People

Matthew G. Adams

Partner

San Francisco Office
415.907.8707

Education

J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 2003
M.A., City Planning, University of California, Berkeley, 2003
M.A., Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 1999
B.A., Northwestern University, 1998

Bar and Court Admissions

California
U.S. Courts of Appeal for the D.C. and Ninth Circuits
U.S. District Courts for the Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Matthew G. Adams

Matt Adams helps clients address environmental issues related to energy, water, transportation, infrastructure, and other development projects. He advises on a full range of transactional, regulatory, and litigation matters, with a particular focus on issues arising under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), state and federal endangered species acts, and other environmental impact assessment laws.

Matt also counsels tribal governments on environmental and land use issues affecting Indian country. He has advised on the successful development of major tribal gaming facilities nationwide, as well as related on- and off-trust infrastructure.  He also represents a variety of stakeholders on matters related to the protection of indigenous cultural and historic resources.

In addition, Matt provides strategic advice and regulatory counsel on a variety of emerging issues relating to water, energy, and other climate-related sustainability and adaptation issues. 

An experienced litigator, Matt has successfully argued high-stakes matters before D.C. Circuit, the Ninth Circuit, and the California courts.  Recent published cases include National Parks Conservation Association v. Semonite, 916 F. 3d 1075 (D.C. Cir. 2019) (NEPA and NHPA challenge to Army Corps projects on Virginia’s James River); Cachil Dehe v. Zinke, 889 F.3d 584 (9th Cir. 2018) (defense of tribal land restoration and resort development); and City of Phoenix v. Huerta, (D.C. Cir. 2017) (challenge to FAA flight procedures under NEPA, the NHPA, and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act) .

Prior to joining the Firm, Matt chaired the U.S. environment and natural resources practice at an international law firm.  He serves on the board of San Francisco Heritage, a non-profit dedicated to San Francisco’s unique architectural and cultural identity.  In 2019, the National Trust for Historic Preservation honored him with the Peter H. Brink Award for individual achievement in the field of historic preservation.    

 

Professional and Civic Activities / Awards

  • Chambers USA, Native American Law (2015–Present)
  • Peter H. Brink Award for Individual Achievement in Historic Preservation (2019)
  • Governor of Arizona’s Heritage Preservation Award (2018)
  • Law360 MVP Award, Law and Policy (2016)
  • Law360, Top Attorneys Under 40 (2016)
  • Board of Directors, San Francisco Heritage (2020-Present)
  • Member, Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (2017–Present)

Publications

Legal Update: NEPA’s Implementing Regulations
Indian Land Tenure Foundation
March 2021

Modernizing' the NEPA Process or Returning to the Stone Age?
National Association of Environmental Professionals and American Cultural Resources Association
November 2020

Legal Issues in Airport Development
36th Annual Airport Law Workshop
October 2020

Making the National Environmental Policy Act Work
Environmental Law Institute
March 2020

NEPA Past, Present, and Future: Litigation
Environmental Law Institute
December 2019

Trump Administration Continues to Overhaul Climate Change Regulations
Energy Law Report
November 2018

Making the National Environmental Policy Act Process Work
Environmental Law Institute
03.22.18

Defense Policy and Cultural Resource Protection in the Western Pacific
National Trust for Historic Preservation
06.13.17

Successfully Navigating the NEPA Process
Environmental Law Institute
03.16.17

Impact of the New Administration on National Offshore Wind Strategy: Three Things to Watch
Renewable Energy World
03.02.17

Pacific Outpost
Civil Beat
12.12.16

Worldview
National Public Radio
12.22.15

Traditional Cultural Properties and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act
National Trust for Historic Preservation
02.25.15

Education

J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 2003
M.A., City Planning, University of California, Berkeley, 2003
M.A., Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 1999
B.A., Northwestern University, 1998

Bar and Court Admissions

California
U.S. Courts of Appeal for the D.C. and Ninth Circuits
U.S. District Courts for the Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin