Jessica Laughlin is an environmental attorney in Holland & Knight's San Francisco office and a member of the firm's West Coast Land Use and Environmental Group. Ms. Laughlin's practice includes environmental, land use, renewable energy and natural resources law, with a particular focus on advising project developers, public agencies, local governments, cities, counties, Indian tribes and trade associations on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other environmental laws. She has more than 10 years of experience in a full range of transactional, regulatory and litigation matters arising in state and federal courts.

Ms. Laughlin's practice also involves all aspects of environmental due diligence and counseling clients on environmental compliance matters in a wide range of corporate transactions. She advises local, national and multinational clients on compliance with domestic and international environmental laws and regulations, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA) and other statutes.

In addition, Ms. Laughlin has a vast knowledge in tribal sovereignty, sovereign immunity and related jurisdictional issues. She has represented tribal interests in a variety of litigation contexts, as plaintiff and defendant, including at trial. Ms. Laughlin's experience representing tribes includes litigation of numerous appeals at the district court level as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Laughlin served as a senior managing associate for a multinational law firm. She also served as a judicial extern for the Hon. Charles Breyer in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and a legal clerk for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Court. While in law school, Ms. Laughlin was an editor for the Journal of Law and Policy, and a member of the Law and Social Work Society.

Tribal Membership

  • United Houma Nation

Representative Experience

  • Represented local government and cities in litigation against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding claims arising under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act (DOT Act)
  • Secured the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's affirmance of a ruling that sovereign immunity barred suit against tribal officials for their role in tribal enrollment decisions
  • Represented public agencies and developers in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and land use litigation
  • Counseling in legal and technical assistance in analyzing and responding to U.S. military's environmental review regarding joint exercises and live-fire activities in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CMNI)
  • Represented chemical and manufacturing companies in litigation involving Proposition 65 (California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986), specifically involving the act's "failure to warn" claims
  • Advising a large international retail company in environmental review, regulatory approval and permitting approvals needed for expansion within the U.S.


  • Washington University School of Law, MSW
  • Washington University School of Law, J.D.
  • Stanford University, B.A., Psychology and Native American Studies, with honors
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • California
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • Natural Resources and Environment, American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER), Editorial Board, 2016-2020
  • Native American Bar Association
Honors & Awards
  • Award for Service to the Community for Pro Bono Representation of Tribe, United Houma Nation, 2012
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award, Contracts, 2007
  • Kathryn M. Buder Charitable Foundation Scholarship, Washington University School of Law, 2006


Speaking Engagements