Detailed Professional Profile

I am an attorney with over ten years of demonstrated legal expertise with public agencies and environmental law. My expertise includes complex litigation, transactional matters, and administrative and regulatory law matters before federal, state and local agencies, as well as planning and implementing small and large-scale environmental projects. I effectively negotiate and communicate with government and business entities and collaborate with clients to determine their needs and interests, to develop creative solutions, and to provide effective and practical legal advice.

Professional Experience

 Attorney at Law, Law Office of Kenneth Petruzzelli, Sacramento, CA

September 2012 – present

Private practice providing legal counsel for non-profits and private businesses.

  • Entity formation, contract drafting and review, employee contracts negotiation, legal research, drafting advisory memorandums and legal opinions.
  • General counsel for nonprofit organizations advising in matters of corporate and nonprofit law, as well as contracts, employment and labor, taxes, and lobbying limitations.
  • Legal counsel on urban transportation issues involving transportation and land use planning.
  • Represent clients in workshops and meetings of public agencies, boards, committees, and councils.

 Partner, O’Laughlin & Paris LLP, Chico and Sacramento, CA

June 2004 – May 2012

Boutique law firm specializing in water rights, water quality, environmental law and compliance, public entity representation, and litigation. Associate 2004-2009, Partner 2010-2012.

  • Legal research, drafting legal opinions and advisory memorandums, researching, drafting, and filing pleadings and motions, including answers and complaints and support and opposition to petitions for writ of mandate, temporary restraining orders, injunctions, demurrers, and motions for summary judgment.
  • Litigation in state court, state appellate court, and federal district court.
  • Argued motions in state and federal court, including dispositive motions.
  • Drafted joint power agreements and bylaws for joint power authorities.
  • Requested public records, responded to requests for public records, subpoenaed witnesses and documents, responded to subpoenas, assisted in drafting interrogatories.
  • Reviewed and submitted comments on proposed state and federal regulations and on dozens of CEQA documents, including substitute CEQA documents for certified regulatory programs.
  • Prepared records for litigation, including administrative and appellate records.
  • Collaborated with technical consultants, including statisticians, biologists, agronomists, agriculture economists, and engineers in consultation, preparation of testimony, and similar matters.
  • Represented clients in public workshops and meetings before state and federal regulatory agencies.
  • Represented clients in quasi-legislative and quasi-adjudicative hearings before state regulatory agencies.
  • Successfully defended irrigation district from attempt to block a critical infrastructure renovation project.
  • Successfully persuaded State Water Resources Control Board to adopt recommendation for revising salinity objectives for the Southern Delta (final action pending).
  • Successfully organized stakeholders in developing joint operation and funding agreement for mechanical aerator to alleviate low dissolved oxygen conditions in the Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel.
  • Successfully drafted and filed CEQA documentation extending the Vernalis Adaptive Management Plan, allowing for increased San Joaquin River flows and study of salmon survival through the Delta.
  • Represented coalition of water agencies in regulatory proceedings and subsequent litigation on total maximum daily loads for San Joaquin River salinity and dissolved oxygen. (San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority v. State Water Resources Control Board (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 1110)
  • Represented water agencies in declaratory and injunctive relief action against the National Marine Fisheries Service on its decision to re-open the commercial salmon fishery in 2011. (San Joaquin River Group Authority v. National Marine Fisheries Service, et al. (E.D. Cal. (2011) 819 F.Supp.2d 1077.)
  • Assisted in complex ESA litigation, including Modesto Irrigation District v. Gutierrez, 619 F.3d 1024 (9th Cir. 2010), and In re Consolidated Salmonid Cases, (E.D. Cal. 2011) 791 F.Supp.2d 802.
  • Defended discharger in administrative civil liability proceedings and litigation alleging discharges of pollutants to waters of the United States in violation of the Clean Water Act and Porter Cologne.
  • Assisted in litigation challenging water right fees imposed by the State Water Resources Control Board. ( Farm Bureau Federation v. St. Water Resources Control Bd. (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1126; Cal. Farm Bureau Federation v. St. Water Resources Control Bd. (2011) 51 Cal.4th 421.)
  • Represented coalition of water agencies in regulatory proceedings at the Pacific Fishery Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service in developing commercial salmon fishing regulations.
  • Represented coalition of water agencies in water quality control planning processes at the State Water Resources Control Board and Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
  • Defended irrigation districts in writ proceeding alleging that a project applying herbicides to irrigation canals for aquatic weed control failed to comply with CEQA. (Deltakeeper et al. v. Oakdale Irrigation Dist. et al., 2006 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7901 (Cal. App. 3d Dist. Aug. 31, 2006).)

Contract Attorney, Law Office of G. Anthony Gilly, Fair Oaks, CA

December 2003 – May 2004

  • Performed legal research, summarized depositions, and drafted legal memoranda for family law matters.

Intern, Sacramento County District Attorney, Sacramento, CA

January 2003 – May 2003

  • Negotiated settlements with defendants and prosecuted infractions in traffic court.

Intern, Sacramento County Public DefenderSacramento, CA

August 2002 – December 2002

  • Performed intake, interviewed defendants, and negotiated pleas with district attorney in Misdemeanor Unit.


  • J.D. Degree, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, 2003

Honors – Dean’s Honor Roll, Jessup International Moot Court, Witkin Award (International Intellectual Property, International Organizations), Certificate in International Legal Studies

  • Bachelor of Arts & Science, U.C. Davis, 1997 (Exercise Physiology/Political Science)
  • Certificate, Land Use and Environmental Planning, U.C. Davis Extension (in progress)


  • The Changing Face of Water Rights Regulation: The Intersection of Water Rights and TMDLs (panel presentation, Association of California Water Agencies Conference, October 1, 2010)

Memberships and Activities

  • Admitted, State Bar of California (SBN 227192, admitted 12/3/03), US Federal Court for the Eastern District of California, US Federal Court for the Northern District of California
  • Member – Sacramento County Bar Association, State Bar of California
  • Volunteer attorney at the Loaves & Fishes Tommy Clinkenbeard Legal Clinic
  • Board Member – Chico Country Day School Charter School (2007-2009), Chico Triathlon Club (2009-2011, President and founder), Davis Aquatic Masters swim team (2013-present, current Board President)
  • Member – USA Triathlon, Davis Aquatic Masters, U.S. Masters Swimming
  • Triathlete with multiple Ironman and half-Ironman finishes, cyclist, swimmer, and runner