Michael J. Phalen

Michael J. Phalen

mphalen@lrrc.com vCard
602.262.5777 office
602.734.3908 fax
201 East Washington Street
Suite 1200
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Michael J. Phalen is a partner in the firm's Real Estate industry team, 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 and public lands and renewable energy.

He 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 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.

Representative Matters

  • Represented an internationally-known automobile company for the rezoning and sale of a 5,500 acre property to a national homebuilder for development as a mixed-use master planned community. The transaction represented the highest price paid in a real estate sale to date in Arizona.
  • Represented an international mining company for a split estate (private surface/state subsurface) acquisition of a state land mineral lease, a first for Arizona.
  • Negotiated development and pre-annexation agreements drafted 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 several national homebuilders in the public auction purchase 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 the Desert Ridge master planned community in northeast Phoenix. 
  • Represented a national homebuilder in rezoning a superblock residential parcel in Desert Ridge.
  • Represented a retail developer for approval of the first electronic billboard entitled by the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.
  • 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. Handled negotiation of commercial lease document provisions, due diligence, and analysis of entitlement and infrastructure concerns. Negotiated the largest state land commercial lease in the department's history.
  • 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 developers in negotiations on a ground lease facilities and development agreement, a mixed-use retail office and multi-family residential project with the city of Peoria, Arizona.

Related News

Demarchi, Freeman named in top 25 Arizona women lawyers
Annual listings reflect professional achievements for Arizona, New Mexico attorneys
Real estate and land use attorney Michael J. Phalen joins Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie
Land acquisition, entitlement and development lawyer added to firm's Business Transactions group


  • 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


  • Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers - Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, 2005-2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America - Land Use & Zoning Law, 2008-2016
  • Legal 500 - Land Use/Zoning, 2006-2016
  • Southwest Super Lawyers - Land Use/Zoning, 2009-2016
  • Real Estate Broker's License - Arizona Department of Real Estate

Other Info


J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1984
B.A., University of Arizona, 1980, History and Political Science

Bar Admissions

Arizona, 1985
California, 1985

Memberships & Affiliations

  • 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