Laura D. Beaton

Ms. Beaton joined Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger in 2013 and is an associate at the firm. She represents individuals, community groups, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies on a broad range of environmental, land use, and local government issues, including CEQA, NEPA, the Subdivision Map Act, planning and zoning law, inverse condemnation and takings, vested rights, open meeting and public records laws, contract drafting and enforcement, renewable energy policy, and California’s Proposition 65.

photo by Liza Heider

Ms. Beaton both advises clients on non-litigation matters and represents them in litigation at the administrative, trial, and appellate levels. Among other matters, she represented a community group in a successful challenge to a proposed massive expansion of a quarry, and helped successfully defend a County against inverse condemnation claims by a landowner. She has also litigated and settled numerous cases under California’s Proposition 65, which resulted in the reduction of toxins in protein powders, children’s haircare products, and other consumer products. Ms. Beaton also engages in renewable energy issues across the country, helping her clients advocate for state policies that encourage development of clean, renewable energy. She is currently part of the SMW team challenging a number of sprawling, environmentally destructive developments in the Tahoe region.

Prior to joining the firm, she worked in Earthjustice’s Bozeman, Montana office, where she litigated cases under state and federal environmental statutes including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. She has also handled cases involving energy development, mining, and the expansion of hydraulic fracturing in the west.

Ms. Beaton graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law, where she was elected to Order of the Coif and earned a certificate in Environment and Natural Resources Law. During law school, she worked at numerous environmental nonprofits, and she was a co-director of the 2010 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. She also served as Operations Editor of Oregon Law Review and was a tutor for the law school’s Legal Research and Writing Program. Ms. Beaton graduated summa cum laude from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Prior to that, she conducted wildlife surveys for the arboreal red tree vole on federal lands in the Pacific Northwest.

Ms. Beaton is a member of the Bars of the State of California and the State of Montana (inactive), the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She serves on the Boards of Directors of the Sierra Nevada Alliance, Cascadia Wildlands, and The Erythromelalgia Association.