rwgSteven H. Kaufmann
Steven H. KaufmannShareholderLos Angeles







Steven H. Kaufmann is a shareholder at Richards, Watson & Gershon and Chair of the Firm’s Coastal Law Department. For 34 years, Mr. Kaufmann has represented either the California Coastal Commission itself or represented landowners, developers and public entities with matters before that agency. His work has involved a broad array of Coastal Commission administrative matters, as well as a substantial amount of litigation involving challenges to or defense of Commission decisions. Mr. Kaufmann’s experience includes every aspect of California coastal regulation, including coastal development permits, appeals, federal consistency review and appeals to the Secretary of Commerce, exemptions, local coastal programs, public works plans, enforcement, and legislation, as well as related local entitlements and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). His work has produced successful results for clients on a host of projects involving complex energy or transportation-related issues; wetlands, environmentally sensitive habitat, or other habitat-related issues; golf courses, traditional hotels, timeshares, condominium hotels; and residences, subdivisions, commercial uses, and marinas. He has successfully challenged and defended decisions made by the Commission on coastal development permits, local coastal program amendments, and federal consistency.

Prior to RW&G, Mr. Kaufmann was employed by the California Attorney General’s Office, and represented the Coastal Commission as his primary client from 1977 to 1991, as well other state agencies, including the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, California State Lands Commission, and State Department of Fish and Game. He advised the Coastal Commission and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy at public hearings and handled a wide variety of opinion and litigation matters for both agencies. In 1990, he received the California Attorney General’s Award for Excellence for his efforts on behalf of the Coastal Commission. Mr. Kaufmann joined RW&G in 1991.

Mr. Kaufmann is a contributing author of the CEB treatise, California Administrative Mandamus 3d ed), and has participated as a speaker at the 2007 California State Lands Commission Workshop on Public Trust, Timeshares and the Public Trust, and at the 2009 California Coastal Law Conference, What Happens When a Locally-Issued Permit is Appealed for Review by the Coastal Commission and Federal Consistency – The Nuts and Bolts. He is listed in Southern California Super Lawyers (2005, 2007-2014). Mr. Kaufmann participated as a member of the Los Angeles Superior Court Ad Hoc Committee on CEQA Writs of Mandate, and assisted in the drafting of the local superior court rule governing CEQA mandate actions.

Since joining the firm, Mr. Kaufmann also has successfully obtained judgments in writ and civil litigation matters involving land use, CEQA and administrative law issues for the cities of Agoura Hills, Artesia, Beverly Hills, Buena Park, Malibu, Monrovia, Norwalk, Palmdale, Rancho Cucamonga, Rolling Hills, Seal Beach, West Hollywood and Westlake Village and for the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and Nipomo and Los Osos Community Services Districts.


B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1971
J.D., Loyola University School of Law, Los Angeles, 1974

Practice Areas

Administrative Law
Appellate Law
Coastal Act and CEQA Litigation
Coastal Law
Land Use
Public Agency and Municipal Law Litigation