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Carlyn Drivdahl joined Monchamp Meldrum LLP as Counsel in 2020. Carlyn brings a wealth of public agency experience and adds an insightful perspective to the firm’s land use practice. Prior to joining the firm, Carlyn spent twelve years as a Deputy County Counsel for the County of Tuolumne with a primary focus on development and public contracting. She provided legal counsel to the Board of Supervisors on land use issues and she also advised many County departments, including the Community Development Department, Public Works Department, County Administrator’s Office, Code Compliance, Auditor/Controller, Environmental Health, Agricultural Commissioner, and the County Surveyor.  This experience gives Carlyn a deeper understanding of challenges that arise in project development beyond the initial approval, such as issues involving public works permit processing, addressing code violations, or environmental health compliance. Carlyn also specializes in ethics compliance and the Brown Act and can help clients navigate the procedural and substantive requirements to ensure the project approval process is compliant with all state and local ethics laws.

Carlyn has significant experience in land use litigation. While at the County, Carlyn defended numerous Board actions in CEQA litigation on development projects, including a challenge to the County’s 2018 General Plan EIR.

Prior to the County, Carlyn was an associate with Best, Best & Krieger in Sacramento, where she specialized in land use law.  She served as the City Attorney for the City of Escalon, Assistant City Attorney for the Cities of Galt, Clearlake and Jackson, and Deputy County Counsel for the County of Alpine.


  • University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law, Juris Doctor, Order of the Coif
  • Duke University, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, 2024
  • Order of the Coif, an international academic honor association
  • Witkin Award:
    • Land Use and Planning
    • Nonprofit Organizations

Court Admissions

  • All California State Courts
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • All U.S. District Courts in California

Select Presentations

  • AB1234 Public Official Ethics Training
  • Brown Act Training