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Webinar: National Audubon Society & Mono Lake Committee v. Superior Court: Behind the Case

May 5, 2022 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

This webinar is part of the Public Trust in California Webinar Package. Get the bundle!

1 Participatory MCLE Credits

In the late 1970’s and 1980’s a diverse coalition of local residents, scientists, activists and a dedicated team of lawyers achieved a landmark victory when the California Supreme Court handed down its decision in National Audubon Society & Mono Lake Committee v. Superior Court. The Mono Lake decision took a somewhat obscure doctrine, the “public trust,” and enshrined it as environmental law. And beyond the immediate controversy, public trust law has continued to provide a legal foundation for sustainable preservation of California’s water-related natural resources in the context of competing water needs. As Mono Lake turns 40, please join CLA in bringing together some of the key players who shaped, fought for, opposed and decided this foundational decision.  

CLA Member Price – $55.00
Non-CLA Member Price – $75.00
Law Student – $10.00

Speakers: Martha Davis, Harrison Dunning and Stuart Somach
Moderator: Andrew Sawyer

Martha Davis
Martha Davis graduated from Stanford University cum laude with a degree in human biology and received her master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Martha Davis was the  Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee from 1984 – 1997. Ms. Davis’s tenacity and vision guided the Mono Lake Committee from direct-action to stunning success.

Harrison Dunning
UC Davis School of Law Professor Harrison “Hap” Dunning is a leading expert on natural resources, water law and the public trust. He helped develop the concept of the public trust as a legal tool. His scholarship was cited and relied upon in the Court’s decision.

Stuart Somach
Stuart Somach is a shareholder at Somach Simmons & Dunn. His four decades-long career in water law includes his work as U.S Attorney when federal agencies were named as a parties in Mono Lake.

Andrew Sawyer, Moderator
Andrew Sawyer is an Assistant Chief Counsel at the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) in Sacramento, California, where his responsibilities include managing the activities of the Office of Chief Counsel involving the State Water Board’s water right and underground storage tank programs. Sawyer has held his current position since 1988, and worked for the State Water Board since 1977.  

Before coming to the State Water Board, he had a clerkship with Justice Samuel J. Roberts of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. 

Sawyer is a former chair of the Environmental Law Section of Sacramento County Bar Association, and a former chair of the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California. 

Sawyer received his J.D. in 1976 from the University of California at Berkeley and his A.B in 1973 from Harvard.

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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