Michael Sklaroff

Michael Sklaroff

Special Counsel

Michael Sklaroff is the former Chair of the Real Estate Department. His practice encompasses real estate development (corporate headquarters, office buildings, industrial facilities, port facilities, power centers, family entertainment centers, hotels, new town centers, condominium and other residential complexes, and cultural facilities); real property tax and eminent domain (pharmaceutical research and development facilities, power generating and transmission stations, refineries and fuel depots, corporate headquarters, manufacturing facilities, transportation and transmission facilities, rail corridors, multifamily housing, development parcels, outdoor advertising and telecommunications facilities, and shopping centers); zoning and land use (television, radio broadcasting, outdoor advertising and telecommunications, office, retail, commercial, suburban residential, parking, industrial parks, hospitals, hotels, museums, condominiums, university facilities, and urban mixed-use development); and serving as counsel to cultural institutions (orchestra, museum, and medical associations). He is a member of the Eminent Domain Group.

Michael planned, chaired, and moderated the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s programs "The Law of Historic Preservation" and "The Science of Land Use." As deputy executive director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority in the early 1970's, he managed six departments comprising 170 employees. He served as Founding Chair of the Real Property Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and Chair of the Committee on Condemnation and Appraisals. He chairs the Development Workshop, Inc., a 501(c)(6) trade organization composed of developers, former planning directors, architects, appraisers, lawyers, and others dedicated to population growth, job creation and strengthening the tax base through development in the City of Philadelphia. 


Representative Matters

  • Helped bring the first civil rights action in federal court to open the suburbs to multifamily housing and enforce the landmark zoning decision in Girsh Appeal 434 Pa. 237 (1970), and was part of the team that obtained site-specific relief, now a central part of Pennsylvania's land-use jurisprudence
  • Served as expert witness on the effect of the integration clause in an agreement of sale for a major commercial real estate transaction in 1726 Cherry Street Partnership v. Bell Atlantic Properties, Inc., Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, January Term, 1990, No. 2023, affirmed, 439 Pa. Super. 141, 653 A.2d 663 (1995), appeal denied 653 A.2d 663 (Pa. 1995)
  • Argued for the municipality in The Piper Group, Inc. v. Bedminster Twp. Bd. of Supervisors, 30 A.3d 1083, 2011 Pa. LEXIS 2333 (Pa. 2011), where the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld an agricultural land preservation ordinance against a developer's curative amendment challenge and for the first time interpreted the 1988 provisions of the Municipalities Planning Code dealing with the municipal cure and the extent of site-specific relief

Professional Highlights

Judicial Clerkship

Hon. Joseph S. Lord III, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Professional Activities

American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), Member

College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Fellow

Counselors of Real Estate, Member

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, Real Estate Litigation (Philadelphia), 1993-2023; "Lawyer of the Year," Litigation - Real Estate (Philadelphia), 2012, 2019

Judicial AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, Legal Intelligencer

Speaking Engagements

"Historic Preservation Law: Obligations and Opportunities," Pennsylvania Bar Institute CLE, Philadelphia, November 30, 2018

"Historic Pine Street Passive House Meets the Environmental Bill of Rights," panelist, AIA Forum on Architecture and Design, October 4, 2018

"Historic Pine Street Passive House Meets the Environmental Bill of Rights," panelist, Green Building United 2018 Sustainability Symposium, May 4, 2018


The Ballard Spahr Real Estate Department was featured in an article in The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. In this editorial interview, Michael describes the strategic evolution of the Ballard Spahr real estate practice and defines the firm's vision for future growth. Additionally, the department was featured in a story in The Philadelphia Inquirer titled "With the Power to Build."

"Economic Force Majeure: The Conceivable and the Foreseeable," a chapter in The ACREL Papers—Fall 2011, American Law Institute – American Bar Association, Fall 2011

"The Valuation of Corridors in Eminent Domain: The Chester Valley Branch," CRE Real Estate Issues, Winter 2005-2006



University of Pennsylvania Law School (LL.B., magna cum laude, 1967)
Editor, University of Pennsylvania Law Review
Member, Order of the Coif

Columbia College (A.B. 1964)