Clifford T. Lee, a highly respected water law attorney and recipient of the 2021 Environmental Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award, died suddenly in late November 2022. Cliff was a member of the Environmental Law Committee, predecessor to the Environmental Law Section, and a long-time contributor to the Environmental Law Section. Cliff frequently spoke on panels at the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, including at last year’s “Modernizing California Water Rights Law” panel.
From his most recent bio shared with ELS: Cliff received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in 1973 and his J.D. from the U.C. Davis School of Law in 1976. From 1977 to 1978 Cliff was a staff attorney with the Governor’s Commission to Review California Water Rights Law and authored the Commission staff papers “Legal Aspects of Water Conservation in California” and “The Transfer of Water Rights in California.” From 1979 through 2019, Cliff was a deputy attorney general with the Natural Resources Law section of the California Department of Justice. Cliff represented the State of California in the State Water Resources Control Board Cases (2006) 136 Cal.App. 4th 674. Cliff was one of the two lawyers awarded the California Lawyer magazine’s 2007 Attorney of the Year Award in environmental law. From 1995 through 2015 Cliff was an adjunct faculty member of the UC College of the Law, San Francisco. Cliff was the author of “Federalism and Water: The California Experience,” published in 2020 by the Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal.
We recommend “The Passing of a Respected Water Warrior: Remembering California Water Law Attorney Clifford Lee”, a wonderful tribute to Cliff written by UC Davis School of Law Professor Richard Frank, a Section Advisor.