Samuel E. Bivins

Samuel E. Bivins

Senior Associate

Samuel E. Bivins

Senior Associate

Clients facing complex water rights disputes and environmental litigation turn to Sam Bivins for his strong analytical skills, persuasive advocacy, and strategic approach to problem solving. 

Sam represents private and public agency clients in a broad range of matters, including Endangered Species Act litigation, groundwater rights litigation, CEQA litigation, and other matters in which water supply issues are implicated. He also advises clients regarding riparian rights, Proposition 218, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and cultural resources issues implicating Native American tribal concerns.

As a former federal district court law clerk, Sam has significant trial experience and has seen and disposed of numerous different types of motions under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Sam’s uncommon experience viewing cases from the other side of the bench results in a uniquely valuable strategic perspective when his clients are forced to defend their rights in court.


  • Represented intervening public agency in Endangered Species Act case in federal court.
  • Negotiated extensively with federal agency and Native American tribe regarding tribal cultural resources on behalf of public agency client.
  • Assisted with legal strategy and discovery in complex groundwater rights litigation in Southern California for public agency client.
  • Advocated before Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on behalf of public client regarding tax dispute.
  • Advised public agency client on the interplay between Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and Proposition 218.
  • Counseled public agency client on strategy relating to an upstream competitor’s petition for assignment of high-priority state-filed applications; drafted request to SWRCB for Release from Priority in favor of client’s license.

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Law clerk to The Hon. Morrison C. England, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, 2015-2016
  • Yolo County Transportation Advisory Commission, Commissioner
  • Reading Partners, Board Member
  • Bryte and Broderick Community Action Network, Board Member
  • Sacramento County Bar Association
  • Duke Law Journal, 2012-2014

Honors And Rankings

  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Energy & Natural Resources, 2017
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Rising Star, Energy & Resources, 2018-2019
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Citation for Outstanding Performance in History
  • UC Davis Fulmor Scholar 

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