James L. Arnone

  • Partner
  • Ejames.arnone@lw.com
  • 355 South Grand Avenue, Suite 100
  • Los Angeles, CA 90071-1560
  • USA
  • T +1.213.891.8204


Jim Arnone has extensive experience helping clients navigate complex state and federal environmental laws related to transformative development projects as well as litigation over the legal obligations of local, state, and federal governmental bodies.

He has particular experience in the following areas:

  • Compliance with state and federal environmental laws
  • Infrastructure, energy, and real estate development projects
  • Litigation over the legal obligations of local, state, and federal governmental bodies

Mr. Arnone is a frequent author and lecturer on environmental, climate change, and real estate law. He co-authored a global climate change chapter in an ABA-published Environmental Litigation book, co-edited the Water Quality section of the California Municipal Law Handbook, and authored various articles and Client Alerts on new developments in land use and environmental law. Most recently, Mr. Arnone was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of “California’s Top 50 Development Lawyers.”

Mr. Arnone previously served as the Global Chair of the Environment, Land & Resources Department, Global Co-Chair of the Environmental Litigation Practice Group, and as the Deputy Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office. Mr. Arnone also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Law School, where he taught Environmental Law for 25 years. Mr. Arnone also serves on the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, where he serves as Chair of its Environmental Policy Committee. Mr. Arnone speaks in many venues on environmental and real estate development topics, including CEQA, land use, global climate change, NEPA, and various environmental laws. He has co-chaired a day-long CEQA symposium annually since 2005, convening highly distinguished faculties from government, consulting firms, and the legal community. He previously served on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section, during which he chaired several committees.


Mr. Arnone has extensive courtroom experience, both in the trial courts and in the appellate courts. He has advised numerous clients on the implications of current and pending global climate change rules. Mr. Arnone also frequently advises clients on and litigates matters involving the enforcement of governmental duties, including environmental laws, open meeting and public records laws, charter school laws, and initiative and referendum laws.

Mr. Arnone has often advised clients and litigated controversies involving a wide range of environmental and land use laws, including:

  • Air quality laws, water quality laws, water supply laws
  • California Coastal Act
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • California’s “Unfair Competition Law”
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Historic preservation laws
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • “Proposition 65”
  • State and local land use laws

Thought Leadership

  • CEQA Case Report: 2020 Year in Review -  February 25, 2021
  • CEQA Case Report: 2019 Year in Review -  July 21, 2020
  • CEQA Case Report: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development — Full Report -  May 17, 2019
  • Cutting-Edge Environmental Advice Profiled by the Financial Times -  December 18, 2018
  • CEQA Case Report Year in Review 2017: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development -  June 13, 2018
  • California Supreme Court: Government Communications on Private Accounts Are Public -  March 16, 2017
  • California Supreme Court Protects CEQA Categorical Exemptions -  March 05, 2015
  • Future Conditions Properly Considered -  August 09, 2013
  • Neighbors Takes Sunnyvale Down a Different Track  -  August 06, 2013
  • Developers’ Communications with Agencies Not Privileged: California Appeals Court Holds -  July 10, 2013
  • Clean Energy Law Report: Potential Changes for the California Environmental Quality Act in S.B. 731 -  April 30, 2013
  • Conflicting Appellate CEQA Decisions Impact Traffic Planning -  April 19, 2012
  • CEQA Traffic Chaos: Potential New Standard of Project Analysis -  March 19, 2012
  • CEQA Traffic Chaos: Is Neighbors for Smart Rail about to Crash Into Sunnyvale?  -  March 14, 2012
  • New Decision Limits CEQA Categorical Exemptions -  February 24, 2012
  • California Supreme Court Eliminates Redevelopment Agencies -  January 24, 2012
  • California State Legislature Approves ‘CEQA Reform’ Bills (Two-Part Series) -  September 26, 2011
  • California Legislature Approves Two ‘CEQA Reform’ Bills -  September 20, 2011
  • Chemicals to be listed under Prop. 65 without review -  July 21, 2011
  • Clean Energy Law Report: 117-Mile Sunrise Powerlink Project to Proceed -  July 07, 2011
  • New CEQA Mediation Rules May Cause More Delay and Confusion -  June 2, 2011
  • Clean Energy Law Report: New CEQA Mediation Rules -  May 23, 2011
  • Bollay v. California Office of Administrative Law: State Agency “Policies” May Be “Underground Regulations” -  May 9, 2011
  • New CEQA Mediation Rules May Create More Delay and Confusion Starting July 1 -  May 5, 2011
  • Clean Energy Law Report: “Federal defendant” Intervention Rule Meets Its End -  February 27, 2011
  • Ninth Circuit’s “Federal Defendant” Intervention Rule in NEPA Cases Finally Meets Its End: Wilderness Society v. United States Forest Service -  February 22, 2011
  • Recent Legislative Changes Affecting Pending and Future Projects Under CEQA -  October 13, 2010
  • California Supreme Court’s Decision Provides Important Requirements for Preparation of Environmental Documents -  March 18, 2010
  • Commitment Issues -  November 13, 2008
  • Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood: New Challenges to Public-Private Partnerships -  November 6, 2008

“A very good land use litigator, very polished and subtle but very effective”
“Extraordinary command of the litigation process”

Chambers USA 2018
Bar Qualification
  • California
  • JD, Harvard Law School, 1990
  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles, 1987
  • Entertainment, Sports & Media
  • Energy & Infrastructure
  • Hospitality, Gaming & Leisure
  • REITs
  • Environment, Land & Resources
  • Real Estate
  • Supreme Court & Appellate