Biography

Sarah Bell focuses her practice on environmental and natural resources litigation, administrative proceedings, and counseling, and advises clients in a broad range of disputes, including environmental enforcement actions, cost recovery, citizen suits, water quality, complex toxic tort, and product liability matters.

Sarah’s clients include manufacturers, distributors, transportation companies, terminals, real estate developers, and commercial property owners. She has litigated matters throughout the western United States, in both state and federal courts, including Washington State, Nevada, New Mexico and California. The bulk of her expertise involves cases relating to natural resources such as groundwater, surface water, sediments, air, and soil. She has experience with all the major federal and state environmental statutes, including the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, NEPA and CEQA, Proposition 65, RCRA, and the ESA.

Sarah is an aggressive, innovative and persistent advocate for her clients’ interests. She is a persuasive and engaging oral advocate at trial and hearings, and she thrives in court. In litigation, she believes convincing writing cannot be undervalued, and her prose is effective because it is cogent, clear, and concise. 

Sarah also counsels clients with respect to regulatory compliance, permitting, including storm water management and NPDES permits, product stewardship, and project development. She often advises clients who have identified potential environmental issues and are seeking to address those issues and manage potential risks associated with the same. As a counselor, Sarah seeks to keep her clients out of court. In these matters, she effectively negotiates reasonable resolutions so clients can maintain focus on their core businesses. 

Sarah strives for solutions that are in the best interests of her clients, relying on pragmatism and unique strategies rather than defaulting to a “one size fits all” approach to litigation and negotiation. She is purposeful, calm in a crisis, and efficient, helping her clients navigate a strategic course without wasting resources. Environmental issues can be complex and involve high-stakes liability. Sarah brings order to this potential chaos, and brings to each matter an impressive track record of helping clients both efficiently manage and swiftly resolve challenging situations.

She was a judicial extern for the Honorable Maxine Chesney of the Northern District of California.

Distinctions

  • Benchmark Litigation, 40 & Under Hotlist (2018)
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Rising Stars (2012-2013)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Executive Committee Member, Environmental Law Section, Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Board of Directors, Golden Gate Audubon Society (2009 – 2016)
  • Board of Directors, California Summer Music (2009 – 2013)

Firm Highlights

Publication

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Insights and Resources

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing disruption throughout the US that we have not seen in generations. Governmental entities, academia, and the private sector are working diligently to contain COVID-19 while it...

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Publication

Impacts of Recent PTAB Precedential Opinions Addressing Its Discretion to Reject Petitions for Review of Issued Patents

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) recently designated two more opinions as “precedential” dealing with its discretion to reject petitions for inter partes review (IPR) or similar post-grant reviews. Under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d...

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News

Insurers Brace for Coronavirus Hit to ‘Event Driven’ D&O Line

Mary McCutcheon was quote in the Claims Journal article,"Insurers Brace for Coronavirus Hit to ‘Event Driven’ D&O Line." Link to read the full article .

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News

Farella COVID-19 Update: A Message From the Managing Partner

To our clients, alumni and friends, During these unsettling times, Farella Braun + Martel is focused on protecting the health and safety of our firm members, clients, and communities and doing our part to...

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Publication

CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program Summary

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law (the full 880-page text of the CARES Act passed by the Senate is available here...

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Event

Berkeley Boosts Shorts: Financial Crises and Insurance

In light of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on work and financial markets, Berkeley Law will be hosting short, live daily video interviews with leading voices from law and business. Farella's Tyler Gerking...

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News

Daily Journal Names Farella Lawyers Among Top IP Lawyers in California

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that partners Jeffrey M. Fisher and James L. Day were named to the 2020 list of “Top Intellectual Property Lawyers” in California by the Daily Journal...

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Event

Advising Businesses and Practicing Law During COVID-19

Rebecca Stephens is speaking on employment law issues on the Barristers Club of The Bar Association of San Francisco live webinar, "Advising Businesses and Practicing Law During COVID-19." Details: A comprehensive, one-stop shop CLE on the...

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Publication

Tax Relief in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak

In order to combat the adverse economic effects in which many individuals and businesses are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the federal government and the State of California will provide tax...

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Event

7th Annual Partner Compensation One-Day Workshop

Brian Donnelly is presenting the case study session, "Managing Partner Performance" at Fairfax Associates' 7th Annual Partner Compensation One-Day Workshop. Click here for more information.

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