Chris Mixson

Mr. Mixson is a partner based in the Reno, Nevada office of Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP. Chris is licensed in both Nevada and Oregon. His practice focuses on environmental and natural resource law, with a particular emphasis on Indian water law and on renewable and solar energy law and policy.  

Areas of Practice

Environmental/Natural Resource Law and Litigation

  • Represents clients in water rights disputes before the Nevada Division of Water Resources, the Truckee River Special Hearings Officer, the district courts and Supreme Court of Nevada, the United States District Courts, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

  • Represents clients in renewable energy matters before the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, the district courts of Nevada, and before the Nevada Legislature

  • Represents clients in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation

  • Represents clients in environmental permitting matters before state and federal environmental agencies and courts of law

Civil Litigation

  • Involved in all areas of litigation, including depositions, researching and drafting of all pleadings and motions, witness preparation, discovery, court appearances, including status conferences, arguing motions and mandatory settlement conferences


  • Juris Doctor (2006), Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon, with Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law

  • Bachelor of Arts (2000), Philosophy and Biology, University of Evansville, Evansville, Indiana

  • Harlaxton College, Grantham, England (Spring 1998)

Representative cases

  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, et al. v. U.S. Board of Water Commissioners, et al., 893 F.3d 578 (9th Cir. 2018): primary drafter of appellate briefing for milestone water rights case setting affirmative precedent allowing changes of former irrigation water rights to instream flow in the Walker River to reverse ecological decline of Walker Lake in Nevada

  • Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe v. Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, et al. (9th Cir. Case No. 16-15507, Sept. 13, 2017): won additional 8,300 acre-feet of water for Native American Tribe based on irrigation district’s historic illegal diversions of water from the Truckee River

  • Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe v. Nevada Dept. of Wildlife, 724 F.3d 1181 (9th Cir. 2013): won precedent-setting case against State of Nevada establishing that instream use of water for wetlands purposes is not legally equivalent to using water to irrigate crops

  • Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe v. Orr Water Ditch Co., 600 F.3d 1152 (9th Cir. 2010): won precedent-setting case establishing that federal district court has jurisdiction to protect Native American Tribe’s surface water rights from nearby groundwater pumping


  • State Bar of Nevada

  • State Bar of Oregon

  • United States District Court for the District of Nevada

  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


  • Secretary, Environmental and Natural Resources Section, Nevada Bar Association

Honors & Outside Activities

  • Recipient, Environmental Leadership Award, Natural Resources Law Institute

  • Recipient, Steven L. Manas Memorial Scholarship for Environmental Law

  • Selected, Cornelius Honor Society, Lewis & Clark Law School

  • Law Review Editor, Lewis & Clark School

  • Presenter, Federal Litigation Update, 2017 Nevada Water Law Conference