Photo of Robert A. Thompson

Robert A. Thompson

San Francisco
T: 415.774.3213
F: 415.434.3947


  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1969
  • B.A., Stanford University, 1965
  • University of Vienna, Fulbright Scholar (1965-66)
  • California
Thought Leadership

Robert A. Thompson is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Thompson handles a broad range of real estate investment, development, and financing matters.  In addition, he represents investors and developers in leasing and financing transactions, and land-use and environmental administrative proceedings and litigation, with a particular emphasis on land use regulation and CEQA compliance with respect to residential and mixed use development.  He also specializes in redevelopment and military base reuse transactions.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Thompson has acted as development and/or leasing counsel to several large commercial and residential projects, such as The Sea Ranch in Sonoma County, San Francisco Centre, the Fillmore Center, as well as a number of San Francisco office projects, including Marathon Plaza, 505 Sansome Street, 100 Spear Street, 160 Spear Street, 210 California Street, 345 California Street, 595 Market Street and Embarcadero Center.  More recent San Francisco Projects include the Kaiser Permanente Geary Boulevard Campus and the "Macy's block" redevelopment at Union Square.

Mr. Thompson's more significant and "public/private partnership" projects include the new UCSF Mission Bay campus, the Westfield/Bloomingdale's shopping center, Pier One and the Ferry Building in San Francisco, and the redevelopment of the Hunters Point Shipyard, Treasure Island Naval Station, and Presidio National Park.  His representation of the Presidio Trust has included the Letterman/Lucas Digital Arts Center and the Public Health Service residential project. He represented UCSF with respect to the acquisition and development of its new Mission Bay campus site, as well as the pioneering lease/leaseback development of the Sandler Neurosciences Center at Mission Bay. Other recent projects include the UC Davis West Campus, and the Pacific Union College Eco-Village (Angwin).

Mr. Thompson is presently representing the City of Long Beach and the County of Santa Clara with regard to their respective new City Center projects.


  • Named to Who's Who Legal: Real Estate, 2015
  • Top Development Lawyers, Daily Journal, 2014
  • Nation's Top Ten Environmental Lawyers, United States Lawyer Rankings, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Best of the Best USA - Top Thirty Real Estate Attorneys, Expert Guides, 2013
  • Top Real Estate Attorneys, Daily Journal, 2012
  • Top Real Estate Development Deals, Daily Journal, 2011
  • Real Estate Dealmakers 2011, Daily Journal
  • Top 10 Environmental Lawyers, United States Lawyer Rankings
  • Lambda Alpha International Member of the Year, Golden Gate Chapter, 2009
  • Best Lawyers’ 2009 San Francisco Real Estate Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyer in America, Best Lawyers
  • International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers
  • America's Leading Lawyers, Chambers USA
  • Northern California Super Lawyer, San Francisco Magazine
  • Which Lawyer?, Real Estate, Practical Law Company
  • America's Leading Business Lawyers, Transactions and Finance, Land Use and Zoning
  • Legal 500, recommended lawyer, Real Estate/North California, Transactions & Finance and Land Use & Zoning



  • Mr. Thompson is the author of Real Estate Opinion Letter Practice (Wiley Law Publications, 1993); "Opinions in Real Estate Transactions" in Drafting Legal Opinion Letters (Wiley Law Publications, 2d ed., 1992); "Negotiating Loan Transactions" in Negotiating and Structuring Real Estate Transactions (Wiley Law Publications 2d ed., 1993); "Real Estate Finance" in Negotiating Business Transactions (Wiley Law Publications, 1988); and "Checklist for Representing Developers in Local Land Use Approval Proceedings" in Coping with the Real Property Development Process (California Continuing Education of the Bar, 1988).

Speaking Engagements

  • Mr. Thompson has lectured extensively on real estate lending and development matters for California Continuing Education of the Bar and the Practicing Law Institute, and has taught real estate law as an adjunct professor at two local law schools.
  • "Public/Private Partnerships In A Recessionary Economy," American College of Real Estate Lawyers Spring Meeting, Tucson, AZ, March 19, 2011
  • "Public-Private Partnerships: Starting with the Basics," Association of University Real Estate Officials (AUREO), September 13, 2010
  • "Public-Private Partnerships: New Authority and New Rules for Construction and Infrastructure Projects," April 28, 2009, Presented by Sheppard Mullin and Heffernan Insurance
  • "Public-Private Partnerships: The New Wave in Infrastructure Construction," Construction Superconference, December 2008
  • "Coping With The "BRAC" Military Base Closure And Reuse Process," American College of Real Estate Lawyers Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 23, 2003


  • Board of Governors, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL); Chair, ACREL Attorneys Opinion Committee
  • Lambda Alpha Honorary Land Economics Society
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI); Chair, San Francisco ULI District Council
  • ABA Real Property, Probate and Trust Section; Chair, Committee on Legal Opinions in Real Estate Transactions
  • Chair, Committee on the Environment, State Bar of California
  • Charter Member, Executive Committee of Real Estate Section, State Bar of California