Collins, Beth

Associate, Latham & Watkins (Los Angeles)

Clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew, United States District Court for the Central District of California

Clerk to the Honorable Justice Norman L. Epstein, California State Court of Appeal, Second Appellate Dist., Div. Four

Beth Collins is known as a problem solver who routinely tackles high-profile, high-controversy cases. She has a rare mix of significant entitlement, transactional and litigation experience which gives her a unique perspective and her clients an edge—whether she is litigating in the courts, drafting documents, negotiating a deal or advocating before public officials and agencies. Beth leads the firm’s California Real Estate and Land Use Group.

In her practice, Beth assists various landowners, public agencies and institutions, energy companies and developers through all stages of the development process, specializing in high-controversy projects and properties. Her expertise covers critical issues impacting California land use planning: Coastal Commission permitting and enforcement; the Housing Accountability Act; cannabis regulation and permitting; as well as climate change, adaptation and sea level rise. She has deep knowledge on a broad range of issues, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Coastal Act, Subdivision Map Act, Endangered Species Act and easement, title and public law issues. She has also advocated for clients before numerous courts and agencies (including the California Coastal Commission and the Public Utilities Commission).

Prior to joining Brownstein, Beth worked as an associate at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles. Before law, Beth taught middle school science and health in an urban public school for five years as a member of Teach for America.

Previous Experience

Associate, Latham & Watkins (Los Angeles)

Clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew, United States District Court for the Central District of California

Clerk to the Honorable Justice Norman L. Epstein, California State Court of Appeal, Second Appellate Dist., Div. Four

Practices & Industries
Land Use/CEQA/Coastal Act

Beth has provided land use, CEQA and Coastal Act compliance advice for numerous clients and projects, including mixed use, hospitality, residential, industrial, commercial, educational and religious, and utility infrastructure projects.  These projects include Santa Barbara County’s first wind project, a master plan for a university in West Los Angeles, large industrial warehouse projects, University of California at Santa Barbara’s Long Range Property Management Plan, the largest mixed-use project processed and approved by the City of Goleta (California), electric transmission and pipeline projects, Port of Long Beach Master Plan, Northstar ski resort's Mountain Master Plan and the first Islamic Center in Santa Barbara County. Beth has strong expertise on the most critical issues that are impacting local land use planning, including the Coastal Commission permitting and enforcement; the Housing Accountability Act; cannabis regulation and permitting; and climate change, adaptation and sea level rise.  Beth also writes and speaks frequently on land use, CEQA and Coastal Act issues.

Real Property and Land Use Litigation

Beth has successfully defended or creatively resolved challenges of major projects, including a hydroelectric dam in southern California, a warehouse distribution center in the Inland Empire, a luxury residential project in Century City (two 47-story towers with 483 luxury condominiums), the largest mixed-use project processed and approved in the City of Goleta, a residential development in Alameda County and a ski resort in Placer County.

Beth also regularly litigates and successfully resolves various easement, public dedication, vested rights, and other land use and real estate matters. Beth also has extensive expertise in defending against Coastal Commission claims for public and beach access easements for clients, including Hollister Ranch.


Beth’s competency with high-controversy and high-profile cases is a strength in the growing cannabis industry as regulations take shape.

  • Providing land use advice for potential cannabis operation in Goleta, Calif., and the County of Santa Barbara
  • SGSB, Inc. v. City of Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara County, Case No. 18CV04923) litigation regarding the City’s Retail Storefront Licensing process.
Representative Matters
  • Represented an alliance of three agricultural organizations (Ventura County Coalition of Labor and Agriculture, Farm Bureau of Ventura County, and Ventura County Agricultural Association) in litigation challenging Ventura County temporary ordinance that significantly limited outdoor hemp cultivation. Successfully supported effort to enact permanent ordinance to strike proper balance in addressing competing stakeholder concerns – reasonably allowing hemp cultivation in the County while protecting sensitive receptors such as homes and schools.

  • Performing pro bono due diligence for White Buffalo Land Trust’s acquisition of the 1,000 acre Jalama Cañon Ranch outside of Lompoc, California. Brownstein’s work included preparing an Agricultural Subdivision Potential Analysis under the County’s requirements to support a conservation easement valuation. White Buffalo Land Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the practice, development and growth of regenerative agriculture — a system of farming practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds and enhances ecosystem services. The Ranch will serve as White Buffalo Land Trust’s primary office, flagship regenerative agriculture farm and research center.

  • Provided land use and entitlement counsel, including successfully streamlining the CEQA process, for a 100-megawatt, 400-megawatt hour battery energy storage system on a brownfield site in unincorporated Ventura County, California. The landmark energy storage project includes a Tesla Megapack battery system and will provide local, on-demand energy storage capacity to help Southern California’s transition away from a coastal natural gas powered power plant while increasing reliability and capacity to integrate the growing proportion of renewable sources of electricity generation on the grid.

  • Counsel to a coalition of hemp farmers in litigation against a county ordinance that significantly reduces cultivated hemp acreage by increasing sensitive receptor buffers.

  • Counsel to Vail Resorts, Northstar in strategic and legal advice relating to the permitting of the first Mountain Master Plan for a Northstar ski resort in the North Lake Tahoe area of California. We provided project-critical land use and CEQA advice to help the Northstar team gain unanimous approval of a 20-year mountain master plan for the ski resort which will add six new ski lifts, 300 acres of new ski trails, a high-speed gondola, improved cross-country skiing and trails, a new remote campsite and skier service improvements. We also successfully defended a challenge to a re-zone required for a portion of project before the trial court.

  • Represented the stockholders of Sweet Earth Inc., a California-based manufacturer of plant-based protein food products, providing land use, RWQCB, and Coastal Act permitting advice to facilitate the sale to Nestlé USA, Inc.

  • Has represented the Hollister Ranch Owners Association on issues relating to the Coastal Act. In recent years, Brownstein has represented the Association in litigation against the California Coastal Commission and State Coastal Conservancy related to public access.

  • Counsel to The Bay Club Company, a California-based active lifestyle corporation, in acquiring The Golf Club at Boulder Ridge in San Jose, CA.

  • Provided due diligence and transactional advice to commercial entity regarding permitting for stores ranging in size from 4,000 to 17,000 square feet in California.

  • Represented the Santa Barbara Cattlemen's Association regarding various land use and environmental issues in administrative proceedings before the County of Santa Barbara, State Water Control Board, and Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

  • Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice to mixed-use project with 266 apartments and 88,000 square feet of commercial, the largest mixed-use project processed and approved by the City of Goleta, California.

  • Defended significant enforcement matter for a Santa Barbara vineyard.

  • Represented client in purchase of a distressed San Francisco property out of bankruptcy for development of an approximately 81 unit multi-family building. Assisted with land use and CEQA due diligence.

  • Represented cattle ranch in acquisition of land use permit for controversial agricultural building. Successfully defended County's reliance on a CEQA exemption and associated Subdivision Map Act and land use claims.

  • Counsel to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in CEQA, land use and real estate issues before the City and County of Santa Barbara regarding their master plan project for updating and expanding the museum property and facilities.

  • Counsel to MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation on real estate, land use, redevelopment and CEQA issues associated with the construction of a 17,000 square foot museum designed to LEED Silver standards in the City of Santa Barbara's downtown El Pueblo Viejo Landmark District.

  • Defended CEQA challenge to 800,000 square foot warehouse/distribution center, in state and appellate courts. Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice for expansion facility.

  • Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice to the first wind project in Santa Barbara County.

  • Represented a major hotel developer in inverse condemnation and CEQA actions related to the Sacramento County Airport expansion.

  • Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice regarding Recirculated Environmental Impact Report for controversial mixed use project in West Los Angeles with 2,600 residential units and 325,000 square feet of office and retail space.

  • Represented a major hotel developer in enforcement action and vested rights determination, before the Coastal Commission for property in Laguna Beach.

  • Land use litigation counsel for a cannabis company’s challenge to the City of Santa Barbara’s denial of application for a retail cannabis license for intended downtown Santa Barbara storefront. The litigation alleges that the City was arbitrary and capricious is the application of its ordinance, including its application of the buffer requirement, its scoring of applicants, and its denial of an opportunity to appeal the staff level decision to the City Council.

  • Defended CEQA litigation challenging project with 483 luxury condominiums in two, 47 story towers in Century City, California

  • Defended NEPA, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and Federal Power Act challenge to FERC's issuance of a 50-year permit renewal for hydroelectric dam for major utility in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice to a major university in West Los Angeles for master plan project. The master plan project involved adding 2,000,000 new and replacement square feet residential and non-residential facilities to the campus.

  • Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice to a major utility regarding a large transmission line project traversing two counties.

  • Provided appellate defense in Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of CEQA challenge to California Public Utilities' rulemaking related to liquefied natural gas (LNG) on behalf of major utility.

News & Events

Board of Directors, Goleta Valley Chamber Of Commerce, 2016  present

President of the Board, Equality California Institute, 2016  present

Board of Trustees, Crane Country Day School, 2015 – present

Executive Committee and Chair of the Development Committee of Equality California, 2014 – present

UCLA Law School Law Firm Challenge Firm Representative, 2010  present

Co-Chair, LA Equality Awards, 2014 - 2017

Executive Committee, Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, 2014

Chair, State Bar Environmental Executive Committee, 2011-2012

Co-Chair, Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, 20th Anniversary Conference, 2010-2011

Co-Chair, State Bar Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law, 2008–2009

Co-Chair, State Bar Access and Fairness Committee, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, 2005–2006

Teach for America, Teacher and Mentor, 1995–2003

Representative Pro bono clients: California Women’s Law Center Habeas Project, Islamic Society of Santa Barbara, League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, the Children’s Project Academy, Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara (MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation), and the Alliance for Children’s Rights

Publications & Presentations
  • J.D., 2002, UCLA School of Law
  • M.Ed., 1999, Arizona State University
  • B.A., 1993, Smith College
  • California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Thriving in Their 40s, Los Angeles Business Journal, 2020

Who’s Who in Energy & Environment, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2017

Who's Who in Professional Services, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2016-2017

Top 50 Women in Business, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2016

Top 40 Under 40, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2011

Selected for State Team, Roger J. Traynor California Moot Court Competition, 2002

Women for Change 2000 Student Leadership Award


Los Angeles County Bar Association, Environmental Law and Real Estate Sections

State Bar of California, Environmental Law, Real Property, Public Law, and Litigation Sections

Santa Barbara Bar Association and Santa Barbara Women Lawyers