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Geoffrey K. Willis and Deborah M. Rosenthal havejoined the Orange County office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP aspartners in the firm's Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group.  Willis and Rosenthal will be joined bya team of six attorneys: special counsel Marguerite P. Battersby and David R.Hunt, and associates David P. Collins II, Jessica A. Johnson, Douglas E. Wanceand Gregory E. Woodard.  The group most recentlypracticed together with Bingham McCutchen in Orange County. 

"With Geoff, Deborah and the groupjoining us, we continue to grow signature practice groups like Real Estate andexpand capabilities to better serve client needs.  With Geoff leading the team, the group's knowledgeand expertise will significantly enhance our real estate practice, which isalready one of the best in California," said Guy Halgren, chairman of thefirm. 

"I look forward to growing the firm's California landuse practice, specifically in Orange County,” Willis said. “Sheppard Mullin isa top-notch firm with an impressive real estate group.  I am thrilled to be practicing on such astrong platform with the firm's great lawyers throughout the state."

"Geoff's group is an excellent addition to the firm'sReal Estate practice group, which now includes more than 80 attorneys firmwide," commented Domenic Drago, chair of the firm's Real Estate, Land Useand Environmental practice group. "They bring an incredible collective background with more than seventy-fiveyears of combined experience, which includes ground-breaking land use mattersand cutting-edge real estate-related litigation." 

As a land use and developmentspecialist, Willis concentrates his practice on matters involving theCalifornia Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); the National Environmental PolicyAct; water rights and quality; the Endangered Species Act; wetlands regulation;the Clean Air Act; CERCLA investigation, remediation and litigation; theCalifornia Subdivision Map Act; local zoning and land use requirements,environmental due diligence and audits. He has specific expertise in the development of shopping centers, largeconjunctive use projects, houses, golf courses, industrial parks andmanufacturing complexes, regulatory compliance of ongoing businesses involvingair, endangered species, water and wetlands permitting. 

Rosenthal devotes her practice to land use andenvironmental law and litigation, working with issues that include wetlands,endangered species, takings, historic preservation, mitigation banking,hazardous materials industrial development, including self-storage, and golfcourses.  She has been involved in avariety of complex federal- and state-coordinated environmental permitting programsfor large private developments, including the negotiation of developmentagreements and preparation of development plans.  A major portion of Rosenthal's practice isdevoted to CEQA, inverse condemnation and general plan litigation in connectionwith land use entitlements for large residential real estate developers. 

Willis and Rosenthal have represented their clients’ interests beforeall of the counties in Southern California, many of the cities in California,the State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Quality ControlBoards, the Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Fish and WildlifeService, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the High Desert AirPollution Control District, the California Department of Fish and Game, theCalifornia Coastal Commission, the California EPA, and EPA Region IX and anumber of additional state and local governing bodies.

Willisreceived a B.A. from Pomona College in 1983 and a J.D. from University ofCalifornia, Hastings College of Law in 1986. Rosenthal received a B.A. from University of Michigan in 1972, a master'sdegree in regional planning from the University of Oklahoma in 1978 and a J.D. fromYale Law School in 1981.

Last year, a six attorneyteam joined Sheppard Mullin's Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practicegroup in the firm's San Francisco office. The former Steefel, Levitt & Weiss land use group includes partnersJudy Davidoff and Art Friedman, as well as associates William Fleishhacker,Miriam Montesinos, Alexis Pelosi and Elizabeth Sibbett. 

TheCalifornia Real Estate Journalconsistently ranks Sheppard Mullin among the largest real estate practices in thestate. The firm's Real Estate, Land Useand Environmental practice group is one of the most diverse in California, representinginvestors, developers, builders, major landowners, lenders and local agencieson every aspect of commercial and residential real estate.

About Sheppard Mullin Richter &Hampton LLP

Sheppard Mullin is a full service AmLaw 100 firm with more than 520attorneys in 10 offices located throughout California and in New York,Washington, D.C. and Shanghai.  Thefirm's California offices are located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, SantaBarbara, Century City, Orange County, Del Mar Heights and San Diego.  Founded in 1927 onthe principle that the firm would succeed only if its attorneys deliveredprompt, high quality and cost-effective legal services, Sheppard Mullinprovides legal counsel to U.S. and international clients.  Companies turn toSheppard Mullin to handle a full range of corporate and technology matters,high stakes litigation and complex real estate, land use and finance transactions.  In theU.S., the firm's clients include more than half of the Fortune 100 companies.  For more information, please visit www.sheppardmullin.com.


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