Jennifer L. Hernandez leads the West Coast Land Use and Environmental Group. She divides her time between the San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, and works on projects in Northern and Southern California, as well as the Central Valley. She has achieved national prominence in her work on brownfields redevelopment, wetlands and endangered species, as well as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). She represents a broad variety of private, nonprofit and public sector clients, including real estate developers, public agencies and operating companies in numerous industries.

Ms. Hernandez serves on the firm's Directors Committee and was the first West Coast lawyer and first Latina awarded the firm's highest honor for her professional, pro bono and community achievements.

Ms. Hernandez chairs a conference on Climate Change Law in California and has written and spoken extensively on major California climate change laws (including AB 32, SB 375 and SB 97) as well as emerging climate change regulations and guidance documents. Her climate change practice includes integrating climate change requirements into the environmental analyses (relating to greenhouse gas emissions as well as water supply, flood and fire risk, and other topical areas) required by the CEQA for new and modified projects and plans. She also advises clients on legislative and regulatory proceedings pending in Sacramento, in various regional air districts, and in Climate Action Plans and other land use policies being developed by cities and counties. Ms. Hernandez has achieved a "Band 1" ranking from Chambers USA in the fields of environmental and zoning/land use law, and was recognized as the San Francisco Bay Area's top environmental law litigator in 2015 by Best Lawyers.

She has written three books and more than 50 articles on environmental and land use law. She received several professional awards, including a California Lawyer of the Year award for a land use and conservation agreement between her client (the state's largest private landowner) and several major environmental groups including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council. She also received the American Planning Association Award for her book, "A Practical Guide to the California Environmental Quality Act" and the Greenlining Institute's "Big Brain Award" for developing a "New Paradigm that Intersects Environmental and Inner-City Economic and Health Goals." Mayor Willie Brown proclaimed October 9, 2002, as "Jennifer Hernandez Day in San Francisco" for her work on sustainable land use and for being a "warrior on the brownfield."

She has taught land use and environmental law for the University of California and Stanford Law School and frequently speaks for client and lawyer professional associations and continuing education seminars.

Ms. Hernandez was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a trustee for the San Francisco Presidio. She served as outside counsel to then-Mayor Jerry Brown in the successful no-cost conveyance of the former Naval Depot to the City of Oakland during the first term of President George W. Bush. Ms. Hernandez serves on the boards of directors of Sustainable Conservation and California Forward. She is a former board member of the California League of Conservation Voters (where her 20-year tenure as a board member overlapped with fellow board member Nick Josefowitz). She also co-founded a brownfields redevelopment company and served as board chair and general counsel until it was sold to an international environmental remediation firm.

Ms. Hernandez is a fourth generation Californian. She was raised in Pittsburg, California, where her father and both grandfathers spent their careers as steelworkers with U.S. Steel. She lives with her husband and son in the San Francisco Bay area.

Publications - Books: 

  • A Practical Guide to the Environmental Quality Act 
  • A Practical Guide to Environmental Law for California Hospital and Healthcare Facilities 
  • New Solutions to Environmental Problems in Business and Real Estate Deals (Chapter author for Brownfields Transactions) 
  • Environment in Review – Major New Developments for Brownfields & Wetlands Practitioners in California 

Publications - Articles (Partial List): 

  • New California Legislation Requires Comprehensive Cleanups for New Purchases Seeking Immunity from State Joint and Several Liability Laws 
  • Environment in Review – Major New Developments for Brownfields & Wetlands Practitioners in California 
  • New Nationwide Permit Program from the Army Corps of Engineers
  • A Practical Guide to Structuring Brownfield Transactions in California: The Art of the Deal
  • A Practical Guide to Implementing the Polanco Act for Redevelopment Area Brownfields
  • A Practical Guide to Environmental Insurance in Brownfield Transactions
  • A Practical Guide to the California Land Environmental Restoration and Reuse Act (SB 32)
  • Joining the Brownfields Bandwagon: New Options in Contaminated Property Redevelopment
  • Facilitating Base Conversions – Reforms of Environmental Law Can Minimize Gridlock
  • A Practical Guide to Local Agency Involvement in the Cleanup of Contaminated Property
  • A Practical Guide to the Intersection of Construction Law and Environmental Law
  • A Practical Guide to Handling Low Level Radioactive Waste
  • A Practical Guide to Air Quality Regulations Affecting Indirect and Area Sources of Air Pollution
  • A Practical Guide to Preparing a Model Corporate Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Law and Regulations, University of California at Berkley (Course Materials)
  • Urban Redevelopment and Environmental Law, Stanford Law School (Course Materials)
  • A Practitioner's Guide to CEQA Compliance for Projects Located for Contaminated Property
  • A Practical Guide to Minimizing Lender and Investor Liability for Contaminated Property
  • A Practical Introduction to the Building Blocks of an Environmental Compliance Program
  • A Practical Guide to the Potential Liability of Environmental Managers Under Federal Environmental Laws
  • A Practical Guide to Environmental Laws Affecting Colleges and Universities
  • A Practical Guide to the Building Blocks of an Environmental Compliance Program for Laboratories
  • Facilitating Long Term Planning with Program EIRs: A Case Study of the University of California 1988-1990
  • The Long Range Development Planning Process for Universities
  • A Practical Guide to the Effects of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments on Cogeneration Facilities
  • A Client's Guide to the Use of Environmental Lawyers
  • A Practitioner's Guide to Preparing Environmental Impact Reports after Kings Country Farm Bureau v. City of Hanford 
  • When Citizens Sue: Some Federalism Issues



  • Stanford Law School, J.D.
  • Harvard University, B.A., with honors
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Building Industry Association of Southern California Governing Board
  • Building Industry Legal Defense Foundation, Board Member, 2017-2019
  • California League of Conservation Voters, Board Member
  • Natural Heritage Institute, former Board Member
  • National Brownfields Association, California Executive Committee
  • Urban Land Institute, Full Member
  • California State Bar Association Environmental Section, former Executive Committee
  • California Environmental Law Forum, former founding Board Member
  • Sustainable Conservation, former founding Board Member
  • Presidio Trust for the Presidio National Park in San Francisco, Board of Trustees (Appointed by President Clinton)
  • Landbank, Inc., co-founded and served as the first Board Chair and General Counsel
  • Environmental Financial Advisory Board of the US EPA, Board Member
  • Center for Creative Land Recycling, Board Member
  • Bloomberg BNA, EDDG Advisory Board, Board Member
  • California Forward Action Fund, Board Member
  • California Infill Builders Federation, Board Member
Honors & Awards
  • Best in Environment Finalist, Euromoney Legal Media Group America Women in Business Law, 2016
  • Chesterfield Smith Award, 2015
  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use; Environment Law, 2008-2019
  • Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, 2004-2018
  • Who's Who Legal 100: Environment, 2014
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental, Litigation - Land Use & Zoning, 2006-2018; Land Use & Zoning Law, 2006-2019 
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, San Francisco Litigation - Land Use & Zoning Lawyer of the Year, 2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, San Francisco Land Use and Zoning Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • The Legal 500 USA, Real Estate & Construction: Land Use/Zoning, 2011, 2017, 2019
  • The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers, 2011
  • San Francisco Business Times, Forever Influential, Honor Roll of Most Influential Women, 2010
  • Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Rainmaker, 2010
  • National Law Journal, 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America, 2008
  • Hispanic Business Magazine, Elite Women, 2008
  • San Francisco Business Times, Top Women in Business, 2008
  • Top 100 Lawyers in California, Daily Journal newspaper, 2008
  • California Lawyer magazine, California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) award, 2008
  • Corporate Counsel Edition, Super Lawyers magazine, May 2009 
  • LawDragon 500
  • Jennifer Hernandez Day in San Francisco, Mayoral Proclamation, October 9, 2002


Speaking Engagements