McGeorge School of Law

Jennifer Harder

Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills, Faculty Advisor, California Water Law Journal

Jennifer Harder


Phone: 916.739.7189
Website: SSRN


BA, University of California, Davis
JD, University of California, Davis School of Law


Jennifer draws on these experiences to design water resources, public agency, and environmental law courses that provide students with the opportunity to develop an unparalleled depth of knowledge, integrating classic legal principles with real-world application. Jennifer's classes explore the policy implications of legal rules with an emphasis on developing skills that are tailored to real world practice and responsive to employer needs. Jennifer's courses are multi-disciplinary, integrating topics such as science, working with experts, administrative records, economics, public finance, media, and sustainability.

Jennifer tailors her classes to take advantage of information technology and digital resources to improve student learning and to help students develop familiarity with key online and computer resources. Jennifer has substantial experience creating and teaching distance learning courses in water and environmental law. Her online courses are designed to meet and exceed the standards of traditional classroom learning by engaging students through a variety of visual and audio media that instill fundamental concepts and skills while also taking advantage of the power of the digital world to connect theses fundamentals to contemporary legal and policy issues. Jennifer's courses inspire students to work harder and explore more deeply, resulting in improved retention and increased capacity to translate learning into practice.

Jennifer regularly speaks and writes on water issues at professional conferences, legislative briefings. Her 2015 law review article, "Demand Offsets: Water Neutral Programs in California," provides the first detailed examination of the law, policy and practice implications of the innovative concept of "water neutral development." Jennifer is co-author of the well-known water law casebook, Cases and Materials on Water Law, originally authored by former McGeorge professor of law and eminent water scholar Frank Trelease. Jennifer and her co-authors are developing a new edition that will maintain the casebook's focus on impeccable scholarship in fundamental water law principles while integrating practice skills and online supplements for the 21st century.

Jennifer is an active member of the water law community, serving as faculty advisor for McGeorge's California Water Law Journal (a collaboration with UC Davis School of Law,, Water Law Society, and as an advisor to the respected six-law school consortium that hosts the California Water Law Symposium each January, Jennifer is a graduate of the Water Leaders program at the Water Education Foundation, and a member of the steering committee for the Anne Schneider Memorial Fund and annual lecture.

Jennifer joined the McGeorge faculty in 2015 after a decade of practice as an attorney and partner with Downey Brand LLP in Sacramento, and seven years of teaching water law and practice as an adjunct at University California, Davis School of Law and McGeorge School of Law. At Downey Brand, Jennifer represented water suppliers, cities, counties, special districts, and private entities on water rights, public agency, and environmental matters. Jennifer represented clients at the State Water Resources Control Board and acted as lead counsel in transactions and litigation related to the California Environmental Quality Act, the federal Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, water financing, public trust, and constitutional water issues, among others. During practice Jennifer also taught legal writing at UC Davis School of Law as well as online courses and in-person seminars in water and environmental institutions for UC Davis and UCLA Extension. Prior to private practice, Jennifer served as a law clerk for the Alaska Supreme Court and for the Office of the Chief Counsel, California Department of Water Resources.


Water Resources Law

Water and Environmental Law Practice A & B

Representative Scholarship

Published Opinions

Turlock lrrigation District v. Zanker (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1047

Nacimiento Regional Water Management Committee v. Monterey County Water Resources Agency (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 961

Representative Scholarship

Demand Offsets: Water Neutral Programs in California, McGeorge Law Review, McGeorge School of Law, Spring 2015 

Weber, Harder, and Bearden, Cases & Materials on Water Law (9th Edition), West Publishing, American Casebook Series, Feb. 2014, Co-Author

The Robie Decision and The Future of California Water Law, California Water Law and Policy Reporter, May 2006, Co-Author

The Writing on the Wall: The Applicability of Proposition 218 to Charges for Water Service after Richmond v. Shasta Community Services District, California Water Law and Policy Reporter, March 2004