Roderick E. Walston is of counsel in Best Best & Krieger Litigation practice group in the Walnut Creek office. He specializes in environmental law & natural resources, water law, and in appellate practice. During his long career in the California Attorney General’s office, Mr. Walston litigated many of the State of California’s most important natural resources and environmental cases, particularly at the appellate level. He has served as the top lawyer for the U.S. Department of the Interior, and as head of the California Attorney General’s Public Rights Division, which handles all litigation in the natural resources, environmental and water law areas. In these capacities, Mr. Walston has acquired expertise in many areas of the law, including state water rights and water quality laws, federal reclamation laws, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, public trust issues, land use regulation, and constitutional takings issues, among others.
Mr. Walston has argued several cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, and others in federal and state appellate courts. He has argued Supreme Court cases involving the applicability of state laws to federal reclamation projects, the applicability of the public trust doctrine in the water rights context, the applicability of state laws to federal agencies under the Clean Water Act, the applicability of state laws to federally-licensed hydropower projects, and the scope of the Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory authority over navigable waters. He has also argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court under the Court’s original jurisdiction. His range of litigation and management experience extends to many other natural resources and environmental matters.
Mr. Walston’s past experience includes serving as Deputy Solicitor/Acting Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior (2002-2004); General Counsel of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (2000-2002); Special Counsel of the California Attorney General’s Office (1999-2000); Chief Assistant Attorney General of the Public Rights Division, State of California (1991-1999); and Deputy Attorney General of the State of California (1963-1991).
Mr. Walston received the United States Supreme Court "Best Brief Award" from the National Association of Attorneys General in 1997 (for brief submitted in Bennett v. Spear, 520 U.S. 154), and received the "Public Lawyer of the Year Award" from the State Bar of California in 2004. He is currently listed in "Who’s Who in America," "Who’s Who in the World" and "Who’s Who in American Law." He has been recognized by his peers as one of “The Best Lawyers in America”® for environmental, natural resources and water law in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Mr. Walston received his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School in 1961, where he served as Editor for the Stanford Law Review. He graduated cum laude from Columbia University where he received a Bachelor of Art degree in 1958. Mr. Walston attended Boise Jr. College and served as Student Body President in 1956. He is admitted to practice in the State of California and is a member of the Bar for the U.S. Supreme Court, California Supreme Court and the U. S. Court of Appeals (First, Second, Third, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits, District of Columbia Circuit and Federal Circuit).