John E. Brown

Partner

Tel: (909) 483-6640

Location(s)

At a Glance

John represents public agencies including cities, redevelopment agencies, special districts and school districts as both general and special counsel.
 
He serves as city attorney of Ontario.
 
John is Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Rated.
 

John E. Brown has represented a wide variety of California public agencies, including cities and special districts, as city attorney, general and special counsel and bond counsel. With more than 42 years of experience as a public lawyer, he has successfully represented clients who have encountered nearly every legal challenge confronting public agencies. Splitting his time between Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Ontario and Riverside offices, John is passionate about the importance of the role of general counsel, particularly when his public agency clients encounter political crisis. The public agencies he has served, and continues to serve, are located in some of the fastest growing areas in California. Over the past few decades, he has assisted clients in resolving nearly every legal controversy involving public agencies, including growth moratoriums, censure of public officials and acquisition of private water companies.

City Attorney
John serves as the city attorney for the City of Ontario. He has served as the city attorney for cities throughout California since 1975, and as the town attorney of the Town of Apple Valley. Even prior to graduating from Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, John was introduced to the challenges of running a municipal corporation when he was appointed interim city manager of Unalaska, Alaska (Dutch Harbor) shortly after arriving in the Aleutian Islands for a summer planning internship in 1973. Since joining BB&K, John has represented more than two dozen cities as city attorney, including Lafayette, Redlands, Desert Hot Springs, Perris, San Jacinto, Shafter and Taft.

General Counsel
John also acts as general counsel for special districts and other public agencies. He has served as general counsel to the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District for more than 40 years and also acts as general counsel to the Hi-Desert Water District. John is also general counsel of the March Joint Powers Authority and the March Inland Port Airport Authority, the local reuse authorities for the former March Air Force Base in Southern California.

Public Agency Best Practices
With decades of experience working with public agencies, John continuously parlays lessons learned into best practices that he shares with public officials. Whether it’s presenting a panel about social media use at the California Special Districts Association conference or leading a recent workshop on handling governing board disputes for the California Special Districts Association leadership summit, John makes helping the communities he serves a priority.

Recognized Firm Leader
John joined the firm in 1975 and chaired the firm’s Municipal Law practice group from 1996 to 2008. He has also served on the firm’s Executive Committee and as its marketing partner. John is admitted to practice in the State of California.

Community Service
John has served as the president of the Board of Directors of the Mission Inn Foundation as well as treasurer and vice-president of the California Historical Society. He presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Samuel Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts in Rancho Cucamonga and the Board of Directors of the California Citrus State Historic Park Nonprofit Management Corporation in Riverside.

Education

  • University of California, Berkeley Law School, J.D.
  • Occidental College, M.A., urban studies
  • Claremont McKenna College, B.A., magna cum laude


Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Municipal Law, 2012-2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Rated, since 1995
  • Southern California Super Lawyers, 2007, 2010-2012

 

  • Urban Land Institute
  • American Planning Association
  • California Historical Society, treasurer and vice president of the Board of Trustees
  • California Citrus State Historic Park Nonprofit Management Corporation Board of Directors

 

  • “Will Driverless Car Regulations Leave People with Disabilities Behind?,” BBKnowledge, Feb. 24, 2016
  • “Social Media and Political Agencies,” BBKnowledge, Oct. 16, 2014

 

Best Lawyers in America Lists 27 BB&K Attorneys for 2019
Press Releases Aug 21, 2018

Best Lawyers in America Lists 27 BB&K Attorneys for 2019

Representing a Variety of Practice Areas

City of San Bernardino Retains BB&K
BB&K In the News Aug 21, 2018

City of San Bernardino Retains BB&K

California City News Reports

Ontario Students Received Backpacks on 1st Day of School
Press Releases Aug 8, 2018

Ontario Students Received Backpacks on 1st Day of School

BB&K’s Annual Operation Backpack Comes to Vista Grande Elementary

22 BB&K Attorneys  Earn Spot on Best Lawyers in America 2018 List
Press Releases Aug 15, 2017

22 BB&K Attorneys Earn Spot on Best Lawyers in America 2018 List

Two Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Event Jun 26, 2017

Crisis Mode: Practical Advice for Special District Leaders for Handling Board Disputes

CSDA's 2017 General Manager Leadership Summit

John Brown Video Bio
Videos Nov 18, 2016

John Brown Video Bio

Partner

BB&K’s Reimagining the Cadillac Desert
BB&K In the News Oct 27, 2016

BB&K’s Reimagining the Cadillac Desert

Maven’s Notebook Shares Highlights from Water Event

Using Nature's Technology in Response to Drought
Videos Sep 15, 2016

Using Nature's Technology in Response to Drought

Reimagining the Cadillac Desert

Modern Urban Living in the Dry Age
Videos Sep 15, 2016

Modern Urban Living in the Dry Age

Reimagining the Cadillac Desert

Water and Technology
Videos Sep 15, 2016

Water and Technology

Reimagining the Cadillac Desert

Reimagining the Cadillac Desert
BB&K Event Sep 15, 2016

Reimagining the Cadillac Desert

BB&K's Inaugural Premier Event

How are Cities Looking at Water
Videos Sep 15, 2016

How are Cities Looking at Water

Reimagining the Cadillac Desert

Press Releases Aug 15, 2016

20 BB&K Attorneys Make Best Lawyers in America 2017 List

Two Named Lawyers of the Year

Press Releases Aug 17, 2015

19 BB&K Attorneys Included on the 2016 Best Lawyers in America List

Partner Iris Yang and Of Counsel Joseph Coomes Selected as Lawyers of the Year

Event Oct 1, 2014

Rate Setting Compliance, Social Media in Politics and CEQA

California Special Districts Association

Event Sep 15, 2014

New Uses of Social Media to Engage the Citizenry and Inform the Planning Process/Ethics and Conflicts of Interest in Land Use Approval Process

American Planning Association California Chapter

Event Sep 3, 2014

BB&K Attorneys Discussed Fair Housing Claims, Environmental Legal Issues and Social Media

League of California Cities Annual Conference

Press Releases Aug 19, 2014

Thirteen BB&K Attorneys Named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 List

The Included Attorneys Practice in BB&K Offices throughout California