Having practiced real estate, land use, and environmental law in the Pacific Northwest for over thirty years, Jay Derr enjoys and excels in applying his experience to help clients identify options, create opportunities, and develop and implement planning and permitting strategies to achieve successful and sustainable use and development of natural resource and real estate assets.

Working for both public and private sector clients, Jay’s comprehensive understanding of market, economic, and public interests and environmental protection allows him to guide clients and their projects through to completion. Increasingly, Jay’s practice has focused on land use and environmental representation with regard to the development and operation of energy export infrastructure at marine terminals and West Coast ports.

Jay balances various factors and considerations to successfully negotiate the appropriate scope of SEPA and NEPA environmental review and mitigation; to present concise, complete, and convincing records for state and local agency decision makers; to prepare complete and enforceable development mitigation agreements implementing those decisions; and, when necessary, to aggressively defend his client’s interests and decisions before state environmental administrative tribunals, superior courts, and the Washington Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. 

As a veteran navigator of SEPA, the Shoreline Management Act, and Growth Management Act issues, Jay regularly lectures and teaches across the state on a variety of land use, environmental, and policy issues that continue to shape the Pacific Northwest. He is periodically invited to provide historical perspective, input, and occasionally mediation or expert witness services on these issues.

Jay is managing partner of the Seattle office of Van Ness Feldman and previously served as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.

Education

University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law J.D., 1982

Michigan State University B.S., summa cum laude, 1979