Richard McNeil

Orange County
Phone: +1 949.798.1381
3 Park Plaza, 20th Floor
Irvine, CA 92614-8505

Rick McNeil is a partner in the Environment & Natural Resources Group and in the Commercial Litigation Group. Rick is a trial attorney with numerous jury, bench and administrative trials to his credit and also has substantial experience in environmental, land use, real estate and general business litigation.

Rick’s environmental experience spans nearly all aspects of federal and California law. He has been involved in the majority of Superfund sites in Southern California and a wide range of Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, RCRA, and Proposition 65 matters. He has handled dozens of matters before USEPA, the SCAQMD, the DTSC, and the Los Angeles and Santa Ana RWQCB’s.

Rick also counsels clients on land use and CEQA strategies for obtaining zoning and planning entitlements. He also has served as lead counsel or co-counsel in a number of CEQA cases through the trial and appellate phases, including prosecuting and defending CEQA cases involving development and redevelopment projects in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego counties.

Rick is a member of the American Law Institute, where he contributes to the current revision of the Restatement of the Law, 4th, Property. 

He also is a member of the Litigation Section and the Environment, Energy and Resources Section of the American Bar Association and the Real Estate, Business Litigation and Environmental Law Sections of the Orange County Bar Association.

Rick is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Bar Association and also serves as Co-Chair of its Diversity Committee and serves on its Audit Committee.

Rick also is a Member of the Board of Directors for Legal Aid of Orange County and is the Chair Emeritus of the Pacific Chorale, a symphonic choral organization that provides free after-school music education to inner city children.

Rick is also an experienced mediator, having mediated many land use, environmental, and business cases.


Admitted to practice: California, United States District Court, All Districts of California, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Professional Activities and Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
    • Environmental Law Section (Former Member, Executive Committee)
    • Litigation Section
  • Orange County Bar Association
    • Environmental Law Section, Member (1998-present), Chair (2016-2017)
    • Real Estate Law Section (Secretary)
    • Diversity Committee  Co-Chair (2015-present)
    • Elimination of Bias Subcommittee, Chair (2016-present)
    • Audit Committee
  • American Law Institute (1997-Present)

Professional Recognition & Awards

  • Southern California Super Lawyers, Environmental (2004-2009)
  • Top 20 Under 40, Los Angeles Daily Journal (1997)

Community Involvement

  • Pacific Chorale, Board of Directors (1997-present)
    • Chairman of the Board (2014-2015), Chair Emeritus
  • Legal Aid Society of Orange County, Board of Directors (2016-present)

Speeches & Presentations

  • "NOT IN MY BACKYARD: Land Use Implications of Siting Sober Living Homes and Treatment Centers in Residential Zones in Orange County," California Municipal Revenue & Tax Association, Long Beach, CA (October 11, 2017). Speaker: Richard McNeil.
  • "Habits of the Mind - Implicit Bias in the Workplace," Orange County Bar Association Diversity Task Force CLE, Newport Beach, CA (December 1, 2016). Speaker: Richard McNeil.
  • "Update on Sober Living Homes in Orange County," Get Connected with Councilwoman Katrina Foley, Costa Mesa City Council Chambers, CA (September 27, 2016). Speaker: Richard McNeil.
  • "NOT IN MY BACKYARD: Land Use Implications of Siting Sober Living Homes and Treatment Centers in Residential Zones in Orange County," Orange County Bar Association Real Estate Section, Santa Ana, CA (August 23, 2016). Speaker: Richard McNeil.
  • "Developments in Water Rights in Orange County," Orange County Bar Association Environmental Law Section, Newport Beach, CA (June 30, 2016). Moderator: Richard McNeil.
  • "San Clemente Case Study," Sober Living Homes in Orange County, Regional Town Hall Meeting, Laguna Hills, CA (May 12, 2016). Panelist: Richard McNeil.
  • "Business Development: Special Challenges and Opportunities for Minority Attorneys," American Bar Association, Section of Litigation Roundtable (March 30, 2016). Speaker: Richard McNeil.
  • "Exploring Diversity: The Collective Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in Today's Legal Environment," Orange County Bar Association Solo Practitioner/Small Firm Section January Meeting, Newport Beach, CA (January 21, 2016). Speaker: Richard McNeil.
  • "Moving Forward Through Diversity: Perspectives on the Collective Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in Today's Legal Environment," OCBA Diversity Task Force Seminar, Costa Mesa, CA (November 17, 2015). Moderator: Richard McNeil.
  • "How to Foster and Maintain Civil Relationships with Opposing Counsel: Putting the Civil Back in Civil Litigation," Orange County Bar Association, Newport Beach, CA (October 9, 2014). Speaker: Richard McNeil.
  • "2014 Legal and Legislative Update for Commercial Real Estate," Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, Newport Beach, CA (January 27, 2014). Co-Presenter: Richard McNeil.
  • "Desalination: The Carlsbad Project and Huntington Beach," California Water Law Conference, San Diego, CA (May 3-4, 2012). Speaker: Richard McNeil.
  • "Climate Change/AQMD Update," JMBM Breakfast Briefing, Irvine, CA (March 24, 2011). Speaker: Richard McNeil.


  • "Environment & Natural Resources – The Multifront Battle of Chemical Regulation and Litigation," Crowell & Moring's Litigation Forecast 2020 (January 22, 2020). Contributor: Richard McNeil.
  • "Environment & Natural Resources – Will Streamlining NEPA Implementation Work?" Crowell & Moring's Regulatory Forecast 2019 (February 27, 2019). Contributors: Timothy McCrum and Richard McNeil.
  • California Supreme Court Invalidates EIR for Coastal Mixed-Use Development (April 19, 2017). Author: Richard McNeil.
  • "To Succeed at Business Development and Client Relationships, Female and Minority Attorneys Face Challenges and Opportunities," American Bar Association, Commercial & Business Litigation - Section of Litigation, Volume 18, Issue 1 (Fall 2016). Co-Author: Richard McNeil.
  • "Rumble in the Riviera," OC Lawyer Magazine (April 2016). Co-Author: Richard McNeil.
  • "'CEQA-in-Reverse' Case Headed for the California Supreme Court," Orange County Business Journal Co-Author: Richard McNeil.
  • "'Takings' Decision Raises State Law Questions," Daily Journal (July 8, 2013). Author: Richard McNeil.
  • "LEED Legal Alerts," Orange County Business Journal (November 19, 2012). Co-Author: Richard McNeil.
  • "Will Health Care Facilities Prove To Be The Antidote For Orange County's Ailing Real Estate Market?" Orange County Business Journal (September 26, 2011). Author: Richard McNeil.
  • "How Review Standards Changed Cap-And-Trade In California," Law360 (April 19, 2011). Author: Richard McNeil.

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Firm News & Announcements

Jan.23.2018 Experienced California Environmental Litigator Richard J. McNeil Joins Crowell & Moring