Land Use & Environmental Law


CEQA and Land Use Attorney

Stephanie Smith advises on matters dealing with the sale, lease, and development of real property with a particular focus on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). After graduating at the top of her class at Pepperdine Law she honed her legal skills at a global law firm in Los Angeles. Seeing a need to better understand how local government handles land use projects, Stephanie spent several years at the County of San Diego where she represented the development services and parks departments working primarily on CEQA and land use related issues for large land use and public development projects. Noticing an acute need for straightforward and solution oriented CEQA and Land Use counsel on development projects, Stephanie formed the law firm, Grid Legal, where she provides innovative and implementable solutions to business owners, homeowners, and developers.

•  Urban Land Institute, San Diego Small Scale Infill Development Committee (SSID)
•  California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section
•  San Diego County Bar Association, Environmental Law, Land Use Law, and Real Property Law Sections
•  Lawyers Club of San Diego

Articles and Speaking Engagements
• Founder and Author, California’s CEQA Girl Blog.
• Author, “Considerations When Using CEQA To Fight Land Use Projects.” Law360, April 11, 2019.
• Speaker, CEQA and Land Use Panel, San Diego County Bar Association, June 27, 2018. 
• Author, “A Tree Falls in a Park. Does it Make a Sound? The Adjacent Property Owner Probably Does.” October 20, 2017, Client Alert.
• Author, “Calif. Real Property Transactions May Need CEQA Review.” Law360, October 6, 2017.

Stephanie has a passion for real estate, mid-century design, and modern development.  Stephanie holds a broker's license from the California Bureau of Real Estate and serves on ULI’s Small Scale Infill Development Committee. In her free time, Stephanie loves to jog, camp, and travel with her family.

Practice Areas

  • California Environmental Quality Act
  • Habitat Conservation Plans, Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  • Due diligence for commercial and residential properties with a focus on land use and regulatory issues
  • Drafting of contracts related to real property agreements
  • Brown Act and Public Records Act compliance
  • Drafting of easements and agreements
  • Use Permits
  • Vested or Grandfathered Rights
  • Williamson Act agricultural preserves and contracts
  • Subdivisions Map Act

Stephanie graduated cum laude from Pepperdine School of Law where she served as an editor for the Pepperdine Law Review and as a faculty research assistant.  She obtained her Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Contact Information
Stephanie V.F. Smith
(619) 717-1670

Subscribe for free resources
& news updates.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form


stay in touch

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form