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 enforcement actions, cost recovery, citizen suits, water quality, complex toxic tort, and product liability matters. She has significant experience in matters involving both emerging contaminants – including PFAS – as well as legacy contaminants like PCE, TCE and other chemicals and VOCs. 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’s clients include manufacturers and distributors, transportation companies, wineries, research institutions, 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.

Sarah also counsels clients with respect to regulatory compliance, including storm water management and NPDES permits, site cleanup, and product stewardship. She often helps clients identify and mitigate environmental risks. 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.

Whether in or out of court, Sarah is persuasive, engaging, and aggressive when necessary. She seeks solutions that are in the best interests of her clients, with a focus on pragmatism and client needs rather than a “one size fits all” approach. Environmental issues can be complex and involve high-stakes liability. Sarah is efficient and calm in a crisis, and brings order to this potential chaos.

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

Distinctions

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law; Litigation–Environmental (2024)
  • Chambers USA: Environment - California, Band 4 (2021-2024)
  • The Lawdragon Green 500: Leaders in Environmental Law (2023-2024)
  • Benchmark Litigation, 40 & Under Hotlist (2018)
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Rising Stars (2012-2013)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • CLE Subcommittee Conference Co-Chair, Environmental & Energy Litigation Committee, Litigation Section, American Bar Association (2021-present)
  • Executive Committee Member, Environmental Law Section (Advisors/Emeritus), Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Board of Directors, Golden Gate Audubon Society (2009 – 2016)
  • Board of Directors, California Summer Music (2009 – 2013)