Kristina Lawson

Kristina D. Lawson

Partner

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Real Estate
Real Estate
East Bay

Kristina specializes in complex entitlement, land use, environmental and municipal matters. Clients turn to Kristina for help with the interpretation and application of local General Plans, specific plans, zoning ordinances, and the Subdivision Map Act; local land use initiatives and referenda; and state and federal laws covering natural resources, air and water. She is a respected authority on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance and strategy.

Kristina represents clients in local, state and federal administrative and judicial proceedings throughout California, primarily in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and California’s Central Valley. In addition to her land use practice, Kristina often advises clients on public policy and government relations strategy.

In addition to her professional work, Kristina is a former local elected official. From 2010–2014, she served on the city council and as the mayor of the city of Walnut Creek. Kristina also previously served on the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority’s board of directors, on the Association of Bay Area Governments’ regional planning committee, and as the vice chair of the League of California Cities’ environmental quality policy committee. In 2015, Kristina was appointed by Governor Brown to the Medical Board of California.

Recognized in January 2014 by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 20 Under 40 lawyers in California, Kristina is also an active member of the Bay Area Council and Urban Land Institute and a frequent author and speaker on land use and environmental law topics.

Publications

“The End of the Road for LOS Analysis of Traffic Impacts,” Environmental Leader (March 2016)

“California Cities Have Widely Variable Response to Housing Crisis,” Multi-Housing News (February 2016)

“The Housing Debate Heats up in California,” Western Real Estate Business (February 2016)

“California Legislature Debating 2015 Climate Leadership Legislation,” Environmental Leader (March 2015)

“Reform CEQA to help live with drought,” San Francisco Chronicle (January 2015)

“California’s New Energy Efficiency Challenge,” co-author, GlobeSt.com (January 2015)

“California Proposes Overhaul of Standards for Transportation-related Environmental Impact Analysis,” Environmental Leader (August 2014)

“Making Wine out of Water,” co-author, GlobeSt.com (April 2014)

“Regional Regulators Turn up the Heat,” Western Real Estate Business magazine (April 2012)

“Contemporary Zoning Conflicts – An Evolving Landscape Presents New Challenges,” Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine (January-February 2012)

“The Rise of the Responsible Agencies – CEQA Compliance in a Regional Focused Environment,” Environmental Liability and Enforcement Reporter (April 2011)

“Another Agency to Rain on Your Parade,” San Francisco Daily Journal (May 6, 2010)

“Women in Commercial Real Estate,” CREW Network Publication with the CREW Network Industry Research Committee (2010)

“Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor, The State of Women’s Advancement in Commercial Real Estate,” CREW Network Publication with the CREW Network Industry Research Committee (2009)

“Buyer Beware,” Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine (May-June 2009)

“Back to Basics Due Diligence: Ensuring Use and Minimizing Risk,” California Real Estate Journal (May 2009)

“Repositioning Your Real Estate Career to Succeed in an Era of Change,” CREW Network Publication with the CREW Network Industry Research Committee (2008)

“CEQA’s Neverending Story – Post-Entitlement Enforcement of Mitigation Measures,” California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter (June 2008)

“Prohibiting Big Macs and Rollbacks: California’s Ever-Expanding Regulation of Retail End-Users,” California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter (December 2007)

“Climate Change: New Impact Laws Affecting Development Projects,” BUILDERnews magazine (July 2007)

“Thinking Globally When Acting Locally: How Will CEQA Adapt to a Changing Environment?” California Real Property Journal, Vol. 25, No. 2 (2007)

“‘Rapanos’ Wetlands Decision Doesn’t Void State Regulations,” San Francisco Daily Journal (July 2006)

“Settling With Certainty – California Courts of Appeal Grapple With Challenges to the Settlement of Land Use Litigation,” California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter (April 2006)

“Legislating a Density Bonus to Boost Affordable Housing,” San Francisco Daily Journal (September 2005)

“Cases Prove Need to Follow CEQA Requirements,” San Francisco Daily Journal (May 2004)

See All Publications

Presentations

“CEQA and the People’s Voice: Developer Ballot Measures,” Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite (October 2016)

“Affordable Housing and Economic Vitality: What Are the Linkages? And What Are the Paths Forward in the Bay Area?,” Bay Area Council Economic Institute Breakfast Event, San Francisco (November 2014)

"The Impacts of the Dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies in California - What Does This Mean for Real Estate in California?," East Bay CREW Luncheon Meeting (March 2012)

"Bicycle Plans, Road Diets, and CEQA," Association of Environmental Professionals/Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (November 2011)

"Local, County and Federal Update on the Status of Public Policy on Business and Commercial Real Estate," East Bay Commercial Real Estate Women Luncheon Meeting (February 2011)

"CEQA & Climate Change," California Water Law & Policy Conference (April 2010)

"From Formula Businesses to Drive-Thrus to Docs-in-a-Box: Permitting Special Uses and Services in Today's Complex Regulatory Environment," ICSC Law Conference Roundtable (October 2008)

"Permitting Your Project: Basics of Bay Area Entitlement Processing," East Bay Commercial Real Estate Women Brown Bag Series (July 2008)

"Real Estate Development From Beginning to End," Lorman Education Services (February 2008)

"Air Quality, Water and Smart Growth," San Joaquin Valley Housing Symposium (January 2008)

"Update on Laws Addressing Climate Change and Their Impact on the Industrial and Development Sectors," Contra Costa Council Industrial and Environmental Task Force (August 2007)

See All Presentations

Press

"​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)

Honors

Northern California Super Lawyers, Land Use/Zoning (2017)

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)

Rising Star, Northern California SuperLawyers magazine (2010–2012)

Professional Affiliations

Medical Board of California

Bay Area Council CEQA Reform Task Force

Contra Costa Council Land Use Task Force

Environmental Liability, Enforcement & Penalties Reporter, Contributing Editor (2008–2009)

California Water Law and Policy Reporter, Contributing Editor (2008–2009)

California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter, Contributing Editor (2005–2008)

East Bay Commercial Real Estate Women, Board of Directors (2006–2011)

State Bar of California

Contra Costa County Bar Association

American Bar Association

Academic Distinction

Order of the Coif

Education

J.D., cum laude, Santa Clara University School of Law (2002)

B.A., University of Arizona (1998)

Admissions And Courts

California

East Bay

925-746-8474 Direct Phone
925-746-8494 Fax

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