Phone: (619) 231-5858
Fax: (619) 231-5853
- Best Lawyers Recipient
- 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Environmental Law by Martindale-Hubbell and ALM
- Selected as a San Diego “SuperLawyer” annually since 2009
- Martindale-Hubbell Ranking AV Preeminent for more than 10 years
Suzanne R. Varco is the managing partner of Environmental Law Group LLP, formerly known as Opper & Varco LLP in San Diego, California. Ms. Varco’s private law practice concentrates in areas of brownfields’ redevelopment, hazardous waste cleanup, environmental, real estate transactions involving environmental issues, environmental permitting, underground storage tank issues, CEQA compliance and litigation, and environmental litigation. Ms. Varco has extensive experience working with local, state and federal regulatory agencies. “SuperLawyer” magazine has selected Ms. Varco as one of the top environmental lawyers since 2009.
Ms. Varco is the current President of the Horton Plaza Theaters Foundation and is a member of the executive committee for Lambda Alpha International. Ms. Varco received her Bachelor of Arts with distinction in English and Economics from Whitman College in 1987. Ms. Varco received her Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1992, where she won first place in the Roger J. Traynor Constitutional Law and the Law and Motions Moot Court competitions, was awarded Best Oral Advocate in the Alumni Tort Moot Court competition, and was a member of the National Moot Court team and a member of the Moot Court Board.
In 1992 Ms. Varco was admitted to practice law in the courts of California and in the United States District Courts for the Southern, Central, Eastern, and Northern Districts of California. Ms. Varco is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Ms. Varco is a member of the Environmental Law Sections of the California Bar Association, American Bar Association, and San Diego County Bar Association, is the Past-President of the San Diego Environmental Professionals, and is the former Chairperson of the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health Site Assessment and Mitigation Division Steering Committee. Ms. Varco received a B.A. degree with a major in English from Whitman College and a J.D. degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Opper & Varco LLP – San Diego, California
Managing partner, December 2000 to present (formerly Varco & Associates). Private law practice concentrating in the redevelopment of contaminated properties, hazardous waste cleanup, state environmental compliance counseling, environmental permitting, land use, business and real estate transaction environmental issues, and underground storage tank issues.
Peters & Varco LLP – San Diego, California
Partner, November 1996 to December 2000 (formerly Suzanne R. Varco & Associates). Private law practice concentrating in environmental compliance, regulation and litigation, appellate work, and general business litigation. Experience includes hazardous waste contamination compliance and litigation, UST Cleanup Fund reimbursement, CEQA Guideline preparation and litigation, environmental permitting, corporate law, general business litigation, and writs and appeals.
Wittman, Mitchell & Skola – San Diego, California
Associate Attorney, January 1996 to October 1996. Appellate work, environmental compliance and litigation, general business litigation, and transactional work. Represented and advised clients on specific issues relating to hazardous waste contamination compliance and litigation, UST Cleanup Fund reimbursement, CEQA compliance, environmental permitting, as well as general civil litigation, construction defect litigation, and appellate work.
Lorenz Alhadeff Cannon & Rose – San Diego, California
Associate Attorney, May 1991 to January 1996. Practice included environmental litigation, general business litigation, and appellate work. Specific case work included hazardous waste litigation, environmental insurance, California Fish& Game and Clean Water Act violations, CEQA litigation, hazardous activity strict liability, water rights and drainage liability, securities litigation, general business litigation, writs, and appeals.
Environmental Law Clinic – University of San Diego School of Law – San Diego, California
Student Attorney, August 1990 to May 1991. 1992 Outstanding Environmental Clinic Intern Award. Cases handled involved public trust violations, Clean Water Act violations, NEPA permitting procedures, and land use planning.
- University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California, J.D., 1992
Advocacy Experience and Awards: National Moot Court Team; State Moot Court Team; Moot Court Board; First Place, Constitutional Law Competition; First Place, Law and Motions Competition; Best Oral Advocate, Tort Competition; Best Appellate Brief, Lawyering Skills I; Oral Advocacy Specialist.
Specialized Courses: Environmental Clinic, Environmental Law, Environmental Torts, Water Law, Advanced Trial Advocacy, Negotiations, Tax, and Corporations.
- Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, B.A. 1987
English major, Economics minor
Honors: Honors at Entrance, Dean’s List, Distinction in oral examinations in English.
Specialized Courses: Environmental Studies, Geology and Paleontology.
Citizens for Responsible Equitable Envt’l Dev. v. City of San Diego, 184 Cal. App. 4th 1032 (2010).
San Diego Housing Commission v. Industrial Indemnity, 68 Cal.App.4th 526 (1998).
Hardin Oldsmobile v. New Motor Vehicle Board, 52 Cal. App. 4th 585 (1997).
Miller v. Superior Court, 50 Cal.App.4th 1665 (1996).
SPEAKING AND PUBLICATIONS
- San Diego Housing Federation, Housing Development Law and Policy, San Diego, California, September 2012, September 2013.
Assoc. of Environmental Professionals, CEQA Basics Workshop, San Diego, California, October 2011, October 2012.
- Environmental Protection Agency, Western Brownfields Workshop, Missoula, Montana, September 2010.
- San Diego Environmental Professionals, Environmental Legislative Update, San Diego, California, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.
- Industrial Environmental Assoc., Plating Shop Compliance Update, San Diego, California, October 2008.
- Industrial Environmental Assoc., Plating Shop Workshop, San Diego, California, November 2007.
- American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy & Resources, Emerging Environmental Litigation Option, San Diego, California, October 2006.
- Lorman Education Services, Affordable Housing in San Diego, San Diego, California,
August 2003, February 2005, and February 2006.
- Lorman Education Services, Local Government and the Law, San Diego, California, May 2003.
- Lorman Education Services, Eminent Domain in California, San Diego, California,
October 2002, November 2004, and November 2005.
- Co-author, “Environmental Aspects of Property Redevelopment,” San Diego County Site Assessment and Mitigation 2000 SAM Manual, San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, 2000.
- University of California, San Diego Extension, Guest Lecturer, State and Federal Hazardous Waste Laws, San Diego, California, May 1998.
Continuing Education of the Bar Seminar, Hazardous Waste and Real Property Transactions, San Diego and Santa Barbara, California, February 1998.
- “Common Law Environmental Claims in California,” Hazardous Waste and Real Property Transactions Program Handbook, CEB, February 1998.
- Women’s Environmental Council, Fishing with the Net: Environmental Resources on the Internet, San Diego, California, July 1997.
- Women’s Environmental Council, Effective Negotiating, San Diego, Orange County, California, July 1997.
|State Bar of California||U.S. District Court, Southern District|
|U.S. District Court, Central District||U.S. District Court, Northern District|
|U.S. District Court, Eastern District||U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit|
- State Bar of California, Environmental Law Section
- San Diego County Bar Association, Environmental and Land Use Law Sections
- Past-Chair, County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, Site Assessment and Mitigation Division Steering Committee
- Past President, San Diego Environmental Professionals (formerly Association of Hazardous Materials Professionals)
- Urban Land Institute
- Lambda Alpha International
- National Brownfields Association