Trish Carls is one of the founding partners of Carls, McDonald & Dalrymple, LLP. She is an experienced practitioner with a diverse background in administrative law, environmental law, governmental entity law, and water law. 

Ms. Carls has worked in both the public and private sectors. She served as a staff attorney for the Texas Water Commission (now the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) concentrating on water rights, and as in-house environmental counsel to the Lower Colorado River Authority concentrating on environmental regulatory issues for LCRA’s electric, natural gas, and water utilities. In private practice, Ms. Carls was a member of the environmental law section of Brown McCarroll & Oaks Hartline (now Husch Blackwell), where she focused on hazardous waste permitting and regulatory compliance in the refining and chemical industries. She also worked on the first high speed rail initiative in Texas. 

Trish Erlinger Carls

Beginning in 1996, Ms. Carls expanded her practice to serve as either City Attorney or special counsel to several central Texas cities, advising her clients on all aspects of municipal law ranging from annexation to zoning. She has successfully guided her municipal clients through phenomenal growth in central Texas, and has negotiated and drafted complex agreements for major economic development projects involving public-private partnerships, multi-million dollar utility and development agreements, traditional and code-based smart growth zoning initiatives, and other land development projects. She also has experience in negotiating and drafting wholesale and retail water and wastewater utility agreements. 

Ms. Carls continues to work in the area of water law, including surface water, groundwater, stormwater and drainage, dam safety regulation, drought planning and response, water supply contracts, and public water system regulations. She provides general legal counseling to special districts on matters pertaining to Open Meetings Act and Public Information Act compliance, as well as specialized counseling related to rulemaking, elections, permitting and enforcement, contested case hearings, purchasing, and other matters. Ms. Carls also represents entities seeking to obtain production and transportation permits from groundwater districts by providing legal counseling from the permit application stage through the permit issuance stage, including representation in a contested case hearing or mediated permitting process. She also represents clients in revising a groundwater district’s management plan or rules, and adopting (or appealing) the Desired Future Condition. 

Ms. Carls received her Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1985 from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas, and her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and English with High Honors from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1982.

Areas of Practice: 

  •   Administrative Law 
  •   Environmental Law 
  •   Governmental Entity Law 
  •   Water Law