Beveridge & Diamond

California Department of Transportation Assistant Chief Counsel David McCray Joins Beveridge & Diamond

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., November 17, 2014

Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA – David McCray, who has served since 2007 as the senior environmental lawyer for of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), joined Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. (B&D) as Of Counsel in the Firm’s San Francisco office on November 17, 2014.  Mr. McCray joins the Firm’s active national project development practice, where he will assist clients with environmental reviews, permitting and approvals from a wide range of federal and state natural resources agencies, and litigation defense of project decisions and policies.

During his tenure as Assistant Chief Counsel at Caltrans, Mr. McCray, 52, led a team of six attorneys and five paralegals in litigating for, and providing advice to, the Governor’s office, the California State Transportation Agency,  and Caltrans’ senior executives and staff regarding complex environmental, Native American and real estate development issues on multi-million dollar transportation projects.  Prior to joining Caltrans, Mr. McCray served with the U.S. Air Force and retired after 21 years of service with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Mr. McCray held positions such as Chief of the Environmental & Tort Litigation Branch, the Base Staff Judge Advocate at Beale Air Force Base, California, and the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri where he also managed the environmental law program.  While with the Air Force, Mr. McCray served for two years as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Environmental & Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We are so pleased that David chose to join our Firm after his distinguished government and military career,” said Benjamin F. Wilson, B&D’s Managing Principal. “His experience enhances our ability to help private and public sector clients around the country with their natural resources issues.  We look forward to David’s contributions to the growth of our practice and our clients’ success.”

Gary Smith, Managing Principal of B&D’s San Francisco office, added: “David has a reputation for finding practical solutions that bring together developers, public entities, and other stakeholders.  As natural resource issues become increasingly important for development in California, his personality and perspective are a perfect match for our practice and for our clients’ diverse needs.”

Mr. McCray remarked: “I am excited to join the country’s premier environmental and natural resources law firm.  I look forward to working with my new B&D colleagues to help Firm clients resolve their environmental and project development issues.”

Highlights of Mr. McCray’s Caltrans tenure include:

  • Litigating and advising on issues such as: the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), climate change, storm water, and mobile source air toxics and health impacts.
  • Implementing groundbreaking legislation. For example, when Congress authorized the Secretary of Transportation's assignment of NEPA responsibilities, California was the first and only State to accept such authority. Mr. McCray negotiated an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, devised legal sufficiency standards and training for Department attorneys, and created procedures with Department experts resulting in an 18 month reduction in the environmental review process enabling transportation projects to start construction earlier and saving millions of dollars.
  • Convincing a national environmental group to amend a complaint so that a major bridge project could move forward to ensure safe travel for the public.
  • Preparing and successfully arguing for an injunction against a property owner and private company creating a nuisance on state property, preventing a landslide and catastrophic impact upon travelers on a major freeway.
  • Resolving issues of federal, state and tribal land ownership, tribal participation, federal agency actions, dual state budgets and concerns, and local government and railroad matters relating to a proposed $30 million bridge replacement between Arizona and California.  Mr. McCray personally negotiated and devised a strategy to work successfully with 56 different federal, state, tribal government and private entities (many with competing interests) resulting in project approval, a myriad of  project permits, and solid professional working relationships with the many involved parties.

Mr. McCray served as California’s representative to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science (Environmental Law Committee), and he has served as a panel member for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program as a key participant in reviewing and directing research.  He is a founding member and former president of Lincoln Parks, a non-profit dedicated to building community parks.

Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers – including 50 litigators – concentrate their practice on environmental, sustainability, and natural resources issues in the context of business strategy, regulatory compliance, transactions, project development and permitting, litigation, and dispute resolution.  Widely recognized as one of the premier environmental law firms in the U.S., the Firm helps clients in diverse industry sectors resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their facilities, products, and operations around the world.  Learn more at 




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