Tina Thomas

Of Counsel

Tina Thomas practices law the same way she lives life outside the firm - with relentless drive, unshakable commitment, and intrepidity.

During the past 40 years, Tina’s consistent success on behalf of clients has earned her recognition as one of the State’s leading environmental and land use attorneys. Before joining Downey Brand, Tina founded Thomas Law Group in 2010, after 28 years with Remy, Thomas, Moose & Manley, LLP. Her practice is focused on environmental and entitlement processes, representing property owners, developers, builders, governmental agencies, trade associations, and environmental organizations.

At the core of Tina’s efforts is an unwavering commitment to finding solutions that are both economically and environmentally efficient. Tina’s work extends beyond the traditional role of attorney, shaping not only land use legislation, but also the way it is practiced and understood. Tina was one of the original authors of the Guide to the California Environmental Quality Act, a text that serves as the leading reference on CEQA and an instrumental classroom resource. Additionally, Tina played an extensive role in the passage of California Senate Bill 375, authored by Senator Darrell Steinberg, which encourages smart growth and infill development.

A globetrotter, Tina has traveled with her family throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Australia, including extensive cycling tours. But her true passion, evident in her choice of career, lies in serving the Sacramento community. Tina regularly performs pro bono work for a number of local nonprofits. Her greatest triumph has been her work with Loaves and Fishes, an organization that serves homeless populations. When Loaves and Fishes was hit with potentially devastating allegations of permit violations by the City of Sacramento, Tina’s representation resulted in a settlement favorable to the organization. Similarly, Tina’s work with Cottage Housing and Serna Village guarantees that these vital organizations can continue to serve homeless and transitional populations, as well as the Sacramento community at large.

Tina also donates her time and resources to Wind Youth Center, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, John Burton Advocates for Youth, WEAVE, and Union Gospel Mission.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • She Shares, 2012-present
  • The Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, Advisory Committee Member, 2017-present
  • John Burton Advocates for Youth, Board of Directors, 2006-present
  • Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Member Emeritus, 1989-present
  • Meristem, Board Member, 2018-present
  • Steinberg Institute, Chair of the Board, 2018-present
  • Loaves & Fishes, Pro Bono Counsel, 1995-present
  • Mercy Housing, Pro Bono Counsel, 2019-present
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Member, 1981-present
  • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section, Member, 1979-present
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento, Member, 1982-present

Honors & Rankings

  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Super Lawyers, 2005-2022
  • Cottage Housing, Beacon of Hope Honoree, 2012
  • Sacramento Magazine, The Power & Influence 100, 2008
  • Sacramento Magazine, 50 Most Powerful People, 2006
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Distinguished Attorney, 2005
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Downey Allen Justice Award, 1999
  • Sacramento Business Journal, Women Who Mean Business, 1998
  • Sacramento Magazine, Lawyers with a Cause, 1987
  • Sacramento Magazine, The Class of ‘85 Best and Brightest, 1985

Representative Projects

  • Golden State Warriors Arena – Represented lead agency throughout the administrative process at the trial court and the appellate court.
  • Raley’s Freeport – Represented applicant throughout the administrative and appellant process.
  • SACOG’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) – Assisted SACOG over the course of a two-year administrative process leading to the approval of its first MTP/SCS and certification of the associated Program Environmental Impact Report for the plan in 2012. No litigation was filed challenging the MTP/SCS approval. The agency’s second SCS was adopted in 2016 and no litigation was filed. Recently, SACOG approved its third MTP. A CEQA challenge is pending in the Sacramento County Superior Court.
  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission (TMC) – Assisted MTC during the three-year administrative process leading to approval of the Plan and certification of an Environmental Impact Report. Represented MTC and ABAG in litigation challenging both Plan approval and EIR certification. Of the four lawsuits that were filed, two were settled. The remaining two petitions for writ of mandate were denied in their entirety by the trial court in Bay Area Citizens v. ABAG and The Post Sustainability Institute v. ABAG. The Bay Area Citizens decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in a published decision and the Post Sustainability trial court decision was fully affirmed by the Appellate Court. Petitions for Review to the Supreme Court were both denied. In 2017 MTC approved its second MTP/SCS and no litigation was filed. The agency’s third MTP/SCS is currently underway.
  • The Greenbriar Project – Represented prior project applicant during the administrative permitting process and successfully secured the appropriate land use entitlements and EIR certification for the project. Successfully defended project approvals in litigation, filed by Environmental Council of Sacramento. Judge Timothy M. Frawley of the Sacramento County Superior Court ruled in favor of the City of Sacramento and Real Parties on all claims.

Published Decisions

Announcements

1 related items

Blogs

4 related items

Publications

17 related items
  • Spring 1996
    California Policy Seminar Releases Comprehensive Evaluation of CEQA
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 5, Number 2
  • Fall 1995
    Absence of Supporting Evidence for Each Initial Study Conclusion in Either Initial Study or Record of Proceedings May Enlarge Scope of Fair Argument on Whether EIR Should Be Prepared in First Instance
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 4, Number 4
  • Spring 1995
    Evidence From Outside Administrative Record Cannot Be Admitted in CEQA Challenge to Quasi-Legislative Decision
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 4, Number 2
  • Fall 1994
    State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection Must Conform to Provisions of CEQA From Which it Is Not Specifically Exempted
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 3, Number 4
  • Spring 1994
    Laurel Heights Improvement Ass’n v Regents of University of California, The Supreme Court Recently Announced Its Rule Defining When Recirculation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report is Required
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 3, Number 2
  • Winter 1994
    Legislature Authorizes Master Environmental Impact Reports To Reduce Redundant Environmental Review
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 3, Number 1
  • Fall 1993
    Federal Courts’ Extraterritorial Application of NEPA
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 2, Number 4
  • Summer 1993
    Court of Appeal Rejects Argument That Potential Social Impacts (Increase in Crime) Are Physical Changes in the Environment Under CEQA
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 2, Number 3
  • Spring 1993
    In Defense of CEQA
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 2, Number 2
  • Spring 1993
    In CEQA `Compliance Proceeding,’ Lack of Adversity Between Parties Does Not Compel to Discharge Writ
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 2, Number 2
  • Winter 1993
    Court of Appeal Holds That Trial Court Could Have Considered Evidence Outside Administrative Record in an Ordinary Mandamus Proceeding
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 2, Number 1
  • Fall 1992
    Sierra Club v. County of Sonoma Court of Appeal Holds That `Fair Argument’ Standard of Review Applies to Decisions About ‘Second-Tier’ EIRs for Certain Site-Specific Projects
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 1, Number 5
  • Spring 1992
    Trial Court Rules That `Extended Summary’ of EIR, Public Notices, and Public Hearing Testimony Must Be Translated Into Spanish for Kings County Project
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 1, Number 3
  • Winter 1992
    When Environmental Impacts May Be Regional, Courts Insist On Broad Scope of Analysis in EIRs
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 1, Number 2
  • Fall 1991
    CEQA Challenges Face A New Level of Scrutiny
    Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Land Use Forum, Volume 1, Number 1
  • 1987
    Guide to the California Environmental Quality Act
    Co-Author
  • 1984
    California Land Use
    Co-Author of Chapters on CEQA and NEPA

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • She Shares, 2012-present
  • The Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, Advisory Committee Member, 2017-present
  • John Burton Advocates for Youth, Board of Directors, 2006-present
  • Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Member Emeritus, 1989-present
  • Meristem, Board Member, 2018-present
  • Steinberg Institute, Chair of the Board, 2018-present
  • Loaves & Fishes, Pro Bono Counsel, 1995-present
  • Mercy Housing, Pro Bono Counsel, 2019-present
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Member, 1981-present
  • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section, Member, 1979-present
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento, Member, 1982-present

Honors & Rankings

  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Super Lawyers, 2005-2022
  • Cottage Housing, Beacon of Hope Honoree, 2012
  • Sacramento Magazine, The Power & Influence 100, 2008
  • Sacramento Magazine, 50 Most Powerful People, 2006
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Distinguished Attorney, 2005
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Downey Allen Justice Award, 1999
  • Sacramento Business Journal, Women Who Mean Business, 1998
  • Sacramento Magazine, Lawyers with a Cause, 1987
  • Sacramento Magazine, The Class of ‘85 Best and Brightest, 1985