Lea A. Phillips

Associate

phillipsla@ballardspahr.com
Tel 602.798.5464
Fax 602.798.5595
Phoenix

Lea A. Phillips represents clients in a wide range of environmental litigation, regulatory, and transactional matters. She regularly advises clients on environmental risks and liabilities in energy and real estate transactions and has significant experience in environmental permitting and regulatory compliance issues. She also represents commercial, manufacturing, and industrial clients in complex environmental litigation matters in federal and state court and before administrative tribunals.

Lea's practice extends to Native American Indian Law, where she advises on a number of issues affecting tribes, including tribal governance, membership, 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.

Representative Matters

Enforcement and Litigation

  • Represented an Arizona utility in the defense of a $40 million federal Superfund claim for alleged groundwater contamination in metropolitan Phoenix
  • Represented an industrial waste management corporation in a claim for damages sustained when it collected PCB contaminated used oil
  • Obtained a favorable settlement in which client incurred no out-of-pocket expenses in defense of claim for negligence, conversion, and aiding and abetting
  • Successfully assisted a joint defense group in creating arguments in matter of first impression regarding the appeal of administrative determinations
  • Represented a school in defense of breach of lease claims as a result of the school's changing locations due to the presence of environmental contaminants
  • Obtained a favorable settlement for a used oil recycler in dispute regarding the contamination of its product

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
  • Represented an Arizona company in obtaining approval to operate as a drinking water provider
  • Provided counsel to regional petroleum marketer in issues associated with obtaining renewal of air quality permit
  • Successfully challenged the Arizona Department of Transportation’s assessment of dyed diesel fuel tax penalties to an Arizona trucking company
  • Represented developer in permitting and financing a 1,485 MW natural gas-fired, combined cycle power generating facility
  • Provided permitting counsel to the developer of a 536-megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant.

Transactional

  • Provided environmental counsel to international solar developer in financing and permitting a 104 MW photovoltaic solar energy project in Utah
  • Routinely assists developers and investors in performing environmental due diligence in connection with developing and financing photovoltaic solar power facilities
  • Assisted in performing environmental due diligence and effectuated environmental permit transfers in connection with the client’s purchase of a mine in Utah
  • Routinely assists a national automobile dealership in performing environmental due diligence in connection with its purchase and sale of dealership facilities

Native American Indian Law

  • Provided counsel to developer and coordinated with local tribe in connection with potential Native American artifacts on project site
  • Routinely prosecutes criminal cases in Tribal Court on behalf of Tribal client
  • Represents Tribal Client’s Department of Social Services in dependency, guardianship, and adoption cases in Tribal Court
  • Successfully obtained Indian Child Welfare Act transfers of dependency matters from Maricopa County Superior Court and Yavapai County Superior Court to Tribal Court on behalf of Tribal Client
  • Routinely counsels Tribal client’s police department on legal issues related police investigations and concurrent jurisdiction with Federal law enforcement
  • Provide counsel to Tribal client in drafting Enrollment ordinance

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. She is currently representing four Thai sex-trafficking victims in matters before U.S. Citizenship of Immigration Services.

Professional Activities

Co-Leader, Ballard Women

Recognition & Accomplishments

Named as a Southwest Super Lawyers "Rising Star," Environmental, Super Lawyers magazine, 2016-2018

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

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

Board Memberships

Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, Board of Directors

Child Crisis Arizona, Board of Directors

Maricopa County Bar Association, Environment and Natural Resources Law Section, Executive Board, Immediate Past Chair

Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law (J.D. 2011, with Law Science and Technology Certificate, magna cum laude)
Associate Editor, Arizona State Law Journal; Member, 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. 2007, magna cum laude)

Arizona

U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona