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Emily L. Murray

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Emily Murray, chair of the firm’s Land Use Practice Group, embraces the client-side perspective—timelines, budgets, and business objectives. She represents private and public sector clients in legal and business matters related to land use and environmental law.

From the timely securing of permits, approvals, and entitlements in land use transactions to helping clients buy, sell, or lease environmentally contaminated sites, resolve enforcement actions, or litigate environmental disputes, Emily has the ability to distill complicated concepts into practical business strategies and solutions that her clients can understand and that she can apply to achieve favorable outcomes.

California Land Use

In land use matters, Emily is known to deliver projects that clients are passionate about, and that jurisdictions are excited about, too. She maintains excellent relationships throughout California—even when projects are challenged or contentious.

Emily takes a cooperative approach. She believes that keeping open communication channels among the entire project team, including architects, consultants, planners, city and county attorneys, supervisors, councilmembers, and others, is critical to her clients’ successes. 

For a Silicon Valley developer, she completed the entitlement work for a ground-up, 595,000 square foot headquarters building that featured sustainable and environmental components, as well as a unique design that addresses both current and future operational needs. The project was so forward thinking that the city’s development and zoning code didn’t even contemplate many of the entitling requests. Emily worked collaboratively to ensure the project would proceed as envisioned. 

Her land use work covers a range of complex projects. For the wireless industry, she obtains permits and entitlements for cell towers and right of way installations and other build-out work. For a national rental car company, she helped relocate its operations at LAX. For developers, she works through all imaginable land use hurdles in mixed-use developments—housing, retail, and office—urban revitalization projects, large residential developments, and more. 


Emily handles complicated and contentious issues that involve environmental regulations and agencies. She advises clients on contaminated site transactions and negotiates or litigates remediation and clean-up projects under the purview of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal, state, and local agencies. 

A significant portion of her experience involves enforcement actions under the federal Clean Water Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, known as CERCLA or Superfund, and under two California equivalents, the Porter-Cologne Act (water quality) and the Hazardous Substance Act (HSAA), also known as state Superfund law. She is also a trusted resource for clients in environmental tort cases, including nuisance, trespass, and negligence claims.

On the transactional side, Emily represents property owners, business operators, investors, and developers with sizeable real estate portfolios seeking to mitigate environmental liabilities in the sale, lease, purchase, or financing process. Her work results in practical strategies that minimize risks, such as obtaining a guarantee or indemnification from the seller (or buyer), a liability protection agreement with applicable agencies, or environmental insurance. Where remediation is required, she identifies responsible parties that may be accountable and ensures that the work is done as cost-effectively and promptly as possible to suit her client’s business needs.

Pro Bono and Diversity

In addition to leading the Allen Matkins Land Use Practice Group, Emily chairs the firm's Pro Bono Committee and participates in pro bono matters in conjunction with Los Angeles Public Counsel, Human Rights First, and The Alliance for Children’s Rights. She is also a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee and the Los Angeles office Recruiting Committee.


  • California Bar Association
  • Western Justice Center, Board of Directors
  • Urban Land Institute-Los Angeles (ULI-LA), Program Committee, Meet & Greet Subcommittee Co-Chair


Emily received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 2002. She received her B.A. in biology and society from Cornell University in 1998 with a concentration in environment, law, and society. Emily attended preparatory school at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire.

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California
  • All California state courts