Richard G. Opper has served as a lawyer in government service and private practice. He is now retired and no longer engaged in the active practice of law. During the latter part of his career, which spanned 43 years, “SuperLawyer” magazine regularly identified Mr. Opper as one of the top environmental lawyers in southern California. Early in his career he served as Attorney General for the Territory of Guam, and at the end of his service he was awarded membership in the Ancient Order of the Chamorri, the highest civilian honor the Government of Guam could bestow. Following a year of study at Harvard (MPA, 1987), he began private practice in San Diego, working on a variety of complex natural resource matters. In the following years, Mr. Opper’s practice focused primarily on brownfields – the redevelopment of contaminated properties. Mr. Opper was occasionally sent to Europe on behalf of the US EPA to talk about brownfield redevelopment issues and one of his notable successes, his work in support of the development of Petco Park, the Major League ballfield in San Diego, as that project garnered local, state and national awards.
Mr. Opper is still active in several not-for-profit organizations, particularly concerning photography and bicycling, two of his paramount interests. He has long served on the Board of Trustees for the Museum of Photographic Arts, and also on the Board of Directors for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. He recently ended an eleven year term on the Board of Directors for the NTC Foundation. Previously he was a founding director of Progresso Fronterizo, which focused on environmental and health conditions along the US – Mexico border. At different times he has served as President or Chair of the Board of Directors for all of these institutions.
Mr. Opper met his wife, Ann Poppe, while they both attended UCLA School of Law, where they graduated in 1976. Upon graduation Mr. Opper was given a peer-judged Award for Integrity. They now have two grown children. Mr. Opper has published articles and essays on a variety of topics, including issues related to environmental conditions at the U.S. – Mexico border and the evolving politics of brownfield redevelopment in California. He is currently working on a novel.