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)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, Environmental Litigation (2014-2022)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • California Bar Association, Section on Environmental Law
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Law Section
  • Association of Environmental Professionals

Firm Highlights


Cannabis Industry, Including CBD Products, Subject to New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements

Updated Proposition 65 warning requirements for cannabis products came into effect on January 3, 2021. As of that date, anyone offering for sale cannabis products in California—including hemp-derived CBD products—must provide an appropriate warning...

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51 Farella Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2022 and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch

Forty-six Farella Braun + Martel lawyers were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America © .  Five Farella lawyers were named to Best Lawyers: Ones to...

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New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements for Cannabis and Hemp-Derived Products

Donald Sobelman and Wendy Hernandez discuss "New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements for Cannabis and Hemp-Derived Products." Proposition 65 requires “clear and reasonable” warnings in California for products containing chemicals on the State’s list of...

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Cannabis and Hemp-Derived Products Subject to New Prop. 65 Warning Requirements in California

California’s regulatory framework for cannabis and hemp-derived products, including CBD, continues to evolve, most recently via updated Proposition 65 warning requirements that came into full effect Jan. 3, 2021. As of that date, anyone...

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Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Named to 2021 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Thirty-seven Farella Braun + Martel lawyers were named to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists of top attorneys in Northern California for 2021. 2021 Farella Northern California Super Lawyers: George Argyris – Estate...

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