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Jennifer Phillips Smith

Jennifer Phillips Smith

Director, Real Property

Ms. Smith counsels clients on real estate matters ranging from redevelopment projects spanning hundreds of acres to issues impacting small business owners. She represents clients seeking site plan approval and variances from numerous planning and zoning boards in connection with restaurant, residential, retail, office, financial, medical, educational, and mixed use projects. She also represents clients in redevelopment areas and has experience drafting and reviewing redevelopment documents, including redevelopment agreements and redevelopment plans. Ms. Smith has extensive experience in land use litigation, including both the defense of and objection to municipal land use approvals.

Concerning licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages, Ms. Smith represents purchasers of plenary retail consumption licenses and has faced a wide variety of issues, including required corporate disclosures for complex corporate structures, disclosure of past misconduct, and local ordinance restrictions on hours of operation and locations of licensed establishments. She also represents hotels seeking the issuance of new plenary retail consumption licenses. She has experience objecting to the transfer of alcoholic beverage licenses, both before governing bodies and in appeals to the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Ms. Smith also provides counsel on regulatory compliance, enforcement actions, minor employment permits, special event permits, BYOB, and concessionaire permits.

Areas of Focus

Real Estate Development and Redevelopment

The components of Ms. Smith’s practice include:

  • Applications for development, typically representing applicants and objectors in applications to planning and zoning boards and commissions, as well as to other municipal, county, and state agencies, in connection with restaurant, retail, hospital, residential, industrial, and mixed use projects and involving a wide range of issues, such as zone changes, environmental constraints, highway access, sewer/water connection, and other permitting and municipal law issues.
  • Redevelopment, including assisting clients in securing or opposing redevelopment designations, drafting redevelopment plans, negotiating redevelopment agreements, and representing clients in connection with designations as redeveloper.
  • Litigation arising from applications for development, zoning disputes, redevelopment matters, and commercial lease disputes, as well as enforcement proceedings concerning code violations, including all aspects of litigation, from drafting pleadings and developing case strategy to conducting discovery and presenting oral argument at motion hearings and at trial.
  • Due diligence investigations, typically for a purchaser or lender, concerning the permitting and approvals status of property to be acquired or financed to determine the validity and effect of development approvals, as well as the feasibility of future expansion.

Liquor Licensing and Alcoholic Beverage Control

Ms. Smith also practices in the area of liquor licensing and alcoholic beverage control, representing current or prospective licensees in obtaining liquor licenses or permits for on-premises or off-premises consumption. She represents buyers and sellers of licenses and permits, as well as licensees subject to enforcement proceedings; provides counseling concerning alcoholic beverage matters, such as BYOB, background checks, and purchase/sale agreements, as well as compliance and reporting issues; assists with renewals and changes in corporate structure; represents clients in objections to license issuance or transfer and subsequent appeal proceedings; and represents clients seeking changes to the alcoholic beverage laws at the state or local level.



Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude)

  • Law Chancellor Scholar
  • Order of the Coif
  • Recipient, Chicago Title Insurance Company Award
  • Seton Hall Law Review

Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (B.S., cum laude)

  • Omicron Delta Epsilon, International Economics Honor Society

Professional Admissions

State of New Jersey

State of New York

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

Professional Activities

National Association of Licensing & Compliance Professionals (NALCP)

New Jersey State Bar Association
Board of Directors, Land Use Section, 2019-2021

Judicial Clerkship(s)

Law clerk to the Honorable Jaynee LaVecchia, New Jersey Supreme Court, 2006-2007

Legal Employment

Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, Public Defender, 2008

Government Experience

Former intern to then-Congressman Robert Menendez

Former Democratic County Committeeperson, Borough of Metuchen, Middlesex County