San Francisco-based Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass has picked up three experienced land use and development partners from Morrison & Foerster to expand its offerings in the Bay Area.
David Gold, Miles Imwalle and Megan Jennings have all joined the firm’s real estate and land use group. Imwalle, who had been with MoFo for nearly 15 years, said the team was attracted to Coblentz because of the firm’s deep bench of lawyers dedicated to the same practice.
“[We wanted] to join a California-focused firm that has land use and real estate really at its core,” Imwalle said. “Coblentz has a long tradition of having a prominent land use practice that it continues to grow—we are excited to make that happen.”
Gold has worked at MoFo for nearly three decades, while Jennings had been at the firm for about 11 years, having made partner this past January. Coblentz said in a late July announcement that its new hires will bring extensive experience handling land use and California Environmental Quality Act matters.
“For a land use practice, which is really a local practice, we didn’t need to have an international infrastructure,” said Imwalle, noting that it will be easier for his colleagues to grow their practice at a smaller firm.
The three partners have worked to together on several high-profile California projects, including Apple Inc.’s new 3.4 million-square-foot campus in Cupertino. Other matters that they have handled include the redevelopment of a 50-acre mall in Silicon Valley with a proposed 30-acre green roof; two medical centers for Kaiser Permanente Inc. in Northern California; the public-private redevelopment of the 80-acre Oyster Point Marina area in South San Francisco; and numerous photovoltaic solar facilities.
“The depth of our real estate and land use practice becomes unparalleled with their addition,” said a statement from Coblentz name partner and commercial real estate expert Pamela Duffy. ”These are great lawyers and fabulous people who come to us from one of the country’s leading law firms, and it is our honor to have them join us.”
For more than 37 years, Gold has dedicated his practice to assisting a wide range of public and private entities, including municipalities and mixed-use real estate development, as well as technology, health care and renewable energy clients before government agencies and commissions throughout Northern California.
Imwalle, on the other hand, advises clients on the development of commercial, residential, mixed-use and renewable energy projects throughout the Golden State.
Jennings, who joined MoFo shortly after receiving her law degree in 2007 from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, handles land use and environmental permitting, transactional and compliance issues.
Imwalle said that he, Gold and Jennings also specialize in renewable energy work, primarily advising clients on large-scale utility solar projects.
“Within the land use portion, we bring clients and projects that are little more spread throughout the entire Bay Area,” Imwalle said. “The three of us have most of our [work] in the Bay Area but outside San Francisco. What we will help do is to make Coblentz have a Bay Area-wide presence in the land use field.”
In statement, MoFo thanked Imwalle, Gold and Jennings for their contributions to the firm. As for Coblentz, the firm said it has about 35 lawyers handling real estate and land use work.
Coblentz’s recruitment of the MoFo trio comes several months after the firm added former Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty real estate and land use partner Scott Greenwood-Meinert for its office in Napa, California. Earlier this year, fellow real estate and wine country expert Charles Meibeyer Jr., a former Dickenson Peatman partner who joined Coblentz in 2016 and opened offices for the firm in Napa and nearby Saint Helena, left to return to his own solo practice. (Coblentz has since closed its Saint Helena office.)
E. Venessa Henlon, another former Coblentz real estate partner, also left the firm in December to become senior corporate counsel for real estate law at San Francisco-based clothing retailer The Gap Inc. Nonetheless, Coblentz has been busy hiring for other practices.
Last month the firm brought on George Borkowski, a former chair of intellectual property litigation at Venable, as a partner in San Francisco. And a year ago this month, Coblentz picked up former Keller, Sloan & Roman name partner Stanley Roman for its litigation group in San Francisco after his Bay Area-based boutique closed its doors.