Shawn D. Hagerty


Tel: (619) 525-1327


At a Glance

A unique aspect of Shawn’s practice is his focus on the relationship between land use and water.

He is the president of the City Attorneys Association of San Diego.

Shawn provides both general and special counsel services to California cities and public agencies.

Shawn Hagerty works with public agencies in California and throughout the United States to solve complex legal problems, with an emphasis on federal and state water quality and water supply laws. His years of experience serving as both general and special counsel to public agencies give him a deep understanding of the best practices, trends and approaches necessary to obtain permits for, and successfully implement, small and large-scale water quality and water supply projects. Because of Shawn’s experience as a city attorney, a unique aspect of his practice is his focus on the relationship between land use and water.

Water Quality 
Shawns practice involves helping his public agency clients assess and comply with the numerous federal and state water quality regulations. This includes work under the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the state equivalents to these federal laws. He advises clients regarding the obtaining of, and compliance with, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, and represents clients in administrative actions regarding such permits. His work includes stormwater permits, industrial permits (including construction), permits for publicly owned treatment works, water supply permits and 404 permits/401 certifications. It also includes related work triggered by the Endangered Species Act and other federal and state environmental laws that are involved in water quality and water supply projects. Shawn works with the Environmental Protection Agency and state water quality officials on these matters.

Representative Matters 

  • Representing the City of Santa Maria in its effort to create an Integrated Plan to consolidate all of its water quality and water supply obligations under one comprehensive, watershed-based plan
  • Representing the City of Ventura in an action challenging the Citys use of water from the Ventura River due to alleged impacts on steelhead trout
  • Representing the City of Santa Barbara in connection with the restarting of its desalination facility, including obtaining updated water quality permits for the facility
  • Representing a large number of federal and state associations in connection with a U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case involving the novel conduit theory of liability under the Clean Water Act
  • Representing the City of Manvel, Texas, in connection with long-term water supply and water quality planning and implementation
  • Serving as a water quality expert in a successful federal district court jury trial

Municipal Law and Land Use
In addition to his water quality and water supply experience, Shawn provides both general and special counsel services to California cities and public agencies regarding general governance and land use issues. Since 2003, Shawn has served as city attorney for the City of Santee, Calif. Since 2009, he has also served as corporate counsel to Civic San Diego, a nonprofit corporation that provides permitting, economic development and project management services to the City of San Diego in specific portions of the City. As counsel to these and other California entities, Shawn has developed experience in governance and land use matters applicable to California cities and public agencies.

Shawn is president of the City Attorneys Association of San Diego. He has taught land use and planning classes at the University of California, San Diego Extension, and presents at seminars for organizations such as the California Stormwater Quality Association, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Texas City Attorneys Association, the Association of California Water Agencies, the California County Counsels Association, the Association of Environmental Professionals and other planning organizations.


  • University of Wisconsin, J.D., with honors
  • College of William and Mary, B.A., with honors, religion


  • California


  • Best Attorney, San Diego Metro Magazine, 2021
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Land Use and Zoning Law, 2016-2021
  • San Diego Super Lawyers, Environmental, 2007, 2014-2021
  • Land Use & Zoning Law Lawyer of the Year in San Diego, Best Lawyers®, 2020
  • The San Diego Daily Transcript’s Annual 100 Influential Leaders in San Diego, 2016
  • International Municipal Lawyers Association Amicus Service Award, 2016
Legal Alerts Dec 10, 2020

EPA Issues Guidance on Groundwater Releases in Wake of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

Clarity Provided for New “Functional Equivalent” Test

Legal Alerts Jun 05, 2020

EPA Issues Final Rule to Narrow Scope and Timelines for State Water Quality Certifications

Changes to Clean Water Act Section 401 Certifications

Legal Alerts Apr 23, 2020

Supreme Court Decision Creates New Standard for Clean Water Act NPDES Permit

County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

Legal Alerts Feb 06, 2020

PFOA and PFOS Response Levels Lowered for California Drinking Water

New Thresholds Impact Wider Swath of Public Water Suppliers

Legal Alerts Sep 03, 2019

California Issues the Nation’s Strictest Notice Levels for PFAS in Drinking Water

New Response Thresholds and Regulations in the Works for Public Water Suppliers

Legal Alerts Aug 09, 2019

PFAS Concerns Trigger Regulatory and Legal Responses

Federal and State Governments and Courts Concerned About Toxicity and Water Contamination

Legal Alerts Dec 12, 2018

Proposed Federal Clean Water Rule Impacts Cities and Residents

Comments Being Sought

Legal Alerts Feb 02, 2018

Decision Could Expand Clean Water Act NPDES Permit Requirements

Ninth Circuit Rules in Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al. v. County of Maui

Legal Alerts Jan 18, 2017

Waters of the U.S. Rule to Go to Supreme Court

Nation’s High Court Agreed to Hear Challenges to Controversial Rule

Legal Alerts Aug 29, 2016

California Supreme Court Requires State to Fund Local Stormwater Programs

Funding Sources Potentially Impacted for Cities and Counties

Legal Alerts Feb 22, 2016

Sixth Circuit Exercises Jurisdiction over Federal Clean Water Rule Challenges

Nationwide Stay of WOTUS Rule Remains in Effect

  • "Homeless Encampments and Water Quality," Public Law Journal, 2020
  • “State Water Board Adopts Guidelines for Securing Prop. 1 Funding for Storm Water Control and Capture,” BBKnowledge, Dec. 21, 2015
  • “EPA Draft Ruling Could Mean Significant Changes to How Stormwater Systems are Categorized” PublicCEO, Oct. 20, 2014 (via BBKnowledge)
  • “EPA Proposes Change to Clean Water Act Rule and Definition of the Term “Waters of the U.S.”,” BBKnowledge, June 20, 2014
  • “Developments in Water Law,” BB&K Legal Alert, June 10, 2014
  • “EPA Issues Proposed Rule Interpreting Jurisdictional Reach of Clean Water Act,” BB&K Legal Alert, April 21, 2014
  • “Waters of the US: EPA Seeks Input to Clarify Scope of Clean Water Act,” BB&K Legal Alert, April 4, 2014
  • “EPA Proposes Water Quality Standards For Preventing Degradation of Water Bodies,” BB&K Legal Alert, Sept. 12, 2013
  • “Ninth Circuit Says Los Angeles County Flood Control District is Liable for River Pollution,” BB&K Legal Alert, Aug. 9, 2013


Contact Shawn D. Hagerty

Cookie Consent

By clicking “Agree,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance website navigation, analyze website usage and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Notice here.