Jack H. Rubens is a partner in the Real Estate, Energy, Land Use & Environmental Practice Group in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He has also served as Chairman of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.
Areas of Practice
Jack has a diverse land use, land use litigation and real estate transactional practice. Over his more than 35 years at Sheppard Mullin, he has helped urban and retail developers, homebuilders and many other clients secure land use and zoning entitlements for a broad spectrum of residential, mixed-use, commercial, coastal and industrial projects throughout Southern California. Jack is a leading authority on CEQA and has supervised the preparation of numerous EIRs and other CEQA documents. He represents clients on matters involving all aspects of historic preservation law, including rehabilitation tax credits and conservation easements. He has investigated the status of entitlements and undertaken complex land use due diligence on behalf of prospective purchasers and institutional investors and lenders with respect to real property located throughout California.
Jack also is a seasoned land use litigator and has successfully prosecuted and defended numerous land use lawsuits on behalf of developers, property owners and municipalities. Many of those lawsuits have involved CEQA and NEPA claims, as well as takings and other constitutional issues, general plan and zoning consistency, interference with vested rights, Subdivision Map Act claims and historic preservation issues.
Jack has negotiated and drafted the documentation for numerous purchase and sale, real property exchange and donation transactions, and a broad range of documentation for residential and commercial projects, including development agreements and easement, infrastructure reimbursement and cost-sharing, signage and parking agreements. He has represented both municipalities and private entities to structure and document complex transactions for the preservation of large tracts of land in Southern California for open space and recreational uses.
Professional Qualifications and Activities
Jack has written and lectured frequently on CEQA and other land use topics, including serving on the faculty for a two-day course on CEQA for California judges. He is a past President of the Los Angeles Conservancy, the largest local historic preservation organization in the United States. He also has represented the Conservancy and other organizations in their efforts to preserve historic structures throughout California, including the Beverly Hills Waterworks, the Ambassador Hotel, the Cathedral of St. Vibiana, Bullocks Wilshire and the Leonis Adobe. He is the principal author of A Preservationist’s Guide to the California Environmental Quality Act, first published in 1988.
Jack has received an AV® Preeminent Peer Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating an attorney can receive for quality of legal service and ethics.
Jack is a registered lobbyist with the City of Los Angeles.
Top Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, Chambers & Partners
Recognized for Land Use and Zoning Law and Real Estate Law, Best Lawyers, 2021-2024
Real Estate, Land Use & Environmental Law Blog Posts
- "Senate Bill Extends and Expands CEQA Streamlining Process," June 14, 2021
- "California Senate Returns Its Focus to Housing in 2021-2022 Legislative Session," February 23, 2021
- "California Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of De Novo and Substantial Evidence Standards Of Review In CEQA Cases," February 25, 2019
- "Are You Sure You Want to Challenge that Permit Condition?" July 20, 2017
- "Update – City of Los Angeles Affordable Housing Linkage Fee," June 14, 2017
- "City of Los Angeles Outsources Defense of CEQA/Land Use Lawsuits To Private Law Firms – Developers To Foot The Bill," December 30, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, 04.20.2023
- Daily Journal, 11.09.2022
- Sheppard Mullin & Central City Association, 06.2014
J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1982
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1979