Green Building

Being "green" is one of Farella Braun + Martel's four core values.  To meet our green objective, we have adopted formally a firm-wide Environmental Policy committing the firm to sustainability in our business operations. Our program addresses recycling and waste reduction, energy and natural resource conservation, pollution prevention and quantification of our greenhouse gas emissions.  We have integrated green efforts into each department - legal and staff - within the firm, which has diverted almost two tons of material from landfills since inception.

FBM was the first major law firm certified as a green business by the San Francisco Green Business Program (2006).  We are members of the Bay Area Business Council on Climate Change (BC3) and one of two law firms registered with the California Climate Action Registry.  In 2007, FBM won an Acterra Business Environmental Award - the "Susanne Wilson Award for Pollution Prevention/Resource Conservation" in the Medium Company category.

A natural outgrowth of our commitment to a green working and living environment is to provide our clients with the legal resources required to build/redevelop green and stay green.  From construction to completion, our lawyers understand the intricacies of the green movement and the laws, regulations and commitments required to accomplish a green commercial, residential or mixed-use development. Our interdisciplinary approach helps clients comply with green requirements, take advantage of appropriate green governmental incentives and optimize long-term economic savings.

Specifically, our environmental, construction, real estate and land use practice groups have completed projects from the pre-planning efforts for green developments to ensuring that the occupancy, switch-on of the cogeneration facility or reuse of the brownfield meet the applicable legal requirements to obtain green certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council and other regional certifying agencies.


Our Environmental practice advises businesses, developers and land owners how to use or reuse challenging development opportunity sites. Our green efforts in this field include advice on how the design, use and operation on a site can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate air and water quality impacts, limit solid waste and maximize recycling. 

Land Use

The local, state and federal laws applicable to green development are rapidly changing.  We have the experience and professional involvement in the community to guide our clients and get their projects up and running.  Once development sites are identified, our Land Use team helps clients navigate the myriad building codes and land use regulations that affect the ability to create a green building or operation.  We work with local building departments and planning staffs in this specialized area to enhance our clients' ability to obtain approvals in a timely and cost-efficient manner.


To complete our green team's full service capabilities, our construction attorneys draft and negotiate the construction contracts and help clients ensure that the work that was approved by the local jurisdiction is in fact built according to the contracted methods and with the contracted materials.  This can include confirming proper site preparation techniques were used and, where necessary, enforcing applicable contract provisions and protections.