Rutan & Tucker

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Rutan & Tucker, LLP
FoundedOrange County, California (1955)
FounderA.W. Rutan
Servicesfull-service law firm
Number of employees

Rutan & Tucker, LLP is a full-service law firm based in Costa Mesa, California that is organized into more than 30 legal practice areas in six groups: Business litigation, corporate/securities/tax, employment/labor, government & regulatory Law, Intellectual property and real estate. In addition to other practices, it is known for specializing in advice to local governments.[1][2] The company was founded in 1906 by A.W. Rutan and today is the largest full-service law firm headquartered in Orange County, California with offices in Palo Alto. The company has over 150 attorneys.[3] The firm supports the Orange County nonprofit community with many of its attorneys volunteering to serve on Board of Directors and providing pro bono legal services. These include the Orange County Business Council (OCBC),[4] the Public Law Center,[5] the Orange County/Long Beach region of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL),[6] OneOC,[7] Share Our Selves,[8] Girls Inc, Chapman University,[9] Orange County Bar Foundation, Smart Foundation,[10] Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and We Give Thanks.[11]


Office in Costa Mesa, California
Office in Palo Alto, California

Firm founder A.W. Rutan is considered a pioneer of water law in Orange County. In 1929 Rutan co-authored the agreement to form the year-round reservoir now known as Irvine Lake. Two years later, Rutan co-wrote California’s first water recharge bill on behalf of the Orange County Farm Bureau. In 1933, he drafted the Orange County Water District Act that created the Orange County Water District. After the District was founded, he became its first attorney and the Act became a model for water law around the state.[12]

Rutan founded the firm in 1906. He joined first with Fabius Daniel, one of the founders of the Orange County Bar Association, and then with Judge Roger Williams. In 1940 A.W. Rutan and former Utah Superior Court Judge James Tucker Sr. joined forces. In 1951 the firm became Rutan, Tucker, Howell & Tucker, including Roger Howell and James Tucker Jr., the co-founder’s son. Tucker Sr. died in 1950. Early 1950s, business and industry attorneys Milford Dahl, William Lindsey and Norman Smedegaard joined the firm. During the 1950s and 1960s, the firm shifted from an agricultural focus to urban law. The firm provided legal counsel for the development of roads, utilities, housing, and commercial and industrial facilities in Orange County, California.

Rutan attorneys are routinely on the lists of Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers. Also, several have made lists of top attorneys as selected by the Daily Journal.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Many attorneys from the company have been awarded or nominated for awards.[13]


  1. ^ "Rutan & Tucker Woos Snell & Wilmer Staff". L.A. Times.
  2. ^ "The Unfinished Irvine Castle : City May Hire Contractor to Complete House". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Rutan & Tucker, LLP – Firm Profile". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Rutan & Tucker's Hornak to Chair OCBC". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Our Board of Directors". Public Law Center. Archived from the original on 2014-09-24.
  6. ^ "SARP Officially Kicks off in Orange County/Long Beach". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  7. ^ "2011 Board of Directors". OneOC. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  8. ^ "2011 Celebrity Chef Dinner". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Chapman University School of Law receives $15,000 gift from Rutan & Tucker, LLP". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  10. ^ "About". Smart Foundation. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Alisha Patterson Profile". Zoominfo. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  12. ^ "About Us". Rutan & Tucker. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Best Lawyers in Costa Mesa". Retrieved 15 July 2014.