Carissa M. Beecham, Senior Counsel

Carissa assists public- and private-sector clients in the areas of land-use, natural resources, environmental law, and water law. She approaches her clients’ issues with a focus on practical results. Based on her wide-ranging experience litigating for public agencies and private entities, Carissa works with her clients and her litigation team to efficiently deliver those results.

Carissa’s experience includes pre-trial discovery and motion practice, trials, post-trial motions,  appeals, and negotiating complex settlement agreements. She has particular experience in litigating environmental laws, like the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and in land-use disputes, consumer class actions, and complex products liability disputes. Carissa now focuses her strategic and tactical litigation skills on helping clients protect water supplies in disputes involving the application of federal and state environmental laws, including CEQA, the National Environmental Policy Act, the public trust doctrine and state and federal endangered species laws.

Legal Experience

  • Represent south-of-Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) water service contractors in state court validation proceeding concerning the WaterFix project.
  • Represent south-of-Delta CVP contractors in state court litigation concerning Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan and related amendments.
  • Represent south-of-Delta CVP contractors as amicus curae in Yuba County Water Agency’s Ninth Circuit appeal concerning enforcement of federal Endangered Species Act’s consultation and take provisions against existing dams.
  • Successfully defended municipality in CEQA action challenging development approval for grocery store via demurrer and complete dismissal of Complaint; obtained prevailing party cost award for municipality.
  • Helped development project owner continue project operations pending limited remedial environmental review.
  • Defended municipality in complex groundwater contamination and toxic tort litigation, resulting in successful Motion for Summary Adjudication and pretrial settlement.
  • Represented municipality hazardous waste cleanup litigation under CERCLA.
  • Citizens for the Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno (Aug. 29, 2014, F066498) 229 Cal.App.4th 340 (represented City and developer in upholding substantial evidence standard for historical resources designation).
  • Successfully argued on behalf of amicus curae to reverse superior court decision applying improper standard of review for designation of historical resources. Friends of Willow Glen Trestle v. City of San Jose (Aug. 12, 2016, H041563) 2 Cal.App.5th 457.
  • Successfully defended loan servicer in appeal of judgment of dismissal with prejudice of consumer action for wrongful foreclosure and other title disputes in favor of the servicer.
  • Negotiated early settlement of consumer class action matter on behalf of defendant and assisted in development and administration of settlement notification and claims process.
  • Defended corporation in unfair competition class action, resulting in successful demurrer and motion to strike and favorable pretrial settlement.
  • Successfully removed employment matter to California federal court and obtained transfer to Utah federal court for out of state defendant.
  • Obtained TRO and Preliminary Injunction limiting sale of collateral property pending satisfaction of loan, resulting in favorable early settlement of dispute.
  • Assisted internal investigation, including conducting interviews, summarizing documents, and preparing final report.
  • Successfully defended municipality in election law dispute, resulting in dismissal on demurrer and denial of motion for reconsideration.
  • Obtained favorable attorneys’ fee award for municipality and successfully defended on appeal.

In 2007, Carissa was a law clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California, and served as a legislative research intern for a local government lobbying firm from 2003 to 2006.

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association
  • Member, Urban land Institute (ULI)
  • Member, Midtown Neighborhood Association
  • Member, Crocker Art Museum
  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, 2016

Academic Background

University of California Davis School of Law, J.D., 2007

  • Order of the Coif, Top 5%; Witkin Award, Criminal Procedure

University of California, Davis, B.A., Political Science, 2004

  • Graduated with Honors, Academic Achievement Award, Political Science