Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger
is California’s preeminent environmental law firm. The firm has decades of experience advising clients on a broad range of environmental issues. Since its founding, SMW has also represented clients in cutting edge litigation and administrative proceedings related to land use, natural resources, climate change, and more.
CEQA & NEPA
SMW represents public agencies and community and environmental organizations seeking to ensure compliance with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and NEPA (National Environmental Quality Act).
- CEQA Advice: SMW assists public agencies in all aspects of the CEQA administrative process, including determining the proper scope of environmental review, reviewing draft CEQA documents, preparing and reviewing responses to comments, and advising agencies on the approval process.
- CEQA & NEPA Litigation: SMW helps community groups, nonprofits, and environmental organizations comment on and challenge harmful development projects and regulations that are approved without adequate environmental review. The firm also defends CEQA documents against legal challenges.
Climate Change & Air Quality
The firm represents public agencies and community groups, nonprofits, and environmental organizations in the ongoing development of regulatory programs to control greenhouse gas emissions as well as in litigation related to these programs. SMW has also helped defend in court several of California’s landmark climate change laws and regulations.
SMW represents community groups, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in addressing systemic inequalities that place greater environmental burdens on low-income communities and communities of color. The firm also works with clients to leverage administrative processes and litigation to reduce these disproportionate impacts from issues like polluted air and water, lack of outdoor access, and poor land-use planning.
Public Trust, Coasts & Waters
SMW knows how to navigate the complex legal and regulatory framework governing California’s coasts, bays, inland waterways, and groundwater. The firm has extensive experience enforcing the requirements of Clean Water Act, the Coastal Act and the McAteer-Petris Act. We handle water rights permitting and understand how water-supply planning affects land use and environmental review. From flood control to the public trust to Delta stewardship, the firm advises clients on some of the largest and most complicated projects affecting California’s waters today.
Land Trusts & Natural Resource Conservation
SMW represents land trusts, public entities, and conservation groups in efforts to preserve wilderness, open space, and farmland. The firm helps clients develop and manage programs that preserve significant natural resources through acquisition, conservation easements, and other means. Our team has extensive experience with innovative conservation financing mechanisms, such as assessment districts and transfer fees. SMW has a proven track record of helping our clients resolve disputes over resource management informally; where necessary, we also enforce conservation easements through litigation.
Recycling & Waste Management
SMW helps clients maximize recycling opportunities and promote responsible waste management. Public agency clients rely on the firm for guidance in meeting state compost, recycling, and landfill diversion mandates and developing local programs and ordinances to reduce waste and its attendant greenhouse gas emissions. The firm’s practice includes negotiating, drafting, monitoring, and enforcing waste collection and disposal agreements. Community group clients also benefit from SMW’s deep knowledge base of waste management policy.
Planning & Project Management Services
SMW’s in-house urban planners work alongside firm attorneys to provide expert planning support on a wide array of land use and environmental issues. Our planners assist community and environmental groups in administrative proceedings, analyzing environmental documents, managing teams of technical consultants, preparing public comments, presenting testimony, and negotiating with planning staff.
Additional Environmental Law Expertise
In addition to the services listed above, SMW has broad experience and a strong track record addressing legal matters in the areas of endangered species protection and mitigation; air quality regulation and mitigation; mitigating for hazardous materials, including brownfield redevelopment; and establishing protections for forest resources.