Jonathan Riker is Of Counsel and member of the Land Use Department.
Raised in Southern California with degrees in law and urban planning and extensive experiences in the private, public and non-profit sectors, Jonathan brings a unique perspective to the firm. For the past ten years, his practice has focused on land use, planning and zoning regulations, governmental administrative law, local housing laws, building code enforcement and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance. Prior to practicing law, Jonathan coordinated environmental review for large-scale development projects as a planner with the Los Angeles City Planning Department, including several high profile mixed-use and multifamily housing projects in Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles and Century City. As a result of his experience, he gained inside knowledge of the city’s environmental and land use approval processes. Jonathan has used this knowledge to assist numerous real estate developers and property owners in obtaining zoning approvals, conditional use permits and other land use entitlements from the city of Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions. He frequently conducts land use and environmental due diligence for perspective real estate purchasers and has assisted property owners in removing a variety of code violations imposed by local government agencies. He is an expert in implementation of the State Ellis Act and housing-related issues, including Density Bonus law. Jonathan is also a recognized local CEQA expert and serves as an environmental law instructor with the UCLA Extension Public Policy Program.
Jonathan started his legal career at Armbruster & Goldsmith, LLP, where he focused on due diligence research, land use entitlements and CEQA clearance. He has also served as an expert consultant for ICF International—a global environmental consulting firm, where he advised government agencies on compliance with CEQA and other environmental laws. He has worked with Ellia Thompson, Partner and Chair of the Land Use Group since 2013
Jonathan obtained his B.A. from Columbia University and J.D. from Tulane Law School in 1998. After finishing law school, he received a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning (M.U.R.P.) from the University of New Orleans and became the Co-Director of a legal non-profit organization in New Orleans, focused on juvenile law. He is a passionate advocate of sustainable development practices and in 2008 became one of the first attorneys in Los Angeles to become an Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). He has written about the topic in Los Angeles Lawyer magazine and other publications. Jonathan has also volunteered with Public Counsel, a pro-bono law firm in Los Angeles, where he served on the Land Use Committee.
Jonathan lives with his wife in Larchmont Village. He enjoys traveling, music and is a fluent French speaker.