Bret Stone is a founding partner of Paladin Law Group.  Mr. Stone has been working on environmental issues for over 20 years.

The depth of his experience includes responding to environmental problems (e.g., pollution or other forms of environmental contamination), risk management and regulatory compliance, cleantech and green businesses, green building, climate change, and sustainability.

Mr. Stone’s client base is equally diverse:  from emerging startups to multinational Fortune 500 companies, to municipalities and special districts.  Mr. Stone’s work includes Brownfields redevelopment, real estate transfers, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and litigation.

For a developer, he successfully negotiated immunity for environmental liability under the first agreement of its kind under the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act (“CLRRA”) with the Regional Water Quality Control Board – Central Coast Region.

Mr. Stone has worked on sites involving manufacturing, metal plating and anodizing, dry cleaning, printing, ship building, and oil exploration and production.

He is also recognized for his success in representing insurance policyholders and, through insurance archaeology, bringing historical insurance assets to the table to cover environmental, asbestos, and products liability claims.

Further, for his clients working in global markets, Mr. Stone has experience working through international laws and regulatory directives in Europe and Asia.

His focus on sustainable development includes carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, cap-and-trade, water, renewable energy, social and human impacts, and the business acumen to make the project financially viable.

Practice Areas

Environmental, Litigation, Brownfields Redevelopment, Sustainability, Insurance Archaeology and Insurance Coverage, Land Use and Real Estate


Chicago-Kent College of Law – J.D., with Honors, 1997
Certificate, Environmental and Energy Law, 1997
Pace National Environmental Moot Court Competition, 1995-1996, 1996-1997

University of California, Santa Barbara – B.A. Environmental Studies, with Honors, 1993
Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

Professional and Community Involvement

State Bar of California Environmental Law Section, Executive Committee
Santa Barbara County Bar Association, Chair Real Estate and Land Use Section
U.S. Green Building Council, California Central Coast Chapter, Board Member
Leadership Santa Barbara County, Board Member
William L. Gordon Inn of Court, Barrister
Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
Bici Centro, Volunteer
AYSO, Soccer Coach
Tea Fire Local Assistance Center, Volunteer Attorney
Jesusita Fire Local Assistance Center, Volunteer Attorney

Honors and Awards

Named in the “Who’s Who in Energy & Environment,” Pacific Coast Business Times, 2016-2017

Named in the “Who’s Who in Clean Tech & Sustainability,” Pacific Coast Business Times, 2010-2015

Named in the “Who’s Who in Professional Services,” Pacific Coast Business Times, 2006-2017

Listed as one of the top “40 Under 40” business leaders, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2006

Bar Admissions and Licenses

State Bar of California, 1997
United States District Court, Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California
California Department of Real Estate, Real Estate Broker 2001



Publications and Lectures

International Network of Environmental Forensics Conference
“PFAS: Scientific, Regulatory and Legal Challenges”
Speaker, June 2019

Santa Barbara County Bench and Bar Conference
“Green Building Law: A Modular Example”
Speaker, January 2018

Groundwater Law Conference
“Strategies to Address Major Groundwater Contaminant Plumes”
Speaker, April 2016

State of California Bar, Environmental Law Section
“AB 440 – A New Tool for Brownfields Redevelopment”
Speaker, March 2015

Groundwater Law Conference
“A Case Study of Legal Strategies in Regional Groundwater Plumes”
Speaker, May 2014

California League of Cities
“AB 440 – The Gatto Act:  A New Tool for Brownfields Redevelopment”
Speaker, March 2014

California Association for Local Economic Development (“CALED”)
“A Survivor’s Guide to AB1484 Post-Compliance – Are Property Management Plans a Backdoor to Economic Development?”
Speaker, April 2013

AB32: A Deep Dive
A Status Report on Cap-and-Trade
Speaker, March 2012

Santa Barbara County Bar Association
“The New Energy Usage Disclosure Mandate of AB 1103 – What Should Owners/Brokers/Managers (and their Lawyers) Do, and When?”
Speaker, November 2011

American Planning Association Conference
The California Silo Effect: Sustainable Community Strategy; Climate Action Plans; Regions, Subregions and Cities
Speaker, September 2011

Professional Environmental Marketing Association
“Why Sustainability Makes Business Sense”
Speaker, November 2010

Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
“Environmental Compliance, Corporate Governance, and Sustainability”
Speaker, November 2010

London School of Economics
“Corporate Responsibility When Catastrophe Strikes – An Expert Legal Panel Looks at Who Pays and Why”
Speaker, October 2010

California State Bar Annual Meeting
“Sustainable Development: Moving Beyond Green Building Toward Sustainable Building and Master Planning”
Speaker, September 2010

California State Bar Annual Meeting
“Greening Your Practice: An Introduction to the State Bar’s EcoPledge”
Speaker, September 2010

Sustainable Development Webinar
Speaker, May 2010

Environmental Law and Cyber Institute Webinar
Speaker, March 2010

Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite
Speaker, October 2009

Annual Environmental Summit
Speaker, October 2009

California State Bar Annual Meeting
Speaker, September 2009

What to Do When the Economy Calls Your Hand
Environmental Law News, Vol. 18, No. 1, Summer 2009

“Sustainability” — Buzzword or Legal Duty?
Santa Barbara Lawyer, June 2009

California’s framework for growth rests in rules set by AB 32
Pacific Coast Business Times, April 2009

Policyholders Win Critical Environmental Insurance Case in California Supreme Court
Santa Barbara Lawyer, April 2009

Federal Green Stimulus?  Think Transit
Point Carbon News, January 2009

Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite
Speaker, October 2008

California Redevelopment Association
Speaker, August 2008

The “Innocent Landowner” Defense Proves to be Out of Reach . . . Again
Santa Barbara Lawyer, July 2008

Santa Barbara County Bench and Bar Conference
Speaker, January 2008

San Diego County Bar Association
Speaker, October 2007

National Forum for Environmental and Toxic Tort Issues
Speaker, October 2007

Recovery of Environmental Cleanup Costs under CERCLA – Answers from the High Court
Santa Barbara Lawyer, October 2007

Back from the Dead Suing Dissolved Corporations and Deceased Individuals
Santa Barbara Lawyer, July 2007

Santa Barbara County Bench and Bar Conference
Speaker, January 2007

Cost Recovery Under Superfund Law: The Cooper v. Aviall Confusion Continues
Santa Barbara Lawyer, April 2007

Affirmative Defense for Setoff Could Constitute “Suit” Triggering Insurer’s Duty to Defend
Santa Barbara Lawyer, July 2006

Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc.
Speaker, February 2006

Contaminated Collateral
The RMA Journal, December 2005 – January 2006

Another Victory for Policyholders
Santa Barbara Lawyer, December 2005

Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite
Speaker, October 2005

Insurance Archaeology
Environmental Law Conference in Yosemite, October 2005
republished in Santa Barbara Lawyer, February 2006

Aluminum Anodizing Conference
Speaker, October 2005

When Best Management Practices Aren’t Enough
Anodizing Newsline, August 2005
republished in Metal Finishing Magazine, November 2005

Looking for Buried Treasure
Uniform Textile Services Association, October 2005

California Redevelopment Association
Speaker, August 2005

The Document Retention Policy Fallacy
National Association of Accountants, August 2005

Southwestern Association of Metal Finishers
Speaker, July 2005

Buried Treasure in City Hall
Public Agency Risk Mangers Association, June 2005

University of California, Santa Barbara
Speaker, November 2004

Santa Barbara Community Awareness and Emergency Response
Speaker, May 2004

Carson Harbor Village v. Unocal – An Update on the Passive Migration Debate,
Cal. Envtl Law Rptr., Vol. 2001, Issue 3, March 2001

University of California, Santa Barbara
Speaker, February 2001

Strict Criminal Liability For Environmental Regulatory Violations: Is There Anything A Defendant Can Do?, Envtl Strategies for Real Estate, Dec. 1996

Recovery of Costs Under RCRA: What the Supreme Court Didn’t Tell You in KFC Western, Inc. v. Meghrig, Cal. Envtl Law Rptr., Vol. 1996, Issue 5, May 1996