Paul Weiland is Assistant Managing Partner and a member of the Environment & Land Use Group. He has represented clients – including public agencies, publicly regulated utilities, corporations, trade associations and non-profits – in high profile, precedent setting environmental permitting, regulatory and litigation matters throughout California and across the nation.

As a thought leader in the area of environmental law and policy, Paul has published dozens of peer reviewed publications on the subject in a number of journals such as Environmental Law Reporter, Harvard Environmental Law Review, Public Administration Review, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, BioScience and Conservation Biology.

He is widely recognized for his expertise in wildlife permitting and litigation, having worked on noteworthy matters involving the Bone Cave harvestman, delta smelt, Hawaiian hoary bat, Mexican wolf, North Atlantic right whale and many other species.

Paul is one of the most innovative lawyers in his field, and has received numerous accolades from virtually every prominent legal publication and ranking body. These include:

  • Energy and Environmental Trailblazer by the National Law Journal
  • Top 100 Lawyer in California by the Daily Journal
  • Environmental MVP by Law360
  • Top Lawyer in the US environmental practice area by both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500

Prior to joining Nossaman, Paul worked in the Law and Policy Section, Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. There, he was lead counsel for the United States in a number of high profile trial and appellate cases. In 2004, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by Attorney General John Ashcroft for his role in complex litigation over management of the Missouri River.

He regularly comments on news, events and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States on the Firm’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog and has offered commentary on environmental matters for Law360, Bloomberg Law, Daily Journal, National Law Journal, Capital Press, NPR’s Air Talk, the Austin American Statesman, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Seafoodnews.com and Aquafornia.




Maine Lobsterman’s Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, D.D.C. Case No. 21-cv-2509. Counsel of record for State of Maine Department of Marine Resources as intervenor-plaintiff challenging a biological opinion issued by NMFS with respect to the Atlantic lobster fishery and several other fisheries.

Conserve Southwest Utah v. Department of the Interior, D.D.C. Case No. 21-cv-1506. Represent Washington County, Utah as intervenor-defendant in a case challenging federal approvals for the Northern Corridor Project, a 4.5 mile highway project in Washington County north of the City of St. George, as well as for a regional habitat conservation plan.

Humane Soc'y of the United States v. Kienzle, 333 F. Supp. 3d 1236 (D.N.M. 2018). Represented New Mexico Game Commission and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish as defendants in a case alleging violation of Endangered Species Act section 9 by the Department in light of the hypothetical risk that listed jaguars and wolves could be caught in traps set for other animals (primarily coyotes). We narrowed the case with a motion to dismiss then ultimately prevailed in cross motions for summary judgment.

Union Neighbors United v. Jewell, 831 F.3d 564 (D.C. Cir. 2016). Served as lead litigation counsel for client, Buckeye Wind LLC, which was pursuing permits for a 100-turbine wind energy project in Ohio. The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected plaintiff-appellants claims that the Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act in issuing an Incidental Take Permit for the project, but the court agreed with plaintiff-appellants that the Service violation the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider a sufficiently comprehensive range of alternatives. The matter has been remanded to the Service to conduct additional environmental analysis.

Wild Equity Institute v. City and County of San Francisco, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4854 (9th Cir. March 25, 2015). Represented defendant City and County of San Francisco in an action alleging violation of section 9 of the ESA. Obtained grant of motion to dismiss action as moot as well as denial of motions for preliminary relief and summary judgment in the trial court. The Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal as moot.


City of Ventura. Assist client with the development of a strategy to respond to a petition to list the Southern California steelhead under the California Endangered Species Act, including preparation of comments on the petition and development of a strategy to delay action on the listing and seek Commission direction to staff to work with stakeholders to develop a 2084 regulation.

Kern County Water Agency. Counsel client regarding the development of a $15+ billion infrastructure project (Delta Conveyance Project) to improve water supply reliability for 25 million Californians and address seismic and climate change-related risks while fulfilling federal and state Endangered Species Act and California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act requirements.

City of Oakland. Special counsel to the City advising with respect to collection, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous materials including hazardous wastes abandoned by residents and businesses within the City. In this capacity, Nossaman is helping the City respond to an enforcement action by the California Attorney General and Alameda County District Attorney alleging violations of multiple California laws regarding the proper management and disposal of hazardous substances including by negotiating tolling agreements, settlement terms, and supplemental environmental projects.

Siskiyou County. Counsel client regarding the proposal to remove four dams on the lower Klamath River. In this capacity, we are litigation counsel to the County and are representing the County in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the California Public Utility Commission, and the State Water Resources Control Board. Engage in negotiations with the Department of the Interior, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. Advise client with respect to the NEPA, CEQA, and federal and state wildlife laws, including those that provide protection for the Lost River and shortnose suckers.

Dairy Cares. Worked with client team to evaluate petition to list tricolored blackbird under the California Endangered Species Act including by assessing the legal and scientific bases for the petition. Represent client in front of the California Fish and Game Commission and Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Ukrainian resettlement effort. Support California businesses, non-profits, and individuals seeking to host Ukrainian refugees who entered the United States via Mexico following the Russian invasion of Ukraine by providing counseling and drafting agreements between hosts and their Ukrainian guests.

Afghan Humanitarian Parole Effort. Represent three Afghan families seeking humanitarian parole in the United States in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from and Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Dennis Murphy, Ph.D. Represented noted conservation biologist Dennis Murphy in a legal challenge in federal district court to a U.S. Forest Service hazardous fuel reduction project initiated without environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act that led the agency to halt and ultimately abandon the project.



Blog Posts

Speaking Engagements




Community & Professional

University of California, Davis, Adjunct Faculty

American Bar Association, Section on Energy, Environment, and Resources

Harvard Law School Association, Environmental Law Section

Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Distinguished Alumni Council


Honors & Recognitions

Included in The Best Lawyers in America© for Environmental Law, 2024

Named a "Top 100 Lawyer" by Daily Journal, 2021

Environmental MVP, Law360, 2021

Named to The National Law Journal's list of "Top 50 Energy & Environmental Trailblazers," 2021

Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Industry Focus - Environment - Litigation, 2019-2023

Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Industry Focus - Energy - Renewable/Alternative Power, 2020-2023

Individual recognition for Environment, Chambers USA, 2017-2018

Named one of California's Top 25 Land-Use Attorneys in 2011 by Daily Journal

Selected to the Super Lawyers list for 2010-2018

Selected to the Rising Stars list for 2008-2009

Awarded Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in 2005 by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft



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