Featured Member: Tony Francois

Current employer:

Briscoe Ivester & Bazel, LLP, San Francisco CA (partner)


Education and work experience:

1987, B.S. in Mathematics with honors, University of San Francisco
1996, J.D. with honors, University of California Hastings College of the Law
1999-2003 McQuaid Bedford & Van Zandt, San Francisco CA (associate attorney)
2003-2007 California Farm Bureau Federation, Sacramento CA (Director, Water Resources)
2007-2012 KP Public Affairs, Sacramento CA (lobbyist)
2012-2021 Pacific Legal Foundation, Sacramento CA (Senior Attorney)
2021-present Briscoe Ivester & Bazel, San Francisco CA (partner)


AALA leadership roles:

Annual Meeting planning committee, 2019-21


How did you get interested/involved in agricultural law?

Early in my career I was assigned to several cases involving irrigation and grazing rights, and have never looked back.


What is your current role and what type of work are you doing?

I currently advise and represent clients on real property and water law and environmental regulation as they relate to land and natural resource use and development. I do both licensing/permitting/enforcement negotiations and litigation. A lot of my work deals with the use of farm land for more productive and economically feasible agricultural uses.


What are some of the challenges and opportunities you see in your job and the ag law profession?

One of the largest challenges in representing farming and ranching enterprises is that while the public generally supports farming as a way of life and an essential contribution to society, the public also values environmental regulation, and these two interests are difficult to reconcile on farms.


How does AALA help or provide benefit to your profession or current role?

AALA is a great network of experienced lawyers and others around the country, whom I have enjoyed meeting and from whom I have learned a lot. The annual conferences are some of the best continuing education presentations I ever attend; the hard part is not being able to attend all of the parallel track sessions.


What is one of your favorite AALA memories or experiences?

Sitting around the lobby in the evening at the 2020 Annual Meeting in Kansas City over drinks and dinner with friends old and new.