With more than 20 years of experience, Don Sobelman focuses his practice on helping clients navigate the complexities of federal and California environmental law. His multifaceted practice encompasses administrative enforcement defense, civil litigation, compliance with regulatory regimes, and contaminated site cleanup and redevelopment.
Don has tackled a diverse range of environmental law matters, including administrative proceedings and civil litigation in trial and appellate courts involving state and federal statutes (such as CERCLA, RCRA, the Clean Water Act, Proposition 65, and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act); complex environmental/toxic tort litigation; contractual disputes and claims arising from environmental indemnities; compliance with local, state, and federal regulations pertaining to hazardous materials, hazardous waste, water quality, and wetlands; and remediation, transfer/sale, and redevelopment of brownfields sites requiring investigation, risk assessment, and remediation to address vapor intrusion and soil and groundwater contamination, including from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as PCE and TCE, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), metals, and PCBs.
He conducts due diligence regarding environmental liabilities associated with real estate and corporate transactions and navigates developers through the CEQA process, including defending projects in both trial and appellate courts.
Don’s clients benefit from his multidisciplinary approach to solving their problems and advancing their goals. By efficiently and effectively collaborating with technical experts and lawyers with relevant specialties, he ensures that his clients obtain the best possible advice when deciding how to address complex environmental issues.
Active in his community, Don has represented pro bono the South Valley Islamic Center in San Martin, California since 2012 in an ongoing California Environmental Quality Act and permit process for its Cordoba Center—a 16-acre project including a mosque, community center, and cemetery. The project was approved by unanimous vote of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in December 2019.
- Best Lawyers in America, Litigation-Environmental (2018-2021), Environmental Law (2023)
- Northern California Super Lawyers in Environmental Litigation since (2014-2022)
Memberships and Affiliations
- California Bar Association, Section on Environmental Law
- Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Law Section
- Association of Environmental Professionals