San Francisco, CA
Sean B. Hecht joins Earthjustice today as managing attorney of the California Regional Office, where he will lead a team of 20 staff. Mr. Hecht has dedicated his legal career to advancing environmental quality, environmental justice, and public health in California. He most recently served as the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and co-director of the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at UCLA School of Law.
As managing attorney, Mr. Hecht will oversee the California Regional Office’s casework on a wide range of critical environmental and justice issues including: the electrification and decarbonization of California’s transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors, ensuring that electricity comes from a clean grid built around renewables, phasing out oil and gas drilling across the state and curbing the number of polluting oil wells operating near homes and schools, addressing the biodiversity crisis by protecting the critical watersheds like the Bay-Delta and key species in old-growth forests, and defending California’s farmworkers, agricultural communities, and pollinators from toxic pesticides.
“I am excited to join this outstanding team at Earthjustice. The California Regional Office is tackling the most pressing environmental challenges our communities and ecosystems face today. This is a critical time for our planet, and California has a crucial role to play in addressing the climate crisis, bringing biodiversity back from the brink of extinction, and centering justice for the most impacted communities at the core of our work,” said Sean Hecht, Earthjustice Managing Attorney.
In his two decades of clinical legal work at UCLA, Mr. Hecht represented environmental organizations, supervising students and young attorneys fighting for a livable climate, healthy communities free from pollution, and protection of public lands and biodiversity. He also co-directed the Emmett Institute’s research programs, mentored many dozens of students and environmental lawyers, and taught Public Natural Resources Law and Policy, Environmental Law, California State Environmental Law, Ocean and Coastal Law, and Climate Law and Policy. He has been a frequent media commentator on California and federal environmental law and policy, providing expertise in a wide range of topics including environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act, climate adaptation policy, public lands and resources, and pollution control.
Before joining UCLA, Mr. Hecht litigated environmental enforcement cases with the California Department of Justice. Mr. Hecht is a past chair of the California Lawyers Association environmental law section and a past chair of the California Lawyers Association Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and continues to serve in the leadership of these professional associations today. He served as the founding board chair of the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation, a nonprofit that works to mitigate Port-related environmental impacts, including environmental justice impacts, and improve environmental quality in the near-Port Los Angeles communities of San Pedro and Wilmington. Along with co-counsel in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish and Wildlife (Newhall Ranch), he received the 2016 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award for environmental law. In 2020, he was elected a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.
Mr. Hecht will be based out of Earthjustice’s Los Angeles office.