Senior Counsel

Chris Butcher

Thomas Law Group associate Christopher Butcher can frequently be seen walking or biking through downtown Sacramento. His practice is shaped by his passion for infill development and smart growth innovation.

Chris Butcher represents clients in all phases of environmental law, land use entitlement, and permitting processes, including administrative approvals and litigation. His practice covers the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the State Planning and Zoning Law, the Subdivision Map Act, the Williamson Act and other land conservation programs within California, the California Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the federal Endangered Species Act, the federal Clean Water Act, and administrative proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission. His practice reflects his interests in environmental and land use planning, legal writing, and oral advocacy. He advocates for his clients in hearings before local municipalities, state agencies, and the California Legislature. He has also successfully defended the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments in litigation concerning the application of CEQA to a transportation funding ballot measure as reflected in an opinion published by the California Second District Court of Appeal. Chris is a published author writing on issues concerning land use and environmental law. His article, The Forgotten Intent of the Williamson Act (2005) 12 Hastings West-Northwest J. Environmental L. & Policy 37-69, has been cited by the California First District Court of Appeal. As with his colleagues, pro bono work plays an important role in his practice. He is proud of the work he did for the Avondale Glen Elder Neighborhood Association, successfully representing the lower income community in its fight against a proposal to store natural gas beneath approximately 700 homes in South Sacramento. Originally from Orange County, Chris graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with an undergraduate degree in environmental studies. He then carried his interest in land use planning into a professional setting as a commercial real estate agent in West Los Angeles. In 2007, Chris earned his law degree from King Hall, at the University of California, Davis. While attending King Hall, he served as co-editor-in-chief and managing editor of Environs, Environmental Law and Policy Journal, co-chair of the Agricultural Law Society, and treasurer of the Environmental Law Society. He also worked as a research assistant for Professors Jerrold Tannenbaum and Lisa Pruitt, served as a teaching assistant for the Department of Animal Science’s course in Animal Ethics, and clerked for an environmental law office. Prior to joining Thomas Law Group, Chris was an associate at Remy, Thomas, Moose and Manley (2007-2012).


  • J.D., University of California, Davis, 2007
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 2002

Admissions to Courts

  • California State Courts
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

Honors & Awards

  • Grantee, John Muir Institute of the Environment, May 2006. Awarded grant to fund a five-member interdisciplinary group to author a White Paper on California’s Transportation Infrastructure Funding.

Professional Affiliations

  • California State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Member
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Member

Pro Bono Representation

  • Avondale Glen Elder Neighborhood Association, Legal Counsel. Provides counsel on matters relating to environmental review for a proposed natural gas storage project


  • “The Forgotten Intent of the Williamson Act” (2005) 12 Hastings West-Northwest J. Environmental L. & Policy 37-69 (cited by the First Appellate District in County of Humboldt v. McKee (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1476, 1499)
  • “California’s Propositions 1A & 1B: Adapting the Results to the Current Landscape of Transportation Finance,” 2006, John Muir Institute of the Environment White Paper, contributing author