Robert "Perl" Perlmutter

Robert “Perl” Perlmutter joined Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger in 1996 and is a partner with the firm. His practice areas include local initiatives and referendums, CEQA and NEPA, planning and zoning law, the Clean Water Act, Proposition 65, the California Endangered Species Act, open space preservation and conservation easements, and public agency law.

photo by Liza Heider

Mr. Perlmutter advises and represents environmental organizations, state and local public agencies, and community groups in administrative proceedings and at every level of the state and federal courts. He served as lead counsel for petitioners in Orange Citizens for Parks and Recreation v. Superior Court, 2 Cal.5th. 141 (2016), in which the California Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed the integrity of General Plans in California and upheld the voters’ ability to use the referendum power to challenge local land use decisions. He also served as the lead attorney representing San Francisco Baykeeper in San Francisco BayKeeper v. Tosco Corporation, 309 F.3d 1153 (9th Cir. 2002), a Ninth Circuit case upholding Clean Water Act citizen enforcement suits, which was included in the National Law Journal’s July 21, 2003 special feature: The Plaintiffs’ Hot List, Twenty-Five Go-To Teams for When the Going Gets Tough.

Mr. Perlmutter is a member of the firm’s initiative and referendum team, and has drafted and defended numerous local ballot measures. He has also authored or co-authored several publications regarding local ballot measures, including Chapter 75: Local Land Use Initiatives and Referendums, in California Environmental Law and Land Use Practice (Lexis Nexis), and Ballot Box Planning: Understanding Land Use Initiatives in California (Institute for Local Self Government).

Mr. Perlmutter has been named as a Northern California Super Lawyer each year since 2009 and selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America since 2012. He is a past Chair of the Executive Committee of the California State Bar Environmental Law Section. Mr. Perlmutter regularly speaks at conferences regarding land use and environmental issues. He received his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law, where he was elected Order of the Coif and was editor-in-chief of the Ecology Law Quarterly, and his undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Before joining the firm, Mr. Perlmutter served as a law clerk for the Honorable Thelton E. Henderson, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

Mr. Perlmutter is a member of the Bars of the State of California, the U.S. Supreme Court, 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.