Susannah T. French

Susannah T. French joined the firm in 1993 after graduating from University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). She represents public entities and environmental groups throughout California on a wide range of environmental and land use issues, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), planning and zoning law, endangered species and habitat protection, and takings litigation.

photo by Liza Heider

Ms. French has represented clients in state and federal court, at both the trial court and appellate levels. She was a member of the firm’s successful team defending Santa Cruz County in Big Creek Lumber Company v. County of Santa Cruz, a preemption challenge to local timber harvesting regulations, in which the County prevailed before the California Supreme Court. She has also worked on numerous cases successfully defending public entities against takings and other constitutional claims, including Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council, Inc .v. Tahoe Reg'l Planning Agency (9th Cir. 2003) 322 F.3d 1064 and Toigo v. Town of Ross (1998) 70 Cal.App.4th 309, and drafted amicus briefs in the takings cases Milagra Ridge Partners, Ltd. v. City of Pacifica (1998) 62 Cal.App.4th 108, Bunch v. Coachella Valley Water Dist. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 432, and Hensler v. City of Glendale (1994) 8 Cal.4th 1.

Ms. French has represented community and environmental groups in litigation to enforce CEQA, NEPA, and state planning and zoning laws in both state and federal court. She has also advised public entities, including the University of California Board of Regents, the Alameda Waste Management Authority, the East Bay Regional Park District, and the Sacramento Regional Flood Control Agency, on compliance with environmental, planning, and government laws.

Ms. French graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1988. At Berkeley Law, she was a member of the Ecology Law Quarterly and the California Law Review, where she published a comment on administrative record in NEPA litigation. Ms. French co-authored Chapter 65: Takings and Other Constitutional Controls in California Environmental Law and Land Use Practice (Lexis Nexis), as well as articles for the California Environmental Law Reporter. She is also the author of Operation Redwood (Amulet Books, 2009), winner of the Green Earth Book Award for Children’s Fiction and the California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award.

Ms. French is member of the Bars of the State of California, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.