Lance Olson, ’77

Lance H. Olson, ‘77, is a founder and senior counsel of Olson Remcho. He previously founded the law firm of Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP which merged with Remcho Johansen & Purcell in January 2020 to form Olson Remcho. Olson specializes in the practice of election, government, and political law. 

Olson serves as counsel to many of California’s foremost labor unions, several large trade associations, a number of major environmental organizations, and many of California’s leading tech entrepreneurs. In addition, he has advised scores of elected and public officials, including Speakers of the Assembly and Presidents Pro Tem of the Senate. He has provided legal advice to the California Democratic Party since 1982. 

Olson specializes in the process of drafting and qualifying initiatives and referendum appearing on state and local ballots. In that role, he has played a major part in the drafting and passage of many of California’s major laws. Olson drafted Proposition 34, the comprehensive campaign finance reform ballot measure adopted by the voters in November 2000. In 2010, he drafted Proposition 25 which reduced the Legislative vote requirement to pass a California budget from 2/3rds to a majority. In 2012, Olson drafted Proposition 28, modifying Legislative term limits to allow Legislators to serve longer in the Assembly or Senate. In 2016, Olson drafted Proposition 56, an initiative passed by voters to increase the tax on tobacco products. Also in 2016, he co-wrote successful measures to extend California’s income tax on wealthy taxpayers (Proposition 55) and legalize cannabis under California law (Proposition 64). Olson has also advised campaigns opposed to ballot measures including successful efforts to defeat initiatives restricting labor unions ability to participate in the political process (Proposition 226 — 1998; Proposition 75 — 2005 and Proposition 32 — 2012). 

Olson previously served as an adjunct professor of law at McGeorge School of Law for eight years where he taught election law. He is also a consultant to the CEB publication, Advising California Nonprofit Corporations. He is the co-founder and past president of the California Political Attorney’s Association. He previously served on the California Bipartisan Commission on the Political Reform Act and as a Lawyer Representative for the Eastern District of California to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. 

Throughout 2024, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law will celebrate members of its vast alumni network in honor of the school’s 100-year anniversary. This post is part of a series highlighting 100 exceptional McGeorge School of Law alumni.  

Stay tuned for more blog posts as we celebrate the law school’s centennial anniversary.