Robert K. Break retired from the partnership in December 2003. Mr. Break's practice focused on land use matters, including land use and environmental litigation, with a particular expertise in zoning and general plan matters, redevelopment agency projects, federal and state endangered species act issues, vesting rights under federal and state law for development projects, California Coastal Act requirements and processing, environmental impact report (EIR) and other procedural requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act. Mr. Break was a member of Governor Deukmejian's CEQA/Housing Task Force, created in the early 1980s to explore the impact of CEQA on housing costs and identify ways to lessen that impact. He has also ghost-authored portions of CEQA as it is now codified. He assisted in the preparation and review of environmental documents, and he litigated CEQA cases where EIRs were challenged. Mr. Break was a member of the Regulatory Streamlining Task Force of Governor Wilson's Council on California Competitiveness.
Mr. Break has extensive experience with large-scale residential development and mixed use development projects. His clients included major landowners and developers throughout Southern California, including The Irvine Company, for which Mr. Break acted as primary land use lawyer for more than 15 years, Mobil Oil Company (the M-70 Pipeline project), Rancho Santa Margarita (the Las Flores project), Maguire/Thomas Partners and Summa Corporation (Playa Vista in West Los Angeles), Henley Properties and The Koll Company (Bolsa Chica), Landmark Land Development Company (Oak Valley and La Quinta in San Bernardino County), Pepperdine University and Occidental of Elk Hills Inc. Mr. Break also represented local governmental agencies in land use matters, including the City of Laguna Hills, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Newport Mesa Unified School District and the City of Newport Beach.
In addition to traditional land use representation, Mr. Break litigated land use disputes. In recognition of his litigation expertise, Mr. Break was appointed by the judges sitting on the Writs and Receivers panel in Los Angeles Superior Court to serve on a CEQA Ad Hoc Committee to write its local rules for handling all CEQA cases.
At the time of his retirement, Mr. Break was a member of the Orange County and American Bar Associations. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Orange County YMCA.