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Paula C. Kirlin is a partner at Monchamp Meldrum LLP where she practices in the areas of land use and environmental law. Paula has extensive experience advising on all aspects of the local land use entitlement process in California, including due diligence, land use entitlements and permitting, and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Paula is well-versed in cultural resources issues, having advised clients on projects involving historic rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and tribal cultural resources, including on compact urban infill sites. Paula has assisted clients in successfully obtaining land use approvals and CEQA clearance for diverse projects throughout California including:

  • high-profile, mixed-use projects on the San Francisco Bay waterfront
  • urban multifamily, mixed-use developments, including affordable housing, throughout the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Cupertino, and San Jose
  • major commercial/office projects throughout the Bay Area and Silicon Valley
  • master planned mixed use and residential projects throughout California
  • Silicon Valley tech/research and development (R&D) headquarters
  • industrial, manufacturing, R&D, and mixed-use industrial and residential projects
  • rural recreational facilities

Paula also has experience advising regional and local government bodies, including planning departments, agency executives, Planning Commissions, and elected officials and boards, on planning and development, public-private partnerships, intergovernmental relations and agreements, the establishment and management of tax increment finance districts, and a wide range of regulatory, policy and enforcement matters. Paula draws on her prior experience as outside counsel to public agencies on planning and development matters to collaborate effectively with public and private sector stakeholders to facilitate a smooth, efficient entitlement and environmental review process.

Paula is currently a lecturer in Land Use Controls at the University of California Berkeley College of Environmental Design.

Prior to joining Monchamp Meldrum LLP, Paula was a partner at Holland & Knight LLP where she served on the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation Board of Directors and was selected for participation in the award-winning Rising Star women’s leadership and professional development program. Paula is active in her community. She serves on the SPUR San Jose Policy Board and volunteers as a mentor through the East Bay College Fund. Paula’s pro bono work is dedicated to human rights and immigration advocacy.

Honors and Awards

  • Bay Area Commercial Real Estate Power Women award, Bisnow, Real Estate, 2018
  • Holland & Knight Rising Star, 2014; Rising Star Program Coordinator, 2015
  • DePaul Law Review
  • CALI Awards for Excellence (highest grade):
    • Legal Writing
    • Public International Law
    • International Protection of Human Rights
    • Refugee and Asylum Law and Policy
    • Legal Clinic (Asylum and Immigration)


  • Lambda Alpha International (LAI) Golden Gate Chapter
  • SPUR, San Jose Policy Board


  • DePaul University College of Law, J.D., Certificate in International and Comparative Law, cum laude
  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, M.A., International Policy Studies
  • DePauw University, B.M.A., Music and Women’s Studies, cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • All State Courts in California


  • SB 100 and EO B-55-18: California’s New 100% Clean Energy Policy, Lexology, September 2018
  • California Supreme Court Sides with Coastal Commission in Case Challenging Permit Conditions, Lexology, July 2017
  • Court of Appeal Upholds Issuance of Erosion-Control Permit as Ministerial and Exempt from CEQA, Lexology, May 2017
  • City of L.A. Accepting Comments on Guidelines for Transit-Oriented Communities Incentive Program, Lexology, March 2017
  • California Court Upholds Environmental Impact Report for Golden State Warriors Arena, Lexology, December 2016
  • California Judicial Council Approves New Court Rules to Implement Expedited Procedures for CEQA Lawsuits Attacking Large Leadership Development Projects, Lexology, May 2014
  • Key Amendments to the San Francisco Administrative Code Governing CEQA Procedures, Appeals and Public Notice Requirements Go Into Effect, Mondaq, September 2013
  • Governor Signs Senate Bill 226: Legislation Will Streamline CEQA Review for Certain Urban Infill and Solar Energy Projects, Lexology, October 2011
  • Breaking Down Barriers to Implementing Energy Efficiency Projects in Buildings: Energy Performance Contracting and California PACE Commercial Pilot Program, Lexology, January 2011
  • California Air Resources Board Approves Regulations to Implement First Large-Scale, Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap and Trade Program in the United States, Lexology, December 2010
  • California Entities Release New Reports on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Lexology, October 2010
  • Public Incentives and Market Drivers for Green Technology, The U.S. Market for Green Technologies, Swiss Business Hub, September 2009 (co-author)

Select Presentations and Speaking Engagements

  • Bisnow Presents: Power Women Series, Honoree, The Bay Area’s CRE Thought Leaders, May 30, 2018
  • Mentor and Sponsorship: Creating Growth in Your Organization and Network, The Women in Law & Leadership Summit: Silicon Valley, April 19, 2018
  • Silicon Valley State of Office, Moderator, Bisnow, March 21, 2018
  • New Development Trends & Design Amenities of the Future, Moderator, Bisnow’s The Rise of Multifamily In Silicon Valley, January 25, 2018
  • 14th Biennial Seminar for Illinois Local Government Officials, Thinking Forward: Land Use and Zoning, Holland & Knight Program, April 21, 2017
  • Mixed-Use Developments, Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) – California, March 9, 2017
  • Strategies for Successful Mixed-Use Development, Lorman Strategies Webinar, July 27, 2016
  • Urban Mixed-Use Development and Retail: Success Stories and Challenges, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference Roundtable, October 2015
  • Trends in Mixed-Use Development, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference Roundtable, October 2014
  • 11th Biennial Local Government Law Seminar, Green Initiatives: Sustainability and Energy Conservation in an Era of Fiscal Uncertainty, Holland & Knight Program, April 29, 2011
  • 10th Biennial Local Government Law Seminar, Ethics, Holland & Knight Program, April 24, 2009
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding Easements, National Business Institute, October 2008
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