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Joe Hughes is the managing partner in the firm and leader of the Water and Public Agency practice group. Joe represents water agencies and private entities to obtain, develop, manage, and transfer water and water rights. Joe also counsels Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act as well as landowners as they manage and protect their groundwater rights. He is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest level of distinction.

Practice Focus

  • Water and Public Agency Law

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of California, 1993


  • Bachelor of Arts, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1990
    • Majors in Political Science and Communication Studies
  • Juris Doctor, Santa Clara University School of Law, 1993

Professional Associations

  • General Counsel

    • Westside Water Authority

    • Arvin-Edison Water Storage District

    • Kings River Water Association

    • Kings River Conservation District

    • Cuyama Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency

    • East Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency

  • Kern County Bar Association

    • Member of the Board of Directors, 2015-2021

    • President, 2020

  • Association of California Water Agencies

    • Member of the Legal Affairs Committee, 2012-Present

Professional Experience

  • Klein, DeNatale, Goldner, Cooper, Rosenlieb & Kimball, LLP, 2006-Present
    • Managing Partner, 2014-2018, 2019-Present
  • Kuhs, Parker & Hughes, Associate & Partner, 1995-2005 Kern County Counsel, Deputy County Counsel, 1994

Community Involvement

  • Kern County Museum Foundation
    • Member of the Board of Trustees, 2013-2021
    • Chairman, 2017-2021
  • Alta Sierra Mutual Water Company
    • Member of the Board of Directors, 2014-2021
    • President, 2017-2021
  • Kern County Employees Retirement Association
    • Member of the Board of Trustees, 2004-2012; 2021- Present
    • Chairman, 2009
  • Kern County Law Library
    • Member of the Board of Trustees, 2002-2017 Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.
    • Member of the Board of Directors, 2000-2011
  • Judge Pro Tem, Small Claims, Kern County Superior Court, 2001-2004


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