Michael F. Dean


With a legal practice that began in 1975, Michael (Mike) Dean brings his clients significant depth and breadth of experience in the legal matters that face public entities daily. He counsels and represents cities, special districts and joint powers agencies on a variety of matters that impact local governance and decision-making. His primary areas of practice are open meeting laws; conflicts of interest; land use planning; public contract laws and disputes; labor negotiations and relations; public power, cable and telecommunications regulations; and land use development, including negotiation and drafting of multi-use development agreements. Mike also acts as a hearing officer for a variety of agencies. He chairs the firm’s Public Power and Telecommunications Practice Group and Ethics Committee.

Currently, Mike serves as General Counsel to the Northern California Power Agency and General Counsel to the Mark Twain Healthcare District. Mike remains the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Plymouth, having previously served Plymouth as City Attorney for 13 years. He also serves as special counsel to a number of cities, counties, redevelopment agencies, housing agencies and special districts. Mike previously served as the in-house City Attorney for the City of Roseville, a position he held for 12 years. He was also the in-house deputy and Assistant City Attorney for the City of Modesto for five years.

An experienced litigator, Mike has appeared before all levels of state and federal courts and a variety of administrative agencies, including the California Public Utilities Commission and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. His civil litigation experience includes personnel, discrimination, civil rights, torts, writs of mandate, land use and environmental matters. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California, and the California Supreme Court.

Published Decisions

  • Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School Dist. v. Superior Court Humboldt, et al., Civil, Cal. App. 1 Dist., December 2000
  • City of Colfax v. Sierra Vista Center, Inc., Civil, Cal. App. 3 Dist., September 2000
  • City of Shasta Lake v. County of Shasta, 88 Cal.Rptr.2d 863, Cal.App. 3 Dist., September 1999
  • People v. Frost, Cal. S.C., 1978

Honors and Awards

  • “Top Lawyers List - State, Local & Municipal,” Sacramento Magazine, 2015
  • Martindale-Hubbell's Register of Top Rated Lawyers: Land Use and Zoning, 2015
  • AV-rated attorney, as recognized by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory

Presentations and Publications

  • Speaker, "AB 1234 - Required Ethics Training," Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) Strategic Issues Conference, 2016
  • Speaker, "Public Records Exemptions and Limitations," The State Bar of California, California Public Records & Open Meetings Conference, 2015
  • Keynote Speaker, “The Ralph M. Brown Act - A Local Government Drama,” CSDA Board Secretary/Clerk Conference, 2014
  • Co-Author, "What to do with that empty seat? Options districts have to fill vacancies and rules they must follow," California Special District Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 5, 2012
  • Lecturer on ethics issues, open meeting laws (the Brown Act) and conflicts of interest for such groups as the League of Cities, California Special Districts Association, Association of California Water Agencies, Lorman Education Services
  • Speaker on drug and alcohol testing, public works requirements, and avoidance of sexual harassment claims
  • Speaker on land use issues such as general and specific plan adoption, subdivision regulation and zoning disputes
  • Speaker on federal law relating to approval of casinos on Native American reservations
  • Speaker on ethics in government

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, State Senate Local Government Committee working group on Community Service District Law
  • Member and Past President, Sacramento City Attorneys Association
  • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association, Public Law Section
  • Member, Conference of California Public Utility Counsel
  • Past Editorial Board Chair, Editor, and Chapter Author for the California Municipal Law Handbook, League of California Cities


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, JD, 1975
  • University of California at Berkeley, BA, Economics, 1972