Norman Carlin is an environmental attorney in Holland & Knight's San Francisco office. Mr. Carlin helps industry, developer and public agency clients navigate environmental impact review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Mr. Carlin's practice focuses on CEQA and NEPA review, mitigation and permitting of energy, development and transit projects. He represents clients in permit and rulemaking proceedings, administrative appeals and litigation involving federal and state agencies, including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, California Geologic Energy Management Division, California State Lands Commission, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Water Resources Control Board, Regional Water Quality Control Boards and California counties and municipalities.

In addition, Mr. Carlin advises on proposed legislation and rulemaking, and on compliance with federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations protecting water quality, wetlands, coastal and marine habitat, climate and land use.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Carlin was the local leader of the Environmental, Land Use and Natural Resources practice for the San Francisco office of a global law firm.

Mr. Carlin also has frequently contributed on environmental issues to legal and scientific publications, and has published in the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Texas Environmental Law Journal, Pratt's Energy Law Report, Natural Resources and Environment, Science and Nature.

Representative Experience

  • Representing a California public transit district on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and other environmental issues for major line extensions and airport connections
  • Representing an industry trade association in helping to develop zoning ordinance amendments and an environmental impact report for streamlined oil and gas permitting in a California county
  • Advising an oil industry client on environmental review and permitting of decommissioning projects for offshore production platforms, including development of a "Rigs to Reefs" program in California


  • Harvard Law School, J.D.
  • Harvard University, Ph.D., Biology
  • Bowdoin College, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • California
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance (CCEEB), Member; Board of Directors, 2017-2020
  • American Bar Association (ABA), Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER), Member; Environmental Impact Assessment Committee, Former Chair, 2005-2008
  • The Bar Association of San Francisco
Honors & Awards
  • Best Lawyers in America guide, Environmental Law, 2015-2023; Energy Regulatory Law, 2019-2023
  • Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing, Law360, 2017 and 2020
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide, Environment – California, 2008-2020; 2022, 2023
  • The Legal 500 USA, Environment: Litigation, 2017-2019; Regulatory, 2019