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 member of ELI’s Leadership Council, a Director of the Marin County Bar Association, a former Director of Legal Aid of Marin, and a former co-chair of Farella’s Diversity Committee.


  • Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers (2017-present)
  • Chambers USA, Environment - California (2011-2021)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2011-2022) - Environmental Law; Litigation–Environmental; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants
  • Who's Who Legal
  • Northern California Super Lawyers (2004-2008, 2010-2021)

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


Illinois Courts Largely Favor Coverage for BIPA Cases Under CGL Policies

Since Illinois passed its Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) in 2008, there has been a proliferation of class action lawsuits filed pursuant to the statute. BIPA generally bars private entities from collecting, capturing, purchasing...

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The 15th Annual Santa Fe Advanced Conference on Litigating Natural Resource Damages

Jim Colopy is a speaker at the 15th Annual Santa Fe Advanced Conference on Natural Resource Damages on the panel addressing "Federal Jurisdiction: Waters of the United States.” 

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LinkedIn Loses Data Appeal

Erik Olson was quoted in the article "LinkedIn Loses Data Appeal" in CDR Magazine . In the article, Erik said: We are pleased to see that the Ninth Circuit has again affirmed, in light...

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Upside: Changes in the VCAP Liability Coverage Market

Over the past few years, there's been a dramatic rise in premiums in the venture capital liability insurance market and a steady increase in claims being submitted under those policies. We're also seeing a...

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Platform Ecosystems – The Landscape of US and EU Legislation (Webinar)

Stephanie Skaff and Nate Garhart discuss "Platform Ecosystems – The Landscape of US and EU Legislation." Several new bills targeting online platform companies are making their way through state and federal legislative bodies in the...

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2022 Cannabis Insurance Market Update

Tyler Gerking was quoted in  PropertyCasualty360 's article "2022 Cannabis Insurance Market Update."  Read the full article here (subscription required). Watch the webinar "Cyber Insurance for the Cannabis Industry" here .

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hiQ’s Groundbreaking Injunction Against LinkedIn Reaffirmed: Scraping of Publicly Available Data Likely Does Not Violate CFAA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed its prior decision , holding that LinkedIn could not block hiQ, a scraping entity, from scraping public LinkedIn profiles. The court found it was...

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Farella Braun + Martel Named Among 2022 Best Places to Work

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Election Year Issues for Private Foundations and Public Charities (Webinar)

Cynthia Rowland discusses Nonprofit Education Series on "Election Year Issues for Private Foundations and Public Charities." Public and private foundations may support nonpartisan election-related activities, but only in limited ways and amounts. Join our interactive live...

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Legal Experts Say Opioid Coverage Disputes Far From Over

Shanti Eagle was quoted in Law360 's article "Legal Experts Say Opioid Coverage Disputes Far From Over."  Read the article here (subscription required).

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