Brett Jolley Brett S. Jolley joined Shore, McKinley, Conger & Jolley, LLP in Stockton, CA, as a partner in 2015 bringing with him fifteen years of respected experience in land use, real estate development, public agency, and appellate law.

Mr. Jolley heads the firm’s Land Use and Real Estate Development practice group and assists developers, property owners, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations with issues involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Subdivision Map Act, State Planning and Zoning Law, the Mitigation Fee Act, the State Elections Code, eminent domain proceedings, and other land use statutes and ordinances.

Brett S. Jolley joined Shore, McKinley, Conger & Jolley, LLP in Stockton, CA, as a partner in 2015 bringing with him fifteen years of respected experience in land use, real estate development, public agency, and appellate law.

Additionally, he often represents clients in transactions involving the purchase, sale, and lease of real property.  He regularly appears before city councils, county boards of supervisors, planning commissions, and LAFCOs, and litigates related matters in trial courts and courts of appeal. He is the attorney of record on several reported appellate decisions.

Representative Experience

Currently, Mr. Jolley represents San Joaquin County, Contra Costa County, Central Delta Water Agency, and Contra Costa County Water Agency in litigation challenging Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s purchase of 20,000 acres of islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A selection of other representative experience is provided below.

  • Assisting with development entitlements and CEQA compliance for residential subdivisions and specific plans (various cities and counties including Stockton, Atwater, Merced, Shasta Lake City, Lathrop, Mountain House), auto dealerships (Stockton), mixed use and commercial development projects (various cities and counties including Fresno, Stockton, Manteca, Lodi, and Mariposa), a high-tech silicon wafer manufacturer (Tracy), waste processing/recycling facilities (Stockton, Tracy, Stanislaus County), and agricultural processing facilities (San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties).
  • Advising San Joaquin County as special counsel on land use and water matters.
  • Representing the University of the Pacific (Stockton) regarding various land use and environmental matters.
  • Representing GEO Group, a publicly traded provider of correctional, detention, and community reentry services on California land use matters, including securing development entitlements, zoning determinations, and public and private leases for the operation of re-entry facilities under contract with Federal, State, and local corrections authorities.
  • Defending administrative and court challenges to land uses such as residential subdivisions (various cities and counties), a rendering plant (Stockton), a dairy (Madera County), irrigation district dredging activities (San Joaquin County), and the 2035 Stockton General Plan.
  • Representing 7-time American Motorcycle Association Supercross champion, X-Games Gold Medalist, and Lucas Oil Off-Road Series competitor Jeremy McGrath in defeating lawsuit seeking to prevent client’s use of his property for off-road recreation.
  • Intervening in proceedings before California Public Utilities Commission to oppose SDG&E Sunrise Powerlink Project route that would have bisected client’s rural San Diego County ranch, resulting in the realignment of the route to avoid client’s property.  
  • Opposing various big box and supercenter development projects in communities such as American Canyon, Antioch, Bakersfield, Ceres, Chico, Clovis, Elk Grove, Lodi, Milpitas, Selma, and Sonora.
  • Drafting and negotiating various real estate sale and lease agreements for agricultural, commercial, and government properties on behalf of buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants.

Educational Background

Mr. Jolley received a B.A. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned Dean’s Honors and raced for the UCSB Alpine Ski Team. He received his law degree from the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento where he was awarded the Honors at Entrance Scholarship. Between college and law school Mr. Jolley worked for Senator Patrick Johnston (Stockton) in the State Capitol – which bolstered his interest in public policy, the legislative process, and issues affecting the Central Valley, Bay/Delta, and Sierras.

During law school, Mr. Jolley interned with two State regulatory agencies: The cabinet-level California Resources Agency (where he assisted in the rulemaking process on 1998 revisions to the CEQA Guidelines) and the Office of the Chief Counsel at the California Integrated Waste Management Board (now called the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery or “CalRecycle.”)

In his free time, Mr. Jolley enjoys playing and making guitars, riding dirt bikes, golfing, hiking, mountain biking, coaching youth sports, and spending time with his wife and two children.

Areas of Practice

Bar Admissions

  • California, 2000
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 2001
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2010


  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, Sacramento, California
    • J.D. - 2000
    • Honors: Honors at Entrance Scholarship
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
    • B.A. - 1997
    • Honors: Dean's Honors
    • Major: English

Published Works

  • San Joaquin County General Plan Update Process, Author, September 2012
  • Going Green Can Be a Sound Legal Investment, Author, Delta Breeze, A Monthly Building Industry Resource, June 2008
  • California Water Law and Policy, Co-Author, California Resources Agency, 1999
  • Interactive CEQA Process Flow Chart, Co-Author, California Resources Agency, 1998

Representative Cases

United State Supreme Court

  • Brown v. Plata - amicus brief on behalf of Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce regarding State prison health care challenges and impacts to Stockton area, 131 S.Ct. 1910 (2011)

California Supreme Court

  • Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court - represented community group in challenging City's decision to adopt voter-proposed initiative without undertaking CEQA review or holding election, 59 Cal. 4th 1029 (2014)

California Courts of Appeal

  • Citizens for Ceres v. Superior Court - (5th DCA) – represented petitioner in writ challenging administrative record where public agency omitted pre-approval documents exchanged with developer on basis of privilege. Court held public agency and project applicant do not have a "common interest" sufficient to allow pre-approval information exchanges to be excluded from administrative record on basis of privilege, 217 Cal.App.4th 889 (2013)
  • Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court – (5th DCA) – review granted and opinion superseded by Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. S.C. (Cal. 2013) 152 Cal.Rptr.3d 808, 210 Cal.App.4th 1006 (2012)
  • Citizens for Open Government v. City of Lodi - (3rd DCA) - represented community group challenging certification of revised EIR and City's decision to omit documents from record based on claims of privilege, 205 Cal.App.4th 296 (2012)
  • Tracy First v. City of Tracy - (3rd DCA) - represented community group in challenging City's certification of revised EIR and approval of commercial project, 177 Cal.App.4th. 912 (2009)
  • San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Ctr. V. Co. of Merced - (5th DCA) - represented applicant in defending approvals and EIR certification for aggregate mining project, 149 Cal.App.4th 625 (2007)
  • American Canyon Comm. United for Resp. Growth v. City of American Canyon - (1st DCA) - represented community group in challenging approval of supercenter retail project. First reported decision finding public agency erred in failing to prepare supplemental environmental review where Pub.Res.C. §21166 protections applied , 145 Cal.App.4th 1062 (2006)
  • Anderson First Coalition v. City of Anderson - (3rd DCA) - represented community group in challenging approval of commercial project. Court held urban decay analysis was sufficient but traffic mitigation fees were not sufficiently tied to an enforceable plan or program, 130 Cal.App.4th 1173 (2005)
  • Bakersfield Citizens for Local Control v. City of Bakersfield - (5th DCA) - Represented community group in challenging city's concurrent approval of two large retail projects without adequately addressing individual or cumulative environmental effects from both projects. First reported case to address need to consider "urban decay" effects in CEQA review", 124 Cal.App.4th 1184 (2004)


  • Speaker: Get in the Zone: A Practical Guide to Land Use and Zoning Law, 2015, San Joaquin County Bar Association Masters MCLE Series
  • Speaker: School Impact Fees, 2005 California Building Industry Association, Select Conference on Industry Litigation
  • Speaker: Real Estate Development from Beginning to End in California, 2004, Lorman Education Services seminar

Honors and Awards

  • “Superb” AVVO® rating in the areas of land use and appeals
  • Super Lawyers® listing in land use -- Thompson Reuters/San Francisco Magazine (2016)
  • Super Lawyers® “Rising Star” in land use -- Thompson Reuters/San Francisco Magazine (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015)
  • Recipient of Building Industry Association of the Delta’s “Commitment to Excellence Award” (2007)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • San Joaquin County Bar Association (Member, 2001 – present; Board of Governors, 2003-2007)
  • Property, Land Use, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental (“PLANE”) Section of the San Joaquin County Bar Association (Executive Committee Vice President/Founding Member 2016 – present)
  • State Bar of California Environmental Law Section, Member (2001-Present)
  • Building Industry Association of the Delta Government Relations Committee and Stockton Task Force (2008-2011)
  • State Bar of California, California Young Lawyers Association( Board of Directors, 2006-2010; President, 2009-2010)
  • Barristers' Section of the San Joaquin County Bar Association (Executive Committee 2002-2007; President 2004-2005)

Past Employment Positions

  • Herum Crabtree Suntag Attorneys, Shareholder (2009-2015)/Associate (2000-2008)
  • California Integrated Waste Management Board (now called the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery or “CalRecycle”), Law Clerk (1999-2000)
  • California Resources Agency, Law Clerk (1998-1999)
  • Senator Patrick Johnston (Stockton), Legislative Intern (1997)

Pro Bono Activities

  • North Stockton Rotary (Member, 2009-present; President, 2013-2014)
  • Stockton Youth Soccer Association (Volunteer Coach, 2014-present)
  • YMCA of San Joaquin County (Board of Directors 2012-2014; youth sports coach 2011-2013; Adventure Guides member 2011-2015)
  • Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce Leadership Stockton Program, Class of 2002
  • Targeted Opportunities to Prevent Pollution in San Joaquin County (Advisory Committee member, 2000-2002)

Schedule a Consultation

Please call us at (209) 477-8171 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with attorney Brett Jolley.