More Accomplishments

  • Victory in San Diego County: The Cleveland National Forest Foundation, a long-time SMW client, has succeeded in stopping the proposed “Lilac Hills Ranch,” a leapfrog project that would have added 1,746 homes plus commercial development to a semi-rural area north of Escondido. The developer withdrew its project application after SMW commented on the inadequacies of the County’s analysis of the sprawl project’s greenhouse gas impacts.    -Read more-
  • Groundbreaking for Solar Farm: SMW represented Marin Clean Energy (MCE) in leasing a brownfield owned by Chevron in the City of Richmond for a 10.5 megawatt solar farm. MCE, California’s first Community Choice Aggregation electric power supplier, broke ground on the facility on December 16. The solar farm is expected to generate enough carbon free electricity for 3,000 homes in the City of Richmond. Read more here.   
  • Victory in Mendocino County: SMW successfully challenged the County’s approval of a vested right to mine a quarry without permits or environmental review oversight. Going forward, the quarry may only operate if it complies with California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act and local land-use regulations and undergoes CEQA review.  
  • Win for Save Laurel Way: San Mateo Superior Court handed a big victory to firm clients Save Laurel Way. The group challenged Redwood City’s issuance of a permit to develop sixteen residences on extremely steep, undeveloped hillside lots that include oak woodlands. SMW successfully argued that the City violated the Subdivision Map Act by failing to demonstrate that all of the lots had been legally subdivided in 1929. Read the opinion here.   
  • Big Win for Hills for Everyone: The Orange County Superior Court recently overturned the City of Brea’s approvals of the Madrona Project, a large subdivision proposed for sensitive hillsides adjacent to protected open space. SMW demonstrated that the approvals violated the City’s core land use plans and ordinances and the California Environmental Quality Act. Read the news report here.  
  • SMW Again Named Among "Best Law Firms": Best Lawyers,® the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has again ranked Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP as “Tier 1” among law firms in the San Francisco metropolitan area in the categories of “Environmental Law,” “Land Use & Zoning Law,” and "Litigation – Environmental,” and among all law firms nationally for “Litigation- Land Use & Zoning,” in its 2016 Best Law Firms rankings. View the rankings here.  
  • Clean Energy Practice Expands: Sky Stanfield and Erica McConnell, stand-outs in the field of clean energy, have joined Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger. Both attorneys have extensive experience in renewable energy law and policy and work with a variety of clients promoting progressive energy policy, including the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).    -Read more-
  • SMW Lawsuit Results in Rescission of Approvals by City of Rocklin: In response to SMW’s lawsuit on behalf of Citizens Voice and Citizens for Tree Preservation, on October 27, 2015, the City of Rocklin rescinded its approvals and agreed to prepare an EIR for a 3-story, 195-unit apartment complex that would clear cut 322 mature oak trees and tower over adjoining single family homes.  
  • Victory for Save Mount Diablo: In a case brought by SMW, the Court of Appeal rejected a landowner’s claim that the condemnation of two strips of land across his property was a de facto “subdivision” that did not require environmental review or local approval. Read the Opinion here.  
  • SMW Honored as Women-Owned Business: SMW has been named by the San Francisco Business Times to its “Bay Area’s Largest 100 Women-Owned Businesses” for 2015, one of only 6 law firms to make the rankings. The firm’s nine woman owners – Fran Layton, managing partner Rachel Hooper, Ellen Garber, Tamara Galanter, Ellison Folk, Osa Wolff, Catherine Engberg, Deborah Miller, and Winter King – comprise a majority of SMW’s partners and, collectively, hold a majority ownership stake in the firm.   
  • Clem Shute Receives Lifetime Achievement Award: The Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California recently granted one of our firm’s founding partners, E. Clement “Clem” Shute, Jr., the second annual Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Environmental Law at the 2015 Environmental Law Conference in Yosemite.    -Read more-
  • Court of Appeal Victory: In June, 2015, the Third Appellate District issued a published opinion in Siskiyou County Farm Bureau v. Department of Fish and Wildlife, holding that substantial water diversions are subject to the same notice requirements as streambed alterations under Fish and Game Code section 1602. Representing California Trout, the firm filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the Department. Read the Opinion here.   
  • Victory for Stanislaus County: The Court of Appeal affirmed SMW’s successful defense of Stanislaus County against a claim that the County’s denial of the plaintiff’s subdivision application caused a taking. Both the trial and appeal courts held that the Map Act’s statute of limitations applied to takings claims related to a subdivision decision and the plaintiff had brought his claims too late. Read the Opinion here.  
  • Victory for SAFCA: The Court of Appeal recently affirmed the SMW’s victory in an eminent domain trial for the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, establishing an important precedent regarding severance damages and rebuttal expert testimony. The jury’s verdict was a fraction of what the owner had claimed, and very close to SAFCA’s appraisal, saving the agency over $1,000,000. Read the Opinion.  
  • Victory for Transbay: On May 7, 2015, the firm won a significant victory for the City and County of San Francisco and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in an eminent domain action to acquire a five-story office building needed for a train tunnel and bus ramp to serve the Transbay Transit Center Project. After an eight-day jury trial, the firm won a verdict of $7,950,000, only 3% above the City’s/TJPA’s appraisal and more than $4 million less than what the owner had sought.   
  • Oil Company Dismisses Challenge to Fracking Ban: Last November, San Benito County voters overwhelmingly approved Measure J, which bans fracking and other high-intensity petroleum operations in the County. On April 3, 2015, the oil company challenging the Measure dismissed its lawsuit. SMW drafted Measure J and represented initiative proponents defending the Measure. Read the news report here.  
  • Top Boutique Firm: SMW is honored to have been selected as one of the top boutique law firms in California. The Daily Journal, a leading legal newspaper, selected the firm based on interviews with lawyers around the State looking for firms that “do one thing and do it exceptionally well.” Read the article here.   
  • SMW Honored as Women-Owned Business: SMW has been named by the San Francisco Business Times to its “Bay Area’s Largest 100 Women-Owned Businesses” for 2014, one of only 5 law firms to make the rankings. The firm’s nine woman owners – Fran Layton, managing partner Rachel Hooper, Ellen Garber, Tamara Galanter, Ellison Folk, Osa Wolff, Catherine Engberg, Deborah Miller, and Winter King – comprise a majority of SMW’s partners and, collectively, hold a majority ownership stake in the firm.  
  • Victory in the Ninth Circuit: On October 21, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a judgment for SMW client City of Richmond in Herson v. City of Richmond. The firm successfully defended the City against claims by a billboard developer that the City’s sign ordinance violated the First Amendment and deprived the plaintiffs of equal protection. The firm also obtained a significant sanctions award for plaintiffs’ spoliation of evidence.  
  • Top Women Lawyers Award: Rachel Hooper was named a “Top Woman Lawyer” by the Daily Journal in an award ceremony held May 7, 2014.  
  • Major Milestone for Alameda Point: The City of Alameda has approved a transit-oriented community plan for the former navy base, including master infrastructure, rehabilitation and construction of 1,425 housing units and 5.5 msf of commercial space; trails, open space and species protection; and water-related uses. SMW attorneys advised on the Project, including CEQA, Section 7, public trust and hazardous materials.  
  • California Council of Land Trusts Award: In March, the California Council of Land Trusts honored the firm with the “Justice Served” award, a playful tribute to SMW’s work on behalf of the land conservation community. CCLT praised firm members for “their creative thinking to deliver efficient results on thorny issues that distract us from our on-the-ground conservation work.”   
  • 2013 Dealmaker of the Year: Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, Executive Director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, has won the San Francisco Business Times’ prestigious “Dealmaker of the Year” award. SMW is proud to serve as TJPA’s general counsel and legal advisor on real estate transactions, and we congratulate Maria on her remarkable achievement.  
  • Landmark Agreement for Mono Lake: SMW assisted the Mono Lake Committee in finalizing a groundbreaking settlement agreement that will require LADWP to restore Mono Basin’s streams, lake, and wildlife through minimum stream flows, habitat restoration projects, and independent scientific monitoring. Read the agreement here.  
  • SMW Named Among "Best Law Firms": Best Lawyers,® the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has again ranked Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP as “Tier 1” among law firms in the San Francisco metropolitan area in the categories of “Environmental Law,” “Land Use & Zoning Law,” Litigation – Environmental” and “Litigation- Land Use & Zoning” in its 2014 Best Law Firms rankings. View the rankings here.  
  • SMW Honored as Women-Owned Business: SMW has been named by the San Francisco Business Times to its “Bay Area’s Largest 100 Women-Owned Businesses” for 2013, one of only 4 law firms to make the rankings. The firm’s nine woman owners – Fran Layton, managing partner Rachel Hooper, Ellen Garber, Tamara Galanter, Ellison Folk, Osa Wolff, Catherine Engberg, Deborah Miller, and Winter King – comprise a majority of SMW’s partners and, collectively, hold a majority ownership stake in the firm. The firm was honored by the Business Times at a September 27th awards program in San Francisco.   
  • Martis Valley Conservation Agreement: As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee, SMW clients Mountain Area Preservation Foundation and Sierra Watch have announced a major conservation agreement covering more than 6,000 acres of undeveloped land in Martis Valley, expanding on earlier agreements that protect crucial habitat linkages with the Tahoe Basin.  
  • Court of Appeal Victory: On August 13, SMW and its client, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, secured a legal victory in a challenge brought by the California Building Industry Association to the Air District’s recently-adopted guidance on conducting environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act. The published court of appeal decision upholds the Air District’s challenged guidance in all respects. Read the decision here.  
  • Super Lawyers: Clem Shute, Rachel Hooper, Fran Layton, Andrew Schwartz, Ellison Folk, Richard Taylor, Robert "Perl" Perlmutter and Bill White were recognized as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2013. Winter King and Deborah Miller were recognized as Northern California Super Lawyer "Rising Stars."  
  • Delta Plan Approved: On May 18, the Delta Stewardship Council approved the Delta Plan, a program for protecting and enhancing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a once-vibrant estuarine ecosystem and an essential piece of California’s water system. SMW attorneys Ellen Garber, Gabe Ross, and Sarah Sigman advised on the Plan and its CEQA review and helped draft the EIR.  
  • Groundbreaking at Hunter's Point: SMW attorneys Bill White and Gabe Ross were honored to spend the sunny afternoon of June 26 at the groundbreaking for San Francisco’s Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point project, enjoying sweeping views of San Francisco Bay that will soon be shared by homeowners and park users.    -Read more-
  • California Lawyer of the Year: Based on his work defending an air quality regulation adopted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Matt Zinn, a partner with the firm, received a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award in environmental law from California Lawyer magazine in March 2013. Read more here.  
  • SMW Helps Protect Fresno Parks: SMW recently prevailed on behalf of its client, the San Joaquin Parkway and Conservation Trust, in CEQA litigation against Fresno County. A court struck down the County’s environmental review for Friant Ranch, a new housing development that would place 5,000 residents next door to already strained County and State parks. Read local news coverage here.  
  • Freeway-Focused Transportation Plan Defeated: SMW and its clients Cleveland National Forest Foundation and Sierra Club won a legal victory invalidating the environmental review for San Diego’s Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, which invested in freeways over transit and would have increased air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Read the press release.  
  • $190M Transbay Tower Deal Approved: SMW represented the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in negotiating an historic $190 million land sale which will help finance construction of the new Transbay Transit Center. The tower proposed for the site will be the tallest building west of Chicago. See press release here.  
  • “Big Wave” Defeated: The Committee for Green Foothills, a long-time SMW client, has stopped the proposed “Big Wave” office park that threatened a sensitive coastal area near Half Moon Bay, prevailing before the California Coastal Commission. SMW advised the Committee in the matter and represents it in a related CEQA suit.  
  • SMW Named Among "Best Law Firms": Best Lawyers,® the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has again ranked Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP as “Tier 1” among law firms in the San Francisco metropolitan area in the categories of “Land Use & Zoning Law” and “Litigation- Land Use & Zoning” in its 2013 Best Law Firms rankings. View the rankings here.  
  • SMW Honored as Women-Owned Business: SMW has been named by the San Francisco Business Times to its “Bay Area’s Largest 100 Women-Owned Businesses” for 2012, one of only 3 law firms to make the rankings. The firm’s nine woman owners – Fran Layton, managing partner Rachel Hooper, Ellen Garber, Tamara Galanter, Ellison Folk, Osa Wolff, Catherine Engberg, Deborah Miller, and Winter King – comprise a majority of SMW’s partners and, collectively, hold a majority ownership stake in the firm. The firm was honored by the Business Times at a September 28th awards program in San Francisco.  
  • California Supreme Court Upholds Air Quality Regulations Defended by SMW: SMW client South Coast Air Quality Management District gained an important victory for Southern California air quality in the recent California Supreme Court decision American Coatings Assn. v. South Coast Air Quality Management Dist. (2012) 54 Cal.4th 446. SMW attorneys Matthew Zinn and Heather Minner represented the District.   -Read more-
  • Solano Land Trust Acquires 1,500-Acre Preserve: Following SMW's successful settlement of CEQA litigation brought on behalf of the Green Valley Landowners Association challenging Solano County's approval of the Rockville Trails Estates project, the Solano Land Trust, in August 2012, purchased the breathtaking 1,500-acre property to preserve in perpetuity as a public park. Media coverage here.   -Read more-
  • Super Lawyers: Clem Shute, Rachel Hooper, Fran Layton, Andrew Schwartz, Ellison Folk, Richard Taylor, and Robert “Perl” Perlmutter were recognized as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2012. Matt Zinn was recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer “Rising Star.”   
  • Lawsuit Halts Development of New City in Riverside County: A California court recently rejected Riverside County’s approval of the Villages of Lakeview, a massive development for 34,000 new residents. The firm represented the Friends of Northern San Jacinto Valley and Sierra Club in coalition with other allies.   -Read more-
  • Stopping Pismo Beach Sprawl: SMW recently helped the Oak Park Community Group defeat the “Los Robles del Mar” proposal for homes on agricultural land. On March 15, the San Luis Obispo Local Area Formation Commission rejected the project because of its hopelessly unrealistic water-supply plan. Local coverage here and here.   -Read more-
  • Marc Mihaly named Dean of Vermont Law School : One of SMW’s founding partners has been named President and Dean of the Vermont Law School. Known for its highly respected environmental law program, the school welcomed Marc to its faculty in 2004, almost 25 years after Marc founded SMW with Clem Shute and Mark Weinberger.   
  • SMW’s Lawsuit to Protect Anza Borrego State Park Featured in Press: SMW, representing Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit challenging Riverside County's approval of “Travertine Point,” a massive development along the shores of the isolated Salton Sea. The project would harm wildlife and irreplaceable cultural artifacts in adjacent Anza Borrego State Park.    -Read more-
  • SMW Attorneys Honored by the SF Bar Association: Sara Clark and Jackie Prange have been recognized as Outstanding Volunteers in Public Service for their work in 2011 with the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Volunteer Legal Services Program.  
  • SMW featured in the Daily Journal: One of the State's leading legal newspapers has featured the firm's history, diverse clients, woman-owned status, and unique culture. Read the article here.  
  • SMW Named Among “Best Law Firms”: Best Lawyers,® the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has ranked Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP as “Tier 1” among law firms in the San Francisco metropolitan area in the categories of “Land Use & Zoning Law” and “Litigation- Land Use & Zoning” in its 2011-12 Best Law Firms rankings. View the ranking here.  
  • Bay Area Ridge Trail Council: Matthew Zinn has joined the board of directors of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a continuous 550+-mile trail for hikers, mountain bicyclists, and equestrians along the ridgelines overlooking San Francisco Bay.  
  • SMW Honored as Women-Owned Business: The San Francisco Business Times named SMW to its 2011 list of "Bay Area’s Largest 100 Women-Owned Businesses," an honor SMW also received in 2010 and 2009.    -Read more-
  • Orange Community Groups Start Referenda Campaign: In July and August 2011, the community group Orange Citizens for Parks and Recreation submitted three referendum petitions challenging the City of Orange’s approval of plans to build a luxury equestrian residential project on open space lands. SMW assisted the group by drafting the referendum petitions.   -Read more-
  • Super Lawyers: Clem Shute, Rachel Hooper, Fran Layton, Andrew Schwartz, and Robert “Perl” Perlmutter were recognized as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2011. Matt Zinn was recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer “Rising Star.”  
  • Supreme Court Leaves Standing Important Ninth Circuit Takings Decision: On May 16, 2011, the United States Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a Ninth Circuit en banc decision upholding the City of Goleta’s mobile home rent control ordinance. The firm represented the City in the en banc and Supreme Court proceedings.    -Read more-
  • Richmond Rejects Casino at Point Molate : On April 5, 2011, the City of Richmond turned down plans for a large casino at Point Molate. The firm represented the East Bay Regional Park District in its six-year fight against the casino. SMW’s efforts included a successful lawsuit and numerous comment letters on the project’s environmental review.   
  • SMW Helps Agencies With Proposition 26: In November, California voters passed Proposition 26 to impose voter approval requirements for many fees. SMW is advising many of its public agency clients on how the law will change the way local governments fund new environmental, public health, and social programs.   -Read more-
  • Delta Plan, Environmental Impact Report : The firm has been retained by the Delta Stewardship Council to assist the Attorney General’s Office in advising the Council regarding the preparation of an EIR for the Delta Plan.   -Read more-
  • Implementation of Landmark Settlement In Foresthill: At the end of last year, SMW’s clients’ Foresthill Residents for Responsible Growth and Friends of the North Fork reached a groundbreaking settlement of their CEQA and General Plan lawsuit challenging Placer County’s approval of the Foresthill Divide Community Plan. Implementation of that settlement has begun.   -Read more-
  • Farmland Mitigation Decision Sustained: On February 16, 2011, the California Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the Building Industry Association of Central California to overturn a court of appeal decision upholding the County of Stanislaus’s Farmland Mitigation Program. The Firm represented the County throughout the litigation.    -Read more-
  • Library Privatization Defeated: On February 8, 2011, San Joaquin County and the City of Stockton voted to keep the regional library system public. The Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton and Friends of the Stockton Public Library, both represented by the firm, led the opposition to the privatization proposal.    -Read more-
  • SMW Successfully Defends Mobile Home Rent Ordinance: In a major victory for government’s ability to make land use decisions on behalf of the public good, an eleven-judge en banc panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a three-judge panel and upheld the City of Goleta’s mobile home rent ordinance against a constitutional challenge. The firm was retained to represent the City after the court granted en banc review.    -Read more-
  • Schwartz Inducted in Lambda Alpha: On December 2, 2010, Andrew Schwartz was inducted into the Golden Gate Chapter of Lambda Alpha International, the honorary land economics society.   
  • Three New Partners: SMW is proud to announce that Winter King, Deborah Miller, and Gabriel Ross have been made partners in the Firm effective January 1, 2011. For more information, see their biographies.   
  • SMW Successfully Defends Farmland Mitigation Program: The Fifth District Court of Appeal unanimously reversed a trial court decision invalidating Stanislaus County’s Farmland Mitigation Program and established an important precedent for farmland protection in California. The firm represented the County in the litigation.    -Read more-
  • SMW Honored as Women-Owned Business: The San Francisco Business Times named SMW to its 2010 list of "Bay Area’s Largest 100 Women-Owned Businesses," an honor SMW also received in 2009. SMW is proud to be one of only three law firms on the list.   -Read more-
  • Fullerton Rejects Chevron’s Development Plans: In June, after a thirty-year long battle, the City of Fullerton rejected Chevron’s proposal to build a 760-unit subdivision in the City’s last remaining large open space, which is home to nearly 130 wildlife species. On behalf of Friends of Coyote Hills, SMW submitted numerous comment letters on the project.    -Read more-
  • Super Lawyers: Clem Shute, Rachel Hooper, Fran Layton, Andrew Schwartz, and Robert “Perl” Perlmutter were recognized as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2010.   
  • Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Award: In May, Rachel Hooper received the Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter’s 2010 Outstanding Legal Representation Award. This award recognizes Ms. Hooper’s representation of the Club in successful litigation challenging the City of Stockton’s controversial water privatization project, and in negotiating a landmark settlement aimed at reducing GHG emissions in Stockton.  
  • Ninth Circuit Will Rehear Takings Case En Banc: In Guggenheim v. City of Goleta, a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held that a mobile home rent control ordinance was a taking. Following the court’s grant of rehearing, Goleta retained SMW to represent the City in all appellate proceedings. An en banc panel of 11 judges heard oral argument on June 22, 2010.   
  • Top Land Use Achievement: In 2009, the Sierra Club’s San Gorgonio Chapter and the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, represented by the firm, stopped an environmentally destructive highway project in Riverside County. Their success was recently recognized by Environment Now as Southern California’s top achievement for land use and smart growth for 2009.   
  • Partner Fran Layton Receives CCLT Award: In March 2010, SMW Partner Fran Layton was honored by the California Council of Land Trusts for her work on state legislation addressing the threat to state conservation lands from condemnation. The California legislation is now regarded as a model for legislation in other states.  
  • California Lawyer of the Year: Based on her work opposing a bottling plant proposed by Nestle Waters of North America in the McCloud River watershed (see below), Rachel Hooper, a partner with the firm, received California Lawyer’s Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award in March 2010.   
  • Stockton Climate Change Action Plan: In January 2010, the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club, represented by the firm, received PCL’s David Gaines Award for Non-Profit Work for its role in the City of Stockton’s General Plan update process, including prompting the City to adopt a rigorous Climate Action Plan.   -Read more-
  • Catherine Engberg Made Partner : SMW is proud to announce that Catherine Engberg has been made a partner in the Firm effective January 1, 2010. For more information, see Ms. Engberg's biography.  
  • Mark Weinberger Trail Dedication: In November 2009, the City of Livermore dedicated the Mark Weinberger Segment of the South Livermore trail system. Mr. Weinberger was instrumental in the adoption of the South Livermore Valley Specific Plan, which curbed urban sprawl and protected more than 4,200 acres of vineyards.  
  • SMW Honored as Women-Owned Business: The San Francisco Business Times named SMW to its 2009 list of “Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses in the Bay Area.”   -Read more-
  • Privatization Opponents Qualify Marin Referendum: As reported in the New York Times, the California Healthy Communities Network, represented by the firm, gathered enough signatures in October to qualify its referendum of a privatization contract approved by the Novato Sanitary District.   -Read more-
  • Nestle Withdraws Proposed Bottling Plant: In September, Nestle Waters of North America abandoned its proposed McCloud River water bottling facility. The Protect Our Waters Coalition, including the firm's clients California Trout and Trout Unlimited, worked tirelessly to oppose the unfair contract terms and inadequate environmental analysis.   -Read more-
  • Federal Funding Boosts San Francisco Transbay Program: The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, a client of the firm, recently received commitments from the US Department of Transportation for a loan of $171 million and a high-speed rail stimulus grant of $400 million for construction of the new multi-modal Transbay Transit Center this Summer.    -Read more-
  • Sacramento Levees and Mitigation: The firm recently prevailed in two eminent domain trials to acquire property for the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency’s project to improve the levees and preserve habitat for the Giant Garter Snake and Swainson’s Hawk in the Natomas Basin North of Sacramento.    -Read more-
  • Latest Tri-Valley Conservancy Acquisition Links Protected Areas: In August 2009, the firm’s client Tri-Valley Conservancy completed its $1.5 million purchase of 74 acres near Livermore protecting habitat for special status species, linking several trails, and providing a wildlife corridor for bobcats, deer and coyotes.  
  • Historic Alameda Theatre Renovation Lauded: In May 2009, after 30 years of disuse and years of hard fought litigation defended by the firm, the newly renovated historic Alameda Theatre reopened to rave reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the theater renovation has served as a catalyst to revitalize the entire downtown.   
  • Lassen Forest Protected: In May 2009, in a settlement reached in response to a CEQA suit filed by the firm on behalf of Friends of Lassen Forest, the County of Lassen rescinded its approval of an application by Sierra Pacific Industries to rezone over 5,000 acres of timber land for development.   -Read more-
  • California Lawyers of the Year: Based on their work on the Tejon Ranch conservation agreement (see below), Richard Taylor and Bill White, partners with the firm, received California Lawyer’s Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award in March 2009.  
  • Super Lawyers: Clem Shute, Rachel Hooper, Fran Layton, Andrew Schwartz, and Robert “Perl” Perlmutter were recognized as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2009. The San Francisco Business Times also selected Clem Shute as one of the Best Lawyers of the San Francisco Bay Area for 2009.  
  • Matthew Zinn Made Partner: SMW is proud to announce that Matthew Zinn has been made a partner in the Firm effective January 1, 2009. For more information, see Mr. Zinn's biography.  
  • Toll Road Rejected: In December 2008, the U.S. Commerce Secretary upheld the California Coastal Commission’s historic rejection of a proposed six-lane toll road through San Onofre State Beach, a victory for a coalition of major environmental groups represented by the firm.   -Read more-
  • Protecting Prime Agricultural Land in San Luis Obispo County: In December 2008, the firm prevailed in litigation to set aside a developer-sponsored initiative in San Luis Obispo County that would have allowed the development of 130 acres of prime farmland in violation of state law and the County’s General Plan.   -Read more-
  • Extension of Open Space Protection in Napa County: In November 2008, the voters of Napa County passed Measure P, a land use initiative drafted by the firm protecting important agricultural and open space lands through 2058.   -Read more-
  • SMW Earns Green Business Certification: In September 2008, SMW became a Green Business certified by the City and County of San Francisco.   -Read more-
  • Opposition to Diversion of McCloud River for Water-Bottling: In August 2008, in response to CEQA objections by the firm on behalf of California Trout, Inc. and Trout Unlimited, Nestle terminated its agreement with the McCloud Community Services District to purchase spring water from the McCloud River for its water-bottling operation.   -Read more-
  • Historic Agreement to Protect Tejon Ranch: In one of the largest conservation deals in California history, the firm represented a coalition of major environmental groups in negotiating the landmark Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement, preserving 240,000 acres (90%) of this ecologically significant property.   -Read more-
  • Marin County General Plan Recognized for Sustainability: SMW played a major role in the overhaul of the County of Marin’s General Plan, which helped the County earn the prestigious 2008 National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation from the American Planning Association.   -Read more-
  • Protecting the Gateway to Mount Whitney: In December 2007, the firm won a major victory on behalf of the Save Round Valley Alliance when the Court of Appeal ruled that Inyo County was wrong to approve a sprawling suburban-style subdivision near Whitney Portal without considering whether there was a better site for the development.    -Read more-