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Anne J. Schneider

Anne J. Schneider (1947-2010) is acknowledged as one of the first women to become well known and well respected in the field of California and Western water law. “Anne was an amazing person — an accomplished college athlete, mountain climber, skier, marathon runner, velodrome and long-distance cyclist; a devoted mother; a dedicated conservationist,” said Justice Ronald B. Robie in the Inaugural Anne J. Schneider Memorial Lecture in May 2012. “And, most importantly for our purposes, a gifted and skillful attorney, not to mention one of the first women to practice water and natural resources law, back when that was a rare thing indeed.” He described her as having the “ability to look for comprehensive and fair-minded solutions to our state’s water problems, to see ‘the big picture,’ and to get her clients to see that picture, too.”

She became the first female partner at Downey, Brand, Seymour and Rohwer in Sacramento, where she worked from 1979-1990. In 1990 she was a founding partner of Ellison, Schneider & Harris, where she managed the water practice. Her legal specialization was the field of water law, with a practice that focused on water rights issues as they pertain to the protection of existing rights and the establishment and acquisition of appropriative, riparian and groundwater rights. She had an extensive practice before the State Water Resources Control Board involving complex project permitting and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta proceedings. She was an expert in the law of groundwater rights and adjudications, and served as special referee for the court in the Chino Basin adjudication.

Right out of law school in 1977 she began her career as a staff attorney on the Governor’s Commission to Review California Water Rights Law during the first administration of Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. where she wrote the seminal papers on California groundwater and instream water uses. She served on the boards of directors of the California Wilderness Coalition, the Yosemite Association, and Tuleyome, an active local environmental group where she was instrumental in the designation of the Cache Creek State Wild and Scenic River.

In 2006 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Water Education Foundation, which along with the Anne J. Schneider Fund Committee created an annual lecture series in her memory. Learn more here.

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