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Robert M. Smith

Robert Smith is a partner in the firm’s Seattle office. He is a member of the environment, land and natural resources practice group. His practice focuses on land use, governmental and regulatory permitting, real estate and shoreline development, renewable energy, aquaculture and fisheries law, and tribal law.

His experience includes counseling clients through all required local, state and federal regulatory proceedings, including environmental and regulatory due diligence, representation of clients at administrative and regulatory hearings, negotiation of permit terms and conditions, state and federal environmental review, processing subdivision maps, negotiation of public-private partnerships and development agreements, development of specific plans, coordination of public relations and outreach efforts, negotiation of purchase and sale agreements and lease agreements, and litigation arising from regulatory approvals or denials.

Robert assists clients with complex regulatory, permitting, and enforcement matters under a range of environmental statutes, including the California Coastal Act, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), Subdivision Map Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and Washington State Shoreline Management Act (“SMA”), as well as Tribal treaties. This experience includes working on a variety of projects, including mixed use commercial and residential projects, wind and solar energy facilities, sports and entertainment facilities, marinas, and water-based and land-based aquaculture and fisheries facilities.

Prior to joining the firm, Robert served as a partner at a natural resource law firm in Seattle where he advised clients involved in the aquaculture, marina, fishery, and cannabis industries in administrative proceedings, regulatory and governmental permitting, and any associated state or federal litigation. He also previously worked at a firm in Southern California representing public clients, including municipalities, counties, and special districts, where he advised public clients concerning land use matters, environmental review, and development agreements and other real estate transactions. He also previously worked as a senior associate in the environmental and land use group at the Los Angeles office of an international law firm where he advised and represented clients on a variety of large scale mixed use development projects.

  • Presenter Permitting Shoreline Development in Puget Sound, Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, 2022
  • Presenter, Strategies for Efficient Aquaculture Permitting, Aquaculture America, 2022
  • Presenter, Developing Successful Permitting Strategies – A Legal Perspective, Aquaculture America, 2021
  • Presenter, Floodplain Regulation hosted by the Seminar Group, 2021
  • Presenter, Navigating Permitting Requirements for Offshore Shellfish Aquaculture, Aquaculture America, 2021
  • Presenter, Navigating the Storm: How NMFS’ Jeopardy Determination Impacts Puget Sound Port Projects, Washington Public Ports Association Annual Meeting, 2021
  • Speaker, Aquaculture in the Santa Barbara Channel: The Next Steps, Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, 20 September 2021
  • Presenter, Aquaculture in Federal Waters: Opportunities and Challenges, Puget Sound Shellfish Growers Annual Conference, 2020
  • Presenter, Ventura Shellfish Enterprise: An Overview of the Challenges to Siting Longline Mussel Farms in Federal Waters Off California, Aquaculture America, 2020
  • Presenter, Update on United States v. Washington: The End is Near (Maybe), et Sound Shellfish Growers Association Annual Conference, 2018
  • Presenter, Update on United States v. Washington, Case No. 2:89-SP-306-RSM, and Best Management Practices Regarding Tribal Treaty Rights to Shellfish, Puget Sound Shellfish Growers Association Annual Conference, 2016
  • Presenter, Opportunities and Challenges in Permitting Offshore Shellfish Aquaculture, UCLA Aquaculture Law Symposium, 2015
  • Presenter, Regulatory Barriers and Opportunities: Opportunities and Challenges in Permitting Offshore Shellfish Aquaculture, Aquaculture America, 2015
Additional Thought Leadership Pages
Additional News & Event Pages
  • Quoted, “Twentynine Palms residents pushback on proposed solar array,” Z107.7 FM, 23 March 2024
  • Quoted, “Accusations, appeals fly between school, next-door gravel yard,” The Seattle Times, 9 March 2024
  • Quoted, “4 Key Environmental Issues Facing Washington,” Law360, 10 February 2023
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