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Cecily T. Barclay



Cecily Barclay focuses her practice on land use and entitlements, real estate acquisition and development and local government law. She regularly assists landowners, developers and public agencies throughout Northern California in all aspects of acquisition, entitlement and development of land, including land use application processing, drafting and negotiating purchase and sale agreements, negotiating and securing the approval of development agreements, general plan amendments, specific plans, planned development zoning, annexations, initiatives and referenda, and tentative and final subdivision maps.  She also advises clients on riparian and appropriative water rights, including in connection with vineyard and agricultural properties.

In addition to processing entitlements for large mixed-use master planned communities, as well as for reuse of former military facilities and other infill development sites, Cecily also has significant experience negotiating school fee mitigation agreements, preparing conservation easements to mitigate for loss of biological resources, drafting affordable housing programs, Williamson Act contracts and related issues pertaining to agricultural properties; and assisting local agencies in drafting ordinances relating to updating general plans and housing elements, planned development zoning, specific plans, mitigation fees, affordable housing and growth management.

Cecily is the author of Curtin’s California Land Use and Planning Law, a well-known publication which definitively summarizes the major provisions of California’s land use and planning laws. Cecily recently co-authored Development by Agreement, an ABA publication providing a national analysis of laws and practices concerning various forms of development agreements. She regularly speaks and writes on topics involving land use and local government law, including programs and articles for the American Bar Association, American Planning Association, California Continuing Education of the Bar, League of California Cities, University of California Extension programs, Urban Land Institute, and other state and national associations and conferences.  Cecily’s practice also focuses on how agencies and developers must comply with state housing laws, particularly anti-NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) and density bonus laws.  Cecily is also the president of two nonprofit affordable housing corporations in Oakland.

Representative Experience

Cecily’s recent engagements include securing development approvals for Lennar Urban to redevelop Candlestick Point and Hunters Point, one of the most significant redevelopment projects in San Francisco's history, for 10,500 residential units, and several million square feet of office and retail uses along San Francisco's waterfront; representing The Macerich Northwestern Associates in securing a master plan for redevelopment and expansion of Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek; securing reuse rights for the former Hewlett Packard headquarters in Mountain View; representing the purchaser of former federal facilities in Alameda for residential development; processing a proposal for a 1,950 acre wildlife preserve and a 200 acre rural residential development in Santa Clara; representing the City of Redwood in its processing of the 1400-acre Bayfront Community Specific Plan on the current Cargill Saltworks site; representing Chateau Montelena winery in establishing water rights for vineyard property in Napa County; representing the master developer of a 2000-unit senior development community in Dublin; representing the City of Alameda in developing a disposition strategy and in negotiations with potential master developers Alameda Naval Air Station, other engagements include numerous redevelopment and new development projects in San Jose, Santa Clara, Belmont, Walnut Creek, Alameda and Oakland.  Prior representative engagements include Cirque du Soleil in Santa Monica (California Coastal Commission permit); Central Train Station and Leona Quarry projects in Oakland; the Rivermark Master Planned Community in Santa Clara; the University District Specific Plan Area in Rohnert Park; Waterfront District project in Hercules; Faria Ranch Specific Plan in San Ramon; Laguna Vista project in Sebastopol; Westfield Master Plan and Thomas Ranch Specific Plan in Gilroy; Aviano project in Antioch; the Alamo Creek, Dougherty Valley and Cecchini Ranch developments in Contra Costa County as well as other residential, mixed-use and commercial projects throughout Northern California.

Professional Recognition

  • Named 2012 San Francisco Land Use & Zoning Law Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers. 
  • Honoree for Northern California Real Estate Women and Influence, 2011 
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2007 - Present: Environmental Law; Land Use & Zoning Law; Real Estate Law 
  • Ranked by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2006 - 2010; America’s Leading Lawyers for Real Estate, 2011 - 2014
  • Selected as “Leading Lawyer," Legal 500 US, California North: Land Use and Zoning, 2009 
  • Selected as “Top East Bay Land Use Attorney," East Bay Business Times, 2006 - 2008 
  • Listed in Super Lawyers, Northern California, 2004 - 2013

Professional Leadership

  • American Bar Association, Publications Oversight Board, 2009 - 2011 
  • American Bar Association 
  • San Francisco Bar Association 
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association 
  • Urban Land Institute 
  • American Planning Association

Related Employment

  • Bingham McCutchen LLP, San Francisco, CA, Associate, Counsel and Partner, 1990 - 2011


  • Harvard Law School, J.D., with honors, 1988
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., with highest honors, 1983

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California