Land use/zoning in United States

Akerman LLP

The land use and development practice at Akerman LLP has a strong presence in several key areas of the country, including Florida, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, acting for an impressive roster of real estate developers, landowners, investors, and lenders. The group is coordinated by a trio of lawyers: Orlando-based Cecelia Bonifay chairs the firm's land use and development group and has a strong background in large-scale urban planning and development approvals, having recently advised a developer on the multimillion-dollar expansion and sale of the Wyndham WorldMark Kingstown Reef Resort in Orlando; Miami office managing partner Neisen Kasdin has extensive civic experience as a former mayor of Miami Beach; and Joshua Rinesmith in New York City recently advised on one of the first major air rights transactions to a private developer under the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA)'s NextGen 2.0 initiative. Another key figure is Jack George in Chicago, who has worked on numerous notable development projects, including zoning map amendments, planned development applications, and condemnation matters.

Practice head(s):

Cecelia Bonifay; Neisen Kasdin; Joshua Rinesmith

Other key lawyers:

Jack George; Jaclyn Scarinci


‘Neisen Kasdin and Benjamin Hedrick were indispensable.’

‘The Akerman team has unequalled experience in the art of Land use/Zoning in Chicago. They are skilled conductors of public processes and strong tacticians on political issues. They are the premier firm in Chicago in this sector.’

‘Jack George and Chris Leach are both terrific lawyers and are very organized with their processes.’

Key clients

MADDD Equities


Swire Properties

Northwood Investors

Two Roads Development

The Arker Companies

Golub & Company

Riverside Development

Lake Shore East LLP

Magellan Development Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted Golub & Company and CIM Group with the approval of the planned development for the renovation of the Chicago Landmark Tribune Tower and the construction of a mixed-use building on the surface parking lot located behind the Tribune Tower.
  • Acted for MADDD Equities in the acquisition of a fee parcel and approximately 90,000 square-feet of air rights from the adjacent NYCHA Ingersoll Houses development to construct two new mixed use towers with commercial, community facility, and residential space in downtown Brooklyn.
  • Represented the developer of the Magic City Innovation District in obtaining special zoning approval from the City of Miami for the project.

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP

From major sports arena developments to residential neighborhood transformations, the land use practice at Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP advises on some of California's most prestigious and complex projects. One such sports project, the multi-faceted development for the LA Clippers, saw Pamela Duffy lead advice to developer Murphy's Bowl on the acquisition of the site, land use approvals and entitlements, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance, and related litigation. Matt Bove oversees land use work as the chair of the wider real estate team, and Tay Via is the go-to name for regulatory matters in San Francisco. Harry O’Brien acts for developers throughout the development and entitlement process, and advises clients on compliance with the environmental review issues required under the CEQA. Miles Imwalle is another key member of the team, having recently advised Vallco Property Owner on a controversial mall redevelopment that involved defending the company in a lawsuit brought by a community group. In March 2021 the firm hired Frank Petrilli from Arent Fox LLP. He has a strong reputation among tech clients in the Silicon Valley area, working on corporate campuses, as well as complex entitlements issues for developments across Northern California.

Practice head(s):

Matt Bove

Other key lawyers:

Pamela Duffy; Tay Via; Harry O’Brien; Miles Imwalle; Frank Petrilli; Daniel Gershwin


‘Very well connected to local and regional regulatory agencies.’

‘The team has deep knowledge and experience in not only legal but also political issues in land use matters.’

Key clients

Vallco Property Owner, LLC

Murphy’s Bowl LLC (development entity of the LA Clippers)

Uber Technologies, Inc.

California Pacific Medical Center / Sutter Health

SWL 337 Associates / San Francisco Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Focil MB (Mission Bay developers)

Hearst Corporation / Brookfield Properties

Prado Group

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Work highlights

  • Representing Vallco Property Owner in its redevelopment of the 50-acre Vallco Mall in Cupertino into a new mixed-use town center.
  • Acting for Murphy’s Bowl in its proposed new $1bn basketball arena and event center, practice and training facility, sports medicine clinic, and team offices, with associated retail and community facilities and programs, for the LA Clippers in Inglewood, CA.
  • Assisting Seawall Lot 337 Associates, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, with the $1.6bn Mission Rock project adjacent to Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

DLA Piper LLP (US) draws on land use and zoning expertise from across its expansive office base nationwide to provide comprehensive service to property owners, purchasers, and lenders on regulatory issues arising from major real estate projects across the country. Chicago-based Richard Klawiter recently acted for Related Midwest, alongside Katherine Jahnke Dale, in relation to the site acquisitions and entitlements for two tower buildings in the city. Also in Chicago, Theodore Novak is recognized for his experience in some of the most significant and controversial real estate and land use projects in the Midwest. The team has an equally strong presence in California. Jerold Neuman in LA reflects the wider practice group's strength in PPP projects, while Kyndra Joy Casper is a key advisor on compliance with the CEQA. At the associate level, Karen Hallock covers both entitlements and land use litigation. In Reston, Virginia, both Antonio Calabrese and associate Kevin MacWhorter are praised for their 'extraordinarily consistent results' in facilitating the approval of major mixed-use applications.

Practice head(s):

Richard Klawiter; Theodore Novak

Other key lawyers:

Katherine Jahnke Dale; Jerold Neuman; Kyndra Joy Casper; Antonio Calabrese; Karen Hallock; Kevin MacWhorter


‘This team’s practice is unparalleled given their expertise in the marketplace. Specifically, their past experiences and long standing relationships within the City of Los Angeles provide context to best position projects on our behalf. Since starting to work with DLA’s land use group, we have been confident in our endeavors to go through various discretionary approvals within the City of Los Angeles. ’

‘Although we interface with the entire group, we have a “core” team within the larger department comprised of Jerold Neuman, Kyndra Casper and Andrew Brady. All three have performed exceptionally on our behalf. They are always available to discuss various projects or brainstorm on alternate solutions or paths. Particularly, we enjoy their ability to collaborate “outside the box” to come up with elegant ways to handle various endeavors.’

‘Tony Calabrese, Kevin MacWhorter and their team produce extraordinarily consistent results in a timely, cost-efficient manner. Their combined efforts are seamless, effecting the client’s ends while suggesting strategies and options to further advance their client’s goals. There’s no substitute for experience combined with persistent over-achieving. These two have provided us results we know we would not have achieved elsewhere, and we’re looking forward to working with them on additional projects.’

‘Tony and his team know the market better than any other firm in the area, and I have worked with many. He knows all the players, the committees, the jurisdictions and when to get in front of them, and how to prep for each group individually.’

‘Tony Calabrese always stays engaged, he works directly with the team to make sure what and how it is presented and to whom is in the best light for the project. He’s always available for questions and meetings.’

‘Super positive, finding solutions not problems, overcome obstacles with ease… and, nice people.’

‘Our work with Kyndra Casper has been top notch. She is always available timely and able to provide us with good counsel and contacts in order to solve our most pressing issues.’

‘Kyndra Casper is wonderful. Even through the face of adversity (which is often in LA land use issues), Kyndra keeps a solid focus and a smile to get the hard work complete. Her positive attitude and “can do” mentality are refreshing to me at least as we typically see and hear of challenges and problems. We are always able to come to a quick and competitive solution together.’

Key clients

Tysons Development, LLC

Related Midwest


The HYM Investment Group


Origami Capital Partners & Timberline Real Estate Partners

Millennium Partners

Harridge Development Group

GRIT Chicago, LLC

The Taubman Company

Union Square Station Associates (“US2”)


Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT)

Braves Development Company

Sterling Bay

Work highlights

  • Acted for Tysons Development in securing unanimous approval of The View at Tysons, which entitled the redevelopment of 8.35 acres with a mixed-use development comprised of more than 3 million square-feet, including a 600-foot office tower.
  • Represented Related Midwest in obtaining approval of its plan for two towers with a combined 1,100 apartments at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. The plan also includes a river walk along the Chicago River and funding for the DuSable Park development.
  • Assisting HYM Investment Group with zoning approvals from the City of Boston for the redevelopment of the Suffolk Downs race track.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

A leading name among land use practices in New York City, the team at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is headed by development expert Melanie Meyers and overseen by the firm’s chairman of real estate, Jonathan Mechanic. The group sees developments through their full life-cycles and has built a strong reputation for handling the planning of a number of iconic buildings on the New York City skyline. Current projects include major office developments, mixed-use urban regeneration and hospitals, with a recent matter being Meyers’ advice to Northwell Health on the zoning and land use for its proposed multibillion-dollar redevelopment of the entire Lenox Hill Hospital campus—a site that has played a critical role in the city’s Covid-19 response. Also recommended are David Karnovsky, who is involved in acquisition, joint venture development, and land use matters for large mixed-use buildings in the city centre; and Carol Rosenthal, another of the group’s go-to names for matters with complex land use components. At the non-partner level, of counsel Stephen Lefkowitz has over 50 years of experience in land use and development in New York; special counsel Wesley O’Brien is heavily involved in land use and environmental review; and associate Nicholas Williams is a frequent advisor on rezonings and special permit matters.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Meyers; Jonathan Mechanic

Other key lawyers:

David Karnovsky; Zachary Bernstein; Carol Rosenthal; Stephen Lefkowitz; Wesley O’Brien; Nicholas Williams


‘The knowledge this firm has on zoning and land use is by far superior to any of the other firms I have worked with. Zoning is nuanced, and Fried Frank knows what they are doing. When I make offers to buy property, their mistakes could be devastating to me. They don’t make mistakes. ’

‘My lawyer is simply the most knowledgeable in the world of zoning and land use. I have confidence in her guidance and advice.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for JP Morgan Chase in connection with various aspects of its planned 2.5 million-square foot headquarters redevelopment at its 270 Park Avenue location.
  • Counseled TF Cornerstone on a development consortium seeking to build up to 12 million square-feet in Long Island City at the Anable Basin waterfront, the area that was selected for Amazon’s headquarters site.
  • Advising Northwell Health on the zoning and land use for its proposed multibillion-dollar redevelopment of the entire Lenox Hill Hospital campus on the Upper East Side in Manhattan.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

From CEQA reviews to PPP projects and major mixed-use developments, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP fields a top-tier practice group from its California offices, handling every aspect of the planning process for some of the most notable projects on the West Coast. Of particular note is the team's work on major stadium developments, providing long-term advice through planning and on issues arising post-construction for clients including the Kroenke Group and the Golden State Warriors. Land use and development practice co-head Amy Forbes is based in Los Angeles and has strengths in administrative and sports law, while joint practice head Mary Murphy in San Francisco has extensive experience in PPP and historic rehabilitation projects. Another contact in San Francisco is Allison Kidd, who has experience of land use and transactional real estate advice. In Los Angeles, Douglas Champion is noted for his work on entertainment venues; he has been advising Madison Square Garden Company on its MSG Sphere at the Venetian, recently negotiating with Clark County on additional real property rights and refinement of the project design.

Practice head(s):

Amy Forbes; Mary Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Champion; Allison Kidd; Neil Sekhri; Ben Saltsman

Key clients

Oakland A’s Major League Baseball team

Berggruen Institute Project


Brookfield Properties Development

Madison Square Garden Company

Oak View Group

Golden State Warriors

The Kroenke Group


Stockbridge and Wilson Meany

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP has a strong on-the-ground presence in several major commercial centers in the US, including New York, San Francisco, Miami and Washington DC. In Miami, Joseph Goldstein specializes in advising developers and private property owners on entitlements, the protection of property rights, and processing complex development or other governmental approvals and permits. Alongside Goldstein, Juan Mayol has extensive experience in acting for charter school management companies and large-scale industrial developers, as well as major building companies in the Miami-Dade area. Kenneth Lowenstein is the name to note in New York; he advises on all site development matters for clients including Brookfield Property Partners and Google. In San Francisco, Chelsea MacLean led advice to California Coastal Properties on its Passage at San Mateo housing project, and also acted alongside Jennifer Hernandez in advising DeNova homes on various entitlement, environmental review, permitting and litigation matters. Christine Shiker in Washington DC and handles large, mixed-use and multi-phased projects throughout the downtown DC area, as well as in emerging neighborhoods in the surrounds. Steven ElrodPeter Friedman and Hart Passman left the Chicago office to found Elrod Friedman LLP in February 2020.

Practice head(s):

Joe Guay; Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Goldstein; Chelsea MacLean; Norman Glasgow; Jennifer Hernandez; Christine Shiker

Key clients

JPMorgan Chase and Starwood Property Trust

Dezer Development LLC


DeNova Homes

South San Francisco (SSF) Public Utilities Commission (PUC)

Housing Partners

California Coastal Properties LLC

40 Main Street


Pompano Park JV Holdings LLC

The Graham Companies

Brookfield Property Partners

GID Development Company


L & M Development Partners

Property Group Partners

Vision McMillan Partners

Madison Marquette and Urban Atlantic

Kettler, Carr Properties, Grosvenor Americas and Carmel Partners

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Praised for its 'sophisticated and nuanced approach to client relations', Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP's land use team continues to act for developers in some of New York City's most significant real estate projects. A prime example of this is the proposed 28-acre mixed-use site in Long Island City for Plaxall; advice on that project is being led by Elise Wagner, who has substantial experience advising on new developments as well as on the reuse of existing sites. The practice is jointly headed by Paul Selver, who has a special emphasis on environmental, zoning and historic preservation, and Gary Tarnoff, who focuses on zoning, land use, landmarks and New York City administrative law. Other key figures include James Power, who acts for private developers, cultural and healthcare institutions, and Valerie Campbell, one of the city's go-to names for landmarks projects. Senior land use and zoning advisor Meenakshi Srinivasan benefits from a varied background in architecture, and senior counsel Eugene Travers's experience negotiating complex zoning lot mergers and transfers of development rights adds further strength to the team. Former practice co-head Michael Sillerman retired at the end of 2020.

Practice head(s):

Paul Selver; Gary Tarnoff

Other key lawyers:

James Power; Elise Wagner; Valerie Campbell; Meenakshi Srinivasan; Eugene Travers


‘From my point of view, Kramer Levin combines top-flight expertise with an approach that takes into account the client’s own needs and the context within which it operates. Not all clients are the same and each has a different set of internal/external constraints and goals that may dictate a certain approach. There are many, many skilled land-use and zoning firms in NYC. But I have found Kramer to have a sophisticated and nuanced approach to client relations that is distinctive.’

‘I have worked most closely over two and a half decades with Elise Wagner. She embodies professional competence combined with knowledge of her clients and their needs to come up with creative solutions to the problems or needs at hand.’

Key clients

Plaxall Inc.

The Gotham Organization

Terminal Fee Owner LP (L & L and Columbia Property Trust)

HELP Development Corp.

JDS Development Group


Urban Edge Properties

Weill Cornell

GDS/417 Park

Howard Hughes Corporation

Tavros/ 14th Street and Ninth avenue

One45/Museum of Civil Rights

New York Blood Center

The Shubert Organization and RIU Hotels & Resorts/Cort Theatre

The Frick Collection

Gamma/Sutton Place Tower

RiverSpring Health featuring the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale

Work highlights

  • Advising Plaxall, one of four developers creating a comprehensive plan for a mixed use district on 28 acres of property surrounding Anable Basin in Long Island City.
  • Acting for JDS Development in the development of a new primarily residential tower at 9 DeKalb Ave., which would rise 1,066 feet in height and be the tallest building in Brooklyn.
  • Assisted GDS with the land use aspects of the construction of a boutique office building in East Midtown, utilizing landmark development rights transfer and requiring a special permit.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP fields one of the country's largest teams for land use and zoning and has a reach that extends across the United States. Environmental law, and its implications for project development, is a standout strength of the practice, but the wide range of sectors covered also sets it apart. Recent highlights reflect this, whether in the transport sector, where Lucinda Starrett at the Los Angeles office led advice to Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies on the Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit project, or in renewable energy, where Janice Schneider led a team from Washington DC and San Diego in advising a number of energy and finance clients on their most significant on-shore renewable projects. Global chair of the environment, land and resources department James Arnone is a land-use and environmental law expert whose 2020 highlights included a number of significant developments in the entertainment sphere. Alongside Arnone in Los Angeles, George Mihlsten has vast experience in securing regulatory approvals for large-scale developments and co-ordinating large teams for innovative resource-heavy projects. Washington DC-based environment litigation and energy projects expert Tommy Beaudreau serves as co-chair of the project siting and approvals group alongside Los Angeles-based Duncan Moore, who has 15 years of experience in land use, real estate and land use litigation. Christopher Garrett retired from the partnership in November 2020.

Practice head(s):

James Arnone; Janice Schneider; Tommy Beaudreau; Duncan Moore

Other key lawyers:

George Mihlsten; Lucinda Starrett

Key clients

8 Minute Solar Energy

Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies

American Airlines

Avangrid Renewables

California American Water Company (Cal-Am)

City of Hope National Medical Center

CORE/Grand Avenue

Crescent Heights

Faring Capital

FivePoint Holdings/Newhall Land & Farming Company

Hudson Pacific Properties

Los Angeles Football Club


Oakland Athletics

Paramount Pictures



Work highlights

  • Advising on the major master planning project City of Hope National Medical Center.
  • Acting for Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies in its commitment to design, build, operate, and maintain an aerial rapid transit gondola system connecting Dodger Stadium to Los Angeles Union Station – the Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit project (LA ART).
  • Assisting Terra-Gen with its most significant on-shore and off-shore renewable projects.

Ballard Spahr LLP

Ballard Spahr LLP's zoning and land use team assists clients with securing all permits and approvals on real estate projects around the country and has particular strengths in historic preservation and environmental issues. Practice head Matthew McClure is based in the firm's Philadelphia office, where recent standout matters have included new retail and housing development, and the transit-oriented North Station District project, both requiring coordination with local neighborhood groups. Alongside McClure, David Gest has experience working with city planners, architects, environmental and historic preservation consultants on major development projects. In Salt Lake City, Thomas Bennett has continued to advise on ski resort properties as part of a practice focused on the commercial and leisure sectors. A key figure in the Minneapolis office is James Walston, who is noted for his broad experience in commercial real estate.

Practice head(s):

Matthew McClure

Other key lawyers:

David Gest; Thomas Bennett; James Walston

Key clients

Midwood Investment & Development

Exeter Property Group

HFZ Capital Group

LCOR Incorporated

Wexford Science + Technology

The Rodin Group

Callahan Ward Companies

Sundance Partners

East West Partners


Padre Canyon Resort, LC

Wasatch Peaks Ranch Development, LLC

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

From public authorities developing transport infrastructure to investment trusts needing advice on mortgage and mezzanine loans, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP covers the full range of land use services from its New York office. The team handles litigation as well as a variety of municipal and state approvals, acting for clients such as Silverstein Properties and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Praised for her 'hard work, communication skills and ability to dissect an issue', Judith Gallent leads the firm's US planning and zoning practice and is experienced in all aspects of the land use process including zoning analysis and air rights transfers. As an architect as well as a lawyer, James Colgate has a unique perspective on land use legal matters, and often represents clients seeking special permits from land use agencies, including the the Department of City Planning and Board of Standards and Appeal.

Practice head(s):

Judith Gallent

Other key lawyers:

James Colgate; Jed Weiss


‘Very strong knowledge and track record regarding NYC zoning and the public review process required for zoning changes. The firm’s land use/zoning practice is regarded as one of the best in NYC.’

‘Judy Gallent, a partner at Bryan Cave, had superb subject matter expertise. Judy knew the key elected officials and community leaders who reviewed our zoning change application. Judy also helped us tailor presentations to different audiences during the public review process so that we were responsive to the concerns of different constituencies.’

‘They take a very proactive approach to solving difficult zoning and land use issues in NYC for our real estate development projects. It’s always an attitude of “let’s figure out how to get something approved” as opposed to “you can’t realize your dream”.’

‘Judy Gallent is one of the best land use attorneys I have ever worked with in NYC. Her hard work, communication skills and ability to dissect an issue makes her invaluable in my business.’

‘Creative with land use law, excellent understanding of NYC zoning. Has great connections to NYC agencies.’

‘Judith Gallent is extremely sharp, intelligent and easy to talk to. She is able to explain things to her clients in a clear and concise way, which is immensely helpful. She is very easy to get in touch with and lovely to speak to.’

‘We’ve used many different zoning consultants in our business throughout the years. Bryan Cave is at the top of the list. They are knowledgeable and well connected.’

‘James Colgate and Jed Weiss are both excellent zoning consultants. Having worked at the highest levels of the NYC Department of Buildings, they both have a detailed knowledge of not only the zoning regulations, but also the inner workings of the city agency.’

Key clients

Arbor Realty Trust

The Archdiocese of New York

Breaking Ground

Certain Solar (d.b.a. NineDot Energy)

China Vanke Co.


Empire State Development Corporation

Fashion Institute of Technology

Janus Property Company

Joseph Safra Real Estate

The Kamali Organization

Kipp Charter School

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The Nightengale Group

The Rockefeller Group

Silverstein Capital Partners

Silverstein Properties, Inc.

Toll Brothers City Living

The University Club

Vernon Realty LLC and MAG Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising Arbor Realty Trust on zoning and land uses aspects of various mortgage and mezzanine loans and preferred equity investments in New York City assets, including multi-family new construction, repositioning hotels and retail properties, and conversions.
  • Acting for Vernon Realty, developer of an approximately 6-acre parcel on the Long Island City waterfront, in relation to all land use and environmental review aspects of a proposed development involving three other developers of adjacent land to create a 28-acre special district.
  • Assisting the Metropolitan Transport Authority with land use aspects of the development of the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway, including developer compliance with transit easement provisions of New York City Zoning Resolution.

Cooley LLP

From its office in Reston, Virginia, granting geographic proximity to a number of significant mixed-use developments, Cooley LLP's land use and zoning team advises owners, developers and investors on the full range of matters across Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland. John Lavoie coordinates the team and heads firm's wider real estate practice, but Mark Looney and Colleen Gillis are the names to note for land use-specific advice. Looney and Gillis both have significant experience acting for major developers and national, regional and local companies in land use entitlements for projects ranging from large planned community developments to hotels and offices.

Practice head(s):

John Lavoie

Other key lawyers:

Colleen Gillis; Mark Looney


‘This practice is considered among the elite/best in the local market for handling complex cases, complex negotiations and for getting land use cases approved at a near perfect rate.’

‘They are collaborative and willing to listen (not bull-headed). Colleen Gillis does an amazing job handling a huge workload without missing a beat, thanks to her amazing team of attorneys.’

Key clients

Peterson Companies

Boston Properties


Hines Interests Limited Partnership

Brookfield Properties

Retail Properties of America (RPAI)

Brambleton Group

IDI Group Companies



Work highlights

  • Advising The Peterson Companies on four significant projects within the town of Leesburg, including two commercial rezonings that will allow approximately 74,000 square-feet of commercial development.
  • Advising Boston Properties on development applications to extend the existing Reston Town Center south to the new Metrorail station that will open in 2021.
  • Acting for Brambleton Group, a subsidiary of Soave Enterprises, in rezoning applications at the Brambleton Community, a large-scale mixed-use development application in Loudoun County.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson

Cox, Castle & Nicholson is recognized for its strengths in myriad land use matters, covering entitlements and related litigation, and habitat conservation projects. From its California offices, the team advises some of the leading developers on the West Coast, as well as government agencies and public bodies. In particular, the renewable energy sector has become increasingly important for the team, and San Francisco-based practice co-head Anne Mudge is a go-to name for permitting in that area. Joint practice head Andrew Fogg in Los Angeles has experience obtaining entitlements for a variety of projects, with recent work for Harrod Homes being an example of his and the team's strength in master planned communities. Other key contacts include Margo Bradish, who has recently been involved in housing projects, transport hubs and office developments; Linda Klein in San Francisco, who has expertise in the California Environmental Quality Act; and natural resource law and regulation expert Clark MorrisonSean Matsler and associate Morgan Gallagher are the names to note in Orange County.

Practice head(s):

Anne Mudge; Andrew Fogg

Other key lawyers:

Margo Bradish; Scott Birkey; Clark Morrison; Stanley Lamport; Scott Matsler; Linda Klein; Morgan Gallagher


‘Excellent, professional and willing to work.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable in the field of Ceqa, above others.’

Key clients

Trammell Crow


Harrod Homes


SummerHill Homes

Hudson – Pacific Properties

FedEx Ground Packaging, Inc.

KB Bakewell Seaside Venture II, LLC

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District

RES-US (Klamath River)

Work highlights

  • Acting for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, with operations on the Upper Santa Ana River, in the preparation of a habitat conservation plan covering all operations within the watershed.
  • Representing the Imperial Irrigation District in negotiating an easement to the state in order to foster development of the conservation habitat on a design/build basis, navigating and protecting existing rights holders and in addressing the land use issues.
  • Advised Fortinet on the successful entitlement of a new building as part of its corporate headquarters in the city of Sunnyvale.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP has a 'very knowledgeable and sophisticated land use practice' led from its Los Angeles office by Victor De la Cruz, whose current projects include transit-oriented developments, university master plans and luxury properties. The firm has land use lawyers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County and Sacramento, providing clients with local land use counsel across California. Susan Hori in Orange County is leading advice to Poseidon Water on a seawater desalination plant with collaboration from the government and regulatory practice, an example of the inter-practice synergy that is a hallmark of the team. David Smith and Sigrid Waggener are the key contacts in San Francisco.

Practice head(s):

Victor De la Cruz

Other key lawyers:

Susan Hori; David Smith; Sigrid Waggener


‘This firm has some of the best people to work with in the industry. I genuinely enjoy working with our Manatt team and feel very thankful to have them on our side.’

‘Sigrid is bright, thorough, responsive, detailed, and communicative.’

‘Well rounded team that has the capacity to handle all aspects of land use and real estate law – including speciality items – very scalable team with experts in each aspect of real estate.’

Key clients

Aera Energy

Athens Services

CapRock Partners

Jay Paul Company

Lyon Living/Synergy Oil & Gas, LLC

Mount Saint Mary’s University

Poseidon Water LLC

Trumark Homes

Toll Brothers Apartment Living

Simon Property Group, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Assisting Poseidon Water with obtaining approval from the California Coastal Commission and the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop a seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach, California.
  • Advising Lyon Living and Synergy Oil and Gas on obtaining entitlements to develop two new oil production sites and a 75-acre wetlands mitigation bank in the city of Long Beach, California.
  • Acting for Mount Saint Mary’s University in its first Brentwood campus development project in more than three decades.

Paul Hastings LLP

Focusing on choice, innovative projects, the land use practice at Paul Hastings LLP is an integral part of the firm's wider real estate team. Related Company's development of a closed municipal landfill is a recent example of first-of-its-kind work handled by the team at a state level; that matter is led by Gordon Hart and Deborah Schmall from the San Francisco office. The practice is jointly headed from Los Angeles by Jeffrey Haber, who advises on issues relating to landmark public buildings, hospitals and other types of large-scale developments, and Mitchell Menzer, a counsel to investors and developers on all aspects of major developments, including luxury hotels and corporate headquarters.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Haber; Mitchell Menzer

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Hart; Deborah Schmall

Key clients


Cedars Sinai Medical Center

A Community of Friends

Marina Del Rey Hospital

Plenitude Holdings, LLC

Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Mack Urban Development

Related Santa Clara LLC

AG-SCH 8150 Sunset Boulevard Owner, L.P.

Associate Capital

Five Point Holdings

Beverly Blvd Associates, L.P.

Lennar Corporation and its partners

Work highlights

  • Assisted The Related Companies with the first California residential development sited on top of a regulated landfill. It will be a 9 million-square foot mixed-use development in Santa Clara.
  • Advising Associate Capital and California Barrel Company, its subsidiary, on all aspects of its planned redevelopment of a former PG&E power plant site. It is the largest private project to be entitled in San Francisco in 2020.
  • Representing AG-SCH 8150 Sunset Boulevard Owner, L.P. on a Frank Gehry-designed mixed-use project that will serve as the gateway to Sunset Strip, involving the construction of a 330,000-square foot mixed use high-rise development.

Perkins Coie LLP

Perkins Coie LLP provides land use counsel and litigation services to private companies and public agencies on a variety of matters, including planning and permitting, tax-increment financing, and environmental impact assessments. Cecily Barclay in San Francisco heads the team and on land use and entitlements, real estate acquisition and development, and local government law.

Practice head(s):

Cecily Barclay

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has a large and diverse land use practice that routinely advises developers, investors, owners, nonprofits and local agencies on zoning, historic preservation, development agreements and environmental permitting matters. The team is co-ordinated by Keith Garner in San Francisco and Nancy Scull in San Diego. Jodi Stein joined the New York office from Herrick, Feinstein LLP in March 2020.

Practice head(s):

Keith Garner; Nancy Scull

Other key lawyers:

Jodi Stein

Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes

Based in Miami and covering the South Florida area, Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes is a boutique firm dedicated to land use, zoning and environmental matters. A signature strength for practice head Jeffrey Bercow and the wider team is in urban infill areas, one of the region's most significant being the abandoned Westview Golf Course in Miami-Dade county; in this respect, the group has been advising the owners, developers and buyers on plan amendment applications and rezoning approval among other issues. Leveraging 25 years of experience, Bercow's practice covers all aspects of local, state and federal real estate permitting and licensing. Another name to note is Melissa Tapanes Llahues, who specializes in complex and politically sensitive matters for a wide-ranging client base.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Bercow

Other key lawyers:

Melissa Tapanes Llahues; Michael Larkin


‘The Bercow team have a very strong expertise in Land Use with a great attention to detail, a keen understanding of the code and a solutions driven approach.’

‘Jeff Bercow and Carli Koshal Hemnani are wonderful lawyers and people. They are incredibly responsive and value relationships.’

Key clients


MAST Capital

Adler Development Group and 13th Floor Investments

Rosal Westview, LLC/Panattoni Development Company/Lennar Homes

KTC SW 88 Street LLC

Bizzi & Partners Development

CEO Contract

Terra Group

JDS Development Group (191 SW 12 Owner, LLC)

Florida Kennels, Inc.

D. Manatee Holdings, LLC and The Alfred Dupont Building Partnership, LLP

The District Board of Trustees of Miami-Dade College

Sweetwater House, LLC

Prestigia Real Estate FJM, Inc.

AMP-IV Hidden Harbour, LLC

Fontainebleau Florida Hotel

320 South Hibiscus Dr, LLC

Downtown Retail Associates, LLC/Block 55 Owner, LLC


Winpol 2020 Trust

MAFL Invest, LLC

2815/16 SW 37 Ave LLC

Barrington Bros, LLC

Farella Braun + Martel LLP

Farella Braun + Martel LLP's land use and development department acts for developers, property owners and non-profit housing providers in development projects with complex political and regulatory processes to obtain land use entitlements. The team has notable expertise in helping clients apply for and obtain New Markets and Historic Preservation Tax Credits (NMTC). Steven Vettel heads up the practice group and Charles Higley is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Steven Vettel

Other key lawyers:

Charles Higley


Headquartered in Boston, Goodwin's real estate development and permitting practice advises on matters ranging from strategic permit planning and zoning and subdivision control to due diligence and real estate joint ventures. Martin Healy chairs the practice and focuses on acquisition, due diligence and permitting advice for complex development projects. Counsel Robert Fitzgerald  co-chairs the firm's environmental practice and has experience of federal, state and local permitting for residential, commercial and industrial projects. Of counsel Lawrence Kaplan  represents educational and other institutions, owners, developers and tenants in permitting, acquisition and financing process. Jennifer Schultz left to join Sullivan in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Martin Healy

Other key lawyers:

Robert Fitzgerald; Lawrence Kaplan

Key clients

Boston Properties

Columbia Property Trust

Foxrock Properties

Habitat for Humanity

Leggat McCall

NB Development Group

North River Company

Trustees of Boston College

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Work highlights

  • Advising Columbia Property Trust on permitting efforts for redevelopment of aggregation of parcels in Boynton Yards neighbourhood in Somerville, MA into an approximately 400,000 square foot life sciences development.
  • Representing Leggat McCall in modifying its zoning approvals, competing in the city RFP process, and negotiating and executing a lease of parking from the city to support the rehabilitation of the high-rise courthouse building in Cambridge, MA.
  • Acting for a joint venture between Boston Properties and Delaware North in the development, permitting and leasing of an air rights parcel, including a portion of The Hub on Causeway development on the site of the Boston Garden.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP has significant experience guiding property owners through myriad regulatory issues and site development strategies. Jay Segal and Nick Hockens are key contacts at a New York-based team, which regularly collaborates with its government law and policy teams. Deirdre Carson is another name to note, acting for developers, real estate investors and educational institutions.

Herrick, Feinstein LLP

One of New York's go-to land use and zoning practices, Herrick, Feinstein LLP is adept at advising on the full range of matters in the area and has a particularly strong relationship with the firm's government relations practice, playing a crucial role in planning negotiations with government agencies. Practice co-head Mitchell Korbey has recently been engaged in the city's proposed rezoning of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal neighborhood, acting for major developer Property Markets Group (PMG). Another name to note is Belinda Schwartz, who chairs the wider real estate group, while at the associate level, Robert Huberman stood out on several fronts in 2020. Jodi Stein left for Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in March 2020, but the firm hired multiple land use associates.

Practice head(s):

Mitchell Korbey; Belinda Schwartz

Other key lawyers:

Robert Huberman

Key clients

BFC Partners

Centennial Bank

Deutsche Bank

G4 Capital Partners

Goldman Sachs

L+M Development Partners

Madison Realty Capital

Otera Capital Investments

Property Markets Group

RAL Development Services

Rubenstein Partners

Sherwood Equities

The Lightstone Group

Toll Brothers

William Macklowe Company

Work highlights

  • Advising PMG on the city’s proposed rezoning of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal neighborhood.
  • Assisting Rubenstein Partners with plans for a mixed-use office and manufacturing property in Greenpoint that will include a new home for the ACME Smoked Fish plant.
  • Acted for Fleet Center in obtaining approval of a zoning map amendment by the New York City Council to modify the decision by the City Planning Commission restoring its proposed building to 14-stories with over 200,000 square feet for planned community facility and office uses.

Mayer Brown

The recent mix of major residential developments, mixed-use regeneration and landmark sites on the slate of Mayer Brown's land use entitlements practice is indicative of the work it undertakes as a key player in the Los Angeles market. Practice head Edgar Khalatian is regularly lead counsel on high-profile and complex land use projects in California, with matters ranging from obtaining entitlements for residential and mixed-use developments to advising on the California Environmental Quality Act and water supply issues. Litigator Dan Queen is frequently involved in the more controversial projects, and Arteen Mnayan, a standout associate, assists investors and developers with all aspects of the real estate entitlement and development process.

Practice head(s):

Edgar Khalatian

Other key lawyers:

Arteen Mnayan; Dan Queen


‘Mayer Brown has cultivated the necessary relationships with decision stake holders and community leaders to earn a respected expert rating for navigating the typical sticking points any project encounters. Furthermore, they keep these relationships current as leaders change.’

‘Edgar Khalatian has shown determination, grit and skill through tough opposition to our project. The CC&R governing our location was confining and almost impossible to allow significant development expansion. Edgar brought in the litigation team who literally squashed the opposition and found a path forward to move our project forward. He also lead through countless design changes to achieve favor for the vision of our founder with City Planning and neighbors.’

Key clients

Millennium Partners


8150 Sunset

Crown Realty and Cypress Equities

The Post Group

AvalonBay Communities

Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

Encore Capital Management and Cal Coast Development

Watt Companies

Jamison Properties

Mitsui Fudosan USA

Bank OZK

Work highlights

  • Acting for The Reef in the entitlement of 10-acre site in downtown Los Angeles, one of the biggest development projects in the city.
  • Assisting 8150 Sunset with a project in West Hollywood designed by the architect Frank Gehry.
  • Advising Millennium Partners on the $1bn redevelopment of the Capital Records property with the Hollywood Center mixed-use project.

Nossaman LLP

Acting alongside dedicated teams for eminent domain and valuation and coastal development, Nossaman LLP's land use and entitlements practice stands out for its support to both private development and public infrastructure clients on innovative and complex residential, mixed use, and public facility projects in California. Precondemnation planning is a particular niche area of expertise, with practice co-head Brad Kuhn leading advice in that respect on the Metro Gold Line foothill extension. In the Irvine office, joint practice head John Erskine advises on compliance, the CEQA, state resource agency issues, and the California Coastal Act. Bernadette Duran-Brown (also in Irvine) is a leading contact for passenger rail projects in California, while Steven Kaufmann in LA is noted for coastal land use matters.

Practice head(s):

Brad Kuhn; John Erskine

Other key lawyers:

Bernadette Duran-Brown; Steven Kaufmann

Key clients

Southern California Gas Company

Security National Guaranty

Southern California Edison (SCE)

Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)


24 Hour Fitness

CalAtlantic Homes (formerly Standard Pacific)

OSLIC Holdings (formerly Old Standard Life Insurance Company)

Bayside Village Marina – Back Bay Landing (Newport Beach)

White Rock Resort

City of Los Angeles / Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART)

California Water Service Company

Michael Martz, Trustee of Martz Trust

Jackson Family Wines

Work highlights

  • Acting for Sandag in property acquisitions for the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project, a $2bn, 11-mile trolley line extension from downtown San Diego to University City.
  • Assisting SCE with real estate, encroachment dispute, utility relocation, inverse condemnation, and right of way acquisition services for multiple electric transmission projects.
  • Advising Bayside Village Marina on all legal and Coastal Commission consulting work associated with a general plan amendment and various land use approvals for future project construction.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

A significant name in New York real estate law, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP's land use attorneys assist developers with obtaining approvals for high-profile and controversial developments in the city and further afield. Complex joint ventures are a particular strength for the team, with recent advice on the acquisition of land and air rights to the developers of a mixed-use building at 100 Claremont Avenue being led by key contact Ross Moskowitz. His expertise extends from land use and zoning to public-private partnerships, environmental and tax abatement, and exemption issues. The team is integrated into a strong wider real estate practice that is co-chaired by Jeffrey Keitelman in Washington DC and Brian Diamond in New York.

Practice head(s):

Jeff Keitelman; Brian Diamond

Other key lawyers:

Ross Moskowitz

Key clients

Sabey Corporation Inc.

Blackstone Group

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc.

Skyline Developers

F&T Group

Madison Realty Capital

Triangle Equities

TF Cornerstone

Criterion Group LLC

Simone Development Cos.

Queensboro FC LLC


Pace University

St. Bartholomew’s Church

Work highlights

  • Acting for FRWA, a coalition of three developers, in a private rezoning in New York that concerns a plan to rezone a piece of the Flushing Creek waterfront development in Queens, New York.
  • Advising Alexandria Real Estate Equities on land use, acquisition and deal negotiations for the creation of the $1bn Alexandria Center for Science and Technology at the East River Science Park in New York City.
  • Advised a joint venture managed by Lendlease and L+M Development Partners in the $251m development deal for 100 Claremont Avenue, a 354,000-square-foot mixed-use building in the Manhattan neighborhood of Morningside Heights.