Harry O'Brien


Harry O’Brien practices real estate, development, and land use law, with an emphasis on representing real estate developers in the entitlement, finance, and construction of large commercial, residential, and institutional development projects, as well as in public/private partnerships. He has represented both the San Francisco Giants in the development of Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park) and the San Francisco 49ers in the development of their new stadium in Santa Clara, California. He served as the firm’s managing partner from 2003-2008.

Real Estate Development
Harry represents developers in all phases of the development process. In the entitlement process, he advises clients on compliance with the environmental review process required under the California Environmental Quality Act, as well as local planning and zoning regulations. He has extensive experience in dealing with regional and statewide regulatory agencies.

Real Estate Transactions
Harry represents clients in a wide range of real estate transactions, including the purchase, sale, leasing, and financing of real property. He has extensive experience in the negotiation of ground leases, joint venture agreements, and conservation easements. Harry also represents owners and design professionals in the negotiation of design and construction contracts.

Harry is a member of the American Bar Association in the sections of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, Construction Industry and State & Local Government Law.

He is also a member of the California State Bar, the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Urban Land Institute, San Francisco Planning & Urban Research and the Golden Gate Chapter of Lambda Alpha International.

Harry received his undergraduate degree with honors in accounting from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (1977). After working as a certified public accountant for four years, he attended the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where he earned his law degree (1984).

Harry is listed as a top Land Use & Zoning lawyer in Chambers USA, where clients describe him as “outstanding in providing good business counsel” and “a remarkably smart and experienced real estate attorney.”  He is continuously listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the Land Use & Zoning Law and Real Estate Law categories and as a Northern California Super Lawyer and holds an  AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

  • Named as “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers (2019)
  • Named as one of the Bay Area’s “Top 30 Real Estate Lawyers” by the Daily Journal (2012)
  • Named one of California’s Top Deal Makers for his work with the Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement, one of the most significant land use and conservation agreements in California history. (2008)
  • Received California Lawyer’s Clay Award in recognition of his land use expertise in the development of the $420 million Westfield San Francisco Centre and Tejon Ranch’s landmark land use agreement. (2007, 2009)

Co-author: “Repairing Damaged Historic Buildings in California: Obstacles and Incentives,” California Real Property Journal