David Kahn


t: 415.678.3810
f: 415.678.3838


Mr. Kahn advises and represents both public agency and private clients on public agency law, labor, redevelopment, and land use issues. Mr. Kahn brings to his clients over 30 years of diverse public agency experience and creative solutions to complex public issues and public-private partnerships. Mr. Kahn has represented elected boards and appointed boards including city councils and planning commissions. He has advised city managers on legal aspects of city management issues. Mr. Kahn has also represented many City and County departments as chief counsel. Former clients include Planning, Human Resources, Police and Fire, Finance and Public Works, Superior Court, Civil Grand Jury, County airports, and Tax Collector. He has advised on the Brown Act, California Public Records Act, and Conflict of Interest regulations. In addition, he has also been the legal advisor to citizen committees such as the Census 2000 County Redistricting Committee and Charter Review Committees. Mr. Kahn has substantial litigation and appellate advocacy experience. He received the 2003 County Counsel Litigation Award, and is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. Some of the cases and issues Mr. Kahn has provided advice and representation on include:

  • $750 million mixed-use redevelopment project. Representation of public agency included removal of defaulting developer, renegotiation of development agreement, environmental remediation and coordination with Regional Water Quality Control Board, and creative solutions to continue Project progress during 2008-09 economic downturn.
  • Representation of private real estate fund in entitlement dispute with buyer.
  • Base Reuse and Closure for military base in City.
  • Advising and representing City Councils for 12 years as City Attorney.
  • Represented City on challenges under CEQA to City projects.
  • Negotiations on behalf of City with County and Affordable Housing Agency leading to partnership and construction of senior affordable housing at County Clinic site.
  • Representation of County in 2003 PGE bankruptcy litigation.
  • Successful representation of County in binding arbitration for airport operator lease payment dispute.
  • Trial and appellate counsel for County in Subdivision Map Act litigation.
  • Representation of police officer at inquest for first officer-involved shooting fatality in city.

Related Experience

Prior to joining Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai, Mr. Kahn was City Attorney/Redevelopment Agency General Counsel for the City of Sunnyvale for seven years. From 2000-2005, Mr. Kahn was Senior Deputy County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara. From 1995 to 2005, Mr. Kahn served as City Attorney for the City of Mercer Island, Washington. Mr. Kahn was Deputy City Attorney/Chief of Litigation for Bellevue, Washington, from 1988-2007.  Mr. Kahn was with the City and County of San Francisco from 1986-1988, where he led a litigation team representing the police department, school district, MUNI and public works department. Mr. Kahn was also a Deputy Public Defender for Santa Clara County from 1981 to 1985.

During law school, Mr. Kahn was an extern to the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, as well as a law clerk with DNA Legal Services on the Navajo Nation.

Reported Appellate Cases

  • Pfeiffer v. City of Sunnyvale, 200 Cal. App. 4th 1552 (2011)
  • Trinity Park LP v. City of Sunnyvale, 193 Cal. App 4th 1014 (2011)
  • Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Assoc. v. City of Sunnyvale City Council, 190 Cal. App. 4th 1351 (2010)
  • Van’t Rood v. County of Santa Clara, 113 Cal. App. 4th 549 (2003)
  • Zilog v. Superior Court, 86 Cal. App. 4th 1309 (2001)
  • Lillian F. v. Superior Court, 160 Cal. App. 3d 314 (1984)
  • Peterson v. City of Bellevue, 56 Wash. App. 1 (1989)
  • Crippen v. City of Bellevue, 61 Wash. App. 251, cert. denied 117 Wash. 2d 1015(1991)
  • Rozner v. City of Bellevue, 116 Wash. 2d 342 (1991)
  • IAFF v. City of Bellevue, 119 Wash. 2d 373 (1992)
  • Mull v. City of Bellevue, 65 Wash. App. 245 (1992)
  • Bellevue 120th Associates v. City of Bellevue, 65 Wash. App. 594, cert. denied 818 P. 2d 1098

Professional Activities

  • California League of Cities, Brown Act Committee (2011-present)
  • California League of Cities, Nominating Committee (2011)
  • California League of Cities Legal Advocacy Committee (2007-09)
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association Judiciary Committee (2001-02)
  • Washington State Bar Association, Trustee
  • United States District Court Magistrate Judge Selection Committee
  • Chair, United States District Court Pro Bono Committee(1996) (19961998)

Practice Areas

Government Law and Litigation

Labor and Employment

General Counsel to Public Agencies

Redevelopment (Successor Agencies and Oversight Boards)
Land Use and Development



Boalt Hall Law School, University of California, Berkeley, J.D.

University of California, Santa Cruz, B.A.

Bar Admissions


Washington (Inactive)

Navajo Nation (Inactive)