Susan Hori

Partner and Co-Chair, Land Use
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Susan Hori’s practice focuses on land use planning issues, including development entitlements and regulatory permits for real estate development projects and the resolution of environmental issues affecting real property. The hallmark of Susan’s practice is her track record of success in navigating the complex process of multiagency permits and approvals. Her clients include landowners, financial institutions, developers and builders in the residential, retail, hotel/resort, and commercial and industrial development industries.

Susan represents clients on issues involving state and federal regulations, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the California Coastal Act, Section 404 permitting under the Clean Water Act, National Historic Preservation Act compliance and Endangered Species Act permitting, including work on habitat conservation plans.

Susan also serves as the administrative partner of Manatt’s Orange County office and is a member of the real estate and land use practice groups and the firm’s Board of Directors.

Susan has been repeatedly recognized as a “distinguished land use practitioner” by Chambers and Partners, has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2005, and has been named a Top 25 “Land Use Leader” by the Daily Journal.

Prior to entering private practice, Susan clerked for the Alaska Supreme Court and served as an attorney with the Solicitor’s Office in the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., where she represented the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


  • University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, J.D., 1979 Managing Editor, Ecology Law Quarterly, 1978-1979

Moot Court Board, 1978-1979

  • University of Washington, B.A., magna cum laude, 1976

Memberships and Activities

  • Member, ULI Orange County/Inland Empire District Advisory Board
  • Admitted to practice in California and Washington, D.C.
  • Conference Co-Coordinator, UCLA Extension, Land Use Law and Planning Conference, 1998-present
  • Member, Chief Executive Roundtable at University of California, Irvine
  • Member, Board of Directors of Arts Orange County
  • Member, Dean’s Council of the School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine
  • Member, Board of Directors of the Orange County Forum
  • Executive Committee Member and Legislation Co-Chair, State Bar of California, Environmental Law Section, 1997-2000; Executive Committee Advisor, 2000-2006; Member, Legislation Committee, 2000-2006
  • Executive Committee Member, State Bar of California, Real Property Section, 1987-1992

Honors and Awards

  • Named Best Lawyers 2019 Orange County Land Use & Zoning Law “Lawyer of the Year
  • Top Women Lawyers in California, Daily Journal, 2016
  • Named Best Lawyers® 2016 Orange County Real Estate Law “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Distinguished Fellow, Department of Planning, Policy and Design, University of California, Irvine, 2015-2016
  • Top 50 Development, Land Use and Municipal Infrastructure Lawyers, Daily Journal, 2014
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2010-2018
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2005-2019
  • Named one of California’s Top 25 “Land Use Leaders” for 2011 by the Daily Journal
  • The Legal 500, 2008-2009
  • Named one of SoCal’s Most Influential Women in Real Estate by Real Estate Southern California, 2005


Successfully re-entitled over 2,400 acres located adjacent to the Lytle Creek Wash in San Bernardino County. The entitlements included adoption of a new Specific Plan, pre-annexation and development agreement, and certification of the Environmental Impact Review (EIR) for 8,400 residential units and 849,420 square feet of commercial development.

Obtained approvals for the development of a mixed-use community consisting of 1,375 residential units, 75,000 square feet of commercial space, and a 75-room boutique hotel on a 400-acre site that is currently an operating oil field in the Newport Beach coastal zone. The entitlements included an amendment to the city’s General Plan, Circulation Element, Zoning Amendment, Pre-Annexation Zone Change, Planned Community Text Zoning, Master Development Plan, Tentative Tract Map and Pre-Annexation and Development Agreement, as well as certification of the EIR.

Represented a developer in obtaining land use entitlements and local, state and federal permits for its master-planned residential development in Orange County, which includes major infrastructure improvements and new infrastructure construction. The permits and approvals obtained were from numerous regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Regional Water Quality Control Board and California Department of Fish and Game. The land use entitlements included CEQA compliance, preparation of a program to address the EIR, and a development agreement.

Represented a landowner/developer in obtaining land use entitlements for a 3,000-acre master-planned community in Riverside County, which included a major transportation corridor improvement and extensive areas of habitat preservation. The land use entitlements included a General Plan Amendment, a Specific Plan, and certification of an EIR.

Represented an S&P 100 company and the largest real estate company in the United States in obtaining the necessary development permit modifications and CEQA documentation for the renovation and expansion of one of the company’s largest shopping malls.

Represented a religious order in entitling a 100-acre ranch in connection with the development of a new church and school in the Silverado Canyon area of Orange County. The entitlements included a Site Development Permit, Use Permit and certification of the EIR

Represented a diversified national real estate organization in obtaining all land use entitlements and local, state and federal permits in connection with the development of a 582-room luxury hotel located on over 100 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean.