David J. Lazerwitz is Chair of Farella's Energy and Natural Resources industry group. His practice focuses on federal and state environmental and natural resource laws, permitting, and land use matters, with an emphasis on the permitting, entitlements, and contractual requirements of large-scale renewable energy generation, energy storage, and infrastructure projects.

David advises public and private clients on a wide array of issues arising in the planning and development of projects and facilities in the renewable and traditional energy generation, electrical transmission, manufacturing, water services, and agricultural sectors. His compliance and permitting practice focuses on water quality, wetlands, environmental impact analysis, endangered species, hazardous waste, and federal public lands issues, and responding to agency inspections and administrative enforcement actions. He has extensive experience in all aspects of project and site development, from orchestrating overall permitting strategies for complex large-scale development projects to securing individual permits and approvals.

His involvement in project development begins at site selection. David advises his clients in analyzing the benefits and challenges of potential sites, including anticipated impacts, permitting and environmental review timelines, mitigation options and identifying and resolving potential project opposition. Once a site is chosen, he coordinates and guides clients through federal, state, and local governmental review, permitting, and entitlement of the project. This frequently involves compliance with California Environmental Quality Act and/or National Environmental Policy Act review requirements, obtaining required permits under federal and state environmental and natural resources laws, and working with individual agencies and stakeholders to resolve specific issues and concerns.

David draws upon his project development experience to provide due diligence, purchase and sale agreement support, and counseling advice in connection with project equity and debt financing. He also is involved in negotiating and addressing permitting and environmental issues during project construction and operational phases, and advising companies in connection with site activities to ensure that the project remains in compliance with applicable permits and regulatory requirements.

David possesses significant federal and state court litigation experience, including more than a dozen federal appellate arguments in environmental cases. In his litigation practice, he represents clients in actions arising pursuant to a wide range of environmental, natural resources, and public land laws. He also has extensive experience in defending federal citizen suit actions.


  • Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Energy Law, Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law (2016-2021)
  • 2021 Lawyer of the Year Award (San Francisco) - Natural Resources Law, Best Lawyers of America
  • Chambers USA, environmental law in California (2018-2019)
  • Who’s Who Legal for Environmental Law (2017)
  • Daily Journal California’s Top 50 Development Lawyers (2014)
  • Legal Media Group’s CleanTech 100 (2013)
  • 2010 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) award for his pro bono efforts to secure a federal ruling protecting California deserts from off-road vehicle impacts. 
  • Northern California Super Lawyers in environmental law (2011-2020)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Environmental Law Program Advisory Board, Indiana University School of Law
  • Member, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, American Bar Association
  • Member, Steering Committee, Renewable Energy Speaker Series, Environmental Law Institute and UC Berkeley Center for Law, Energy and the Environment
  • Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
  • Former Attorney, Appellate Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Robert H. Henry on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Firm Highlights


Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Named to 2020 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Forty-one Farella Braun + Martel attorneys across practice areas were named to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists of top attorneys in Northern California for 2020. Farella attorneys named among 2020 Northern California...

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Changing Climate, Changing Laws: Addressing New Wildfire Risk Requirements in Project Development

In this op-ed for pv magazine, David Lazerwitz and Linda Sobczynski of Farella Braun + Martel examine the levels of precaution necessary to ensure fire risk mitigation in project development. The increasingly common occurrence...

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Permitting Utility-Scale Battery Energy Storage Projects: Lessons From California

The increasing mandates and incentives for the rapid deployment of energy storage are resulting in a boom in the deployment of utility-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS). In the first installment of our series...

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52 Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021

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The Winding Trail Home: Marin County Secures Key Multi-Use Trail Access Decision

With Marin County’s Mt. Tamalpais often considered the birthplace of mountain biking, it should not be surprising that the County finds itself at the forefront of California’s battle over multi-use trail access and consequently...

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Renewable Energy Roundtable Update in the Wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in widespread disruption of business and industry across California, including the state’s vibrant renewable energy and energy storage industry. Farella Braun + Martel attorneys are tracking developments and advising...

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