Rachel B. Hooper

Rachel B. Hooper joined Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger in 1984 and served as the firm’s Managing Partner from 1998 to 2015. Before joining the firm, Ms. Hooper worked for two years as Law Clerk to the Honorable Laughlin E. Waters, United State District Judge, Central District of California. Ms. Hooper’s practice includes representation of environmental groups and public agencies in matters involving CEQA; NEPA; Endangered Species Act; and state laws governing general plans, zoning, forestry, annexations, and climate change. An expert in election law, Ms. Hooper has drafted and defended land use initiatives on behalf of community groups and local governments, and has prepared numerous referenda challenging local legislative approvals.

photo by Liza Heider

Ms. Hooper has extensive litigation experience in federal and state courts, at both the trial court and appellate levels. She defended Napa County in DeVita v. County of Napa, litigation challenging a 30-year agricultural preservation initiative, ultimately prevailing in the California Supreme Court. She served as plaintiffs’ lead attorney in litigation setting aside Placer County’s approval of the Martis Valley Community Plan, and in a legal action resulting in the rescission of a 20-year water privatization contract approved by the City of Stockton. More recently, litigation filed by Ms. Hooper succeeded in halting construction of the Regents Road Bridge over Rose Canyon in San Diego; overturning Riverside County’s approval of a large development known as the “Villages of Lakeview;” and halting the development of a poorly planned ski resort on Dyer Mountain in Lassen County.

In 2010, Ms. Hooper received the California Lawyer’s Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award for her success in challenging the Nestle company’s proposal to construct a large water bottling facility on the McCloud River. She also received the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter’s 2010 Outstanding Legal Representation Award, recognizing her achievement in negotiating a landmark settlement with the California Attorney General and the City of Stockton that calls for specific policies and programs to address the threat of global warming.

Among other current cases, Ms. Hooper represents environmental groups in cases challenging Caltrans' approval of a controversial plan to widen the I-5 freeway along the San Diego coast; and the San Diego Association of Governments’ approval of the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. She also represents the City of Long Beach in challenging the Port of Los Angeles’ approval of a large railyard project known as the Southern California International Gateway project.

Ms. Hooper has spoken widely on land use planning, CEQA, and initiatives and referenda. For many years, she has served on the editorial board of Matthew Bender’s California Environmental Law Reporter. She has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer each year from 2007 to the present, a designation awarded to only the top 5% of Northern California lawyers, and was named as a “Top Woman Lawyer” by the Daily Journal in 2014. Ms. Hooper is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), and received her B.A. from Yale University, graduating summa cum laude.

Ms. Hooper is a member of the Bars of the State of California, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Central Districts of California.