• Kristina D. Lawson

    Land, Environment & Natural Resources
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    San Francisco
    Direct: 415.291.7555
    General: 415.291.7400
    Fax: 415.291.7474


    Santa Clara University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2002
    Order of the Coif


    University of Arizona, B.A., 1998

    Bar Admissions
    • Profile
    • Representative Matters
    • Honors & Awards
    • Publications
    • Memberships & Activities
    • Speaking Engagements


    Kristina Daniel Lawson is a partner in the Land, Environment and Natural Resources Division in the San Francisco office. Ms. Lawson’s broad advisory and advocacy practice focuses on all aspects of California land use and environmental law. From the interpretation and application of local General Plans, specific plans, zoning ordinances, and the Subdivision Map Act, to local land use initiatives and referenda, to state and federal natural resources, air, and water law, her wide-ranging expertise adds significant value to land use projects throughout the state. Ms. Lawson is a recognized expert in matters involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    Ms. Lawson’s vast experience has included the representation of:

    • White Wing Highland Associates, the owner of 1,580 acres in unincorporated Solano County where she served as lead counsel and successfully entitled the Rockville Trails Estates project in 2007. The project consisted of a 370-unit residential subdivision, with on-site water and wastewater facilities, a proposed fire substation and open space preservation. Following the project’s entitlement, she defended and settled a complex CEQA case challenging the project, facilitating the phased sale of a portion of the project site to the Solano Land Trust.

    • A family with significant landholdings in Lafayette and Moraga, California, providing strategic advice and counsel when the client was faced with a potential downzoning of landholdings by a local initiative backed by the Sierra Club. Kristina drafted and qualified a counter initiative that successfully blocked the proposed downzoning.

    • A multifamily residential developer in Walnut Creek, California, in developing a CEQA streamlining strategy that saved the developer significant time and expense.

    • The owner of Depot Park (former Sacramento Army Depot) in Sacramento, California, in a lawsuit challenging the extension of a redevelopment area. The successful settlement of the lawsuit provides for substantial investment in the Depot Park project.

    • The owner of Villa Del Lago commercial center in Patterson, California, in connection with entitlements secured from Stanislaus County and subsequent annexation to Patterson.

    • A Fortune 50 high-tech company in a successful settlement of an enforcement action brought by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District resulting from the operation of emergency standby generators following an unscheduled power outage.

    Ms. Lawson regularly appears before state and local agencies throughout the Bay Area and California, and works with legislators, decision makers, thought leaders and organizations to help clients achieve their objectives. She has also served as special counsel in key litigation matters affecting statewide public policy, including matters involving California’s tidelands trust, the proposed high-speed rail project, and emergency water supply projects.

    Representative Matters

    Honors & Awards

    Daily Journal, “Top 20 Under 40,” 2014.

    The Recorder, “50 Lawyers on the Fast Track,” 2012.

    San Francisco Business Times, "40 Under 40," 2012.

    Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence, “Rising Star,” 2011.

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

    Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, “Rising Star,” 2010–2012.


    Co-author, “Making Wine out of Water,” GlobeSt.com, April 28, 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.

    “Supreme Court Upholds Dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies and Invalidates ‘Pay to Play’ Option,” Manatt Real Estate & Land Use Newsletter, December 29, 2011.

    “Court Rejects the Need for CEQA Analysis of Sea Level Rise and Invalidates CEQA Guideline,” Manatt Real Estate & Land Use Newsletter, December 6, 2011.

    “Churches and Property: Understanding the Land Use Component of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act,” Miller & Starr Real Estate Newsalert, Vol. 22, No. 1, September 2011.

    “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 11, 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.

    “Troubled Waters: The Supreme Court Splits on Scope of Wetlands Regulation,” Miller & Starr Real Estate Newsalert, Vol. 17, No. 1, September 2006.

    “‘Rapanos’ Wetlands Decision Doesn’t Void State Regulations,” San Francisco Daily Journal, July 18, 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 15, 2005.

    “Cases Prove Need to Follow CEQA Requirements,” San Francisco Daily Journal, May 6, 2004.

    Memberships & Activities

    Member, Bay Area Council CEQA Reform Task Force.

    Member, Contra Costa Council Land Use Task Force.

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

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

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

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

    Member, State Bar of California (Public Law, Environmental Law, and Legislative Committee of Environmental Law Sections).

    Member, Contra Costa County Bar Association.

    Member, American Bar Association (State and Local Government, and Environmental and Natural Resources Sections).

    Speaking Engagements

    East Bay CREW Luncheon Meeting, "The Impacts of the Dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies in California - What does this mean for real estate in California?" March 15, 2012.

    Manatt Briefing, "The Future of Redevelopment in California," January 5 & 6, 2012.

    Association of Environmental Professionals/Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, "Bicycle Plans, Road Diets, and CEQA," November 28, 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.

    "Developing Opportunities," Miller Starr Regalia Land Use Breakfast Update, January 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.