Michael B. Wilmar is a special counsel in the Real Estate, Land Use and Natural Resources Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco office.

Areas of Practice

Michael specializes in all aspects of land use law, including local, state and  federal land use and water quality issues, particularly with respect to waterfront projects.  His environmental and land use expertise includes representation of a wide variety of private and public entities with respect to local, state and federal land use and water quality issues under the McAteer-Petris Act, the California Coastal Act, the California public trust doctrine, Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act, Section 10 of the federal Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, local zoning codes, the state Planning and Zoning law, the state development agreement statute, the California Environmental Quality Act, and the state and federal Endangered Species Act.

Michael also represents clients in the resolution of title questions arising out of tidelands trust, including the negotiation and documentation of land exchange and boundary settlement agreements with the State of California acting through the State Lands Commission.

Over the course of his career, Michael has represented many developers of projects that have raised difficult and complex regulatory issues.  These projects have included Pier 1, the Ferry Building, and Mission Bay in San Francisco (which involved one of the largest and most complex tidelands exchanges ever with the State of California), the Oak to 9th Project in Oakland, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, the Treasure Island Naval Station, the Vallejo Waterfront, the Electronic Arts headquarters campus at Redwood Shores in Redwood City, the expansion of a major quarry in Sunol, and a 500+ unit, mixed-use residential/industrial park development in Hayward.

Prior to joining Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, Michael was a partner in the San Francisco office of Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliott, LLP. Michael is conversant in German.  



Representative Matters

Represents the developers of the private parcels on the Vallejo Waterfront on all entitlement issues.

Represented the developer of a major San Francisco waterfront office project at Pier One in San Francisco with respect to BCDC and State Lands entitlement issues.

Represented the developer of the Ferry Building project in San Francisco with respect to BCDC and State Lands entitlement issues.

Represented the developers of Jack London Square in Oakland with respect to State Lands and public trust issues.

Represents the developer of a major mixed use 500+ residential and light industrial development in the City of Hayward, California with respect to all major entitlement issues, including CEQA, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, and local zoning.

Represented major San Francisco-based developer with respect to state and federal entitlement issues (Section 404, CEQA, BCDC) on the Mission Bay Project in San Francisco.  Representation also included advice regarding one of the largest exchanges of public trust lands for privately-owned lands of equal or greater value.

Special counsel to City and County of San Francisco on America's Cup.



Best Lawyer in America, Best Lawyers, 2008-2009, 2011-2022

Northern California Super Lawyers, San Francisco Magazine, 2007, 2010-2013

Lambda Alpha International Member of the Year, Golden Gate Chapter, 2009




Former Executive Director, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission

Member, Lambda Alpha, an honorary real estate economics society

Past President, Golden Gate Chapter, Lambda Alpha

Former Chair, Advisory Council, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)

Past Member, Board of Directors, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)


J.D., University of California, Hastings, 1967, issue editor of the Hastings Law Journal

A.B., Stanford University, 1963


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