BB&K In the News Jan 27, 2018

Associate Jennifer Lynch Profiled in Riverside Lawyer Magazine

Environmental Law Attorney Began Career as Land Use Planner

Associate Jennifer Lynch Profiled in Riverside Lawyer Magazine

Opposing Counsel: Jennifer Lynch

by Melissa Cushman

With no lawyers in her family on either side, Jennifer Lynch did not originally set out to become an attorney. Born in Iowa and raised in the Bay Area, she went to college at San Francisco State University and majored in geography, where she was drawn to coursework in urban history, historic preservation, and city planning. She then attended the University of California, Irvine, for her masters in urban and regional planning and started her post-college career as a land use planner. Thinking her career would be in historic preservation and community outreach, Jennifer was surprised to find her real interest was in entitlement – helping clients marshal together all the permits and approvals they needed to bring their projects to fruition. As a planner, Jennifer performed land use and environmental consulting work for several years, first for RBF Consulting (now Michael Baker International) in Orange County and then for LSA Associates in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the years, Jennifer worked with a number of lawyers in the land use and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) realm. Observing the integral role those lawyers had in shepherding projects along, she went back to school, this time to University of California Hastings College of Law. In 2012, she graduated with her Juris Doctor and passed the bar.

Knowing she wanted to work in municipal, land use and environmental law, Jennifer interviewed with multiple firms during the on-campus interviewing process, including Best Best & Krieger LLP. After her second year in law school, she worked at BB&K as a summer associate, splitting time between the Riverside and Ontario offices. During that summer, she performed work for multiple practice groups, including the Municipal Law practice group and the Environmental Law and Natural Resources practice group. With her planning background and experience with CEQA in particular, she was a perfect fit for the ENR department, where she continues to work today. Her job in ENR entails a variety of different types of work, including reviewing Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) and other CEQA documents; defending public agency and developer clients in CEQA litigation; and advising clients in land use, zoning, affordable housing, and similar areas. Of these various tasks, she says that her favorite is reviewing EIRs because her background in planning and science gives her the capability to parse the technical reports and connect the dots between the data, the analyses, and the conclusions in the environmental reports.

Jennifer is still splitting her time between two offices at BB&K, although now it is the Irvine and Riverside offices. She currently enjoys living in Anaheim with her husband Ryan, who she met on the first day of her first planning internship at RBF Consulting.

Despite her busy schedule as an associate at a law firm, Jennifer finds time for outside interests as well. She especially enjoys local history and vintage buildings. These interests led her to purchase (and start learning how to fix up) a 1927 mission-style home in Anaheim. They also led her to become a docent at the Mission Inn, which required eight months of classes. Related to that role, she recently helped host a symposium at the Mission Inn for the Inland Empire Section of the American Planning Association (APA), where Mission Inn docents and others came to talk to planners and consultants about the citrus industry, the history of the Mission Inn, how downtown Riverside came to be, and other local historical topics of interest. Currently, Jennifer is a director-at-large of the Riverside County Bar Association and is a member of the publications committee. She also enjoys craft beer, including brewing her own. However, she has had to put that interest aside for a little while, since she is expecting a baby girl at the end of January 2018. In accordance with her interests in local history, the baby’s nursery is even being decorated with a "vintage California" theme, with decorations including historic maps, vintage Disney posters, and, of course, depictions of oranges and other citrus fruit.

If you need any legal assistance in the CEQA or land use context, Jennifer can be reached at (949) 263-6580 or Jennifer.Lynch@bbklaw.com.

Melissa Cushman is a deputy county counsel with the County of Riverside, who is a friend of Jennifer’s and also specializes in land use and CEQA.

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of Riverside Lawyer magazine, a publication of the Riverside County Bar Association. Reprinted with permission.

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