• Administrative Law icon

    Administrative Law (Procurement, Licensing & Regulatory Hearings)

    We represent clients before almost all state, and numerous local, administrative agencies in a number of key areas, including health, energy, gaming, transportation, environmental compliance, public finance, taxation, licensing, contracting and procurement and land use. We also represent clients before California’s constitutional offices and administrative bodies such as the Department of Justice, Department of Insurance, Franchise Tax Board, Board of Equalization, Fair Political Practices Commission, Air Resources Board, Energy Commission, Board of Control, Coastal Commission, Gambling Control Commission, Lottery Commission, Department of Health Services, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Department of Corporations, State Board of Education and Department of General [...]
  • Ballot Measures icon

    Ballot Measures (Initiative & Referendum)

    Over the past four decades, Nielsen Merksamer has been legal counsel for either the opponents or proponents of more than 435 ballot measures, including most major California statewide initiatives or referenda, along with scores of local ballot measures. We advise our ballot measure clients on all aspects of campaigning, from initiative drafting and filing, contesting ballot language and other pre-election litigation, campaign finance law and disclosure, observing and potentially contesting the final vote, and post-election substantive challenges. We can serve as campaign treasurer in conjunction with these roles or independently.
  • Campaign Finance, icon

    Campaign Finance, Gift & Lobby Disclosure Compliance

    Nielsen Merksamer has developed a cutting-edge political law practice in establishing and maintaining multi-state or multi-jurisdictional campaign, gift and lobby legal compliance systems for large corporations and executives with activities and interests in more than one state. In so doing, the firm has developed a uniquely broad knowledge in political laws as well as a familiar working relationship with the officials in the agencies that interpret and enforce these laws that better enable us to advise our clients on how best to comply with the law.
  • Data Privacy

    Data Privacy

    Nielsen Merksamer’s attorneys have unmatched experience advising on privacy issues across a wide range of industries and contexts, including counseling clients on compliance with a patchwork of privacy laws and regulations; developing and reviewing website policies, including privacy policies and other notices and procedures for handling consumer data requests; advising on related data collection, use, and disclosure issues; and navigating responses to breaches. Our team routinely assists clients on compliance and best practices related to the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) (the first general U.S. privacy law), and the California Privacy Rights Act [...]
  • Education Governance icon

    Education Governance & Organization

    Our firm has extensive experience advising school districts and local community groups on school district governance and organization issues, and representing such clients before local bodies and the State Board of Education. The firm has assisted with reorganizations, including unifications and territory transfers, changing school board electoral systems, drafting and advocating special legislation to address unique governance and organizational issues, and advising on political reporting compliance, conflict of interest and political campaign questions.
  • Election Law icon

    Election Law & Litigation

    Nielsen Merksamer attorneys are recognized experts in election law, including the laws governing election administration, election contests and recounts, recall elections, voting systems, and electoral reforms and issues relating to the use of public funds in connection with campaigns and elections. We advise both elections officials and campaigns with respect to these laws, and have successfully litigated elections issues at all levels of the state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.
  • Ethics Agencies icon

    Ethics Agencies – Enforcement, Advice, Rulemakings, Audits & Litigation

    Nielsen Merksamer attorneys have unsurpassed experience representing organizations and individuals before federal, state, and local ethics agencies. Our expertise includes filing complaints, mounting rigorous defenses to enforcement proceedings, preparing thorough audit responses, requesting agency advice, submitting comments on proposed regulations, and litigating challenges to agency rules and actions. We also work with clients to evaluate potential violations of political law, and advise on strategies to mitigate the potential consequences and avoid a recurrence going forward. We have successfully represented clients before the Federal Election Commission, the California Fair Political Practices Commission, and other state and local ethics agencies such as [...]
  • Government Contracts

    Government Contracts

    Nielsen Merksamer has extensive experience advising clients through all aspects of the government contracting process, including ensuring eligibility to contract, developing strategy for communications with government officials and employees regarding contracting opportunities, reviewing and negotiating proposals and contract terms, preparing and filing ongoing certifications, and initiating and defending bid protests. As our clients navigate the government contracting process, our firm provides focused advice on relevant political laws including federal, state, and local government procurement laws, lobby, gift, and campaign finance laws, as well as post-employment and conflict of interest laws. Our firm also provides guidance pertaining to federal, state, and [...]
  • Governmental Ethics icon

    Governmental Ethics & Conflicts of Interest

    We routinely advise public officials, and those who must interact with them, on the laws governing such interactions, whether it be a question of what events a public official can be invited to, what activities an employee who recently left public service can legitimately participate in, whether public officials have disqualifying conflicts of interest, and how many of these interactions must be reported.
  • Gaming – icon

    Gaming – Sports, Clubs, Tracks, and Tribes

    Nielsen Merksamer attorneys have been at the forefront of the development of California’s gaming laws and regulations for nearly 30 years. A key player in this evolving field, the firm most recently drafted a landmark initiative proposal to regulate online sports wagering that is expected to go before voters in 2022. Our attorneys are experienced representing gaming clients before the State Legislature, the California Gambling Control Commission, and the California Horse Racing Board. Nielsen Merksamer also provides regulatory advice to individuals and card clubs in licensing and accusation proceedings before the California Gambling Control Commission and the Bureau of Gambling [...]
  • Healthcare Law icon

    Healthcare Law & Policy

    Nielsen Merksamer has been actively involved in the development of health care policy in California since the 1980s. The firm represents a broad range of participants in the health care arena – from health plans down to practitioner groups who provide patient care. In doing so, the firm has gained an unparalleled amount of knowledge, insight and expertise about the health care delivery system, which is critical to navigating the increasingly complex world of managed health care and understanding the requirements of the federal Affordable Health Care Act. We work with all California state agencies and departments involved in the [...]
  • Legislative Advocacy icon

    Legislative Advocacy and Strategic Advice

    Nielsen Merksamer is one of the top lobbying shops in Sacramento. Many of our senior attorneys have held top positions in California state and local government, serving under elected officeholders of both major political parties. Others have served in important elected or appointed positions. As a result we have a thorough understanding of the governmental process at every level, and are able to anticipate and resolve issues arising in the Legislature and administrative and regulatory bodies. We also provide legal and strategic advice to corporations, trade associations, state contract bidders, government entities, permit applicants, developers, public relations consultants and other [...]
  • Litigation (Trial, icon

    Litigation (Trial, Appellate & Administrative)

    Nielsen Merksamer attorneys have broad trial and appellate experience and represent the firm’s diverse clientele in the courts and before administrative agencies across the state. The firm is a leader in high-stakes litigation, including cases regarding the interpretation and legality of statutes and agency regulations and the validity of state and local ballot measures. And our litigators represent clients in a broad array of cutting-edge government, regulatory, political, electoral, tax, and constitutional litigation at all levels of the state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and before administrative agencies.
  • Local Government

    Local Government

    Nielsen Merksamer has for many years been at the forefront of major issues arising between the State and local governments. These include fiscal policy, taxation, health and human services programs, public safety, land use and environmental issues. The firm represents numerous local jurisdictions, including counties, cities, and special districts, as well as the statewide organizations acting on behalf of those entities, both before the Legislature and in litigation. Nielsen Merksamer has also served as counsel to statewide initiative campaigns on behalf of local jurisdictions.
  • Nonprofits


    Nielsen Merksamer establishes, organizes, and administers tax-exempt entities, including charitable and governmental organizations, social welfare groups, and trade associations. We provide association management services including comprehensive corporate counsel, reporting, bookkeeping, and administrative and treasurer services. As general counsel to nonprofits, we assist on matters of corporate governance and on substantive legal questions including data privacy and employment law compliance under California AB 5 standards. The Firm also represents nonprofit clients before tax and regulatory authorities, including the Internal Revenue Service, California Franchise Tax Board, Secretary of State and the Attorney General.
  • PAC Administration icon

    PAC Administration & Advice

    Nielsen Merksamer’s political law attorneys advise many of the leading political players—including corporations, major campaign donors, trade associations and labor unions and their political action committees (PACs)—with respect to the legal and technical requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act, California’s complex Political Reform Act, and, for clients active in multiple states, the campaign laws of the 50 states, including on the local level. In connection with this counsel, we provide comprehensive bookkeeping and treasurer services, and we prepare campaign reports which must be filed on the federal, state and local levels.
  • Political Reporting icon

    Political Reporting Services

    The firm provides a full scope of political reporting services, including PAC Administration & Advice and assisting with the disclosure obligations of corporations, individuals, nonprofits, associations and others when making political contributions, expenditures and donations, lobbying and contracting with the government. Integral to Nielsen Merksamer’s political law practices is the firm’s innovative Political Reporting Unit. The firm has a knowledgeable, experienced staff of non-attorney “Political Reports Specialists” who, under the supervision of experienced managers and the firm’s attorneys, prepare and file the various federal, state, and local campaign, lobby and gift reports, certifications and tax filings, required by law. Our [...]
  • Property Rights icon

    Property Rights & Rent Control

    The firm’s lawyers have protected the rights of property owners and successfully litigated significant rent control, property rights, and related constitutional law issues for more than 20 years. The firm counsels clients regarding sophisticated property rights issues and represents clients in complex proceedings before administrative agencies, rent control boards, and in the trial and appellate courts.
  • State & icon

    State & Local Tax Advocacy

    Nielsen Merksamer has extensive experience with high-profile tax policy matters, whether it is through litigation, regulatory or legislative lobbying, or tax initiatives and referenda. We have a deep understanding of how all these arenas can be used to craft a strategy to obtain our clients’ objectives, and have successfully done so for years. We have broad experience in all California taxes, including corporate and personal income and franchise taxes, sales and use taxes, property taxes, alcoholic beverage and tobacco taxes, insurance taxes and any of the myriad of taxes emerging at the local level, including business license taxes and taxes [...]
  • Voting Rights icon

    Voting Rights & Redistricting

    One of Nielsen Merksamer’s leading specialties for more than 40 years has been advising public agencies—states, counties, cities, school districts, and special districts, on the complex web of federal and state laws governing voting rights and redistricting. We also have experience advising independent redistricting commissions. Our practice provides a unique combination of knowledge of redistricting law along with knowledge of and facility with the GIS systems and databases fundamental to redistricting and voting rights analysis. Just in the last decade alone, the firm has advised well over 100 public entities on all aspects of the redistricting process, state and federal [...]