Photo of Alena Shamos

Alena is Senior Counsel in Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley’s litigation practice group. Alena has been a litigator since 2001, and has focused on public law since 2005. Alena served as Deputy City Attorney for the Cities of San Marcos and Lemon Grove, and acted as special counsel for various cities throughout San Diego County, including Vista, Chula Vista, Carlsbad, and Oceanside.

Her litigation experience includes election issues, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), land use, cannabis enforcement and permitting, and contract and real property disputes. Her published appellate decisions include Moore v. City of Lemon Grove (2015) 237 Cal. App. 4th 363 (upholding sewer rates under Proposition 218), and she obtained a favorable result for many agencies in The Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego  v. Drager, et al., August 25, 2020 No. C083811 (Post Redevelopment Enforceable Obligations). Alena has participated as Amicus Counsel in various cases, including Cal Fire Local 2881 v. California Public Employees’ Retirement System (2019) 6 Cal.5th 965, on behalf of City of Pacific Grove.

On August 19, 2021, the Second District Court of Appeal decided Save Our Access-San Gabriel Mountains v. Watershed Conservation Authority (Aug. 19, 2021, No. B303494), upholding an EIR’s finding of no significant impact under CEQA, where a project’s reduction in parking protected the environment, rather than adversely affected it.

The case involved a project in