• Sean Matsler

    Real Estate and Land Use
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    Costa Mesa
    Direct: 714.371.2534
    General: 714.371.2500
    Fax: 714.371.2550


    University of Southern California Law School, J.D., 2003.
    Submissions Editor and Staff, Southern California Law Review.


    University of California, Berkeley, B.A., Political Science and History, 1999.


    Visiting Student at Oxford University, 1999.

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


    Sean Matsler is a partner in the firm's Orange County office and a member of the Real Estate and Land Use Practice Group. His practice focuses on land use, with an emphasis on securing entitlements for controversial residential, commercial, and institutional real estate development projects. Mr. Matsler advises clients on compliance with local planning and zoning regulations, the California Coastal Act, and the California Environmental Quality Act, guiding them through the entitlement process from site selection to project approval. He understands the litigation risk associated with California Environmental Quality Act compliance, having represented clients on both sides of such litigation. Mr. Matsler has also appeared before both state and local administrative bodies to secure approvals on behalf of clients. His clients include residential, commercial, and mixed-use developers, as well as churches, temples, schools, banks, REITs, and individual property owners. 

    Prior to joining Manatt, Mr. Matsler was an associate in the land use practice group for an international law firm. He has also worked for a number of political campaigns, including service as the Deputy Finance Director for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. 

    Representative Matters

    Honors & Awards

    2013 Public Counsel Pro Bono of the Year Award.

    Named a Southern California “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine in 2013.

    2009 Religious Liberty Award, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.


    Quoted, “SoCal City Zoning Measures Posing Hurdles To Development,” Law360, March 4, 2016.

    Quoted, “7 Essential Reads For Real Estate Lawyers,” Law360, November 6, 2015.

    Quoted, “5 Things to Watch for After Approval of $1.7B LA Stadium,” Law360, April 28, 2015.

    Quoted, “Calif. High Court Reverses CEQA Exemption Decision,” Law360, March 2, 2015.

    Quoted, “4 Hurdles Real Estate Developers Face In California,” Law360, February 24, 2015.

    Quoted, “California Coastal Projects Hit Fresh Wave Of Delays,” Law360, June 24, 2014.

    “Compulsory Voting in America,” 76 S. CAL L. REV. 953, 2003.

    Memberships & Activities

    Admitted to practice in California.

    ULI Orange County/Inland Empire – Board member, District Council Advisory Board; Vice Chair, Leadership100.

    Board of Directors, Building Industry Association: Orange County Chapter.

    OC Marathon Foundation Board of Directors.

    City of Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee.

    Member, Urban Land Institute (Sustainable Communities Initiative Council, Young Leaders Group).

    City of Newport Beach Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee, 2010-2012.

    Law Day Committee, Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County, 2007-2012.

    Public Counsel Land Use Task Force, 2008-2012.

    City of Newport Beach Task Force on Cycling Safety, 2009-2010.

    Bet Tzedek Justice Ball Planning Committee, 2003-2006.

    Speaking Engagements

    Association of Environmental Professionals, Fall 2014 CEQA Essentials Workshop, November 7, 2014.

    Orange County Bar Association Real Estate Section Meeting, Challenges and Pitfalls in Obtaining Zoning and Building Entitlements to Develop Real Property, July 22, 2014.

    Association of Environmental Professionals 2014 State Conference, CEQA Exemptions After Berkeley Hillside: Will The Exception Swallow The Rule?

    Association of Environmental Professionals, Fall 2013 CEQA Basics Workshop, 2013.

    Building Industry Association of Orange County, “The Latest on Ceres, Koontz, and CEQA Reform,” 2013.

    Orange Section of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association, APA Awards Jurist and Presenter, 2013.

    California Department of Transportation, Expert Delphi Panel participant for High Desert Corridor project, 2013.

    National Association of Environmental Professionals/Association of Environmental Professionals 2013 Joint Conference, “CEQA Exemptions: Not All They're Cracked Up To Be?” 2013.

    Public Counsel, “Early Care & Education Works: 5th Annual Symposium on Child Care Development,” 2012.

    Association of Environmental Professionals, Fall 2012 CEQA Basics Workshop, 2012.

    Public Counsel, “Building Child Care From the Ground Up, webinar, 2012.

    Association of Environmental Professionals, Spring 2012 Advanced CEQA Workship, 2012.

    Association of Environmental Professionals, Fall 2011 CEQA Basics Workshop, 2011.

    Public Counsel, Fourth Annual Symposium on Child Care Development, 2011.

    Association of Environmental Professionals, Fall 2010 CEQA Basics Workshop, 2010. 

    California Pro Bono Conference, “Cultivating Future Pro Bono Leaders,” 2010.

    Public Counsel, Third Annual Symposium on Child Care Development, 2010.

    Association of Environmental Professionals, Spring 2010 Advanced CEQA Workshop, 2010. 

    Association of Environmental Professionals, Spring 2009 Advanced CEQA Workshop, 2009.

    Building Industry Association of Orange County, “CEQA Basics and Updates,” 2009.

    Public Counsel, Smart Kids, Smart Growth Planners' Summit, 2008.