James E. Pugh is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm’s Los Angeles and Orange County offices, and he is Team Leader of the firm’s Sustainability Committee. Mr. Pugh specializes in complex land use planning and securing project approvals for virtually all types of major development in California.
He is an expert in California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) compliance and regularly guides clients through the multifaceted environmental review and permitting processes at the local, state and federal level. Mr. Pugh is land use counsel for several transformative projects in downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood as those areas revitalize.
He serves on the Board of Directors for the South Park Business Improvement District in downtown Los Angeles and is Chair of the Housing, Land Use and Development Committee for the Central City Association of Los Angeles. He is a past President of the Association of Environmental Professional’s Orange County Chapter.
Mr. Pugh develops creative entitlement strategies that allow clients to realize projects while minimizing legal risk. He presents legal solutions that balance the business objectives of a project with legal requirements and political influences.
Mr. Pugh is skilled in all aspects of general plans, specific plans, zoning requirements, and municipal code provisions in many jurisdictions throughout California. He has successfully represented clients before numerous administrative agencies on wide-ranging land use matters. Mr. Pugh regularly manages teams of technical consultants and engineers to ensure legal adequacy and timely work products.
Prior to joining Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, he was General Counsel for an environmental consulting company where advised the company and its clients regarding legal compliance and environmental document defensibility.
- J.D., University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, 1999
- B.A., University of California, Irvine, 1995, cum laude
- Central City Association of L.A., Chair of Housing, Land Use & Development Committee
- South Park Business Improvement District, Board of Directors
- Center for Collaboration in Governance, Board of Directors
- California State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
- Los Angeles County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
- Association of Environmental Professionals, Past President
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