Top Attorney 2015: Finalist

Charles B. Christensen

Christensen & Spath LLP

Law School
University of San Diego School of Law

Major Cases 
San Diego Housing Commission v. Industrial Indemnity, 68 Cal. App. 4th 526 (1998); San Diego Housing Commission v. Industrial Indemnity, 95 Cal. App. 669,116 CR2d 103 (2002). Recently represented a public agency in obtaining a summary judgment in favor of that public agency interpreting the MMBA  on a matter of first impression in San Diego Superior Court. It is currently on appeal.

The firm was recently involved in representing the San Diego Housing Commission in connection with its nationally recognized conversion from federally subsidized public housing; thereafter, the firm acted as borrower’s counsel for the San Diego Housing Commission in obtaining FNMA and FHA multifamily housing insured loans in excess of $95 million through national lenders Greystone and PNC; involved in assisting in the amendment of the inclusionary housing ordinance in the city of San Diego to deal with issues raised by the Palmer and Patterson cases; represented the San Diego Housing Commission in foreclosure litigation involving the SRO Churchill Hotel was successfully resolved in the San Diego Superior Court; and the Churchill Hotel is now being renovated and made ready for reoccupation.

Professional Background 
After graduating from USD School of Law and passing the bar, went to work for the law firm of Biafora and Weiner in the San Fernando Valley in 1974, becoming a partner of the firm of Biafora, Weiner & Christensen in 1976. In 1978, moved back to San Diego and became vice president and general counsel of the civil engineering and surveying firm of Charles W. Christensen & Associates. In 1983, became a partner in the firm of Detisch & Christensen and remained with that firm until 2002, when the firm that is now called Christensen & Spath LLP was formed.

Practicing law in the state of California for almost 42 years. Attained the AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell and maintained that rating for more than 25 years. Christensen & Spath LLP, a downtown San Diego law firm, is rated AV and is also listed in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell National Bar Register of Preeminent Law Firms in the United States, in the areas of municipal law, civil trial practice and general practice.

Named one of the top public agency lawyers by The Daily Transcript in 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013,, 2014 and now in 2015. Have been named a Super Lawyer in the San Diego area in the municipal law arena from 2007 through 2014. In March of 2013, 2014 and 2015, named a Top Lawyer in San Diego by San Diego Magazine.

For the last 34 years a major portion of the practice has been devoted to representing public entities. This includes the San Diego Housing Commission in all types of legal matters for the last 24 years. The firm has also represented the city of San Diego, and the city of National City in complex civil litigation matters, as special counsel. The firm has represented the city of National City for over 30 years. The  firm has also represented the CDC of National City, the Redevelopment Agency of the city of San Marcos, SANDAG, the city of Poway and the city of Chula Vista as special counsel for various issues including real estate and affordable housing matters.

Litigation has included numerous bench trials and jury trials to judgment and verdict, representing both public and private clients in state and federal trial courts and in the Courts of Appeal, including appeals in the California Court of Appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, the State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. Our firm has represented the city of San Diego and the Housing Authority of the city of San Diego in civil litigation involving matters affecting affordable housing, including litigation involving SRO Hotels and inclusionary zoning matters. Have been chief trial counsel in civil litigation on behalf of the public entities where these entities have collected settlements and judgments valued in excess of $14 million over the last several years.

Professional Affiliations 
Member of the San Diego County Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Past arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a past member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Active member of the State Bar of California.

Personal Background 
Resided in San Diego County since the age of 2, except for the four years while practicing law in Los Angeles County in the 1970s. Live in Point Loma with my wife of almost 44 years, Susan. Have four children and seven grandchildren. All of our children and all of our grandchildren live in California, with most of them residing in San Diego County.

Top Attorney Finalists

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Julia M. Dunlap

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Lilys D. McCoy

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Thomas C. Frost

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Charles T. Hoge

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Family

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Top Attorneys Emeritus

View our Top Attorneys Emeritus, attorneys who have been named finalists four years or more from 2009 through 2013.

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Deadlines

Nominations Open February 24
Nominations Close April 17
Sponsorship/Advertising Close July 17
Publication Date July 29
Reception August 10

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