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Jennifer Phillips Smith

Jennifer Phillips Smith

Director, Real Property

Ms. Smith counsels clients on complex redevelopment, land use, and regulatory matters. She represents clients seeking site plan approval and variances from numerous planning and zoning boards in connection with mixed use, multi-family residential, restaurant, retail, office, financial, medical, and educational projects. She also represents clients in redevelopment areas and has experience drafting and reviewing redevelopment documents, including redevelopment agreements, redevelopment plans, financial agreements (PILOTs), and special assessment agreements. Ms. Smith has extensive experience in land use litigation, including challenges involving municipal land use approvals and affordable housing matters. She has also appeared before the Office of Administrative Law concerning challenges to state agency decisions.

Ms. Smith represents liquor licensees and has counseled clients on 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 and clubs seeking the issuance of new plenary retail consumption licenses. In addition, Ms. Smith 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 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, representing clients in connection with designations as redeveloper, and negotiating financial agreements for payments-in-lieu of taxes.
  • 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; represents clients seeking the issuance of club and hotel licenses; and represents clients seeking changes to the alcoholic beverage laws. Ms. Smith also has experience in special concessionaire permits and the associated agreements with governmental entities.

Credentials

Education

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)

NAIOP New Jersey Chapter

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