Michael Conneran

Michael N. Conneran


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Government Relations
Government Relations
San Francisco

Michael represents public agencies in matters involving real estate, transportation, and environmental law. He has played an active role in major infrastructure projects, including the extension of the BART system to the San Francisco Airport and the acquisition of the Caltrain commuter rail line between San Jose and San Francisco.  He has participated in acquisitions of railroad rights-of-way on behalf of public transportation agencies, including the purchase of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad right-of-way between Marin and Mendocino counties (now the right-of-way of the SMART service) and several rail segments for BART extensions and light rail extensions for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.  He has also advised public and private railroad clients with regarding to regulatory issues arising under federal and state law.

Michael has overseen the environmental review process for major projects, including the electrification of Caltrain, the Valley Link rail project between Dublin/Pleasanton and Lathrop, and the Suicide Deterrent System for the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as other bus and rail transit projects.  Michael has counseled cities and transit agencies with regard to transit-oriented development projects and has negotiated long-term ground leases and other types of public-private partnerships. He has also negotiated numerous contracts for the use of public property by telecommunications companies. 

Michael currently serves as general counsel to the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority and the Tri-Valley—San Joaquin Valley Rail Authority. He has also served as the principal assistant to the city attorney of a Bay Area municipality, where he is responsible for zoning, land use and environmental compliance.  He has extensive experience in the legal obligations of public agencies under statutes governing access to public records, conflict of interest regulations and open meeting laws.


"New Laws of 2018 Series: Part VI To Indemnify and Defend? SB 496 Changes The Rules for Design Professional Contract," CSDA e-News (December 2017)

"The Local Regulation of Interstate Railroads and the Establishment of 'Quiet Zones'," IMLA Magazine (September 2013)

"Partnering with the Private Sector to Fill the Infrastructure Gap," Progressive Fix (May 2010)

"Creative Approaches to Land Acquisition," co-author, California Transit Magazine (January/February 2008)

"Governor Vetoes Bill Limiting Staff Briefings of Public Officials," Public Agency Advisory (November 2007)

"Public Agencies Face New Restrictions in Contracting with Design Professionals," Public Agency Advisory (March 2007)

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"Capital Project Life Cycle in Two Acts- Transit 101," co-speaker, American Public Transit Association Legal Affairs Seminar (February 2020)

"Navigating Conflict Issues in Engaging Professional Consultants," League of Cities Conference (September 2018)

"Shared Rides – City and California Public Utilities Commission Perspectives," 2017 City Attorneys' Spring Conference (May 2017)

"Local Regulation of Railroads: Guidance for Municipal Attorneys on Navigating the Complexities of Federal Preemption," Strafford Webinar (March 2016)

"Payments-Based Public-Private Partnerships (PPP): Public Benefit and Private Capital in 2015," co-speaker, Knowledge Group Webinar (June 2015) 

"Local Government in a Brave New World: Law Enforcement, Code Enforcement, and Public Agency Liability," moderator, Municipal Law Institute Symposium (February 2015)

"Local Regulation of Railroads and the Establishment of 'Quiet Zones,'" IMLA Conference San Francisco (October 2013)

"Current Issues in Public Agency Law," County Counsels' Association (September 2012)

"Negotiating Indemnity Provisions in Contracts with Design Professionals," League of California Cities (May 2012)

"Creative Options for Delivering Public Works Projects: Design/Build and Public-Private Partnerships," co-presenter, 2011 CSDA Annual Conference (October 2011)

"Design Build/Public Private Partnerships," co-presenter, County Counsels’ Association of California Fall 2011 Public Works & HazMat Study Section (October 2011)

"Bracing for Construction Claims During a Slow Economic Recovery," Hanson Bridgett Public Agency Construction Seminar (September 2010)

"The ABC’s of PPP’s: The Basics Regarding Public-Private Partnerships," International Right of Way Association (June 2010)

"Addressing Railroad Noise via Quiet Zones," League of California Cities and California Employer Advisory Council Public Works Officers Institute (March 2009)

"High Speed Rail: Who Knows Where or When?" Peninsula Forward Project, Local Cable Television (October 2008)

"The Local Regulation of Interstate Railroads," City Attorneys Annual Conference, League of California Cities (May 2008)

"Transit Oriented Development (TOD): Best Practices and Funding," California Transit Association (November 2007)

"Do You Hear My Train A Comin' — Railroad Crossings & Quiet Zones," Contra Costa City Attorney's Association (March 2007)

"The Troubled Public Construction Project: When is it Time to Call in the Surety?" League Of California Cities Annual Conference (October 2005)

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"Credit firm sues San Francisco agency, says it let taxi industry die," Daily Journal (March 2018)

"Hanson Bridgett: Official Outside Counsel to the America's Cup,"San Francisco Attorney (Summer 2012)

Professional Affiliations

Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental and Water Law Section

State Bar of California, State and Local Governmental Law Section

Bay Area Council, Transportation Committee


J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law (1988)

A.B., Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (1976)

Admissions And Courts


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

San Francisco

415-995-5042 Direct Phone
415-995-3412 Fax

Email Attorney


Firm Leadership

Municipal and Public Agency Practice Leader