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Kristina Lawson

Kristina D. Lawson

Managing Partner
(925) 746-8474


Kristina Lawson serves as the Managing Partner and Chair of the firm's Management Committee at Hanson Bridgett. As the firm’s chief executive, she oversees all aspects of the firm’s strategic direction and management. She is the first female Managing Partner in Hanson Bridgett’s 65+ year history. In addition to leading the firm, Kristina serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Bay Area Council, an organization of 300+ influential employers committed to working with public and community leaders to keep the Bay Area the most innovative, globally competitive, inclusive, and sustainable region in the world.

Renowned in the legal industry and beyond as a progressive and collaborative leader, Kristina was recognized in the San Francisco Business Times’ 2023 and 2024 Power 100 lists of the Bay Area's Most Influential Business Leaders. She is a former Mayor of the City of Walnut Creek, a city of approximately 65,000 residents in the greater Bay Area. In 2015, Kristina was appointed by California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. to serve on the Medical Board of California, and was reappointed in 2022 by Governor Gavin Newsom, serving as the Medical Board's President from 2020-2023.

Kristina is a specialist in complex California entitlement, land use, environmental/natural resources, and municipal matters. She is a respected statewide authority on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance and strategy, actively contributing to statewide CEQA modernization efforts. She is a frequent author of complex California land use ballot initiatives/referenda. As a trusted strategic advisor, Kristina often advises clients on public policy, land use ballot measure strategy, and government relations strategy.

At Hanson Bridgett, Kristina is committed to leading by example and building on the firm’s strong California foundation. She continues to advance the firm’s values-driven programs, fostering an inclusive culture of engagement and collaboration, and doubling down on DEI initiatives.


J.D. cum laude Santa Clara University School of Law ( 2002 )
B.A. University of Arizona ( 1998 )

Academic Distinction

Order of the Coif

Admissions and Courts



Managing Partner
Green Building Practice Leader
Management Committee, Chair

Medical Board of California (Former President)

Federation of State Medical Boards, Member and Voting Delegate

Bay Area Council, Chair of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee; Co-Chair of the Government Relations Committee

State Bar of California

Contra Costa County Bar Association

American Bar Association

"Path to Greatness: How Good Lawyers Become Great Leaders—the Power of Personal Responsibility," The Legal Intelligencer (May 2024)

"Hanson Bridgett's Managing Partner On Her Second Term," Law360 (February 2024)

"Increasingly, Law Firms Invest Time & Money in Culture," Of Counsel (November 2023)

"'We Won't Mandate': West Coast Law Firms Aren't Following Wall Street Back to the Office," The Recorder (July 2023)

"Bay Area Council elects Hanson Bridgett's Kristina Lawson as board chair," San Francisco Business Times (July 2023)

"California Firm Leaders Say Growth Should Continue In 2023,'' Law360 (January 2023)

"Where Mid-Law Is Expecting Work In 2023," Law360 (January 2023)

"California Regional Firms Expect to Sell Talent on Stability and Flexibility in 2023​," The Recorder (December 2022)

"California Firm Leaders Eye Growth in Environmental, Health Care, and Real Estate Practices in 2023," The Recorder (December 2022)

"Will Musical Laterals Derail Mid-Law Succession Planning?," Law360 (August 2022) 

"Hanson Bridgett gets 6th B Corp certification," Daily Journal (April 2022)

"Mid-Law's Female Firm Leaders Reflect on Making History,Law360 (March 2022)

"Midsize U.S. Law Firms Roll Out Raises, Perks to Recruit Attorneys in Talent War,Reuters (December 2021)

"BigLaw Pay Hikes Reach Mid-Law With $30k 1st-Year Bump," Law360 (October 2021)

"Hanson Bridgett Revamps Associate Compensation, Adding Productivity, Sabbatical Bonuses," The Recorder (October 2021)

"How 3 Mid-Size Firms Handled Succession Planning," Law360 (August 2021)

"At These Remote-Flexible Firms, Associate Development Takes a Front Seat," The Recorder (July 2021)

"California Firms Reassess Return to Work, Many With Vaccine, Mask Requirements," The Recorder (July 2021)

"The NLJ 500: With Exceptions, Big Firms Weathered the Pandemic Best," The National Law Journal (June 2021)

"Podcast: Kristina Lawson & Jennifer Martinez of Hanson Bridgett LLP," The Registry's Real Perspectives Podcast (May 2021)

"Leading Questions: Hanson Bridgett’s Kristina Lawson," Bloomberg Law (April 2021)

"In a Pandemic Year, Law Firms Gave Back Even More," Law Practice Today (March 2021)

"2020 Was A Big Year For 'First Female' BigLaw Leaders," Law360 (January 2021)

"In A First, Woman Takes Helm At Hanson Bridgett," Law360 (January 2021)

"Wave Of New Female Firm Leaders Continues Into 2021," Law360 (January 2021)

"Hanson Bridgett's New Leader On Her Plans At The Helm," Law360 (January 2021)

"Hanson Bridgett Names First Woman to Lead the Bay Area Law Firm," San Francisco Business Times (January 2021)

"What Pandemic? San Francisco Legal Market Stays Strong, Despite COVID," Of Counsel (October 2020)

"'Don’t Get Mad, Get Elected' – Lessons from Local Lawyers’ Campaigns for Office," Contra Costa County Bar Association’s October Magazine (October 2020)

"Leadership, Careers, and Women in Law Roundtable," Law Practice Today (June 2020)

"The NLJ 500: Where Are Women Winning?," The National Law Journal (June 2020)

"Short-Term Work Around or the New Normal? Firms Cope with Covid-19 Reality," The Recorder (March 2020)

"Hanson Bridgett Names First-Ever Female Managing Partner," Daily Journal (January 2020)

"Hanson Bridgett, a Likely Am Law 200 Addition, Appoints First Female MP," The American Lawyer (January 2020)"

"Prominent SF Law Firm Names New Leader," San Francisco Business Journal (January 2020)

"California Firm Noted for Diversity Record Hires First Female Managing Partner," The Global Legal Post (January 2020)

"Battleground: LA Development," Commercial Observer (December 2019)

"California Desperately Needs More Affordable Housing. Is More Coming in 2020?," HousingWire (December 2019)

"Women Who Lead in Real Estate: Attorney Kristina Lawson Downs Bay Area NIMBYism," San Francisco Business Times (July 2019)

"Calif. Housing Industry Watching Gov.'s $750M Incentive Plan," Law360 (March 2019)

"The State’s Suit Against Huntington Beach Is Just the Start ," GlobeSt. (February 2019)

"Officials overturn landmark designation for UC Berkeley’s Campanile Way," Berkeleyside (October 2018)

"Ex-Mayor Leaves Manatt For New Home at Hanson Bridgett," The Recorder (April 2017)

"Former Walnut Creek mayor joins Hanson Bridgett," Daily Journal (April 2017)

"Legal Challenge to Downtown Berkeley Mixed-Use High-Rise Struck Down," The Registry (2016)

"Judge Rules in CEQA Infill Case," GlobeSt (2016)

"CA Supreme Court Reverses Decision To Broaden CEQA," Bisnow (2016)

"Calif. Real Estate Legislation & Regulation To Watch In 2016," Law360 (2016)

"Court puts kibosh on CEQA expansion," San Diego Union Tribune (2015)

"State high court rules on scope of principle enviro law," Greenwire (2015)

"State Supreme Court sets limits on the reach of CEQA in unanimous ruling," Daily Journal (2015)

"State high court backs developers in environmental case," Sacramento Business Journal (2015)

"Airbnb Initiative Could Spur More Suits In San Francisco," Law360 (2015)

Most Admired CEO, San Francisco Business Times (2024)

San Francisco Business Times' Power 100 (2023)

Federation of State Medical Boards, Award of Merit (2022)

Managing Partner of the Year—Law Firm, Corporate Counsel (2021)

Best Lawyers (2019-2024)

Inspirator Award, The Bay Area CREW Chapters and The Registry's ELEVATE Awards (2020)

Most Influential Women in the Bay Area, San Francisco Business Journal (2019-2020)

Super Lawyers, Land Use/Zoning; Environmental; State, Local & Municipal (2010-2012; 2016-2019)

Bay Area Power Women, Bisnow (2016)

Top 50 Development, Land Use and Municipal Infrastructure Lawyers, Daily Journal (2014)

Top 20 Under 40, Daily Journal (2014)

50 Lawyers on the Fast Track,The Recorder (2012)

40 Under 40, San Francisco Business Times (2012)

Rising Star, Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence (2011)

20 Under 40, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network (2010)