William J. White

Bill White joined Shute Mihaly & Weinberger in 1995 and is a partner with the firm. His practice focuses on large, complex land use, environmental and real estate matters involving greenfield land conservation and urban infill development.

photo by Liza Heider

Mr. White has extensive experience representing environmental and community groups in land use and environmental litigation, administrative proceedings, negotiations and settlements. With another partner in the firm, he negotiated the landmark Tejon Ranch settlement agreement, preserving 240,000 acres in one of the largest conservation deals in California history. He led the legal team for the $93 million acquisition of lands Coyote Valley, one of the top conservation priorities in the state. As lead attorney for a coalition of major environmental groups, Mr. White helped defeat the controversial Foothill-South Toll Road before the California Coastal Commission, State and Regional water boards, and the courts (California State Parks Foundation et al., v. Superior Court of San Diego County, 150 Cal.App.4th 826 (4th Dist. 2007)) and secured permanent protections for San Onofre State Beach from future highway development. He assisted Friends of the Earth in its successful effort to shut down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, the last nuclear power plant in California.

Mr. White has negotiated a range of major real estate agreements, including purchase and sale agreements, land exchange agreements, donation agreements, conservation easements and commercial leases on behalf of public agencies, nonprofit affordable housing developers, and land conservancies. For the Transbay Joint Powers Authority he negotiated the sale of three sites for tower development adjacent to the Transbay Transit Center totaling over $525 million, including the site of the Salesforce Tower, the tallest building in San Francisco.

Mr. White also specializes in public trust law and advises cities and agencies in connection with some of the most important waterfront development projects in the Bay Area, including the Exploratorium, the America’s Cup sailing regatta, and the proposed Golden State Warriors Arena for the Port San Francisco, and proposed mixed-use master development projects at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard/Candlestick Point, Treasure Island, Pier 70, Mission Rock, the former Naval Air Station Alameda, and the former Oakland Army Base. He has drafted and helped secure passage of over a dozen state statutes governing trust lands granted to cities and local agencies.

Mr. White has lectured on the public trust and is co-author of Chapter 65: Takings and Other Constitutional Controls in California Environmental Law and Land Use Practice (Matthew Bender). He graduated magna cum laude from New York University Law School and received his B.A. from the University of Virginia. He received a 2020 California Lawyer magazine’s Attorney of the Year (“CLAY”) award for his work on Coyote Valley, and a 2009 CLAY award for his work on Tejon Ranch. He has been recognized as one of Northern California’s “Super Lawyers" since 2013.

Mr. White is a member of the Bars of the State of California and the District of Columbia (inactive).