Joanne Phillips

Special Counsel
Tel 215.864.8702
Fax 215.864.8999

Joanne Phillips has extensive experience in zoning and land use, real estate development, acquisitions and sales, leasing, eminent domain matters, easements and right-of-way issues, and real estate financing. She has represented business clients, cultural institutions, hospitals, and universities in real estate development and real estate finance.

In 2017, Joanne was elected to serve as Delaware County Controller and began her four-year term in January 2018. Her office oversees payroll, accounts payable, audits, retirement, and preparation of the County's financial reports. As Controller she also serves as board member and Secretary to the Delaware County Employees' Retirement System, and the County Jail Oversight Board. In 2020 she was named to the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority Board by the Delaware County Council.

In 2006, she left Ballard when she was appointed by Governor Ed Rendell to serve as the Director of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Bureau of Real Estate, in the Department of General Services, where she oversaw the Bureau which is responsible for a vast portfolio of state-owned and leased space. Her purview encompassed property acquisition for construction of capital projects, disposition of surplus properties, leasing of Commonwealth property, and leasing from third-party landlords for space required by Commonwealth executive agencies. She re-joined Ballard Spahr in 2010. Ms. Phillips was a partner in the firm from 1995 to 2006 and 2010 to 2020.

Joanne also took a one-year leave of absence in 2000 to serve as Special Assistant to the Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia on special projects involving zoning, streamlining business processes, and economic development.

Professional Activities

Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, Board Member

The Counselors of Real Estate®, Delaware Valley Chapter, past Chair, 2015; awarded the CRE® credential in 2011; Chair of  Legal and Insurance Group, 2020

Government Finance Officers Association

Pennsylvania State Association of County Controllers

Urban Land Institute, Member, Philadelphia Council, Women's Leadership Council 

Philadelphia Bar Association, past Chair, Real Property Section; past member, Real Property Section Executive Committee; past Co-Chair, Section's Land Use, Zoning and Enforcement Committee

Delaware County Bar Association- Women in Law Committee, Judicial Selection Committee

Pennsylvania Bar Association, Administrative Law Section and Real Property Section

American Bar Association, Real Property and Probate Section

Publications/Speaking Engagements

Joanne has lectured and published on the topics of real estate development, permitting, historic preservation, and zoning and land use. Speaking and writing engagements since returning to Ballard Spahr in 2010 include:

Presenter, "Zoning and Land Use," University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, 2019-2020

Moderator, "Philadelphia Zoning Code: 2017 Legislative Update," Ballard Spahr breakfast briefing, Philadelphia, June 29, 2017 

Speaker and Moderator, "Re-Awakening of Pennsylvania's Environmental Rights Amendment," Counselors of Real Estate Delaware Valley Chapter 2016 Real Estate Symposium, Villanova, PA, May 5, 2016

Speaker and Moderator, "Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink," Counselors of Real Estate, Denver, April 21, 2015

Speaker, "Unlocking the Secret Handshake to Networking and Leadership," ULI Philadelphia's Women's Leadership Initiative Council, Philadelphia, March 31, 2015

Moderator, "The Land Bank: Investing in Philadelphia's Future," Ballard Spahr breakfast briefing, Philadelphia, February 24, 2015

Moderator, "Demolition of Structures in Philadelphia: Recent Regulations and Practice Tips," Ballard Spahr breakfast briefing, Philadelphia, October 30, 2014

Panelist, "Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: More Than an Oil and Gas Decision?" Ballard Spahr CLE program, February 25, 2014

Panelist, "Ethics for Planners & Design Professionals," at "Design on the Delaware," AIA Philadelphia's 11th Annual Regional Conference, October 29, 2013

Panelist, "Beyond Zoning: Philadelphia's Other New Land Use Regulations Philadelphia's Other New Land Use Regulations," Ballard Spahr breakfast briefing, Philadelphia, October 15, 2013

Panelist, "One Year Later, Implementation of Philadelphia's New Zoning Code," Ballard Spahr briefing, Philadelphia, September 17, 2013

Panelist, "Real Estate Development and the Arts," 2013 Delaware Valley Chapter of The Counselors of Real Estate and Temple University Real Estate Institute Symposium, April 10, 2013

"Project Financing and Development for Nonprofits," Ballard Spahr seminar, September 18, 2012

Panelist, "Act 13 and Municipalities: Can One Size Fit All?" Ballard Spahr and Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, May 31, 2012

Moderator, "The New Philadelphia Zoning Code: Dimensional Standards, Reviewers and Approvals, and Civic Design Review," Ballard Spahr seminar, March 21, 2012

Panelist, "The New Philadelphia Zoning Code: As-of-Right Permits, Base Zoning Districts, and the Code's Structure," Ballard Spahr seminar, February 15, 2012

Panelist and planner, "Philadelphia Historic Preservation Law," a Ballard Spahr CLE course, Philadelphia, November 16, 2011

Moderator, "Preparing for the Turnaround: Preserving Land-Use Entitlements in a Challenging Market," a Ballard Spahr seminar, June 16, 2010

Panelist, "Preserving Asset Value in a Distressed Market," a Ballard Spahr/PREIT Capital Advisors joint program, May 27, 2010

Board Memberships

Delaware County, Jail Oversight Board, Member

Secretary to the Delaware County Retirement Board

The PENJERDEL Council, Past Executive Member

Widener University School of Law, past member, Board of Overseers

Rose Tree Soccer Club, licensed coach and former Director

Widener University School of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 1987)
Law Review Executive Board, Delaware Journal of Corporate Law; Member, Moot Court Honor Society; Member, Phi Delta Phi (legal honor fraternity)

Ursinus College (B.A. 1980, with departmental honors)
Presidential Scholar, 1976-1980