Paul P. “Skip” Spaulding, III

  • 415.954.4918
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Skip Spaulding is a partner in Farella Braun + Martel’s Environmental Law Department and has more than 25 years of environmental litigation, permitting and counseling experience.


Mr. Spaulding represents private companies, universities and government institutions in environmental litigation and counseling. He handles all types of NEPA, RCRA, Clean Water Act, CERCLA, AEA, CEQA, wetlands, endangered species and SMARA matters. He has been lead trial counsel in numerous environmental cases, including federal court litigation in California, Arizona, Hawaii and New Mexico. His notable engagements include representing a national defense laboratory in RCRA litigation in New Mexico, defending a large Arizona city in NEPA, ESA, RCRA and Clean Water litigation matters and representing private entities in CERCLA, RCRA and state law environmental contamination litigation. He is well known throughout the Western United States for his defense and prosecution of citizen lawsuits brought under federal environmental laws.


Mr. Spaulding maintains a robust natural resource counseling practice. He has particular experience in obtaining federal and state natural resource permits for real estate, energy and other development projects. Recently, he represented a solar development company in obtaining a full suite of federal, state and local permits for a 550-megawatt solar farm.  He has also represented a California film production company in obtaining permits for a major studio development, represented a California utility in obtaining permits for transmission line and substation projects, obtained water permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California water boards for clients, represented many clients in obtaining wetlands permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, negotiated a diverse array of endangered species issues with wildlife agencies, and advised many clients on particularly challenging natural resource issues.


Prior to joining Farella Braun + Martel, Mr. Spaulding was a managing attorney and the national litigation director for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (1989-1995), where he was the lead counsel in significant citizen lawsuits under the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, NEPA and other laws.


Mr. Spaulding is a well-known speaker and writer on environmental law and litigation topics.  Among other engagements, he was co-chair of the 2007 and 2008 California Water Law Conferences (CLE International) and is a regular lecturer at the Environmental Law Institute’s Western Environmental Law Boot Camp (2005-13). He was an adjunct law professor at the University of Hawaii Law School for three years and has taught many environmental law, trial practice and evidence seminars over the last 20 years. He serves on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations. He is listed in Who’s Who Legal California in Environmental Law/Litigation and in Northern California Super Lawyers.



  • Section on Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, American Bar Association
  • Board Member, Board of Directors, San Domenico School
  • Vice President, Board of Directors, Angel Island Conservancy (2008- present) 
  • Board of Directors, Marin Theater Company (2005- 2008)
  • Former Vice-President, Litigation Director and Managing Attorney of Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, now named Earthjustice (1989-94)
  • Adjunct Law Professor, University of Hawaii School of Law (1992-94)
  • Former Member, Advisory Group of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (1991-95)
  • Appointed Delegate, Judicial Conference for U.S. District Court- Hawaii (1992-94)
  • Judicial Arbitrator, San Francisco County Superior Court (1988-89)
  • Served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Robert B. Lee of the Colorado Supreme Court.
Farella’s Environmental Law Department is recognized by Chambers USA as a top tier environmental practice in California, and by U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” as a top tier firm nationally for its environmental and mass torts practice areas.