About the firm

Barg Coffin: where the law and environment intersect

We believe that being masters of one area of the law is the best way to serve our clients.

Some question why we don’t provide a full array of legal services to our (very) satisfied clients. It’s simple: we have chosen not to be “all things to all clients,” because today's environmental challenges require expertise that can only be obtained by focusing on environmental law.

Based in San Francisco, our team is nationally recognized for environmental counseling and litigation. Our clients span a wide range of industry sectors: technology, aerospace and defense, oil and gas production, transportation, chemicals, food and wine, utilities, and real estate development. Environmental law affects the full spectrum of businesses and government entities across California and the rest of the country; our clients and work reflect that diversity.

Our strategies begin with our clients' business goals and end with practical, actionable solutions to achieve those goals. We litigate complex cases in every area of federal and state environmental law. Trials, arbitrations, mediations, and complex negotiations where law and the environment intersect—this is our domain.


Every attorney on our team is a full-time environmental lawyer, and we've been trying cases, negotiating solutions, and preventing litigation for decades. Every matter we handle has one common driver: solving our clients' environmental challenges. Few, if any, legal teams match that concentration. 


Barg Coffin attorneys are experts in each niche of environmental law, from water and air quality to contaminated sites and toxic torts, from hazardous and solid waste to endangered species and wetlands, from CEQA and NEPA to greenhouse gas regulation and climate change, and everything in between. If you are facing an environmental legal challenge, there is a Barg Coffin attorney who has the expertise to assist you.


Barg Coffin and its lawyers are consistently ranked as one of the best environmental law firms in the country. Our lawyers regularly speak and write on cutting-edge, critical environmental issues. Some of the firm’s awards include.

  • National Tier 1 ranking in environmental law and litigation by Best Lawyers®/U.S. News & World Report every year since 2011
  • Three partners -- John Barg, Rick Coffin, and Morgan Gilhuly -- have been consistently designated as Leaders in Environmental Law by Chambers & Partners USA
  • Best Lawyers®/U.S. News & World Report has named a Barg Coffin attorney its San Francisco Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Law or Environmental Litigation an unprecedented six times since 2010 (Rick Coffin in 2010, 2014, and 2016; John Barg in 2012 and 2016; Morgan Gilhuly in 2013)
  • Barg Coffin was named one of the Top 50 Boutique Firms in California by the Daily Journal (October 2014)
  • California Lawyer magazine named Morgan Gilhuly its 2012 California Attorney of the Year for environmental law.
  • All firm partners are consistently awarded the highest AV ratings (5.0) on Martindale-Hubbell.
  • Firm attorneys have been named Northern California Super Lawyers every year since the award’s inception in 2004.

Firm History

Barg Coffin was founded in 2000 by a group of partners who had worked together for many years in the Environmental Law Department of Landels, Ripley & Diamond, a large firm with a long, prestigious history in the San Francisco Bay Area. At Landels, they worked on some of the largest and most influential environmental law disputes of the late 20th century, from the earliest Central Valley pesticide cases in the 1970s, to the first Silicon Valley chlorinated solvent cases in the 1980s, to mass toxic tort/product liability cases and military base cleanup cases in the 1990s.

When Landels disbanded in 2000, the Barg Coffin partners established a boutique law firm specializing exclusively in environmental law. Retaining their big-firm expertise and best practices, but in a smaller, more nimble and responsive structure, the new firm of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp, LLP, quickly expanded its core client base to include a wide range of businesses, from Fortune 100 corporations to local companies.

In 2007, founding partner Tom Trapp passed away unexpectedly at the age of 55. His sharp wit, kindness, brilliance, and legal expertise are still missed by all who were fortunate to have worked with him.

Today Barg Coffin has an unsurpassed and award-winning reputation for excellence and expertise in environmental law.