Diana H. Varat is Of Counsel in Richards, Watson & Gershon's Public Law Department. She represents public agencies in a wide range of government law issues with an emphasis on land use and planning, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and conflicts of interest.
Drawing from her background in urban planning, Diana has extensive experience preparing and reviewing general plan updates, specific plans, and zoning code amendments. She has drafted numerous ordinances to implement local housing elements on topics including: emergency shelters, transitional and supportive housing, single-room occupancy hotels, density bonuses, and reasonable accommodations procedures. In addition, she assists clients in preparing safety element updates to comply with California requirements related to fires, flooding, and earthquakes.
As an expert in ethics laws, Diana helps public officials analyze potential conflicts of interest under the Political Reform Act and Government Code Section 1090. Every year, Diana updates the RWG Conflicts of Interest Handbook to help public officials navigate California's complex conflict laws.
In addition to her legal practice, Diana serves as a Lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She currently teaches courses for both graduate and undergraduate students on urbanization in the U.S. and the development of Los Angeles.
Diana is a member of the American Planning Association (APA) and served as Vice Director of Policy for the APA's Los Angeles Section (APA LA) from 2010-2012. In coordination with APA LA, Diana provides an annual training on planning and land use law for practicing planners who are preparing to take the American Institute of Certified Planners' (AICP) certification exam.
Diana was a member of RWG's 2007 class of summer associates before joining the firm as an associate in 2008. While in law school, she earned her Master of Arts in Urban Planning with a concentration in housing. Before embarking on her law degree, Diana worked for the city planning department in Dresden, Germany. She was also a project associate for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Comparative Urban Studies Project in Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2003.