Stephanie Smith

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Land Use & Zoning Attorney in Del Mar, CA

Grid Legal, LLP
 | 1330 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014
Phone: 619-363-1471
Selected To Rising Stars: 2020 - 2021
Licensed Since: 2010
Practice Areas:
  • Land Use/Zoning (40%),
  • Environmental (20%),
  • Schools & Education (10%),
  • Real Estate: Business (10%),
  • Government Contracts (10%),
  • Eminent Domain (10%)
  • Free Consultation
  • Virtual Appointments
Attorney Profile

Stephanie Smith is an attorney with Grid Legal in Del Mar, California. A top-ranked lawyer and emerging leader in her field, Ms. Smith provides unmatched counsel and support to a diverse range of clients throughout San Diego County and all across the state who have legal needs involving any of the following:

·       Land use, environmental reviews and government relations

·       Boundary disputes, easements and title claims

·       Real estate and business transactions

As an attorney, Ms. Smith regularly advises her clients on real property issues, including sales and leases, developments, land use and zoning, and other areas. She has extensive experience handling complex boundary disputes and easement issues, and she has gained a reputation for her in-depth legal knowledge as well as her unwavering commitment to helping her clients achieve their goals and the favorable outcomes they seek as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Her client base has ranged from private homeowners to developers and real estate investors to business and commercial clients, and she has received numerous testimonials and referrals from those she has served. She has also received designation as being among the top 2.5% of lawyers in her region, and she has gained invaluable experience with how local governments and municipalities handle complex land use projects.

A 2005 graduate of the University of Washington, where she was a dean's scholar, Ms. Smith attended Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctor cum laude in 2010. While there, she served as editor for the Pepperdine Law Review as well as a faculty research assistant. 

She is an active member of the Urban Land Institute as well as the Environmental Law, Land Use Law and Real Property Law Sections of the San Diego County Bar Association. She is also a member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and she has served a mayoral appointment on the Mission Bay Park Committee. She also holds her license as a real estate broker in California.

Practice Areas
  • 40%Land Use/Zoning
  • 20%Environmental
  • 10%Schools & Education
  • 10%Real Estate: Business
  • 10%Government Contracts
  • 10%Eminent Domain
Focus Areas

Environmental Law, Education, Schools, Landlord/Tenant


top-imageSelected to Rising Stars for 2 years

Rising Stars: 2020 - 2021

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About Stephanie Smith

Admitted: 2010, California

Professional Webpage:


  • Super Lawyers, Recognized as a Top Rated Real Estate and Land Use & Zoning Attorney in San Diego, CA and as a Rising Star in 2020

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • California Broker's License from the Bureau of Real Estate, 2017

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Urban Land Institute, Member of the San Diego Small Scale Infill Development Committee (SSID)
  • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Transportation & Land Development Committee
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Member of the Environmental Law, Land Use Law, and Real Property Law Sections
  • Mission Bay Park Committee, Appointed by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Serve on the Mission Bay Park Committee as a representative member at large, 2020
  • Obtained Special Immigration Juvenile Status for a girl in Santa Maria, CA.
  • Volunteer at Francis Parker, 2020
  • Obtained 501(c)3 status for Abina which is a non-profit doing work in Costa Rica

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Author, “A Tree Falls in a Park. Does it Make a Sound? The Adjacent Property Owner Probably Does.” October 20, 2017, Client Alert.
  • Author, “Calif. Real Property Transactions May Need CEQA Review.” Law360, October 6, 2017.
  • Private parties who plan to jump into a real property transaction with a public agency should be aware that their deal could be impacted or held up by the California Environmental Quality Act.If not fully informed of the recent legal developments pertaining to CEQA compliance and real property, parties may find themselves unable to close the deal on time or caught up in lengthy and costly litigation., Author, Calif. Real Property Transactions May Need CEQA Review, Law 360, Real Estate, 2017
  • Speaker, CEQA and Land Use Panel, San Diego County Bar Association, June 27, 2018
  • Author, “Considerations When Using CEQA To Fight Land Use Projects.” Law360, April 11, 2019.
  • Visiting Adjunct Professor, USD School of Law, Land Use Regulation, Sept. 12, 2019
  • Speaker, CREW San Diego, San Diego Development and Planning Update, Oct 29, 2019.
  • As everyone is adjusting to comply with California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent order to stay in place, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions on how the coronavirus and the resulting slowdown of the world as we know it will affect real estate transactions, development projects and standard operating procedure for ongoing businesses., Co-Author, What COVID-19 Means For Calif. Real Estate And Use Permits, Law 360, Developers, Infill Developers, Land Use, Landlords, 2020
  • Panel discussing CEQA requirements related to cannabis development, Panelist, Don’t Let Regulations Cannibalize Your Cannabis Client, San Diego County Bar Association, Attorneys, Brokers, Developers, Public Agencies, Real Estate, Realtors, 2018
  • Article discussing the use of CEQA to fight land use projects, Author, Considerations When Using CEQA to Fight Land Use Projects, Law 360, Developers, Public Agencies, Real Estate, 2019
  • Guest lecturer to law students regarding general plan compliance, Guest lecturer at USD Law School Land Use class on General Plan compliance, Lecturer, Law Students, 2019
  • Discussion on land use development regulations, housing updates, and the Californian Environmental Quality Act impacting development in the San Diego Region, Panelist, San Diego Planning and Development Updates, California Real Estate Women (CREW), Banking, Developers, Public Agencies, Real Estate, 2019


  • Represent seller in a 11.5M transaction, 2020

Representative Clients:

  • Selected by SANDAG for on-call, environmental legal services for a fiver year term, 2020
  • Represent residential homeowner in matter dealing with drainage and possible inverse condemnation claims, 2020
  • Represented developer proposing a subdivision in San Diego County including issues dealing with road access agreements, the endangered species act, and the California Environmental Quality Act, 2019
  • Represented clients doing a subdivision in Tustin, including issues related to hazardous materials under the property as well as proposed clean up by the federal government, 2020

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Selected by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as an on-call law firm to represent SANDAG in environmental matters for a five year term starting January 2020
  • Appointed to the Mission Bay Park Committee by the Mayor of San Diego, 2019

Educational Background:

  • Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle as a Dean's Scholar

Industry Groups

  • Businesses
  • Commercial And Residential Developers
  • Corporations
  • Homeowners
  • Homeowners
  • Individuals.
  • Infill Developers
  • Public Agencies
  • Renewable Energy
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Office Location for Stephanie Smith

1330 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014

Phone: 619-363-1471

Stephanie Smith:

Last Updated: 4/8/2021

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