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Donald S. Simon

Donald primarily focuses on matters related to business and construction law, solar energy, green building, cannabis industry, and environmental policy. Donald co-founded the firm’s Green Business Practice Group and led the firm’s internal sustainability efforts, including becoming the nation’s first law firm to gain green business certification.

He has broad experience representing public and private clients on a multitude of contract, litigation, regulatory and general business issues.

Donald is a national leader and frequent speaker for the green economy and has devoted himself to creating the framework necessary for incenting business to become the engine of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. He co-chaired the effort to write and pass California’s Benefit Corporation law (AB 361), creating a new legal framework for businesses seeking to do well while doing good.

He co-founded the two organizations that have made California the global green building leader – the U.S. Green Building Council’s Northern California Chapter and Build It Green. He is general counsel to both organizations, as well as the California Solar Energy Industry Association. Donald hosted the West Coast Green conference and trade show for green innovation. On the international level, he teamed with the City of San Francisco in 2005 to organize and host the United Nations’ largest international conference of local government leaders to address urban environmental sustainability issues. Early in his career, Donald worked with Environmental Defense Fund to develop a framework for reducing international air pollution along U.S. – Mexican border. He also represented several organizations on issues related to old-growth forest protection and logging on public lands.

After many years in policy arena, Donald recognized the political system’s ability to address complex environmental and social issues is undermined by the corruptive influence of money in politics. Since 2012, he has served on the board of directors of the California Clean Money Campaign, where he continues to work to pass the California DISCLOSE Act which will inform voters who is really funding campaigns.

Education

  • J.D., Ohio State University
  • B.A., Ohio State University

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Our real estate practice is one of the largest in the American West, including Arizona, California, Colorado and Nevada with expertise in all aspects of the real estate development process, from due diligence, acquisition and finance, through land use permitting and entitlements, to leasing and sale.

Our business and finance attorneys represent national, regional and local clients participating in significant transactions.

Our business attorneys recognize and appreciate the value of entrepreneurship and innovation, and are committed to providing efficient, straightforward and business-oriented solutions that facilitate success and avoid pitfalls while recognizing early capital is precious and expensive.

Driven by a deep connection to the sustainability of our environment, our practice group serves those clients who seek to combine social and environmental responsibility with business success.

We are the forward-thinking natural resources, energy and environmental law team that innovates to ensure industry and businesses successfully navigate the ever-changing regulatory climate.

OTHER EXPERIENCE

  • Cannabis

AWARDS AND HONORS

  • International Green Industry Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014
  • U.S. Green Building Council’s 2012 Leadership President’s Award, 2012
  • California Lawyer Magazine, California Lawyer Attorney of the Year, 2012
  • Build It Green, Founder Recognition, 2011
  • B Lab, B Corp National MVP, 2011
  • B Lab, B Corp I’m Just A Bill, 2011
  • Build It Green, Green Building Visionary Award – 2nd Annual Green Building Awards, 2010
  • San Francisco Business Times, “Community Partnership in Sustainability” Corporate Philanthropy Award, 2010
  • California Real Estate Journal, Green Leaders, 2009
  • U.S. Green Building Council, “Green Super Hero” Special Achievement Award, 2008
  • East Bay Business Times, Top Attorney in the East Bay for Environmental Sustainability, 2007
  • East Bay Business Times, Top 40 Under 40, 2006

ARTICLES AND PRESENTATIONS

  • Author, “Law Firm Commits to Green Building,” San Francisco Business Times, July 2019
  • Author, “Wendel Rosen Focuses on More than Just the Law,” Contra Costa Lawyer, July 2019
  • Presenter, “Public Forum on PG&E Governance, Management and Safety Culture,” California Public Utilities Commission, April 26, 2019

PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

  • Board Member and Contributing Author (California DISCLOSE Act), California Clean Money Campaign
  • Co-Founder and General Counsel, U.S. Green Building Council, Northern California Chapter
  • Co-Founder, General Counsel, Former President and Former Board Member, Build It Green, Berkeley
  • General Counsel, California Solar & Storage Association
  • Member, Alameda County Bar Association

Admissions

  • California
  • Ohio