- California State Bar Association
- California Lawyers Association, Real Property Section
- American Bar Association
- Sacramento County Bar Association, Business and Real Property Sections
Practice Area(s): Corporate and Business, Nonprofits, Real Estate
Russell Austin has extensive experience in real estate and business law. He has planned, negotiated, and documented a complete array of real property transactions and supporting documentation, including purchase and sale transactions, exchanges, syndications, partnership and LLC formations, and a wide variety of financing transactions for owners/developers, institutional and private lenders, conservation organizations and other non-profit organizations, and public agencies, including conservation transactions involving both fee acquisitions and conservation easements. Russell also has substantial experience in several aspects of real estate litigation, including complex foreclosure actions for lenders and borrowers.
In 2019, Russell received the Conservation Impact Award for excelling in environmental protection and making significant contributions toward advancing rangeland conservation. He was recognized as a Centennial Fellow in 2019 by the Sacramento County Bar Foundation for his “distinguished professional accomplishment and substantial civic involvement and philanthropy,” which has earned him a legacy as one of the “founding pillars of the Sacramento legal community.” He was selected in 2017 by the Sacramento County Bar Association as its Distinguished Attorney of the Year, awarded each year to the attorney who “through the practice of law, has made Sacramento a better place to live and work.”
Russell is listed in 1997 through 2021 editions of The Best Lawyers in America as one of the Sacramento area’s outstanding real estate attorneys and he was named Best Lawyers’ Sacramento Real Estate Lawyer of the Year in 2010. He is listed in the 2005 through 2020 editions of Northern California Super Lawyers in real estate and was recognized as one of the Top 100: Northern California Super Lawyers, 2016 through 2018, and as one of the Top 25: Sacramento Super Lawyers, 2015 through 2018 and again in 2020. Russell is named in Sacramento Business Journal’s 2013 through 2019 Best of the Bar List, which recognizes top local attorneys who have been nominated by their peers and vetted by a panel of their peers. He is listed in the 2015 through 2020 editions of Sacramento Magazine's Top Lawyers List. Since 1992, Russell has been rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell. He leads the firm’s commercial real estate law team which received Tier One rankings for practice excellence in the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2014 through 2020 reports.
Russell has served as a Visiting Professor of Law at King Hall School of Law at the University of California, Davis, teaching Real Estate Finance, and as a Visiting Professor of Law at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, teaching a “practicum course” in Commercial Real Estate Transactions. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor in the graduate tax program at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento and was an Instructor at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Russell was a contributing editor for Real Estate Purchase and Sale Transactions and Organizing Corporations in California, published by the California Continuing Education of the Bar. He has been a frequent panel speaker and moderator at continuing education seminars on real estate law.
Russell has been active in the Sacramento County Bar Association, has served as Chair of the Voluntary Legal Services Program and President of Legal Services of Northern California. In 1992, Russell received a President’s Pro Bono Service Award from the California State Bar and, in 1993, he received a Pro Bono Publico award from the American Bar Association. In 1994, Russell was recognized by the Sacramento County Bar Association as its Humanitarian of the Year.
Russell has also been active in a number of community organizations and currently serves on the Emeritus Board of Trustees of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy. He was recognized by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce as its “Volunteer of the Year” for 2001.
Upon graduation from law school in 1980, Russell joined the San Francisco firm of Marron Reid, LLP and in 1982, helped open its Sacramento office. In 1999, Russell was one of the founding partners of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP, serving as its first Managing Partner from 1999 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2007.
Russell received his B.A., with highest honors, from University of California, Santa Barbara and earned his J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
Including Teaching Engagements:
University of California, Berkeley School of Law
J.D., 1980, Order of the Coif
University of California, Santa Barbara
B.A., History, summa cum laude, 1974, Phi Beta Kappa