Mitchell M. Tsai

Principal
(626) 381 - 9248

Mitchell M. Tsai specializes in environmental, land use, and real estate litigation, while also handling immigration and bankruptcy matters. He has represented individuals, companies, and organizations in environmental and business disputes in both federal and state court as well as many administrative proceedings before local boards, commissions and councils.

Prior to working for this Office, Tsai served as an Associate with The Law Office of Gideon Kracov where he handled environmental cases involving environmental impact review ( National Environmental Policy Act, California Environmental Quality Act), pollution control (Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act), hazardous waste (Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act commonly known as Superfund), consumer safety (Proposition 65), and land use.

Prior to passing the Bar, Mr. Tsai worked as a law clerk at the United States Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Section, Santa Monica Baykeeper (now known as Los Angeles Waterkeeper), Environment Now, Law Offices of Robert Ukeiley, and Rod Danielson Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee.

Mr. Tsai received his law degree along with a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources law from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. While in law school, he served as Managing Editor of Environmental Law review, the nation’s oldest law review dedicated solely to environmental issues. He also served as Air Quality Coordinator for the Northwest Environmental Defense Center. He received his undergraduate degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California.

Prior to practicing law, Mr. Tsai worked as a policy advocate and researcher on international peacekeeping, environmental justice, pollution control, and climate change issues. During that time, he worked at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, California League of Conservation Voters, Taiwan Environmental Action Network, and the Fund for Public Interest Research.

In his free time, Mr. Tsai enjoys running, hiking, bicycling, and ice hockey. He is an avid supporter of USC Trojan football, Los Angeles Kings hockey, and the Portland Timbers Football Club.

Mr. Tsai is proficient in Mandarin Chinese.

Education

Lewis & Clark Law School Portland, OR

J.D. & Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources May, 2010

  • Managing Editor of Environmental Law

University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA

B.A. International Relations with a Minor in Gender Studies May 2005

  • Trojan Debate Squad, 4 year scholarship member for Policy Debate.

Court Admissions

  • California Supreme Court
  • United States District Court for the Central District of California

Presentations, Publications & Awards

  • Mitchell Tsai, “How To Stop Major Development Projects in California” New American Leaders Fellowship Meeting (Dec. 4, 2013).
  • Gideon Kracov, Shufan Sung, & Mitchell M. Tsai, “Can Citizen Suits Help China Battle Pollution” Los Angeles Daily Journal (Jan. 8, 2014).
  • Mitchell M. Tsai, “CEQA ‘Reform’ Begins To Take Hold” Los Angeles Daily Journal” (Aug. 25, 2014).
  • Mitchell M. Tsai, “Til The Well Runs Dry: Administrative Record Preparation Cost Recovery Under The California Environmental Quality Act” American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Energy and Natural Resources Litigation Committee Newsletter (Dec. 2014).
  • Mitchell M. Tsai, “Concerns about a CEQA Reform That Favors Multimodal Transportation” Los Angeles Lawyer” (Jan. 2015).
  • Mitchell M. Tsai, “The Ports of Los Angeles And Long Beach Backstop Rule: An Indirect Way For States To Make Polluters Live Up To Their Commitments”  American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Air Quality Committee Newsletter (July 2015)
  • Southern California Leadership Network, 2013-2014 New American Leaders Fellow –Fellowship program providing leadership and communications training to develop leadership skills for first and second generation Americans.

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Article concerning the use of Vehicle Miles Traveled over Level of Service as a metric for determining Transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act. , Author, Concerns about a CEQA Reform That Favors Multimodal Transportation, Los Angeles Lawye, 2015
  • Fellowship program providing leadership and communications training to develop leadership skills for first and second generation Americans. , Southern California Leadership Network, 2013-2014 New American Leaders Fellow, 2014
  • Article discussing the use of Indirect Source Review authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate Port Pollution. , Author, The Ports of Los Angeles And Long Beach Backstop Rule: An Indirect Way For States To Make Polluters Live Up To Their Commitments, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Air Quality Committee Newsletter, 2015
  • Article discussing the use of delegated federal authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate air pollutant transportation sources in Southern California, The Ports of Los Angeles And Long Beach Backstop Rule: An Indirect Way For States To Make Polluters Live Up To Their Commitments, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Air Quality Committee Newsletter, 2015
  • Article discussing case law concerning administrative record preparation under the California Environmental Quality Act. , Author, Til The Well Runs Dry: Administrative Record Preparation Cost Recovery Under The California Environmental Quality Act, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Energy and Natural Resources Litigation Committee Newslette, 2014
  • Mitchell M. Tsai, “CEQA ‘Reform’ Begins To Take Hold” Los Angeles Daily Journal (Aug. 25, 2014)., Author, CEQA ‘Reform’ Begins To Take Hold, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 2014
    Gideon Kracov, Shufan Sung, & Mitchell M. Tsai, “Can Citizen Suits Help China Battle Pollution” Los Angeles Daily Journal (Jan. 8, 2014)., Co-Author, Can Citizen Suits Help China Battle Pollution, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 2014
  • Article discussing the State’s proposed transition from Level of Service to Vehicle Miles Traveled CEQA transportation analysis., Author, Concerns about a CEQA Reform That Favors Multimodal Transportation, LA Lawyer Magazine, 2015

Verdicts/Settlements:

  • Obtained favorable settlement of Arroyo Seco Foundation et al v. County of Los Angeles (LASC Case No. BS152772 / 2DCA Case No. B288034, LASC Case No. BS171826) on behalf of clients Arroyo Seco Foundation and Pasadena Audubon Society with the County of Los Angeles regarding the Devil’s Gate Dam Sediment Removal Project, a $500 million dam maintenance project. This resulted in increased habitat preservation, reduced air quality impacts and enhanced the environmental and recreational resources at Hahamongna Watershed Park. The settlement received significant media coverage, some of which can be seen at https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2020/07/08/after-lengthy-legal-battle-pasadena-groups-victorious-at-devils-gate-dam/, 2020
  • Obtained favorable settlement in Climate Resolve v. California Department of Transportation (LASC Case No. BS166680) between the California Department of Transportation and Climate Resolve, halting the highway portion of the proposed High Desert Corridor Project. The settlement received significant media coverage, some of which can be seen here https://la.streetsblog.org/2019/10/02/caltrans-settles-environment-lawsuit-cancels-high-desert-freeway-project/, 2019
  • Obtained Writ of Mandate in Lydia Ponce v. City of Los Angeles (LASC Case No. BS169426) halting construction of a proposed warehouse on the former site of the South Central Farm, which at one point was the largest urban farm in the United States. The case received significant media coverage, some of which can be seen here at https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-farm-ruling-20180809-story.html., 2018
  • Obtained Writ of Mandate issued in Arroyo Seco Foundation & Pasadena Audubon Society v. County of Los Angeles (BS152771), et al in favor of clients Arroyo Seco Foundation and Pasadena Audubon Society halting the Devil’s Gate Dam Sediment Removal Project, a $500 million dam maintenance project that had been set to remove someof the last remaining wetlands habitat in Southern California. The win attracted notable media coverage, which can be seen here at https://www.scpr.org/news/2017/03/23/70136/environmentalists-win-temporary-halt-to-devil-s-ga/, 2017
  • Obtained favorable settlement of SAJE v. City of Los Angeles (LASC Case No. BS166691), a challenge to the City’s approval of a $1.2 billion redevelopment project at 1933 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, known as The Reef / LA Mart that resulted in tripling the amount of affordable housing required for the Project. The settlement received significant media attention, some of which can be seen here at http://www.ladowntownnews.com/development/at-the-reef-mega-project-a-battle-and-resolution/article_613c06b4-b068-11e7-9e04-b798a88b60ee.html, 2017