Claire S. Lai
Claire S. Lai is an Associate in Meyers Nave’s Municipal and Special District Law Practice Group. She brings valuable first-hand experience to our public law clients from serving as Deputy County Counsel of the Merced County Counsel’s Office and Interim Deputy City Attorney at the Milpitas City Attorney’s Office, as well as clerkships and internships at the California Attorney General’s Office, San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
While serving as Deputy County Counsel at the Merced County Counsel’s Office, Claire counseled the County and its agencies on government law issues and compliance with statutory mandates, including open government, various constitutional issues, and public health and welfare matters. She reviewed County agency contracts, memoranda of understanding, lease agreements, Board Agenda items and staff reports for Board of Supervisors meetings. Claire litigated juvenile dependency writs and appeals in the Fifth District Court of Appeal and independently handled a juvenile dependency case load that included initial petition filings, status review hearings, witness preparation and trials.
At the Milpitas City Attorney’s Office, Claire served as a Volunteer Attorney, Contract Attorney, and Interim Deputy City Attorney. As Interim Deputy City Attorney, she provided advice on municipal law issues, including Brown Act compliance, public records requests, constitutional law questions and contract authority disputes. Claire successfully defended against a lawsuit challenging a development impact fee, filed weapons petitions and responses to Pitchess motions, and reviewed city contracts, lease agreements, and staff reports for City Council meetings.
As a Contract Attorney, she researched and drafted the City’s demurrer and related pleadings in a development impact fee lawsuit and responded to interrogatories, requests for admissions and requests for production of documents.
As a Volunteer Attorney, Claire advised the City on public law issues such as land use, Prop 218, public works, local revenue, and ethics. She responded to legal claims against the City, including encroachment permit litigation, Public Records Act requests, challenges to water rates and contract enforcement inquiries. Claire also drafted ordinances and resolutions.
Claire was a Judicial Extern in the Pro Se Department of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, where she drafted proposed procedural and dispositive orders in federal habeas corpus and civil rights cases. She also served as a Law Clerk in the Appeals, Writs and Trial Section of the California Attorney General’s Office in San Diego, where she argued cases at the Fourth District Court of Appeal and researched and drafted respondent’s briefs and informal habeas responses in criminal appeals. In the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Claire served as a Felony Unit Intern where she prepared motions in limine and other related pleadings and assisted with preliminary hearings and trials.
Honors and Awards
- Moot Court Best Oralist, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2011
- Outstanding Editor Award, Constitutional Law Quarterly, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2012
- UC Hastings Competitor, ABA Section of Taxation Law Student Tax Challenge, 2012
Presentations and Publications
- Presenter, “FCC Regulatory Update Re: Small Cell Wireless Facilities Deployment,” San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority, October 2018
- Presenter, “California Housing Law Update,” CEB/Continuing Education of the Bar webinar, 2018
- Certified Volunteer, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), 2012-2013
- Member, AmeriCorps-JusticeCorps, San Diego Superior Court, 2008-2010
- University of California, Hastings College of the LawJD, 2013
- Staff/Senior Internal Editors, Constitutional Law Quarterly2011-2013
- University of California at San DiegoBA, cum laude, 2010