Charles L. Coleman III is a partner in Holland & Knight's San Francisco office with more than 30 years of litigation, trial and appellate experience. His practice focuses on: commercial and tort disputes of all kinds, including matters on behalf of international clients and many in the transportation industry; and environmental and land use litigation on behalf of land owners, developers and investors.

Commercial and Aviation Litigation: Mr. Coleman has handled dozens of high profile cases for leading domestic and international corporations in a number of different industries, including aviation, defense, telecommunications, transportation, logistics, tourism, software, wine, insurance and mortgage-backed securities. Mr. Coleman has effectively represented clients defending or presenting claims for breach of contract, fraud, business torts, unfair trade practices and unfair competition under sections 17200, et seq. of California's Business and Professions Code. Mr. Coleman has coordinated the efforts of industry-wide joint defense groups in order to ensure a coherent and cost-effective representation for clients and their insurers and has represented aviation clients in multi-district litigation cases.

Environmental Litigation: Mr. Coleman has handled high-stakes "regulatory takings" matters as well as the defense of project approvals under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and CEQA Regulations, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This has included defending cutting edge environmental compliance strategies developed by the firm's environmental land use team in court proceedings. These strategies have addressed California's AB32 legislation regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, California statutory and case law relating to the adequacy of water supplies for proposed developments, and numerous other evolving bodies of law affecting proposed developments, such as those pertaining to cultural resources, endangered species habitat, and fire and flood risks. Other environmental matters handled by Mr. Coleman have included disputes about undisclosed soil contamination, environmental cleanup responsibilities under a complex Army Base Reuse Agreement, unauthorized grading, Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings by industrial tenants who left abandoned toxic waste on the site, Army Corps permitting for the construction and maintenance of an industrial pier and alleged crop contamination attributed to adjacent landowners.

From 1975 through 1977, Mr. Coleman served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. During that time, he tried scores of criminal cases.



  • University of Washington School of Law, J.D.
  • Stanford University, A.B.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • California
  • District of Columbia
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • California State Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
Honors & Awards
  • Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Service All-Star, 2014
  • Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers, Legal Media Group's Expert Guides, 2013
  • Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, 2013-2018
  • ABA Military Pro Bono Project Outstanding Services Award, 2014
  • Washington Law Review, Executive Editor
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated


Speaking Engagements