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Heather S. Riley

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Heather S. Riley is a partner in our San Diego office, where her practice involves a variety of land use and environmental matters, with a particular emphasis on writ litigation. She has extensive experience with the California Environmental Quality Act. Heather has defended numerous private clients and public entities in land use and environmental actions in both state and federal courts.

Heather's other practice areas include water law and endangered species law. She has experience with large and small-scale residential, commercial, mixed-use, and educational development and redevelopment projects across Southern California. She assists developers and public agencies with projects from the initial planning stage to permitting and environmental review, and through litigation, if necessary. She has prepared and reviewed environmental impact reports and statements in the land use and aviation fields.


  • University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate: Policy Advisory Board
  • San Diego County Bar Association: Past President, 2017; President, 2016; Board of Directors, 2013-2017; Environmental & Land Use Section, 2011 chair, Civil Litigation Section; Construction Law Section, Real Property Section; Conference of California Bar Associations Committee, 2008 Chair; Judicial Election Evaluation Committee
  • State Bar of California: Civil Litigation Section; Environmental Law Section, former co-author Environmental Law Update
  • Building Industry Association of San Diego County: (build)sd PAC, Board of Directors and Secretary; Young Generation of Leaders (yGen) Council, 2009-2011 Board of Directors
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) San Diego/Tijuana Chapter, Transit Oriented Development Council
  • Lawyers' Club of San Diego: 2011 Political Boot Camp Planning Committee; Annual Spring and Halloween Read-In Participant
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh Chapter
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Run Women Run, San Diego

Community Activities

  • Allen Matkins Community Outreach Committee
  • Rachel's Women's Center in San Diego: Advisory Board Member


  • Building Industry Association of San Diego Icon Award Winner – BIA Associate of the Year (2011, 2018)
  • Named to San Diego Metro's San Diego's Best Attorneys (2016, 2018)
  • Named to The Daily Transcript’s Influential Women of San Diego (2018)
  • Named to The Daily Transcript’s Top 50 Influential Leaders in San Diego (2017-2018)
  • Named to San Diego Business Journal’s Top 500 Influential Business Leaders (2016 - 2018)
  • Named to The Daily Transcript's Top 100 Influential Leaders in San Diego (2016)
  • Named to Our City San Diego’s “25 Most Influential Business Leaders” (2016)
  • Named to San Diego Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” (2015)
  • Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyer's San Diego Rising Stars (2015 - 2016)
  • Named one of Bisnow's San Diego Power Women in Commercial Real Estate. (2015)
  • Named to the San Diego Metro's 40 Under 40 (2013)
  • SDCBA Bar Stars Award, recognizing more than 50 hours of volunteer service 
Rated by Super Lawyers 


Heather received her J.D., cum laude, from Albany Law School of Union University where she was on the dean's list and on scholarship for academic excellence. She received her B.A., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the State University of New York, University at Albany.

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • New York