us Locally,” 13th Annual Bell County Water Symposium (2013)
  • Speaker, “Water and Water Rights: Legal Issues,” Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association’s Annual Environmental Seminar (2013)
  • Speaker, “Implications of the Endangered Species Act to Groundwater Conservation Districts and Other Stakeholders,” Texas Groundwater Summit (2013)
  • Speaker, “Groundwater Availability as a Matter of Law: A Discussion of the Statutory Model for Quantifying the Resource and Determining Water Availability and Implications for State Water Planning,” UT Energy Law Center Distinguished Lecture Series (2013)
  • Speaker with L. Fazio, C. Dupuy and J. Beach, “Water Policy,” Water: Key to Our Future Symposium, Envision Central Texas (2013)
  • Co-Author, “Groundwater Availability as a Matter of Law: A Discussion of the Statutory Model for Quantifying the Resource and Determining Water Availability,” presented at the Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas, sponsored by State Bar of Texas (2013)
  • Author, “Federal Decisions Whether to List New Endangered and Threatened Species and Habitat Could Affect a Utility’s Operations under the Endangered Species Act,” Quality on Tap (2013)
  • Speaker, “Implications of the Expedited Endangered Species Act Listings Process,” presented with co-panelist Steve Paulson, Ph.D. at the 100th Annual Conference, Texas Municipal League/Texas Municipal Utilities Association (2012)
  • Speaker, “Challenges to Water Resources Management Under the Endangered Species Act: Strategies and Tools to Address Unprecedented USFWS Action,” presented with co-panelists R. Biggers, P.E., K. White, Ph.D., P.G. and Todd Votteler, Ph.D. at the TWCA Mid-Year Conference (2012)
  • Speaker, “Evidentiary Issues and Practice Tips; Mechanisms for Evidence Exclusion,” Anatomy of an Administrative Hearing,” Austin Bar Administrative Law Section (2012)
  • Author, “Endangered Species Act Developments in Texas that Could Affect Your Project,” Lone Star Current (2012)
  • Speaker, “Risk Management, Conflict Resolution and Litigation Strategy,” Annual Districts Conference – Texas Rural Water Association (2011)
  • Author and Speaker with I. Hansen and G. Jolley, “Opportunities and Challenges in Securing Water for Development,” presented at the 33rd Annual Advanced Real Estate Law Conference (2011)
  • Speaker with K. Petersen and M. Jones, “Challenging Desired Future Conditions: Appeal to the Texas Water Development Board and Initiation and Inquiry by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,” presented at the Texas Water Law Institute (2010)
  • Author and Speaker, “Water Supply for Land Development: A Focus on Retail Water Utility Service,” presented at the Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas, sponsored by State Bar of Texas (2010)
  • Editor and Peer Reviewer, “Chapter 36 Groundwater Conservation Districts and Subsidence Districts,” Essentials of Texas Water Resources, Ch. 13 (2009)
  • Author and Speaker, “Water Utility Regulation,” presented at Texas Water Laws and Regulations (2009)
  • Co-Author with David Klein, “Fire Flow Service: A Barrier to Development?” The Lone Star Current (2009)
  • Author and Speaker, “Water and Sewer Utility Regulation” presented at Texas Water Laws and Regulations, Half Moon Seminar (2008)
  • Author and Speaker with E. McCarthy and L. Sherman, “What To Do When a Groundwater Client Calls: An Examination of Stakeholders’ Priorities and Texas Groundwater Law,” presented at the Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas 2008, sponsored by State Bar of Texas
  • Co-Author with J. Hill, “Evidence and Preserving Error in Environmental Cases at SOAH,” Anatomy of an Administrative Hearing, Austin Bar Administrative Law Section (2008)
  • Author and Speaker with R. Williams, “Groundwater Availability—A Discussion of Desired Future Conditions, Managed Available Groundwater, and GMA Planning Pursuant to House Bill 1763,” presented at the Water Rights, Sales and Transfers in Texas Lorman Seminar (2007)
  • Course Co-Director with John R. Pitts, Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas, sponsored by State Bar of Texas (2005, 2006)
  • Author and Speaker with B. Wilson, “Equity and Process in the Regulation of Groundwater: Should Local Defer to State? presented at the TRWA/TWCA Law Seminar—Texas Water Law: The Debate Continues (2005)
  • Guest Lecturer, Resolution of Disputes Involving Aquatic Resources, Texas State University Graduate Level Program in Water Resources Management (2004)
  • Speaker with panelists L. Dean, R. Gilbert, M. Hess, and D. Conoly on “Hypothetical Water Deal Involving Groundwater District, Rancher, Developer, and Municipality (as Groundwater District’s General Counsel),” presented at the Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas 2004, sponsored by State Bar of Texas
  • Speaker with panelists C. Barron Bradsby and K. Kramer, “Rule of Capture Celebrates a Stormy Century,” Presented at the Fifth Annual Environmental Forum, sponsored by Baylor University School of Law (2003)
  • Speaker, “Legal and Practical Considerations for Water Marketing,” presented at the Austin Area Research Organization (2003)
  • Speaker and Co-Author with B. Sledge, “Permitting Rules and the Need for Rules Early after District Confirmation,” presented at the Groundwater Conservation District Seminar Series: Programs, Plans, and Rules for your Groundwater Conservation District, Texas Water Resource Institute (2003)
  • Author, “The Recent Evolution of Texas Water Policy and Law, Southwest Hydrology (2003)
  • Speaker and Author, “Protecting Groundwater Rights Inside and Outside a District,” presented at the Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas 2003, sponsored by State Bar of Texas
  • Speaker with panelists T. Chenoweth and M. Kelly, “Environmental and Water Quality Concerns Facing Texas Water: Instream Uses,” presented at the Water Law 2002, Texas Water Law Institute (2002)
  • National Public Radio interviews concerning water resource management (2002)
  • Speaker and Author, “New Laws Affecting Water Issues Enacted During the 77th Legislative Session,” and with panelists R. Jolley, D. Conoly, G. Ellis, and G. Jarvis on “Hypothetical Water Deal Involving Groundwater District, Rancher, Developer, and Municipality (as City Attorney),” presented at the Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas 2002, sponsored by State Bar of Texas;
  • Speaker, “Transferring Conservation and Converted Base Irrigation Rights: Analysis of Legal Implications of Edwards Aquifer Authority’s Rules and Enabling Act,” presented at the Regional Clean Air & Water Seminar (2001)
  • Author and Speaker, “Groundwater Law: Rule of Capture and Property Rights Issues,” and Author and Panel Participant with R. Melvin, D. Conoly, and D. Becker on “Hypothetical Water Deal Involving Groundwater District, Rancher, Developer, and Municipality (as Groundwater District’s General Counsel),” Presented at the Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas 2001, sponsored by State Bar of Texas
  • Speaker and Co-Author with E. McCarthy, “Water Resource Development: Reuse Water as a Viable Option (A Discussion of the Legal Framework Governing Reuse Projects),” presented at the Water for Texas 2000 and Beyond, Texas Water Resources Institute Conference (2000), and published in hardbound edition, “Water for Texas” (2005)
  • Speaker, “Legislative Update on 76th Legislature,” presented at the S.A. Bar Association Environmental Law Section (1999)
  • Speaker, “Analysis of Texas Supreme Court’s Ozarka Decision,” presented at the S.A. Bar Association Environmental Law Section (1999)

Professional Associations & Memberships
  • Chairman (2009-2010), State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section
  • Former Board Member, Chairman, San Antonio Bar Association Environmental Law Section
  • Member, American Water Works Association
  • Member, State Bar of Texas Litigation and Environmental and Natural Resources Law Sections
  • Member, Austin Bar Association Administrative Law and Environmental, Natural Resources & Water Law Sections
  • Member, Texas Water Conservation Association
  • Member, Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts
  • Member, Board of Advisors, University of Texas School of Law Environmental Law Clinic
  • Certified Master Naturalist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Honors & Awards
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated in Natural Resources and Water Law by Martindale-Hubbell
  • The Best Lawyers in America© : 2013 – 2017 in the field of Water Law
  • Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, San Antonio Bar Foundation

Mike can be found hiking with his wife, kids and retriever on local trails, and enjoys time on the river canoeing, kayaking, and fly fishing. He continues to volunteer time with the American Cancer Society, Certified Master Naturalist Program, and State Bar’s Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section.