Rhett A. Billingsley

Rhett Billingsley is a director in our natural resources, energy and environmental law practice group, where he specializes in the areas of water and environmental law. He has 15 years of experience helping municipal, residential development, agricultural, industrial, energy and mining clients to develop practical solutions to water resource and environmental permitting issues. Rhett has successfully represented clients in both the public and private sector, including serving as outside counsel to Fortune 500 companies and working as in-house counsel with the Central Arizona Project. 

Rhett has extensive experience in all areas of water law, including Arizona’s assured and adequate water supply programs, due diligence investigations and acquisition of surface water and groundwater rights (including Colorado River and Central Arizona Project entitlements), well sharing agreements, negotiation of development agreements with municipalities, water conservation and drought planning, underground water storage and recovery permitting, federal and Indian reserved water rights, subflow issues, representing clients in the Gila River General Stream Adjudication and other complex water litigation, and drafting and lobbying water resources legislation.  

Rhett also helps clients with permitting and compliance issues under numerous state and federal environmental programs, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). He also represents clients on environmental due diligence investigations (Phase I and II environmental site assessments) and regulation of underground storage tanks.

Married with two kids, Rhett loves spending time with his family, backpacking in the Arizona wilderness, and playing guitar and writing original indie rock music.


  • J.D., summa cum laude, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
  • B.S., summa cum laude, Biology, Arizona State University
  • Order of the Coif

Areas of Practice

We have over 130 years of experience representing clients in minerals development.

We have a long history in natural resources, energy and environmental law.


  • Indian Law
  • Water Law

Awards and Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America®, Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Water Law, 2013-2017
  • Southwest Rising Stars®, Energy and Natural Resources, 2012-2016

Articles And Presentations

  • Speaker, “Water is for Fighting (and Creative Compromises): International and Interstate Water Issues in North America,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, May 2018
  • Speaker, "Arizona Water Rights, Sales, and Transfers," Lorman Webinar, April 2016
  • Speaker, “Handling Water Rights Disputes,” CLE Presentation for National Business Institute, August 2015
  • Speaker, “Obtaining, Conveying and Changing Water Rights in Arizona,” CLE Presentation for National Business Institute, August 2015
  • Author, “Clarification Sought from Arizona Supreme Court on Applicability of Forfeiture Laws to Pre-1919 Water Rights,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Water Law Newsletter, Vol. LII, No. 2, 2019
  • Co-Author, “Clean Power Plan: Testing the Limits of EPA’s Clean Air Act Authority,” Natural Resources and Environmental, American Bar Association, Summer 2015
  • Co-Author, “Recent Progress on Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlements,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Water Law Newsletter, Vol. XLVIII, Number 1, 2015
  • Speaker, “Tribal Water Rights,” CLE Presentation for National Business Institute, April 2015


  • Arizona Reporter, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Water Law Newsletter, 2018-Present
  • Programs Co-Chair, State Bar of Arizona, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, Member, 2005-Present; Executive Council, 2011-2016
  • Board of Directors, Men's Arts Council of the Phoenix Art Museum, 2010-2015
  • Member, American Bar Association, Mining Committee, Co-Chair, 2009-2010; Chair, 2010-2012, Water Resources Committee, Vice Chair, 2012-2013


  • Arizona
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona