Michael V. Phillips

Located in

Philadelphia, PA

Michael is a partner, Chair of the Zoning and Land Use Group, and a member of both of the Litigation and Business & Finance Departments. He is a multifaceted, highly accomplished leader with a diverse and interesting range of legal experiences in real estate and zoning law, business litigation, condominium law, transactional real estate, commercial lending and workouts and sports law.

Michael is known for his strategic approach to resolving disputes and for his trusted business advice. He can comfortably handle complex litigation, zoning and land use cases, and transactional matters, which is distinctive for an attorney at a mid-sized law firm. With this, Michael brings a valuable interdisciplinary skill-set to Obermayer, giving the firm a strategic advantage in the city’s thriving real estate market.

A substantial portion of his practice is devoted to Philadelphia zoning and land use, where he regularly appears before the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment and Historical Commission. Michael manages zoning matters for some of the city’s largest “up-and-coming” developers. Michael also currently represents many condominium and homeowner associations throughout Philadelphia, totaling over 1,000 residential and commercial condominium units.

Michael regularly represents numerous types of businesses in zoning and land use matters, commercial and real estate litigation, including the workout of distressed commercial loans, condominium law, and transactional real estate.  Some of his most notable matters include:

  • A recent engagement by over two dozen property owners in opposition to efforts to create a Jewelers Row Historic District.
  • Obtaining a variance for a long-vacant parcel across from Pat’s King of Steaks in East Passyunk. After nearly 30 years of community opposition to proposed developments and denials of variance requests for the 9,500 sq. ft. parcel, Michael helped the developer obtain zoning approval for a 4-story, mixed-use building with 5,000+ sq. ft. of ground-floor retail space and 21 apartments as well as 3 single-family homes fronting Wharton Street.  Most importantly, he was able to work with the community for many months to obtain their support for the proposed development;
  • Handling zoning due diligence for all prospective acquisitions for numerous real estate development companies; and
  • A $1.4 million construction defect claim settlement was featured in The Legal Intelligencer’s article “Case Over Alleged Defects at Condos Is Settled”(January 8, 2013) and in The Pennsylvania Record (January 21, 2013). The case centered around homebuyers who purchased newly constructed condo units only to find major issues with their units and the building, which the developer refused to address.

Michael is an active member of his civic, charitable, and professional communities. For example, he has chaired local political campaigns and serves on the Board of Directors for numerous non-profit organizations.  Driven by his noble desire to give back to underserved communities that are similar to the one he grew up in, Michael acts as a supervising attorney for the firm’s pro bono matters. He regularly handles pro bono matters through the Homeless Advocacy Project and has been recognized on numerous occasions for his commitment to pro bono work. In 2012, Michael received an “Unsung Heroes Award” from The Legal Intelligencer for his pro bono work and dedication to helping those in need.

Before having children, Michael also served as a Board member for Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania and was a volunteer mentor for Philadelphia Futures, which has has been substituted by volunteering as a baseball coach for the little ones.

His civic and professional activities and recognitions include:

  • American Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Homeless Advocacy Project, Volunteer
  • Named Pennsylvania “Lawyer on the Fast Track 2014” by the Legal Intelligencer
  • 2013 Homeless Advocacy Project recognition for his outstanding service as coordinator for the Homeless Advocacy Project’s “Adopt-a-Shelter” Program
  • 2012 Unsung Heroes Award – Pro Bono Work and Dedication to Helping Those in Need, The Legal Intelligencer
  • Pennsylvania Rising Stars, 2011 – 2017, 2019, 2020
  • ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in the Field of Intellectual Property Law, Villanova Law School

Awards Won*

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