Thomas Phillips is Practice Group Leader of the Firm’s Real Estate Practice Group and has been practicing commercial real estate and land use law for over 30 years. Tom has counseled owners, developers, landlords, tenants, lenders, and investors in a variety of property acquisitions and sales, development and permitting projects, leases, debt and equity financings, workouts/restructurings, and other sophisticated real estate transactions spanning virtually all asset classes. He has particular experience working with retail and mixed use properties. He is the Chair of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Legal Advisory Council and a past ICSC State Director.

Tom is recognized by Chambers USA and The Legal 500 US and has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Real Estate Law.

Prior to joining Brown Rudnick, Tom was a partner in the Boston law firm of Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar, where he served as Real Estate Department Chair.



Represented international publicly-traded resort casino operator in its development of a world-class resort casino in Massachusetts.

Represented preeminent national life sciences REIT and its joint venture with a major global life insurance company. Transactions included the acquisition and financing of millions of square feet of space for purchase prices exceeding $1.25 billion, as well as subsequent leasing, development, permitting, construction, and refinancing activity.

Outside counsel to one of the nation’s largest big box retailers for over 20 years. Transactions have included negotiating over one hundred leases and other agreements nationwide for retail store and non-retail properties (including sales offices, distribution facilities, and a 45,000 square foot corporate data center); the purchase in bankruptcy court of a portfolio of 40 leases encompassing 1.7 million square feet of retail and warehouse space in multiple states; dozens of transactions involving the dispositions of over 1.5 million square feet of surplus property throughout the United States; negotiating for the purchase and development of freestanding retail store sites; defending eminent domain proceedings; prosecuting lease and land use disputes; and advising client in overseas expansions.

Counsel to Boston-based developer and its leading life insurance company joint venture partner in the retail and restaurant leasing components of a large multi-building, multi-use development project in Boston’s Seaport/Innovation District.

National and/or regional leasing counsel to many prominent retail and restaurant chains.

Counsel to several developers of new shopping centers throughout New England. Recent projects include acquisition, permitting, development, leasing, and financing of grocery-anchored center in a neighborhood of Boston.

Represented leading national chain retailer in its lease of a new 400,000 square foot state-of the-art warehouse and distribution center to serve its eastern US operations.

Represented prominent news/media company in leasing and relocating its headquarters to a 50,000 square foot space in Boston’s Seaport/Innovation District.

Represented internationally renowned manufacturer as outside US real estate counsel. Transactions included sale/leaseback of a 300,000 square foot headquarters facility, as well as four regional warehouse and distribution facilities totaling 750,000 square feet.

Represented local charter school in its purchase, development, and financing of a new school campus in a Boston neighborhood.

Represented internationally prominent department store chain in over 40 development projects and proposals for freestanding facilities throughout New England. Engagements included negotiating purchase agreements for land assemblies, ground leases, joint development agreements, and reciprocal easement agreements; rezoning projects; appearances in front of planning boards; zoning appeals and tax assessment negotiations.

Representing local professional sports team in a variety of real estate matters, including restaurant leasing.

Represented nationally prominent technology company in its leasing of a build-to-suit office building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in the subsequent conversion of the building to bio-tech and attendant subleasing program.

Represented one of the nation’s largest commercial banks in its management, leasing, redevelopment, and eventual sale of a distressed 250,000 square foot shopping mall in Boston, Massachusetts; and in an $18.7 million industrial revenue bond financing for an adjacent 1,000-car parking facility.

Represented a joint venture between a private equity fund and a REIT in its purchase and development of a 50-unit condominium project in Boston’s South End.

Represented local developer in development, permitting, and financing of 65-lot planned residential subdivision community in greater Boston.


Boston University School of Law – J.D., 1987
Bowdoin College – A.B., 1984

Bar Admissions

"Commercial Leases and Force Majeure," Corporate Disputes (April 2021)
Speaking Engagements
In the past several years, Tom has lectured, been a panelist, and been a moderator in various educational programs sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), MAPIC, the National Retail Tenants Association (NRTA), CLE International, and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE).
Professional Affiliations
Real Estate Bar Association (REBA)
Boston Bar Association
Massachusetts Bar Association: Appointed to Property Law Section Council (1995-1998)
American Bar Association: Real Property, Trust and Probate Law, and Business Law Sections
International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC): Legal Advisory Council member (2012-present) and Chair (2019-present); State Director for Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont (2009–2012); New England Idea Exchange Chair (2009) and Co-Chair (2008); Eastern Division Next Generation Chair (2007-2009)
National Retail Tenants Association (NRTA)
NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association
Real Estate Finance Association (REFA)
Awards and Honors
Chambers USA, Real Estate, Massachusetts, 2011-2021
The Legal 500 US, Real Estate, 2020-2021
The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2012-2022
Super Lawyers, Top-Rated Real Estate Attorney in Boston, MA, 2004-2021
Community Involvement
Combined Jewish Philanthropies: Real Estate, Design and Construction Team Campaign Co-Chair (2010), Annual Dinner Co-Chair (2009), and Annual Market Update Co-Chair (2008); Lawyers Team
Zoning Board of Appeals, City of Newton, Massachusetts (2008-2012)
Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation Inc.: pro bono general counsel