Benjamin Hanelin is counsel in the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins. He practices in all areas of environmental law with a particular focus on major infrastructure improvements and California Environmental Quality Act litigation, governmental and administrative law, as well as matters involving local and state administrative and legislative decision-making. He provides advice to private developers, corporations, institutions and non-profit organizations regarding local planning and zoning regulations and related environmental matters; state land use regulations, including the California Environmental Quality Act and the California Coastal Act.

In 2013, 2010 and 2009, Super Lawyers named Mr. Hanelin a “Southern California Rising Star.”

Prior to joining Latham, Mr. Hanelin was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge, Federal District Court for the Southern District of California. Mr. Hanelin is admitted to practice before the Ninth Circuit, the United States District Courts of Central, Eastern and Southern District of California, and all state courts in California.


Mr. Hanelin's representative matters include:

  • CEQA Litigation: Defended numerous challenges to local and state development project approvals on CEQA and other grounds before California trial and appellate courts.
  • Electrical Transmission Line Development: Representing a public utility in its development of a 120-mile transmission line before the California Public Utilities Commission, Bureau of Land Management, California Court of Appeal, California Supreme Court, federal District Court, and the Interior Board of Land Appeals.
  • Private Property Rights Litigation: Representing a property ownership association as an intervenor in federal court litigation to protect the interests of lakefront property owners at Lake Tahoe and in response to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s adoption of new regulations to regulate the development and use of Lake Tahoe’s shorezone. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a bi-state regional environmental planning agency, adopted the new regulations after more than twenty years of debate, and Mr. Hanelin successfully worked to ensure that the regulations met environmental goals consistent with recreational and private property interests.
  • Large-Scale Mixed-Use Development: Representing the development and securing approvals for one of the largest mixed-use projects in the City of Bakersfield. Covering 255 acres and including two million square feet of commercial development and 425 dwelling units, the project serves as a new model for development projects in the Central Valley.
  • High-Rise Development: Securing project approvals for the development of the first new commercial high-rise proposed for the Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood in over fifteen years. The 29-story, 315,000 square foot project required a general plan amendment, specific plan amendment, zone and height district change, conditional use permit, and other approvals.
  • Clean Water Act/Endangered Species Act Litigation: Defending the development of lakefront condominiums at Big Bear Lake from challenges under the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.  

Bar Qualification

  • California


  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, 2004
    Order of the Coif
  • BS, University of California, Berkeley, 1999
    Dean's List