Santa Cruz County Real Estate Attorney
Introducing Miles J. Dolinger
Over Twenty-Three Years of Qualified Experience Means You Get Results
Having practiced law in San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties since 1994, my experience is quite diverse, as most of my legal career has involved a mix of consulting, transactional and litigation work. In all of these contexts, I provided sound, objective advice to my clients, along with strong client advocacy. I strive to regularly advise clients about the risks, costs and benefits of various courses of action, and to provide legal services that my clients feel are a good value.
I have interned and/or worked in the Berkeley City Attorney’s Office, the California Attorney General’s Office, the State Coastal Conservancy, and for eight years I worked in the Land Use and Government Law department of a larger San Jose law firm called Berliner Cohen. I have also worked for myself a few different times.
After that many years of practice in several different types of law office environments, I have the accrued the wisdom and experience necessary to confidently and efficiently advise clients about likely outcomes, potential risks, and various factors that cannot be controlled.
I’m Your Strong Advocate in Matters Involving Real Estate, Land Use and Business Law
In my current practice in Santa Cruz County, I represent individual, business and public agency clients in a wide range of real estate, land use, and public law matters (transacts and litigation), with special emphasis on land use and real estate issues. My practice also includes general business law, including entity formation, drafting contracts and addressing business disputes.
A Bit of Personal History
My first associate attorney job was at a general practice law firm in the Territory of Guam. “Why Guam”, you ask? I went to Guam because the Bay Area job market was very compacted when I graduated from law school and I had family living in Guam (where the economy was booming), who worked in the law field. (My step dad was an attorney in the Guam Attorney General’s Office and my mom was a court reporter.) There were two “odd couple” partners at the firm I worked at – the conservative, well-connected family man who did mostly business transactional work and consulting (who later became the Chief Justice of the Guam Supreme Court), and the long-haired, Corvette-driving electric guitarist who did mostly litigation. I learned a lot from both of them, and then returned to San Francisco after a year and a half to open my own law office out on Geary Boulevard.
In those first few years of solo practice in San Francisco, I helped clients deal with general business matters, including business formation, contract issues, landlord-tenant issues, and partnership issues. (For example, I formed the LLC for the company that constructed the giant baseball glove behind left field at the SF Giants’ ballpark.)
At the same time, I pursued my passion for protecting the environment by managing several public interest Clean Water Act enforcement cases on behalf of the San Francisco BayKeeper and other public interest groups. I was part of an organized legal campaign to get all of the automobile dismantlers throughout the State of California to clean up their yards and practice best management practices in order to protect local water bodies from pollution carried by storm water runoff. (During my photographic site investigations, I was only threatened with violence once!)
Thinking my ideal job would be to practice environmental law for a public agency, I then took an attorney job at the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) in Oakland. While the SCC did some very good conservation work, the job was not intellectually challenging and offered me little opportunity for negotiation or advocacy, which are things I really enjoy about being a lawyer.
After about two years at the SCC, I moved down to Santa Cruz County (where I went to college as an undergraduate at UCSC), and opened my own law practice again, settling in and settling down by getting married and starting a family. My wife, Ysraelya, went to Nursing School at Cabrillo College and is now practicing as a “med-surg” nurse here in Santa Cruz.
When my wife and I were about to have our second child, I decided to go work for a law firm over the hill in order to have a regular paycheck and other benefits, and also to get the “law firm experience” my father always wished for me. I landed a job in the Land Use and Government Law department of a large, reputable San Jose law firm called Berliner Cohen. Our department served as appointed council for the cities of Gilroy and Los Altos, and for some other public agencies, and I did a lot of general government law work, including drafting and negotiating contracts, consulting with agency employees, and drafting ordinances and resolutions.
I also developed an expertise in land use litigation, which usually meant representing our developer clients and/or the permit-approving agencies in litigation brought by project opponents, who were usually neighbors opposed to any change in the status quo (NIMBYs). Most of the cases I worked on involved challenges to the adequacy of environmental review documents (environmental impact reports or mitigated negative declarations), that were required by the Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and they also involved claims that the projects violated local zoning requirements and/or general plan policies. My time and experience at Berliner Cohen (eight years), raised my game to a much higher level and I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked there.
But the law firm life was not as glamorous as it appeared to be on TV, and after several years I was no longer willing to be away from my family and community for so many hours a week. So I came back to Santa Cruz in 2014, first working with long-time Capitola real estate attorney Ed Newman, and then opening my own practice, also in Capitola, in November, 2015.
I graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Philosophy in 1988. I then took two years off, working for an environmental law firm in San Francisco, before attending Golden Gate University School of Law, where I received my Juris Doctor degree in 1993.
I live in Felton, my office is in Capitola Village, and I do work all around Santa Cruz County. I have strived to volunteer and participate in the Santa Cruz and San Lorenzo Valley communities to the extent my time allows. I have served on the Board of Directors of Save Our Shores, and I have been serving on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz County since 2011. I also coach youth basketball.
What can you expect from working with me?
I think my clients would describe me as easygoing, courteous, and a good listener. I try hard to understand my clients’ motivations, goals and concerns, and to make sure they understand as much as possible about the substantive and procedural issues they are faced with. I help my clients make cost-benefit decisions, which is often an ongoing process and ultimately involves business decisions that only the client can make. You can expect me to always be on your team, be a strong advocate for any reasonable position you choose to take, to be diligent in all of the work I do for you, to timely call you back when you need to talk to me, and to be fair in my billing.
Let’s start the conversation
Would you like to know if a real estate, land use, or business attorney can help you? Then let’s chat.
While I can’t give you a “free consultation” in the sense of reviewing all your documents and giving you advice about your particular situation (because that usually requires careful gathering of information, analysis and/or research), we can talk briefly about your issues and concerns from a more general perspective, and in some cases I may be able to give you some helpful feedback or guidance.
And in that process you can get to know me a little and then decide whether to hire me.
Call me at (831) 477-9193.