• Yale University, B.A. (1981)
  • University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, J.D. (1984) Member, California Law Review


  • California
  • United States District Court
  • All Districts of California
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Richard McNeil


Rick McNeil is a partner in the Environment & Natural Resources Group and also is a partner in the Commercial Litigation Group.  Rick is a trial attorney with numerous jury, bench and administrative trials to his credit, particularly in the areas of environmental, land use, tort and product liability, real estate and business litigation.

Rick’s environmental experience spans nearly all aspects of federal and California law, including Superfund, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, Proposition 65 and green chemistry, including numerous matters involving chemicals in food and consumer products.  

Rick also has substantial experience in cases involving claims for personal injury or property damage claimed to be the result of exposure to mold, lead, asbestos, pathogens, and other toxins (such as under Proposition 65 and federal and Cal-OSHA), as well as regulatory enforcement involving these types of claims.

Rick has handled dozens of matters before the USEPA, the SCAQMD, the DTSC, and the Los Angeles and Santa Ana RWQCB’s.

Rick is recognized for his knowledge about CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) and counsels clients on land use planning and zoning as well as strategies for obtaining land development entitlements. Rick has served as lead counsel or co-counsel in numerous CEQA cases through the trial and appellate phases and also counsels clients on strategies to avert CEQA lawsuits.

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 also was appointed a member of the City of Newport Beach Water Quality and Coastal Tidelands Committee.

Rick just completed a six-year term as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Bar Association while remaining the Co-Chair of the OCBA’s Diversity 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.


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)
  • 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

  • "OEHHA’s New "Clear and Reasonable Warning" Regulations", Proposition 65 Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA (September 21, 2020). Co-Panelist: Richard McNeil.
  • "Recent Developments Regarding PFAS – Increasing Public and Regulatory Scrutiny of PFAS – Preparing for PFAS Legal and Financial Risks," National Association of Manufacturers' Manufacturers' Compliance Institute, Washington, D.C. (December 4, 2019). Presenters: Jennifer A. Giblin and Richard McNeil.
  • "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.


Client Alerts & Newsletters

Press Coverage

Firm News & Announcements

September 15, 2022 Orange County Bar Association Honors Rick McNeil with 2022 Harmon G. Scoville Lifetime Achievement Award
January 23, 2018 Experienced California Environmental Litigator Richard J. McNeil Joins Crowell & Moring