David Nahai

H. David Nahai has an extensive record of experience in both the private and public sectors, as a lawyer, CEO, government official, business owner, environmentalist, community leader, investor, and author.

Nahai is the former General Manager and Commission President of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, former Chairman of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, and former Senior Advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Currently, Nahai is the President of David Nahai Consulting Services, Inc., a Partner at the Lewis Brisbois law firm, and a Managing Partner at AQORA Capital Management Company.
David Nahai Consulting Services advises and assists private and public entities involved in the environmental sector, with an emphasis on water, renewable energy, energy efficiency, “green” real estate, and infrastructure projects.

The Lewis Brisbois law firm is one of the largest law firms in the United States with 44 offices across the country. Lewis Brisbois is a full-service firm. Nahai serves as co-Chair of the firm’s national real estate, energy, water, and environmental practice areas.

AQORA Capital is a growth capital firm focused on investment in “growth” stage companies active in the sustainability arena.

Prior to his return to the private sector, Nahai served as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the largest municipal utility in the United States. In this capacity, Nahai oversaw more than 9,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $4.5 billion. Nahai also served for two years on the LADWP Board of Commissioners prior to becoming General Manager. He was the Vice-President and President of the Board. Nahai was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Nahai is credited with spearheading an overall transformation of the LADWP that included the unprecedented expansion of the utility’s renewable energy portfolio; the origination of the City’s Water Supply Plan; the attainment of historic reductions in water consumption in the City; the realization of higher energy efficiency levels; and the launch and implementation of water and power reliability programs.

Following his departure from LADWP, Nahai became Senior Advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative, a division of the Clinton Foundation. The mission of the Clinton Climate Initiative is to bring about the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale through specific project partnerships with governments around the world.

Nahai served for over 10 years on the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which safeguards the quality of surface, ground, and coastal waters in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, an area with over 11 million residents. At the Water Quality Board, Nahai served in the administrations of three different California Governors. He was the Chairman of the Water Board for four terms. Nahai is credited with reinvigorating the effectiveness of the Water Board and catalyzing some of its most progressive programs, especially in the area of coastal protection. The Water Board’s prestigious annual awards were named the “H. David Nahai Water Quality Awards” in recognition of his service.

Nahai began his career in the private sector as an attorney nearly four decades ago, working at some of the United States’ largest and most respected law firms. He started at Loeb & Loeb and was a partner at Memel, Jacobs, Pierno, Gersh & Ellsworth, and at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. Nahai then formed his own law firm, Nahai Law Corporation, specializing in real estate, corporate, environmental and commercial law. He divested his interest in the firm to take up the General Manager position at LADWP.

As a transactional real estate and environmental lawyer for nearly 40 years, Nahai has represented clients and performed transactions at the highest levels, working on complex matters and supervising teams of attorneys. Nahai is an AV (Preeminent) rated lawyer. Nahai has extensive experience in handling real estate transactions of all kinds. Much of his practice involves a combination of real estate, energy, and water issues.

Recently, Nahai’s new book “Commercial Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreements in California- a Beginner’s Guide” was published by Thompson-Reuters. In addition, Nahai co-authored “Inside the Minds; Strategies for Green Real Estate Law”, also published by Thompson-Reuters. Nahai was recently featured in the documentary “Beyond the Brink”, covering the water situation in California.

Nahai sits on the boards of the Los Angeles Business Council, California League of Conservation Voters, Heal the Bay, UCLA Luskin Center, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, and Climate Resolve. Nahai has also served on the boards of numerous charities, including the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, the Iranian American Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Community Foundation.

Nahai has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations. In 2003, he received the Environmental Champion Award from the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. In 2008, he was honored as an environmental leader by Heal the Bay. In 2008, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. In 2012, he was accorded the Political Leadership Award by the Sierra Club. In 2013, he was honored by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. Nahai was honored by LAANE at its 2018 gala. He will shortly be honored by the Nessah Synagogue and Cultural Center for his work as a leader in the Iranian Jewish community.

Nahai is a frequent speaker and radio guest regarding real estate, energy, water, and climate change issues. Further, he contributes articles regularly to various publications.
Some of his publications include:

“Renewable Energy Leases on Tribal Lands: Enhanced Sovereignty and Increased Responsibility” –, May, 2013
“The Next Mayor’s Earth Agenda” – The Jewish Journal, April, 2013

“The Future of Water in Los Angeles: What the Israeli Experience Can Show Us” – The Jewish Journal, July, 2012

“I Want My TLC: Attaining Transparency, Longevity, and Certainty in the California Renewables Market” –, May, 2012

“Attaining Stability in the California Renewables Market” – AltEnergy EMagazine, April, 2012

“The Global Water Crisis” – Huffington Post, September, 2011

“Climate Change: A Future of Less Water and More People – Strategies for a Water Constrained World” – The Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System, August, 2011

“California’s SB X 1-2 Law Walks Renewable Energy Tightrope” –, June, 2011

“SB X 1-2 and California’s New Energy Future” – Altenergy EMagazine, April, 2011

Nahai holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in law from the London School of Economics and the University of California at Berkeley and was a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley.

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