Jonathan R. Schutz

Since 2004, Jon has practiced water law, natural resources and environmental law, with an emphasis on water rights. He represents public agencies, individuals, and businesses in water right, water quality, recycled water use and permitting, wetlands permitting, endangered species compliance, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, and FERC hydropower relicensing matters. He has litigated in state and federal court and appeared in administrative water rights hearings and settlement negotiations in water right enforcement actions.

Jon served as Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Water Resources Committee.

Jon has written and presented on various national and international water law topics, including Present perfected rights on the Colorado River, water disputes between U.S. citizens and Mexico under NAFTA, wetlands law after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Rapanos, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s least environmentally damaging practicable alternatives analysis required for all wetlands projects. He has spoken on water law topics at conferences in Palm Springs, Irvine and Santa Barbara, California, Salt Lake City, Washington D.C., France, and Brazil.

Jon is licensed in both Utah and California.


  • Attorney, Mabey Wright & James, Salt Lake City, UT, 2010-Present
  • Attorney, Somach Simmons & Dunn, Sacramento, CA, 2006-2009
  • Attorney, Ellison Schneider & Harris, Sacramento, CA, 2003-2006
  • Intern, California Attorney General’s Office, Public Rights Division, 2002
  • Extern, U.S. District Court, District of Utah, Magistrate Judge Ronald Boyce, 2001

Professional Associations and Activities

  • Co-Chair—American Bar Association, Water Resources Committee, 2013-2016
  • Reporter—Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Water Law Newsletter, 2013-Present
  • Public Service Vice Chair—American Bar Association, Water Resources Committee, 2009-2012
  • Vice Chair – American Bar Association, Annual Water Law Conference, 2006-2016
  • Member, Salt Lake County Bar Association
  • Member, Utah State Bar (Energy, Natural Resources, and Environmental Law Section; Young Lawyers Division)
  • Board of Trustees—Sacramento River Watershed Program, 2007-2010
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Section, Executive Committee, 2008-2009
  • Reporter – California Water Law and Policy Reporter, 2006-2008


  • JD, University of California, Davis
  • BA, English, Brigham Young University


  • Utah History Lecture Series, October 27, 2017, Park City, UT: Colonizing Utah Through Irrigation. 
  • Utah Water Law and Policy Seminar, March 2017, St. George, UT: Meeting a New Reality: Exploring How Sister States Approach and Actualize Water Conservation.
  • World Bank, Law Justice and Development Week 2012, December 12, 2012, Washington DC: Legal Challenges and Innovations to Secure Respect For Water.
  • CLE International, Utah Water Law, October 27-28, 2011, Salt Lake City, UT: Water Right Takings, Where Are We
  • International Water Resources Association, 14th World Water Congress, September 25-29, 2011, Porto de Galinhas, Brazil: Why the Western United States’ Prior Appropriation Water Rights System Should Weather Climate Variability, Particularly Through Water Markets
  • The Seminar Group, Water Transfers and Supply Development: Meeting California’s Growing Water Needs, March 5, 2009, Santa Barbara, California: Area-of-Origin Water Rights.
  • UNESCO, University of California, Irvine, and USGS, Water Scarcity, Global Changes and Groundwater Management Responses, December 2, 2008, Irvine, California: U.S. Water Rights Law: A Model for Sustainable Water Governance and Allocation?
  • International Water Resources Association, 13th World Water Congress, September 1-4, 2008, Montepellier, France: Does U.S. Takings Law Provide a Good Model for International Water Right Expropriation Cases?
  • Water Reuse Association 2007 California Section Annual Conference, March 4-6, 2007, Palm Springs, California: Case Studies of Conflicts Between the Water Rights Process and Water Recycling Policies: Obtaining A Change Petition to Use Recycled Water.


  • Present Perfected Rights, The Most Senior Undefined Water Rights on the Colorado River, University of Denver Water Law Review, Vol. 16, Issue 2 (2013).
  • Why the Western United States’ Prior Appropriation Water Rights System Should Weather Climate Variability, Water International, Vol. 37, No. 6 (2012).
  • Two Rivers Meet: At the Confluence of Crossborder Water Law and Foreign Investment Law, essay in Foreign Investment and Sustainable Development (Co-author w/ Paul Stanton Kibel)(Forthcoming, Kluwer 2010).
  • Wetlands in A Post-Rapanos World, Sacramento Lawyer Magazine (May 2008).
  • Rio Grande Designs: Texans’ NAFTA Water Claims Against Mexico, 25 Berkeley J. Int. L. 228 (2007) (Co-author w/ Paul Stanton Kibel).
  • The Steepest Hurdle in Obtaining A Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit: Complying with EPA’s 404(b)(1) Guidelines’ Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative Requirement, 24 UCLA J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 235 (2006).
  • Complying with EPA’s 404(b)(1) Guidelines in Obtaining 404 Permit: Determining the Least Environmentally Damaging Alternative, 22 Cal. R. Prop. J., No. 4, 16 (2004).
  • An Analysis of the 2001 National Energy Policy: Is a Domestic Production-based Oil Policy Appropriate for the United States?, 12 Penn. State. Envtl. L. Rev. 307 (2004).
  • Is Ignorance Bliss for Potentially Responsibility Parties Under CERCLA?, 25 Environs Envtl. L. & Pol’y J. 1 (2001).

Bar Admissions

  • Utah
  • California