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Nicholaus W. Norvell is an attorney in Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Special Districts and Municipal Law practice groups. Nick’s practice involves general counsel and special counsel with a particular focus on joint powers agencies and special districts providing water, wastewater, and energy.

Nick serves as general counsel to the Encina Wastewater Authority in North San Diego County and as interim general counsel to the East County Advanced Water Purification Joint Powers Authority, which is implementing a $900 million program to produce 30% of East San Diego County’s drinking water by purifying recycled water. Nick also serves as interim general counsel to the Orange County Power Authority, as assistant general counsel to a number of water and wastewater agencies in San Diego and Riverside counties.

Nick has extensive experience advising clients regarding the establishment and implementation of joint powers agreements, negotiating complex interagency water and wastewater agreements, handling complex public records matters, and advising on utility billing and payment issues. Prior to joining BBK, Nick worked as a municipal and special district law attorney in Sacramento.

Outside his practice, Nick serves as co-chair of the firm’s Open Government and Ethics  Group, which provides counsel to public entities, officials, and agency managers on conflicts of interest, public integrity, and the Brown Act. He is a member of the California Special District Association’s Legal Advisory Working Group and California Association of Sanitation Agencies’ Attorneys Committee. Nick is also a former member of the California Lawyers Association’s Public Law Executive Committee. 

Nick graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law and served as the editor-in-chief of the San Diego Law Review. During law school, Nick worked as a law clerk at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in Washington, D.C. and as a judicial extern to the Honorable Thomas J. Whelan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Nick grew up in Lemon Grove and is a third-generation San Diegan. Before attending law school, Nick worked as staff for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving in both the Washington, D.C. and San Diego offices, and he is grateful to have a legal career dedicated to serving the public. In his spare time, Nick enjoys cycling, film and science fiction.

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Municipal Law, "One to Watch", 2022–2024
  • Top 40 Under 40, San Diego Daily Transcript, 2020
  • Top Lawyer in State, Local & Municipal Law, Sacramento Magazine, 2016
Thought Leadership
  • "Thriving Together: Navigating Community Engagement in the Fast Lane," California Special Districts Association General Manager Leadership Summit, June 24, 2024
  • "The More You Know: A Public Service Announcement on California’s New Governance and Ethics Laws," Association of California Water Agencies Spring Conference & Expo, May 9, 2024 
  • "AB 1234 - Practical Ethical Issues for County Counsels, Conflicts of Interest, 1090 Liability," County Counsels’ Association of California Spring Land Use Study Section Conference, May 5, 2022
  • "Understanding Public Service Ethics Laws and Principles (AB 1234)," League of California Cities Planning Commissioners Academy, Mar. 16, 2022
  • "2020 Legal and Legislative Update," CSDA Special District Leadership Academy Conference, California Special Districts Association, Sept. 28, 2021
  • "New State Assistance Program for Unpaid Water and Wastewater Bills Due to COVID-19," California Special Districts Association Annual Conference , Aug. 31, 2021
  • "2020 Legal and Legislative Update," CSDA Special District Leadership Academy Conference, California Special Districts Association, Apr. 13, 2021

Education & Admissions

University of San Diego School of Law
J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
Wesleyan University
B.A., government, with honors
Bar Admissions



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