G. Scott Williams

Mr. Williams is a shareholder of the firm. His practice focuses on environmental, land-use and commercial litigation, and assisting private clients with land-use and environmental issues during the entitlement process and in real property transactions.

Mr. Williams has extensive experience litigating environmental and land-use matters in state and federal courts.  While at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek and in his previous position as a senior attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Mr. Williams has handled complex civil litigation under major federal and state environmental statutes, including CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act, the Polanco Act, CERCLA, RCRA, NEPA, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

In addition to his litigation experience in environmental and land-use matters, Mr. Williams advises developer clients and leads negotiations with government agencies regarding environmental and entitlement issues.  Mr. Williams has helped resolve issues under CEQA, NEPA, the Subdivision Map Act, the California Coastal Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act on many projects, including housing developments with hundreds of new homes, correctional facilities with thousands of beds, destination resorts, high-rise condominiums, cultural institutions, and commercial and industrial facilities.  He has also assisted clients in such matters as zoning and general/specific plan issues, remediation of contaminated properties, the creation of habitat preserves for project mitigation, the demonstration of adequate water supplies for large-scale projects, and compliance with new stormwater regulations and emerging greenhouse gas emissions requirements.

Mr. Williams’ litigation experience also encompasses a variety of additional civil and commercial matters, including, for example, defense of a class action against a nationwide service company, defense of a law firm accused of improper conduct during the course of precedent-setting litigation, disputes over ownership and control of stock in public and privately-held companies, and sophisticated commercial disputes involving large-scale private and public entities.


Mr. Williams received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard College, in 1983. He received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1988, where he was Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review.

Employment Background

Mr. Williams served as a senior attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice, and as a trial attorney in the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division, where he conducted affirmative and defensive commercial and contract litigation on behalf of numerous federal agencies.

Before joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Williams clerked for Hon. Dolores K. Sloviter of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Representative Matters

  • Represented private developers in CEQA lawsuits and related land-use litigation brought by environmental and community organizations seeking to derail approved projects
  • Defended manufacturer in Polanco Act litigation brought by community development agency seeking to recover cleanup costs for property formerly owned by client
  • Represented private landowners identified by EPA as potentially responsible parties at Superfund site
  • Represented the federal government in multimillion-dollar CERCLA cost recovery actions by leading mining and manufacturing companies, a shipyard and a paint recycling facility
  • Defended EPA rulemakings of national significance challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals, including regulations addressing regional ozone pollution and hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act; the long-term disposal of radioactive waste; and hazardous waste disposal in the petrochemical industry
  • Defended permitting and associated regulatory activity by federal agencies under the Clean Water Act, including state water quality standards approved by EPA and dredge-and-fill permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Handled affirmative claims arising from financing and subsidy contracts between the United States and public and private entities, including misapplied federal grants and large financing contracts with a shipbuilder, an ethanol plant, an airline and a tribally-owned casino
  • Defended contract claims in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, including bid protests, construction delay claims, and challenges to contract termination

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • S. Court of Federal Claims

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Named one of San Diego’s Best Lawyers 2016 by SD Metro Magazine
  • Named to The Daily Transcript's list of Top 100 Influential Leaders in San Diego