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Michael J. Phalen

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Michael Phalen is a partner in the firm's Real Estate Practice Group, focusing primarily on land acquisition, entitlement, and development. Mike’s practice covers a full range of issues from land use planning and zoning, real estate, government affairs, natural resources to mining law, public lands, and renewable energy.

Mike has worked on a number of high-profile development projects, navigating the complexities of municipal law, local government affairs, rezoning, general plan amendments, development agreements, annexations and infrastructure and impact fee issues before various municipalities, governmental bodies, and regulatory agencies throughout Arizona. 

Experienced in the policy and political elements of land use and zoning, he is a former assistant Arizona attorney general in the Land and Natural Resources Section, and previously led the Planning and Asset Management Section of the Arizona State Land Department.

More About Michael J. Phalen


  • J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
  • B.A., History and Political Science, University of Arizona

Bar Admissions

  • Arizona
  • California (inactive)


  • State Bar of Arizona, Member
  • State Bar of California, Member
  • Chrysalis Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, Member, Board of Directors, 2011-2016
  • Valley Partnership, General Counsel and Member, Board of Directors, 2005-2010
  • Real Property Section of the State Bar of Arizona, Treasurer and Member, Executive Council, 2003-2006

Representative Matters

  • Represented an international automobile company in the rezoning and sale of a 5,500 acre property to a national homebuilder for the development as a mixed-use master planned community. 
  • Represented a national homebuilder in rezoning a superblock residential parcel in the Desert Ridge master planned community.
  • Negotiated development agreements and pre-annexation agreements on behalf of various developers with the cities of Phoenix, Peoria, Tempe, Surprise, Eloy, and Show Low, and the towns of Fountain Hills, Florence, and Camp Verde, Arizona.
  • Represented a local land developer in a General Plan Amendment of a 160 acre mixed use project at a freeway interchange.
  • Represented a regional land developer in securing a use permit and zoning map amendment.
  • Represented a medical group with a special use permit to permit medical office uses.
  • Represented a regional convenience store chain in securing approval for two off-site electronic billboards along the Interstate 10 freeway.
  • Represented land developer in successfully obtaining ground lease and development agreement for a mixed use project on city owned land.
  • Negotiated and drafted license agreements for use of municipal right of way for fiber optic, conduit network, and gasoline pipeline purposes with the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, the Town of Paradise Valley, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas.
  • Represented local, regional, and national commercial industrial, retail, and office developers for leases of parcels offered at public auction by the Arizona State Land Department, including negotiating commercial lease document provisions, performing due diligence, researching and analyzing property and zoning entitlements, and assessing and analyzing infrastructure issues. 
  • Represented several national homebuilders with numerous public auction sales of Arizona State Trust Land parcels. Matters included negotiation of sale terms, due diligence research, and analysis of entitlement and infrastructure issues.
  • Represented numerous clients in the acquisition and assignment of long-term commercial leases in several Arizona State Land Department developments, including those within the Desert Ridge master planned community in northeast Phoenix. 
  • Represented an international mining company for a split estate (private surface/state subsurface) acquisition of a state land mineral lease.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Top Lawyers, Phoenix Magazine, 2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate and Land Use & Zoning Law, 2008-2024
  • Southwest Super Lawyers, Land Use/Zoning, 2009-2016, 2018-2021, Real Estate, 2022-2024
  • Chambers USA, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, 2005-2024
  • Legal 500, Land Use/Zoning, 2006-2016
  • Real Estate Broker's License, Arizona Department of Real Estate




  • Panelist, "Fun in the Sun?: Solar Energy Development in Arizona," Arizona State Bar, 2022 Advanced Current Issues: Real Estate, May 2022
  • Speaker, Land Use Law: Current Issues in Subdivision, Annexation and Zoning, Legal and Practical Consideration of the Arizona Annexation Process,” NBI Seminar, Phoenix, Arizona, March 2016
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