Lea A. Phillips

Associate She / Her / Hers
Phoenix

Lea A. Phillips focuses her practice on serving the renewable energy, manufacturing, and waste/recycling industries and has particular expertise in battery energy storage systems (BESS). Lea regularly provides legal counsel on project development, obtains and defends challenges to environmental and land use permits; negotiates the environmental terms of acquisitions and divestitures; and designs and assesses environmental compliance policies.

Lea's practice extends to Native American Indian Law. She advises corporate and tribal clients on a number of issues affecting tribes, including management of cultural resources on or near Native American Indian reservations , tribal governance, tribal environmental and water rights, membership and enrollment, the adoption of tribal laws addressing criminal and civil offenses, and the Indian Child Welfare Act. She regularly appears in tribal court on criminal and civil matters.

Experience 

Representative Matters

Regulatory Compliance and Permitting

  • Represented an international aggregate company in executing the transfer of environmental permits in connection with the company’s purchase of 22 facilities in the Southeast and Midwest
  • Served as environmental and permitting counsel to developer of a 104 MW utility scale solar project in Utah in connection with project development and a $157 million project financing and tax equity investment
  • Represents developer in permitting 100 MW battery energy storage system (BESS) project in Arizona

Transactional

  • Routinely advises a national waste hauler in the management of environmental risks associated with its acquisitions and divestitures
  • Routinely assists developers, investors, and financers in performing environmental due diligence in connection with financing photovoltaic solar power facilities
  • Routinely assists a national automobile dealership in performing environmental due diligence in connection with its purchase and sale of dealership facilities

Enforcement and Litigation

  • Represented an Arizona utility in the defense of a $40 million federal Superfund claim for alleged groundwater contamination in metropolitan Phoenix
  • Successfully challenged the Arizona Department of Transportation's assessment of dyed diesel fuel tax penalties to an Arizona trucking company
  • Represented an industrial waste management corporation in a claim for damages sustained when it collected PCB contaminated used oil

Native American Indian Law

  • Provided counsel to developer and coordinated with local tribe in connection with potential Native American artifacts on project site
  • Provided counsel to Tribe in negotiating agreement for water and sewer services with nearby municipality
  • Routinely prosecutes criminal cases in Tribal Court on behalf of Tribal client

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

Lea maintains an active pro bono practice, in which she represents human trafficking victims and individuals seeking guardianship of their disabled adult children. Lea recently represented four Thai sex-trafficking victims in matters before U.S. Citizenship of Immigration Services.

Professional Activities

Steering Committee, Environmental Law Institute Emerging Leaders Initiative

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Best Lawyers in America "Ones to Watch," – Environmental Law (Phoenix), 2021

40 under 40, Phoenix Business Journal, 2020

Barrett Alumni Service Award, Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, 2019

Named as a Southwest Super Lawyers "Rising Star," Environmental, Super Lawyers magazine, 2016-2021

Finalist, ATHENA Young Professional Award, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, 2015

Speaking Engagements

Faculty, Environmental Risks in Business Transactions, Environmental Law Institute Western Boot Camp, 2019, 2020

Board Memberships & Community Service

Child Crisis Arizona, Board of Directors

Publications

Co-author, "Regulation of Non-Hazardous Waste under RCRA," Chapter 15, The RCRA Practice Manual, Third Edition, ABA Section of Envt., Energy, & Resources, American Bar Association, Chicago, 2013

Credentials 

Education

Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, with Law Science and Technology Certificate)
Associate Editor, Arizona State Law Journal
Order of the Coif
Recipient, Merit Scholarship
Recipient, Willard H. Pedrick Scholar Award for academic achievement
Recipient, Highest Pro Bono Distinction

Arizona State University, Barrett, The Honors College (B.A., magna cum laude)

Admissions

Arizona

U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona