Lucas Quass advises clients on environmental matters, including land use, regulatory approvals, water resources, and related litigation.

Mr. Quass helps clients develop a full spectrum of projects in the western United States and along the California coast. From project inception to completion and ongoing monitoring, he helps clients navigate:

  • Regulatory approvals and permitting (including CEQA, the Coastal Act, and local planning, zoning, and historic preservation laws)
  • Water rights and adjudication
  • Project opponents and community relations
  • Related litigation from local courts through to the California Court of Appeals

Mr. Quass has developed a sophisticated understanding of the interplay of regulation, water rights, and environmental factors that affect residential, commercial, and industrial development projects. He provides clients an unusual complementary litigation strength to his regulatory work, having adjudicated one of only a handful of water rights disputes in California, and successfully representing clients in disputes all the way through to state appeal.

Mr. Quass has been steeped in water issues his whole career; prior to private practice he worked for the Metropolitan Water District, the largest water wholesaler in the world. Mr. Quass currently serves as the Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. He frequently writes and speaks on water and environmental issues, including Prop 65. He also maintains an active pro bono practice, including representing the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, in Laguna Beach, California.

Mr. Quass’ experience includes the following:

  • Representation of multiple development projects in the California Coastal Zone
  • Defended multiple challenges to development projects on CEQA and other grounds before California trial and appellate courts 
  • Water rights and environmental due diligence for real estate finance companies, public agencies, and agricultural operations involving the purchase, sale, and lease of real property 
  • Prepared water rights opinions and assesments for multi-million dollar real property transactions 
  • Representation of a large multi-residential property owner in the Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin Adjudication
  • Advised clients at all levels of the product distribution chain concerning Prop 65, including warning requirements, reformulation, preemptive sampling, and defense of litigation concerning alleged violations of Prop 65’s warning requirements. 

Thought Leadership

Mr. Quass has taught several courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including Persuasive Advocacy. Mr. Quass has also authored many articles and client alerts on new developments in land use, water resources, and environmental law.

  • “CEQA Case Report: 2021 Year in Review,” LW Environment, Land and Resources (2021)
  • “EPA and Army Corps Seek to Redefine Waters of the United States,” LW Environment, Land and Resources (2021)
  • “A Dry 2021 in California Prompts Water Conservation Response,” LW Environment, Land and Resources (2021)
  • “California Water Law: Legal Challenges of Water Supply Assessments,” LW Environment, Land and Resources (2021)
  • “California Appeals Court: Which Conflicting Limitations Period Applies to CEQA Claim,” LW Environment, Land and Resources (2019)
  • “California Supreme Court: CEQA Requires Study of Potential Impacts to ESHA,” LW Client Alert (2017) 
  • “California Adopts Comprehensive Groundwater Basin Adjudication Law,” LW Clean Energy Law Report (2015) 
  • “EPA and Army Corps Issue Final Rule to Govern Federal Clean Water Act Jurisdiction,” LW Client Alert (2015) 
  • Co-author, “California’s Human Right to Water Law Will Frame Future Policy Debates,” Bloomberg BNA’ s Water Law Policy & Monitor, (Mar. 2013) 
  • “Extraterritorial Jurisdiction: Extending the Reach of US Human Trafficking Law when Nations are Unable or Unwilling to Prosecute,” 2 Int’l J. Public L. & Pol’y 17 (2012) 
  • “Proxy Marriages & the Military Widow Penalty: Excluding Alien Widows of Fallen Soldiers,” 20 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Soc. Just. 501 (2011) 
  • “Federal Efforts to Achieve Mental Health Parity: A Step in the Right Direction, But Discrimination Remains,” 4 Leg. & Pol’y Br. 35 (2011)

Bar Qualification

  • California


  • JD, University of Southern California, 2011
    Order of the Coif
  • BA, University of California, Davis, 2005