SAN FRANCISCO (April 7, 2020) – Holland & Knight Partner Jennifer Hernandez has been named a Real Estate & Construction Law Trailblazer by the National Law Journal. Ms. Hernandez is among a select group of attorneys recognized by the publication as outstanding practitioners who are “truly agents of change” in their industry. She is profiled in a special “Real Estate & Construction Trailblazers” supplement, which was published in the April issue.
Ms. Hernandez, who divides her time between Holland & Knight’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, leads the firm’s West Coast Land Use and Environmental Group. She has achieved national prominence for her work on housing and infrastructure development, climate, Brownfields redevelopment, wetlands and endangered species, as well as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Ms. Hernandez works for private sector, public agency and nonprofit clients on a broad range of projects in Bay Area, Southern California and Central Valley communities, including infill and master-planned mixed-use housing and commercial projects, university and research facilities, transportation and infrastructure projects, renewable and other energy projects, and local agency plan and ordinance updates.
For almost a decade, Ms. Hernandez has been a leading researcher and advocate on the abuse of CEQA lawsuits to derail critical housing and other projects to achieve economic, racially exclusionary or other non-environmental objectives. She has worked extensively with the prominent civil rights group The 200 and played a leadership role in bipartisan efforts to modernize CEQA to end litigation abuse and integrate this 1970 law with the more than 120 environmental and public health statutory programs enacted in California after 1970. She has also published several seminal articles presenting comprehensive data on CEQA abuse and dysfunction.
“CEQA has been used to keep younger, browner and less wealthy people out of communities by asserting that new housing has adverse impacts on communities,” Ms. Hernandez told the National Law Journal. “It's a shameful form of discriminatory redlining that continues in California. It's a civil rights issue and acute considering California’s severe housing shortage.”
The publication notes that Ms. Hernandez believes California's aging environmental and civil rights laws need to be reconciled and each given equal respect with regard to housing. “California’s status quo has resulted in a shortfall of 3.5 million homes and the nation’s highest poverty and homelessness rates. The most just, and least costly, pathway for helping solve California's housing crisis requires a respectful integration of environmental and civil rights law,” she said.
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