Chris Locke, a senior partner and former chair of the environmental law practice at Farella, has more than 30 years of experience counseling and representing clients in all aspects of environmental law, environmental litigation, and enforcement defense. He is a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL), a former Director of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and is recognized by Chambers USA as a leading California lawyer in environmental law.

Chris’ practice includes defense of federal and state enforcement actions, representation in actions involving CERCLA, RCRA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other federal and state statutory and common law claims, as well as cost recovery litigation and citizen suit defense. An accomplished trial attorney and legal strategist, Chris also assists clients with regulatory compliance, permitting and representation, project development strategies, and NEPA/CEQA/land use proceedings and related litigation.

Drawing on his experience as a former federal prosecutor, Chris’ practice includes internal investigations, grand jury representation, and defense of criminal enforcement actions. He is also a member of the firm's Product Law practice, emphasizing product liability defense, class action defense, product stewardship, and sustainability.

Chris’ clients span a broad range of representation of both public and private interests, including energy, manufacturing, mining, real estate development, scientific research, technology, telecommunications, transportation, and wine businesses.

Chris has been recognized by clients for his strategic approach, whether in trial or appellate courts, regulatory or land use proceedings, or long-term business planning and risk management. He is described by clients as an exceptional litigator and strategist, and has been commended for his skill and efficiency in understanding and achieving a client’s goals.

Chris began his career as a Legislative Assistant to then-Congressman Christopher Dodd, and as a Research Analyst/Investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Assassinations. Prior to private practice, Chris served as a Trial Attorney with the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.

Chris is a frequent lecturer and author on developments in environmental law, renewable energy, criminal enforcement and defense, trial strategy and evidence. He is also a former co-chair of Farella’s Diversity Committee, a former Director of Legal Aid of Marin, and a member of ELI’s Leadership Council.


  • Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers (2017-present)
  • Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in environmental law in California (2011-present)
  • Best Lawyers in America (Environmental Law and Litigation – Environmental)
  • Who's Who Legal
  • Northern California Super Lawyers (2004-2008, 2010-present)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Leadership Council, Environmental Law Institute (2002-present)
  • Section on Energy, Environment and Resources, American Bar Association
  • Environmental Litigation Committee, Section on Litigation, American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association, San Francisco Chapter
  • Member, Board of Directors, Marin County Bar Association (2020-present)
  • Member and Past President, Board of Directors, Legal Aid of Marin (1996-2003, 2010-2017)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Environmental Law Institute (2002-2010)
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of California (1983-1986)
  • Trial Attorney, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice (1981-1983)
  • Research Analyst/Investigator, Select Committee on Assassinations, U.S. House of Representatives (1976-1978) 
  • Legislative Assistant, Congressman Christopher J. Dodd, U.S. House of Representatives (1975-1976)

Firm Highlights


Sushila Chanana Named to 2020 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellows Program

SAN FRANCISCO, February 13, 2020: Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that Sushila Chanana has been named a member of the 2020 class of Fellows participating in a landmark program created by...

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Farella Assists San Francisco Flower Mart With Development Project

Farella Braun + Martel represented the master tenant of the San Francisco Flower Mart in renegotiating its agreements with Kilroy Realty Corp., including a long-term master lease to permanently relocate the Flower Mart to...

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Another Federal Circuit Finds Phishing Loss Covered Under Crime Policy

Companies of all sizes have fallen victim to attacks whereby fraudsters will use deceptive communications, such as spoofed emails, to trick an employee into transferring money into the fraudsters’ control. While these increasingly prevalent...

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Weed at Work: Understanding Legalized Marijuana in the Office

Click here for the audio recording of the webinar "Weed at Work: Understanding Legalized Marijuana in the Office.

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Strategy Lessons From Wells Fargo Fintech Patent Litigation

United States Automobile Association (USAA) is a financial services company that provides insurance, banking, investment, and retirement products and services for members of the military and their families. On June 7, 2018, USAA filed...

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North Bay Wineries Taking Insurers to Court Over Denied Smoke Taint Claims

Tyler Gerking, chair of Farella's Insurance Recovery Group, was quoted in the Napa Valley Register article, "North Bay Wineries Taking Insurers to Court Over Denied Smoke Taint Claims." In the article, Tyler said he would expect...

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2020 ABA National Symposium on Technology in Labor & Employment Law

Rebecca Stephens will be speaking at the 2020 ABA National Symposium on Technology in Labor & Employment Law session, "Marijuana in the Workplace." Details: According to a 2018 Pew Research Survey, 62 percent of...

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ABA 34th National Institute on White Collar Crime

Jessica Nall will be speaking at the 34th National Institute on White Collar Crime session, "Updates in Cybercrime: Are We Fighting an Impossible Battle?" Details: Information security has now become an essential part of corporate...

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Your Retirement Planning and the SECURE Act

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (or SECURE Act), signed into law on December 20, 2019, changes retirement planning significantly and unexpectedly. The bulk of the changes become effective as of January...

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Risk Management Summit for Agriculture and Cannabis

Rebecca Stephens will be presenting the topic "A Closer Look at Ag/Cannabis Employment Issues Surfacing in 2020" at Newfront Insurance's Risk Management Summit for Agriculture & Cannabis. Join us for a free, all-day event...

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