Overview

Jennifer Hernandez has practiced land use and environmental law for more than 30 years, and leads Holland & Knight's West Coast Land Use and Environmental Group. Ms. Hernandez divides her time between the firm's San Francisco and Los Angeles offices.

Ms. Hernandez is the only California lawyer ranked by her clients and peers in Chambers USA in the top tier of both land use/zoning and environmental lawyers. In addition, she was recognized as the top environmental litigator of the year in the San Francisco Bay Area by Best Lawyers, and received a California Lawyer of the Year award from the State Bar of California for her work on California's largest and most innovative land use and conservation agreement between her private landowner client and five major environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council. She also has received numerous civil rights awards for her work on overcoming environmentalist opposition to housing and other projects needed and supported by minority communities.

During his tenure as mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown named October 9, 2002, as "Jennifer Hernandez Day" in San Francisco in honor of her work as a "warrior on the Brownfields" to restore and redevelop former industrial lands. Ms. Hernandez is the longest-serving minority board member (23 years) of the California League of Conservation voters, was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a trustee for the Presidio National Park in San Francisco, and serves on the board of directors for California Forward and Sustainable Conservation.

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. She has written three books, and more than 50 articles, on environmental and land use topics, and regularly teaches land use, environmental and climate law in law and business schools, colleges and seminars. She also serves on the firm's Directors Committee and received the firm's highest honor – the Chesterfield Smith Award – for her community service.

Ms. Hernandez graduated with honors from Harvard University and Stanford Law School, and clerked for Region 20 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) before beginning her land use and environmental law career. Ms. Hernandez is the daughter and granddaughter of steelworkers and was raised in Pittsburg, California. She and her husband live in Berkeley and Los Angeles.

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

Experience

Credentials

Education
  • Stanford Law School, J.D.
  • Harvard University, B.A., with honors
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • California
  • District of Columbia
Memberships
  • 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, 2004-2019
  • 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

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News