McGeorge School of Law

Profile: Ryan Mahoney

Ryan Mahoney
Ryan Mahoney

Class of 2017

Staff Counsel, California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
Area of Practice: Water Law Resources
Hometown: Novato, Calif.
Undergraduate: Sonoma State University
Major: Political Science

Ryan Mahoney, JD '17, earned his LLM in Water Law Resources via the "fast track" program in December 2017. In addition, Ryan was awarded the California Water Law Writing Prize for his paper: Sedimentation in California's Reservoirs. He passed the California Bar Exam and has recently accepted a position as staff counsel with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Ryan was already working for a few years when he decided to go back to school again. It was a difficult decision to leave his job and return to school, but he feels he made the right choice. After focusing his J.D. on Environmental Law, he then decided to earn an LLM degree in Water Law Resources. His goal in following this path was to make a difference for all California residents by helping promote sustainable environmental practices and public health through laws and regulations, while preserving the environment, species and natural resources. As former president of the Water Law Society at McGeorge Ryan gained valuable experience fighting for a better environment.

Ryan always wanted to get published, and that goal is now being realized. He was chosen as the 2018 Water Law Writing Prize Winner by the California Water Law Journal. Ryan expressed that "this would not have been possible without the excellent classes and professors at McGeorge. I really benefitted from the specific Water law classes, not only for the material that is covered and knowledge they provide but also because of the professors themselves. The professors are true assets to McGeorge students as they have unique and in-depth knowledge and experience in Water Law. Furthermore, the professors are not only focused to teach their students but they really want to get know them and help them through their law school experience."

In addition to benefitting from the excellent classes and professors, Ryan also gained experience by participating in extraordinary opportunities at McGeorge, including attending the California Water Law Symposium. He also had the opportunity to be a panel co-chair in his 3L year which allowed him to meet and work with dozens of water law professionals both in the public and private sectors. Additionally, he was able to attend the Environmental Law Conference hosted by the CA State Bar Environmental Law Section in Yosemite. Furthermore, he took advantage of the McGeorge Career Development Office, which assisted in finding him a job as an intern at the California Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery and the Association of California Water Agencies. The internships helped him gain practical experience in the area of Environmental Law.

Ryan recommends that anyone interested in Water Resources Law consider pursuing an LLM degree, especially students taking the July bar exam after graduation. The Fast Track LLM program allows students to gain an additional degree during the waiting period for the bar results. This option can provide the student with excellent knowledge of water law related issues and make them more desirable to potential employers. He is not only able to make a contribution for a better environment in his daily life, but also in his professional career. Ryan shares that his position as a staff counsel came with "a higher pay rate than normal for starting staff counsel due to my experience and education. I know the LLM program is a major reason I got the position, and at that pay rate."