Mark I. Weinberger (1948-2005)

Founding partner Mark Ira Weinberger was born in Oakland in 1948 and spent his early years in Palo Alto. He graduated Stanford University in 1970, where he was Editor in Chief of the Stanford Daily. He went on to earn his law degree from Harvard University in 1974 and thereafter played a pivotal role in the emerging field of California environmental law. On July 14, 2005, Mark died peacefully in San Francisco, after a four-year struggle with leukemia.

photo by Liza Heider

Mark co-founded the firm in 1980 after five years as an attorney in the California Attorney General's environmental unit. Though the idea of a private environmental and land use law practice serving community groups and government agencies was novel at the time, the firm thrived. Mark’s leadership and his abiding interest in mentoring the firm’s younger lawyers were instrumental to the firm’s growth and success. Just months before his death, he attended the firm's 25th anniversary celebration.

Throughout his career, Mark’s tenacity, his courteousness, and his legendary sense of humor won him the admiration of allies and adversaries alike. A brilliant litigator and negotiator, he was among the pioneers in California environmental law and won many groundbreaking cases. He was frequently called upon to negotiate complex land use disputes and was known for developing innovative strategies for preserving open space and protecting environmental values.

Mark was deeply devoted to the firm. Despite physical hardships, he continued to practice throughout the course of his illness, visiting his colleagues at the office on a regular basis. Mark was as fierce in his battle against leukemia as he was in the many battles he waged to preserve open space and protect the environment during his career. He is sorely missed by his friends and colleagues at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, but his courage continues to be remembered.

San Francisco Chronicle article on Mark Weinberger