Eric S. Vail

Eric S. Vail

Eric S. Vail, a Partner of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP, is Chair of the firm’s robust Public Law Practice Group and serves on the firm’s Management Committee.  During his twenty-five plus years practicing public law, he has gained invaluable experience representing a variety of public entities as either general or special counsel, and become fluent in general municipal law; problem solving, conflicts of interest and public transparency, land use, public transactions, transition issues and joint powers authorities.  Currently, Eric serves as City Attorney for the City of Hemet and the City of Cathedral City and as General Counsel to SunLine Transit Agency.

Through the years Eric has also represented a number of other public entities as City Attorney, Assistant City Attorney, or special counsel, including the City of Temple City, Omnitrans, Orange County Development Authority, City of Moreno Valley, Riverside Redevelopment Agency, the Housing Authority for the County of San Bernardino, the Goleta Redevelopment Agency, Riverside County Education Foundation, and Housing Partners I, Inc., Hemet Community Land Trust , Port Hueneme Redevelopment Agency, City of Lawndale, City of Elk Grove, City of Banning, City of Lake Forest, City of Hesperia, City of Ontario and the Chaffey Joint Union High School District.

Offering practical legal solutions to organizational problems are Eric’s hallmark.  He has experience with recall elections, term limits and citizen initiatives.  He has helped City Councils negotiate and contract with new and outgoing city managers and other department heads, and has helped navigate difficult retirement, discipline and dismissal of employees.  In his capacity as City Attorney, Eric has administered legal resources and overseen cost containment and cost avoidance programs for his clients and managed legal staffs of up to 30 legal service providers.

  • J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1992
  • B.A., summa cum laude, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 1989
  • State Bar of California
  • United States District Court for the Central District of California
  • League of California Cities, Chaired Publication Committee – A Guide for Local Agency Counsel; Providing Conflict of Interest Advice
  • League of California Cities, City Attorneys’ Department; Nomination Committee Member
  • League of California Cities, Housing, Community & Economic Development Committee
  • League of California Cities, City Attorneys' Department FPPC Committee
  • League of California Cities, Chapter Chair, Finance and Economic Development, Chapter 5, The California Municipal Law Handbook (2008 – 2009)
  • University of California Riverside Extension Adjunct Professor, Housing & Land Use Planning
  • University of California Riverside Extension Adjunct Professor, Redevelopment: Current Trends & Practices