Arizona - Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use Lawyers & Law Firms - USA - Chambers and Partners
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USA Guide

Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use — Arizona


Berry Riddell LLC - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Highly respected boutique firm specializing in zoning and land use matters. Has extensive experience advising on permits, leasing and rezoning, with further knowledge of real estate litigation and transactions. Works with a wide range of clients such as hotels, government entities, healthcare providers and REITs. The firm is based in Scottsdale and is particularly active on mandates in and around the area.

Strengths Clients highlight the firm's "excellent communication skills," saying: "They are very good at explaining things in a way that we can understand and explaining what the process is."

Work highlights Assisted iStar with the negotiation of dispute settlements and clarifications of rights associated with Westgate, as part of a new development agreement which was unanimously approved by Glendale City Council.

Notable practitioners

John Berry is highlighted by peers for his "extensive experience," adding that "he is one of the few people that can get anything through the city." He is highly regarded by both peers and clients, and frequently works on matters in Scottsdale.

Peers appreciate Wendy Riddell's "breadth of experience" while one particularly impressed client says that "she has top negotiating skills" and is "very strategic when looking at the best angle to get us the desired outcome." Her expertise is in zoning and land use matters with clients from a variety of industries.

About the Team (content provided by Berry Riddell LLC)

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Beus Gilbert PLLC - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Well-regarded litigation specialists with noted strengths in zoning and land use work. Counsels on a broad spectrum of matters such as real estate-related litigation and acquisitions. Often advises clients such as property owners and developers. Has extensive experience in land use approvals, including related legislative, administrative and litigation aspects, with its practice also covering transactions, condemnation and land development.

Strengths One client enthuses: "In my world they are the best; they have been great. It's been a long and wonderful relationship."

Work highlights Negotiated a long-term lease on behalf of Gary Davidson to develop land on Gila River Indian Community property, which involved an extensive administrative process.

Negotiated, processed and coordinated the purchase and land entitlements on a nine-acre site in Scottsdale for Kaplan Acquisitions, to develop a mixed-use, 622-unit luxury apartment development community worth approximately $80 million.

Notable practitioners

Clients label Paul Gilbert "the real estate guru," citing "his knowledge of the intricacies of site approval and of city requirements." They add that he "has an excellent presence, is very professional and extremely charismatic." Another commends his "political acumen." With more than four decades of experience, he is well respected and held in high regard by both clients and peers.

About the Team (content provided by Beus Gilbert PLLC)

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Burch & Cracchiolo - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for A diverse full-service firm with a top-notch real estate zoning and land use practice. Enjoys a solid reputation in the Arizona market and often counsels clients such as investment companies and home builders. The firm regularly works on a diverse range of projects that include commercial, residential and industrial developments. Further advises on entitlement matters.

Strengths Clients appreciate that "they do a great job of understanding our work and product, which helps us to be efficient in our zoning cases," and say: "You get the best of both worlds – young strong associates and the big guns, so to speak."

Work highlights Advised Maracay Homes on the rezoning of 39.75 gross acres as part of the Windermere Ranch development in Chandler.

Notable practitioners

Sources recognize that Edwin Bull is "certainly top tier" and add: "He does a great job and is one of the best. He is tough and if he says he is going to do something, he will do it." He has been practicing for almost four decades and is one of the leading zoning and land use lawyers in the state. He is also the president of the firm.

About the Team (content provided by Burch & Cracchiolo)

Burch & Cracchiolo has an extensive history representing clients in all facets of real estate transactions and related litigation. The firm is experienced in acquisition, development and zoning of large projects, as well as build out and lease up of shopping centers, commercial and industrial facilities and office buildings.  Burch & Cracchiolo's land use and zoning practice area is one of the most highly respected in the state of Arizona ranking in metro Phoenix tier 1 of US News Best Law Firms in America.  The attorneys focus on general plan amendments , specific area plan approvals, rezoning and amendments, variances, development impact fees and real estate transactions.

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Earl, Curley & Lagarde, PC - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Well-established boutique practice based in Phoenix, devoted to land use, zoning and development. The three-lawyer team has experience working across various residential, commercial and industrial real estate mandates. Specializes in representing developers.

Notable practitioners

The longstanding and "well respected" Stephen Earl is thought of by market commentators as "one of the best in the business" when it comes to zoning and land use. Earl has over three decades of experience and is lauded as one of the leading individuals in the market.

About the Team (content provided by Earl, Curley & Lagarde, PC)

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Gallagher & Kennedy - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Experienced land use and zoning practice. Offers its services to a wide clientele such as home builders and investment companies. Provides further counsel on real estate-related litigation issues. Key lawyers are involved in drafting statewide land use legislation and zoning regulations.

Work highlights Acted on behalf of Shea Homes on a $3 million community facilities district bond transaction for Vistancia West.

Negotiated the development agreement on behalf of Eastline Land Ventures with the City of Tempe for a multiphased development comprised of 13.56 acres.

Notable practitioners

Dana Stagg Belknap is recognized by peers for her work in negotiating development agreements and facilities districts. She has over two and a half decades of experience, and her clients include regional and national developers and landowners.

About the Team (content provided by Gallagher & Kennedy)

Gallagher & Kennedy’s real estate attorneys provide a complete range of real estate services to a diverse group of clients. We offer representation in all manner of real estate transactions, including zoning, land use, entitlements, acquisition, development, construction, leasing, financing and sales.

We represent developers, contractors, home builders, sellers, purchasers, landlords and tenants in the purchase, zoning, permitting, entitlement and development of real estate, the construction and leasing of facilities, and the financing of real estate activities. Gallagher & Kennedy also represents retailers, real estate investors, lenders and property managers in the purchase, financing, leasing, management, operation and sale of real estate assets.

Our real estate attorneys are regarded as integral to the business of our clients. We have substantial experience advising clients regarding structuring and documentation in all types of real estate projects, including complex multi-use developments, master-planned developments, sporting facilities and shopping centers, as well as condominium, retail, industrial and office projects.

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Gammage & Burnham PLC - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Large practice comprising many real estate specialists. Frequently handles complex transactional matters but is primarily known for its land use and zoning capability. Often works on behalf of clients such as home builders, developers and investors. Has experience on a range of mandates such as master-planned communities and commercial leasing. Its expertise extends to acquisitions and sales of of both undeveloped and developed property.

Strengths One client praises the team's attention to detail, saying: "They just don't make mistakes and they don't miss things. They are very conscientious and thorough."

Another client enthuses that the lawyers are "responsive, thorough and get the job done right."

Work highlights Represented the Arizona State University Foundation in relation to a joint venture with Pacific Retirement Services for the development and operation of a continuing care senior living community to be developed on the Tempe campus.

Acted on behalf of Lennar Homes in the acquisition of several parcels at the Verrado master-planned community.

Notable practitioners

Peers label Grady Gammage as "the person in land use and zoning," calling him "a prolific author, writer and speaker." One source adds: "He is the best, he is just very engaging and thorough." He is held in high esteem by clients and peers with his diverse 40-year career including zoning work for multiple major commercial projects ranging from office buildings to residential areas.

Stephen Anderson is labeled by one source as "a very active good guy with a high level of integrity." Anderson is active in retail and residential projects in both Arizona and California. With regard to his real estate expertise, he is renowned for his prominence as a zoning and land use lawyer.

Peers commend "the very bright" Thomas McDonald, saying: "He is excellent and he thinks of things others usually don't. He's a great technician." He is the head of the firm's Arizona real estate department and has experience in construction law and commercial transactions, as well as public-private partnerships.

Sources note that Jeffrey Miller is "well regarded and well respected within the community." Impressed clients label him "excellent" and appreciate that he is "relationship oriented." His primary expertise covers commercial lending, commercial transactions and business organizations.

Based in Tempe, Manjula Vaz is noted by her peers for being "fabulous, really smart, engaging and easy to work with." One client enthuses that "she has never failed in a task for us." Her practice focuses on all aspects of zoning and the negotiation and implementation of development agreements.

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Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs, P.C. - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Boutique practice with a specialized land use and zoning offering. Has offices in both Tucson and Phoenix giving it a strong presence across the Arizona real estate market. Offers counsel on a broad range of mandates such as residential and industrial developments. The team has experience in writing and analyzing zoning legislation and codes, as well as negotiating development agreements.

Notable practitioners

Based in the firm's Phoenix office, cofounding partner Larry Lazarus is a leading lawyer in the area of zoning and land use in the Phoenix market, with over 30 years of experience. Sources note that "he is a fine lawyer" and another adds that "he does an incredible job." He applies his knowledge to planned residential and commercial developments, as well as industrial buildings and recreational facilities.

With a career spanning almost two decades, Keri Silvyn focuses her practice on advising private developers and local government entities, and specifically on zoning codes and compliance, state statutes and land use law. She is based in the firm's Tucson office.

About the Team (content provided by Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs, P.C.)

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Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for First-rate regional firm recognized for its expertise in commercial real estate mandates. Works on real estate-related financing, acquisition and leasing for clients such as investors and home builders. Handles commercial real estate transactions for individual properties as well as investment portfolios. Has additional zoning and land use capabilities.

Strengths One client enthuses that the lawyers "are very sophisticated, have a good understanding of our needs and are good at finding solutions to the issues that arise."

Another client praises the team, saying: "They are very cost-effective, have a good skill set in leasing and acquiring, and are very responsive."

Work highlights Acted for RED Development and Block 23 Principals to form a joint venture with a pension plan investor to acquire, construct, operate, lease and manage a mixed-use development in a matter worth $130 million.

Represented Northern Arizona University in bringing a suit against Holder Construction and Jacob Engineering alleging breach of design services.

Notable practitioners

Michael Phalen is described by one client as "a great lawyer" because he is "extremely knowledgeable with real estate matters and makes it painless to do a deal." Phalen is recognized by peers for his knowledge of state land issues and transactions. He possesses expertise in real estate purchases, sales agreements and land leases.

Kenneth Van Winkle is the firm's managing partner and clients emphasize he is "great to bounce ideas off of. He understands both the legal and business side. He gives us really good advice and counsel." His practice extends to leasing, equity and debt financing as well as sales and acquisitions in real estate. His clients come from the banking, insurance and REIT industries.

Clients praise Heidi Kimzey Short, saying: "She's super knowledgeable and responsive, which is crucial. Whenever we need her Heidi is there for us right away." She focuses her practice on the areas of land use regulation, zoning, and real estate acquisitions and dispositions. Her clients range from commercial developers to master-planned community developers.

Sources note that Andrew Schorr, who is based in the firm's Tucson office, has "impressed with his skill set and caliber of practice." Schorr's real estate practice focuses primarily on investment and corporate real estate transactions.

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Pew & Lake, P.L.C. - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Well-respected boutique practice that has over 20 years of experience. Based in Mesa and with a strong presence across the East Valley area. Has noteworthy capabilities in zoning and land use-related issues. Recent work includes litigation concerning a residential development project, and the development of a large master-planned residential community in a desert area.

Notable practitioners

Sean Lake enjoys a fine reputation among his peers in the zoning and land use legal market. He works on matters throughout the East Valley area. He is also a member of the Merit Systems Commission for Maricopa County.

Ralph Pew is viewed as "a great zoning lawyer" who specializes specifically in the East Valley region. He also possesses expertise in land use.

About the Team (content provided by Pew & Lake, P.L.C.)

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Snell & Wilmer LLP - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Market-leading real estate practice within a large, full-service firm. Beyond transactional real estate also has noteworthy expertise regarding zoning and land use, with further knowledge of permitting and planning matters. Counsels a diverse array of clients, including hotel owners, real estate developers and banks, on a wide range of transactional mandates. Assists with projects that range from single-tract transactions to large multiuse developments.

Strengths Clients label the team as "an excellent firm, who did a good job representing us" adding: "They have a deep bench and the different areas of specialization are impressive."

One market commentator states: "They are the best; top-notch, tremendous lawyers with a tremendous reputation and they represent their clients well."

Work highlights Assisted Kitchell Development Company in several matters including the development and leasing of an industrial park in Phoenix with matter values totaling $250 million.

Acted for Caliber Companies on its acquisition and development of various properties worth $150 million.

Notable practitioners

One source acknowledges Jody Pokorski as "one of the best real estate lawyers in town," calling her a "knowledgeable, professional, sophisticated individual." Her practice focuses on real estate transactions relating to complex commercial and sale transactions. Regularly represents developers, lenders and educational entities.

Craig Williams' expertise lies in the area of real estate lending. A particularly satisfied client was "impressed with his professionalism and client service focus." His clients include developers and financial institutions on financing projects and general commercial real estate.

Nicholas Wood is praised by clients, who note his "ability to solve complex problems with his contacts and experience." He possesses extensive expertise in zoning and land use planning, regularly working on high-value matters for builders and developers.

Joyce Wright is noted by peers as a "fine lawyer" because she is "very capable and detail-oriented." Wright's practice encompasses all areas of real estate ranging from master-planned developments to leisure developments as well as sales, leases and easements. She is a practice group leader in Snell & Wilmer's real estate, commercial finance, environmental and energy group.

Sources note that Bart Page is "very practical and knows how to get a deal done." His practice focuses on real estate development and financing, representing home builders, commercial developers, investors and financial institutions.

Clients appreciate that Byron Sarhangian "has a unique ability to understand the business issues and the commercial legal matters, which differentiates him from other lawyers." His expertise spans real estate and business transactions.

About the Team (content provided by Snell & Wilmer LLP)

Snell & Wilmer’s real estate attorneys provide a comprehensive approach to legal services for the real estate industry. We assist with real estate projects that range in size from single-tract transactions to multi-use developments and planned communities covering thousands of acres. Working closely with our clients, we strive to accomplish their goals and protect their business interests.

Areas of Service

Having a large, comprehensive real estate lawyer team allows our attorneys to focus their work on a range of practice areas including:
Acquisitions and Dispositions

  • Project Development Services
  • Project Management Services
  • Specialized Project Services
  • Real Estate Finance

With more than 100 attorneys practicing in the areas of real estate, construction and commercial finance in our Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Mexico offices, we can offer our clients customized solutions tailored to their needs. We work with our paralegals and urban planners to form well-versed teams adept at developing collaborative strategies for virtually every type of real estate transaction

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Withey Morris PLC - Real Estate Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Esteemed boutique practice working on matters throughout the state with a strong focus on land use and zoning matters, and government affairs generally. Offers further advice on leasing mandates. Often provides counsel on various complex commercial, residential and industrial projects. Clients include prominent names in corporate America, including industrial and automotive companies and retail giants. Further, the team regularly works on hotel projects.

Notable practitioners

Michael Withey has a longstanding reputation in the zoning and land use market and is someone peers "have a great deal of regard for." He is a founding partner at the firm and handles matters involving large-scale, complex rezoning, and negotiating development agreements all over the state of Arizona.

Jason Morris is one of the founding partners at the firm and is often employed by clients for his expertise in zoning work of specific municipalities. He often represents national home builders, commercial and industrial landowners, as well as national retailers. He also serves as the Mayor's representative to the City of Phoenix Infill Advisory Board.

A former zoning administrator in the city of Phoenix, peers note how William Allison "has a perspective from the inside that not everybody has. He's very knowledgeable about the Phoenix zoning ordinance."

About the Team (content provided by Withey Morris PLC)

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Senior Statesmen

Gammage & Burnham PLC

From the Chambers USA guide

Peers label Grady Gammage as "the person in land use and zoning," calling him "a prolific author, writer and speaker." One source adds: "He is the best, he is just very engaging and thorough." He is held in high esteem by clients and peers with his diverse 40-year career including zoning work for multiple major commercial projects ranging from office buildings to residential areas.

^ See whole ranking table

Senior Statesmen

Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs, P.C.

From the Chambers USA guide

Based in the firm's Phoenix office, cofounding partner Larry Lazarus is a leading lawyer in the area of zoning and land use in the Phoenix market, with over 30 years of experience. Sources note that "he is a fine lawyer" and another adds that "he does an incredible job." He applies his knowledge to planned residential and commercial developments, as well as industrial buildings and recreational facilities.

^ See whole ranking table

Star Individuals

Earl, Curley & Lagarde, PC

From the Chambers USA guide

The longstanding and "well respected" Stephen Earl is thought of by market commentators as "one of the best in the business" when it comes to zoning and land use. Earl has over three decades of experience and is lauded as one of the leading individuals in the market.

^ See whole ranking table

Star Individuals

Beus Gilbert PLLC

From the Chambers USA guide

Clients label Paul Gilbert "the real estate guru," citing "his knowledge of the intricacies of site approval and of city requirements." They add that he "has an excellent presence, is very professional and extremely charismatic." Another commends his "political acumen." With more than four decades of experience, he is well respected and held in high regard by both clients and peers.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Berry Riddell LLC

From the Chambers USA guide

John Berry is highlighted by peers for his "extensive experience," adding that "he is one of the few people that can get anything through the city." He is highly regarded by both peers and clients, and frequently works on matters in Scottsdale.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Burch & Cracchiolo

From the Chambers USA guide

Sources recognize that Edwin Bull is "certainly top tier" and add: "He does a great job and is one of the best. He is tough and if he says he is going to do something, he will do it." He has been practicing for almost four decades and is one of the leading zoning and land use lawyers in the state. He is also the president of the firm.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Withey Morris PLC

From the Chambers USA guide

Michael Withey has a longstanding reputation in the zoning and land use market and is someone peers "have a great deal of regard for." He is a founding partner at the firm and handles matters involving large-scale, complex rezoning, and negotiating development agreements all over the state of Arizona.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Stephen W Anderson

Gammage & Burnham PLC

From the Chambers USA guide

Stephen Anderson is labeled by one source as "a very active good guy with a high level of integrity." Anderson is active in retail and residential projects in both Arizona and California. With regard to his real estate expertise, he is renowned for his prominence as a zoning and land use lawyer.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Pew & Lake, P.L.C.

From the Chambers USA guide

Sean Lake enjoys a fine reputation among his peers in the zoning and land use legal market. He works on matters throughout the East Valley area. He is also a member of the Merit Systems Commission for Maricopa County.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Withey Morris PLC

From the Chambers USA guide

Jason Morris is one of the founding partners at the firm and is often employed by clients for his expertise in zoning work of specific municipalities. He often represents national home builders, commercial and industrial landowners, as well as national retailers. He also serves as the Mayor's representative to the City of Phoenix Infill Advisory Board.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Pew & Lake, P.L.C.

From the Chambers USA guide

Ralph Pew is viewed as "a great zoning lawyer" who specializes specifically in the East Valley region. He also possesses expertise in land use.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP

From the Chambers USA guide

Michael Phalen is described by one client as "a great lawyer" because he is "extremely knowledgeable with real estate matters and makes it painless to do a deal." Phalen is recognized by peers for his knowledge of state land issues and transactions. He possesses expertise in real estate purchases, sales agreements and land leases.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Berry Riddell LLC

From the Chambers USA guide

Peers appreciate Wendy Riddell's "breadth of experience" while one particularly impressed client says that "she has top negotiating skills" and is "very strategic when looking at the best angle to get us the desired outcome." Her expertise is in zoning and land use matters with clients from a variety of industries.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Dana Stagg Belknap

Gallagher & Kennedy

From the Chambers USA guide

Dana Stagg Belknap is recognized by peers for her work in negotiating development agreements and facilities districts. She has over two and a half decades of experience, and her clients include regional and national developers and landowners.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Snell & Wilmer LLP

From the Chambers USA guide

Nicholas Wood is praised by clients, who note his "ability to solve complex problems with his contacts and experience." He possesses extensive expertise in zoning and land use planning, regularly working on high-value matters for builders and developers.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Withey Morris PLC

From the Chambers USA guide

A former zoning administrator in the city of Phoenix, peers note how William Allison "has a perspective from the inside that not everybody has. He's very knowledgeable about the Phoenix zoning ordinance."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Heidi Kimzey Short

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP

From the Chambers USA guide

Clients praise Heidi Kimzey Short, saying: "She's super knowledgeable and responsive, which is crucial. Whenever we need her Heidi is there for us right away." She focuses her practice on the areas of land use regulation, zoning, and real estate acquisitions and dispositions. Her clients range from commercial developers to master-planned community developers.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Tiffany & Bosco, PA

From the Chambers USA guide

William Lally is the head of Tiffany & Bosco, PA's land use and zoning practice group and has spent his entire career focused on this legal area. He represents clients including property owners, developers and home builders in all aspects of entitlement and development law.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Sender Associates, Chtd.

From the Chambers USA guide

Based out of Tempe, Darin Sender of Sender Associates, Chtd. specializes in the development and entitlement fields and acts on behalf of clients to obtain zoning entitlements for a variety of projects. She is founder and president of the firm and has been active in the real estate market for over 20 years. She has served on numerous boards and commissions, including as a Mayor-appointed member of the Tempe Board of Adjustment.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs, P.C.

From the Chambers USA guide

With a career spanning almost two decades, Keri Silvyn focuses her practice on advising private developers and local government entities, and specifically on zoning codes and compliance, state statutes and land use law. She is based in the firm's Tucson office.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Gammage & Burnham PLC

From the Chambers USA guide

Based in Tempe, Manjula Vaz is noted by her peers for being "fabulous, really smart, engaging and easy to work with." One client enthuses that "she has never failed in a task for us." Her practice focuses on all aspects of zoning and the negotiation and implementation of development agreements.

^ See whole ranking table