Ashley Breakfield represents large-scale urban developers, real estate investors, renewable energy companies, and private property owners in sophisticated land use and real estate matters.

In the land use realm, Ashley specializes in advising clients on Bay Area mid-scale project development strategies, beginning at the project’s inception with evaluating a site for possible uses and strategizing on development plans. She then works to shepherd the project through the administrative process, including evaluating, negotiating and obtaining permits and other entitlements and administrative approvals, and counseling clients on environmental review under both CEQA and NEPA.

In the commercial real estate aspect of her practice, Ashley’s transactional background is equally extensive. Her experience includes counseling developers and real estate investors with acquisitions, dispositions, and leasing of office, industrial, retail, mixed use, and agricultural real estate. In addition, Ashley’s real estate practice includes significant experience counseling clients on the negotiation and documentation of various financial arrangements, including acquisition, construction, mezzanine, and permanent financing.

Prior to joining Farella’s Real Estate Industry Group, Ashley was a member of our Environmental Law practice group. In that role, she counseled clients on regulatory and compliance matters involving state and federal environmental, land use, and natural resources laws and statutes, and represented clients in state and federal court, as well as before various administrative agencies and boards. This experience is frequently an integral part of her real estate work.

Ashley’s approach to her practice is forthright, practical, and results-oriented. Personable and straightforward, she is skilled at negotiating and communicating, emphasizing that both parties would like to get a deal done, and striving, whenever possible, to collaborate in the interest of getting to “yes” a little faster. Combined with her deep, firsthand knowledge of the ins and outs of the Bay Area real estate market, she’s an effective and persuasive advocate for her client’s interests.

Ashley served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Edward M. Chen of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, and as a legal intern for the California Attorney General’s Office – Natural Resources Section and the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. 


  • Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, Land Use and Zoning Law (2023-2024)
  • The Lawdragon Green 500: Leaders in Environmental Law (2023-2024)
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Pathfinders (Class of 2022)
  • Super Lawyers’ Northern California Rising Stars (2015-2021)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • President, Commercial Real Estate Women of San Francisco (CREW SF) (2024)
  • Board of Directors, Commercial Real Estate Women of San Francisco (CREW SF) (2022-present)
  • Board of Directors and Minority Bar Coalition Liaison, Bar Association of San Francisco (2021-2022)
  • Member, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, CREW Network (2020-2021)
  • Co-Chair, Minority Bar Coalition of the San Francisco Bay Area (2019-2022)
  • Member, BALIF
  • Volunteer, Californians Advancing Civic Education
  • Member, San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)

Firm Highlights


Lawdragon Names 7 Farella Lawyers Among “Leaders in Environmental Law”

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel is pleased to announce that seven lawyers were selected to The Lawdragon Green 500: 2024 Leaders in Environmental Law . Farella lawyers selected for inclusion: Sarah...

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Downtown San Francisco Adaptive Reuse Legislation Slated To Go Into Effect

As we alerted you on May 9 , legislation to incentivize office and commercial building conversions to housing had begun working its way through the Board of Supervisors after approval by the San Francisco...

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Office-to-Housing Conversion: State and Local Efforts to Revitalize the Downtown

Originally published in The Registry . As office vacancies soar in traditional downtown areas like San Francisco’s Financial District, state and local officials are moving quickly to adopt incentives they hope will bring people...

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Ashley Breakfield Elected 2024 President of CREW SF

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that real estate and land use partner Ashley E. Breakfield has been elected president of the Commercial Real Estate Women of San Francisco (CREW SF) Board...

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San Francisco Planning Commission Endorses Ordinances to Incentivize Adaptive Reuse in Downtown

The San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval on May 4 of two ordinances aimed at revitalizing the City’s Downtown, South of Market Street, and Union Square districts. Vacant Office and Commercial Building Conversion...

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