Cathy Christian is a partner with extensive experience in many aspects of government law. She currently represents many local government agencies before the Legislature, and has represented media, education, insurance and gaming interests as well. She has been counsel to statewide initiative campaigns, including initiatives dealing with tribal gaming, state/local tax allocations and eminent domain. She also works with statewide organizations representing local government jurisdictions, and serves as a strategic advisor and litigator for individual counties and cities concerning numerous state law issues, including state/local tax and fiscal policy, tribal land acquisitions, casino projects, and off-reservation environmental impacts. On tribal issues, she has represented local agencies in federal court and before the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Interior, as well as negotiations arising under tribal-state gaming compacts.
In over 36 years of law practice, Ms. Christian has litigated cases before the California trial and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, and before federal trial and appellate courts. She has handled such diverse cases as landlord retaliation against farmworkers voting in a union election, labor contractor violations of federal law, and numerous labor relations cases for the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. As a Deputy Attorney General, she represented the State of California and its agencies in many administrative and judicial proceedings covering a diverse range of topics, including labor relations, civil rights, and fiscal issues.
Ms. Christian has extensive experience in tribal and gaming issues. She represented the State in negotiating the very first tribal-state compacts regulating tribal gaming pursuant to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and in litigation related to that issue. She coordinated with her counterparts in other states, and testified on behalf of the Attorney General in front of Congressional oversight hearings. She served as General Counsel to the California Horse Racing Board. In her tenure at Nielsen Merksamer, she has represented numerous counties and cities in negotiations with tribes to compensate for the off-reservation impacts of tribal projects and in administrative and court challenges to federal to fee-to-trust land acquisitions. She has been counsel to several statewide initiative campaigns dealing with tribal gaming and remains an advisor to members of the horseracing industry in the State.
Ms. Christian currently represents local governments before the Legislature on a range of topics related to the state-local fiscal relationship, including tax matters and environmental laws. She also works extensively with the California State Association of Counties on issues of concern to counties and represented CSAC in a successful initiative campaign to protect local revenues. In addition to local government issues, she has represented clients involved in workers’ compensation issues and education clients in legislative and initiative campaigns to fund school construction.
Prior to joining the firm, she handled general government litigation in the California Attorney General’s office, was a senior advisor to the Attorney General on gambling and Indian law, and was General Counsel to the California Horse Racing Board. She also served as a Deputy Solicitor for the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and was staff counsel at Channel Counties Legal Services in Ventura County, California.