Christopher A. Rheinheimer

Special Counsel

Chris Rheinheimer is an experienced litigator who represents clients in the environmental, energy and real estate sectors, including some of the nation’s leading energy companies, business operators, and numerous real estate owners, developers and investors. Mr. Rheinheimer has built an exceptional trial practice over the years, having litigated a wide variety of complex cases at both the state and federal level. Mr. Rheinheimer’s experience includes private arbitration and advising on matters before regulatory agencies. As part of his practice, Mr. Rheinheimer also represents clients in False Claims Act matters, land use and NEPA/CEQA litigation, and has significant experience successfully challenging voter initiatives.

Before joining WilmerHale, Mr. Rheinheimer was a partner at another law firm in San Francisco, where he co-chaired the environmental and natural resources practice and focused on complex environmental, land use and real estate litigation in state and federal courts, often in matters involving a significant government component. 


  • Mr. Rheinheimer has represented clients on a variety of significant matters, including:

    • A railroad following derailment and alleged release of hazardous substances in enforcement and class action litigation
    • An environmental remediation contractor defending multiple governmental enforcement actions, False Claims Act cases, and class action and mass tort personal injury and property damages cases based on alleged falsification of data at Superfund site in California
    • An individual in criminal prosecution under the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act for alleged unlawful transactions involving protected wildlife. All charges were dismissed by the Department of Justice
    • An environmental contractor in a False Claims Act investigation and litigation and related whistleblower retaliation claims
    • A developer in successful challenge to city council’s adoption of voter initiatives that purported to restrict development of long-planned residential community
    • A chemical company in proceedings regarding the allocation of costs at Superfund site in Kentucky
    • An aggregate mining company in land use and governmental matters
    • A company in connection with contaminated property assessment and response, protection of workers from possible vapor intrusion, and threatened litigation with landlord and neighboring property owners
    • A developer in negotiations with owner of historic mining easement to remove easement from title
    • A real estate developer in litigation against adjacent property owner claiming prescriptive easement rights over portion of hotel’s property
    • A California energy company in successful Phase 1 trial challenging a county’s measure that would have banned hydraulic fracturing, wastewater disposal, and the drilling of new wells
    • An investment company in a one-day trial on CEQA challenge to a large mixed-use project in the Bay Area. Judgement was entered less than one year after the filing of the case.
    • A large telecommunications provider in defense of procurement contract award for statewide communications services
    • The purchaser of a $110 million loan from a trust established by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in connection with a bank’s acquisition of certain Bear Stearns assets. Judgment for the client entered on all counts following a seven-week trial. 


  • Named a 2014–2017 Rising Star by Northern California Super Lawyers

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, New York University School of Law, 2007

    • BA, University of California, Davis, 2004

  • Admissions

    • California

    • US District Court for the Central District of California

    • US District Court for the Eastern District of California

    • US District Court for the Northern District of California

    • US District Court for the Southern District of California



Unless you are an existing client, before communicating with WilmerHale by e-mail (or otherwise), please read the Disclaimer referenced by this link.(The Disclaimer is also accessible from the opening of this website). As noted therein, until you have received from us a written statement that we represent you in a particular manner (an "engagement letter") you should not send to us any confidential information about any such matter. After we have undertaken representation of you concerning a matter, you will be our client, and we may thereafter exchange confidential information freely.

Thank you for your interest in WilmerHale.