Julian Gross

Partner, RPLG


Julian Gross is one of the nation’s principal experts on community benefits in land use development and public infrastructure.  For over 25 years, Mr. Gross has represented nonprofits and public entities in contract negotiations, legislative and administrative drafting, and policy development aimed at advancing racial and economic equity.  He has negotiated dozens of community benefits agreements (CBAs), initiating and refining a groundbreaking contractual approach to resolution of challenging urban development issues.  He has taught, published, and spoken widely on the subject of land use and community benefits, with a focus on public and private negotiation strategies. Mr. Gross has also drafted numerous local hiring and contracting policies, and has worked on living wage policies, disadvantaged-business policies, and many other community economic development initiatives.  He has also represented public entities and nonprofit affordable housing developers in negotiation of project labor agreements that advance multiple policy goals.  In addition, he has extensive experience advising California nonprofits on a wide variety of organizational legal needs.    


Prior to joining RPLG, Mr. Gross founded and operated Law Office of Julian Gross, which served clients for over 20 years, prior to Mr. Gross bringing his practice into RPLG. He was the Legal Director at Partnership for Working Families / Community Benefits Law Center and the Executive Director of the San Francisco Independent Task Force on Affirmative Action in Public Contracting.  Early in his career, Mr. Gross received a Skadden Fellowship, and was a staff attorney at Employment Law Center / Legal Aid Society of San Francisco.  In recent years, Mr. Gross was honored to serve as the inaugural James O. Gibson Innovation Fellow at PolicyLink, a national advocacy organization advancing racial equity.


Mr. Gross’s course offerings and guest lectures have included:

  • University of California, Goldman School of Public Policy, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 – Guest Lecturer: “Tackling Inequality through Equitable Development: Perspectives on Race, Place and Class in the San Francisco Bay Area”
  • Stanford Law School, 2017 – Guest Lecturer: Land Use Planning
  • New York University, Wagner School of Public Service, 2015 – Guest Lecturer: multi-disciplinary course: Race, Ethnicity & Class in American Cities
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2014 – Instructor, “Contract Drafting and Negotiation,” two-credit course. PACE evals: Global Index 4.52 out of 5; 19 out of 19 respondents “would recommend the course.”
  • McGill University, School of Urban Planning, 2013 – Instructor, “Negotiation of Community Benefits: Power Dynamics and Practical Approaches.”
  • Yale University, School of Law, 2013 – Guest Lecturer: Community Economic Development Clinic course
  • Stanford Law School, 2013 – Guest Lecturer: Community Law Clinic
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2008-2014 – Guest Lecturer and 2009 Practitioner in Residence, Civil Justice Clinic, Community Economic Development course.


  • “CBAs: The Future of Contractual Urbanism? An Interview with Julian Gross” in Urbanité. (2012 – in French).
  • “Commentary” in Ingram, Gregory K. and Yu-Hung Hong, Value Capture and Land Policies, Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (May 2012).
  • “Public Contracting in the Proposition 209 Era: Options for Preventing Discrimination and Supporting Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses,” (January 2012), with Tim Lohrentz, a publication of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
  • “Community Benefits Agreements, ” chapter in Building Healthy Communities: A Guide to Community Economic Development for Advocates, Lawyers, and Policymakers; a publication of the Forum on Affordable Housing & Community Development of the American Bar Association (2009).
  • “CBAs: Definitions, Values, and Legal Enforceability” (2008) in Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Economic Development Law, Volume 17, Issues 1-2, a publication of the Forum on Affordable Housing & Community Development of the American Bar Association. Selected by West Publishing as a leading land use article for 2009; reprinted in Zoning and Planning Law Handbook, West Publishing, Salkin (Ed.) (2009).
  • “Community Benefits Agreements: Making Development Projects Accountable” (2005) by Julian Gross, with Greg LeRoy and Madeline Janis-Aparicio.


  • Harvard/Kennedy School, Ash Center for Democratic Governance (March 2019)
  • All-in Cities Convening, Austin, TX (November 2018)
  • “Community Benefits for Health,” presentation at San Mateo County Health System’s Get Healthy San Mateo convening (May 2016)
  • “Leveraging Equity for Economic Growth,” presentation at PolicyLink’s Equity Institute (October 2015)
  • City Attorney’s Conference, League of California Cities (May 2014)
  • American Public Transportation Association Legal Affairs Seminar (February 2014)
  • Partnership for Working Families conference (February 2014)
  • McGill University, School of Urban Planning, Lecture Series (September 2013)
  • Transportation Equity Network / Gamaliel webinar, “Jobs for America” (September 2013)
  • Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs/Transportation Equity Network webinar re U.S. Executive Order 11246 (April 2013)
  • Lectures in Planning Series, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University (October 2012)
  • “Best Practices in Developing and Implementing Targeted Hiring Policies,” National Employment Law Project webinar (February 2012)
  • Bay Area Contract Compliance Officers Association conference (January 2012 and May 2012)
  • Lincoln Institute Land Policy Conference, Boston, MA (May 2011)
  • School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, public symposium on community benefits agreements, and course on CBAs (February 2011)
  • Public Dialogue on Community Benefits Agreements, Downtown East Side Neighborhood Coalition, Vancouver, Canada (February 2011)
  • Green for All Communities of Practice conference (January 2011)
  • Shaking the Foundations conference, Stanford Law School (October 2010)
  • Green for All national webinar on contracting and hiring agreements in retrofit sector (October 2010)
  • BetterBuildings Community Workshop, Chicago, IL, (September 2010)
  • Forum on community benefits agreements, Legal Aid Society of San Francisco’s public interest issues series, San Francisco (July 2010)
  • C. Berkeley School of Law Symposium on federal procurement (2010)
  • New York City Bar Association speaker series, special event re community benefits agreements (May 2010)
  • American Bar Association Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law Conference (May 2010).


University of California at Berkeley. J.D.

University of Virginia, B.A. with High Distinction


  • California

Our Team

Dane Hutchings
Dane Hutchings
Managing Director
Jake Whitaker
Manager, Grant Writing/Research
Ruth Bond
Partner, RPLG
Dan Carrigg headshot
Dan Carrigg
Senior Policy Advisor
Sofia Cutler
Sofia Cutler
Legislative & Grant Research Assistant
Sharon Gonsalves
Director of Government Affairs
Julian Gross
Partner, RPLG
Arthur Hartinger
Founding Partner, RPLG
Jonathan Holtzman
Jonathan Holtzman
Founding Partner, RPLG
Lori Liu
Senior Associate, RPLG
Ryan McGinley-Stempel
Partner, RPLG
Linda Ross
Partner, RPLG
Bruce Rudd
Consultant, RPLG.Solutions
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