Joseph Salazar, Jr.


Joe Salazar is a partner in the Sacramento office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Energy & Environmental Practice. He represents a broad range of public and private sector entities relating to environmental contamination, remediation and redevelopment. With over twenty-five verdicts in State and Federal courts, Joe has a wealth of practical experience in defending and prosecuting matters involving:

  • Environmental Matters (including water rights adjudications, contaminated soils and groundwater sites, CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Water Act, CEQA, Endangered Species Act)
  • Public Entity litigation - Inverse Condemnation/Eminent Domain and Environmental Cleanup cost recovery actions
  • Public Entity employment litigation – discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims against Water Districts, Fire Districts, etc. 
  • Mass Environmental Tort/Class Action litigation
  • Crop damage litigation
  • Real Estate and Business related litigation
  • Home Owners Association litigation (Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act)

Joe has over 24 years of courtroom experience with multiple jury and bench verdicts in State and Federal Court. He has handled numerous environmental lawsuits from groundwater rights adjudications to multi-party, comingled plume trials. His practical knowledge in geology, hydrogeology and contaminant chemistry allows him to work with scientific personnel to quickly understand the technical challenges that these cases present. A trial lawyer at heart, he often parachutes into other cases to first chair the trial work and has a special knack in converting complex issues into compelling and understandable presentations.  Recently, he defensed a personal injury trial after the Plaintiff only got as far as his opening statement to the jury. 

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • Public Agency & Municipal Law
  • National Trial Practice
  • Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (“PFAS”)
  • Environment, Land, & Natural Resources Law

Additional Experience



All Courts

United States Federal Court

  • Eastern, Central and Northern Districts of California
  • District of Colorado


American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)

Awards & Honors

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® 2023-2024 — Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental
  • Top 300 of the Most Powerful Business Leaders, Sacramento Magazine, 2019
  • Moot Court Honors Board, 1992-1993


UCLA School of Law

Juris Doctor, 1993

Stanford University

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, 1987

Published Opinions

  • Quigley v. Garden Valley Fire Protection Distr (2017), No. C079270 (Cal. Ct. App. Apr. 19, 2017).
    • Now pending before the California Supreme Court.
  • Terry v. Garcia (2003) 109 Cal.App.4th 245.