Liam Murphy - Murphy Sullivan Kronk

Liam Murphy

Listed in Best Lawyers since 1995
Phone: 802-861-7000

Liam began his legal career with the Washington office of the Houston, Texas firm of Butler, Binion, Rice Cook and Knapp. He relocated to Vermont in 1983 and joined the Burlington office of Langrock, Sperry & Wool, where he became a partner and where he remained until becoming a founding member of MSK in March 2004.

Liam maintains a broad practice grounded in all types of real estate matters, encompassing real estate transactions and litigation, land use and environmental law as well as condemnation litigation.

Liam's transactional practice focuses on representing building owners and developers to establish and manage their operating entities, to acquire, finance, permit, manage, lease and/or sell (including through "1031 exchanges") a wide variety of commercial, residential, hotel, recreational, office and shopping center properties, and to establish condominiums and common interest communities. Representative transactions include the following:

  • Counsel to the City of Winooski in connection with its ongoing downtown redevelopment project. The Winooski project is the largest urban redevelopment project in the state's history, involving the acquisition of 125 acres from multiple owners through sales and condemnation, obtaining master plan approval to construct over 300,000 sq. ft. of retail/commercial space, a 250-room hotel, a 43,000 sq. ft. municipal center, 800 units of housing, and 3,100 parking spaces in multiple parking garages, and then working with private developers to implement the City's vision for a redeveloped downtown.
  • Counsel to Vermont National Golf Course in connection with the development of a championship golf course with 250 units of housing.
  • Co-counsel to the developer of Maple Tree Place in Williston, a mixed use development with up to 450,000 sq. ft. of retail/commercial/office space, including a cinema, a grocery store, and 50 units of residential housing.
  • Counsel in two superfund cases and a number of brownfield cases, where he has represented parties named as "potentially responsible parties" under CERCLA, the Federal Superfund law.
  • Counsel to numerous landowners, land trusts and conservation organizations in the transfer of development rights and the creation of conservation easements, including projects with the Vermont Land Trust, the Lake Champlain Land Trust, the Champlain Valley Greenbelt Alliance and the Town of Charlotte Land Trust.
  • Counsel to First New Hampshire Bank in the foreclosure, management, and resale of the Burke Mountain Ski Area, among other foreclosure/workout matters undertaken during the downturn in the real estate market in the early 1990s.
Liam's litigation practice focuses on property law, including title and boundary disputes, easement disputes, adverse possession and prescriptive easements; public and private road issues; title insurance claims; land use and zoning law; construction law; and on condemnation. In the course of his practice, Liam has represented landowners, developers, municipalities and neighborhood groups in matters before the United States District Court for the District of Vermont, the Vermont Supreme Court, Vermont Superior Courts, the Vermont Environmental Court, the Vermont Environmental Board, the Water Resources Board, multiple Act 250 District Environmental Commissions, and various municipal zoning and planning boards. Representative cases include the following:
  • Counsel to Burlington Broadcasters, Inc. d/b/a WIZN, successfully defending a radio station in a decade-long challenge to the location of its tower and antennae brought by a local citizens group.
  • Counsel to numerous neighborhood groups and organizations in ensuring that neighborhood and community concerns are considered in proposed developments.
  • Counsel to numerous landowners along U.S. Route 7 in the condemnation action undertaken by the State of Vermont in connection with widening that road from two lanes to four.
  • Counsel to numerous landowners in condemnation actions by VELCO for its electric transmission lines and facilities in the New Haven to Burlington corridor.
  • Co-counsel to the Central Vermont Railroad in connection with the series of cases interpreting the public's rights to "filled lands" along the Burlington waterfront under the "Public Trust Doctrine".

From 1997 to 2000, Liam served as the Chair of the Real Property Committee of the Vermont Bar Association, and in 2001 was awarded the "Service Award" by the Vermont Bar Association. Since 1988, Liam has regularly taught a course on "Title to Real Estate in Vermont" for lawyers and paralegals, and has published a companion publication. He is a frequent lecturer on land use and development law and related regulatory issues, appearing regularly at events sponsored by the Vermont Bar Association, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, and the Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Association.

In addition to his practice, Liam is actively involved in community activities, helping to establish the Champlain Valley Greenbelt Alliance, a conservation group dedicated to the preservation of the scenic and working landscape along Vermont's major roadways with an initial focus on Route 7 from Shelburne to Middlebury. In addition, he was a Director of the Lake Champlain Land Trust from 1995 to 2001, and also provides volunteer legal services to a variety of Vermont land trusts and conservation organizations. 
 
Liam graduated from Drew University in 1976, where he majored in political science. Shortly thereafter, Liam moved to Washington, D.C. where he began working for Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy as a staff member on the Agriculture Committee. In late 1977, he began work as an appointee in the Carter Administration as Director, Legislative Affairs, Food Safety and Quality Service, Department of Agriculture. Liam attended Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1981.

Born near Wexford, Ireland in 1954, Liam moved with his family to Wales in 1960 and then to Brattleboro, Vermont in 1968. He currently lives in Charlotte with his wife and two sons.

Drew UniversityBA 1976Georgetown University Law CenterJ.D. 1981

Case History

Extensive number of transactions for local developers — Represent building owners and developers to establish and manage their operating entities, to acquire, finance, permit, manage, lease and/or sell (including through "1031 exchanges") a wide variety of commercial, residential, hotel, recreational, office and shopping center properties, and to establish condominiums and common interest communities, including: Redstone Commercial Group, a Vermont developer of commercial and recreational properties, including Bolton Valley Ski Resort; The Davis Company; developer of commercial properties including the Maltex Building, Hillside Properties, development of Hillside East and Hillside Park, commercial office and manufacturing building developments.
In re Shantee Point, Inc., 174 Vt. 248 (October 4, 2002) — Attorney Murphy represented landowners in regard to the relocation of a private road. The case involved whether the road was private or dedicated to the public, and whether permits were required for its relocation.
In re Hinsdale Farm, 177 Vt. 115 (August 13, 2004) — Attorney Murphy represented a farm owner whose farm had been classified as a Large Farm Operation ("LFO") in regard to the exemption from jurisdiction of the Water Resources Board over certain agricultural activities.
Various Hotel Projects — Represented various clients to establish and manage their operating entities, to acquire, finance, permit, manage, lease a number of  hotel properties, including the Burlington Harbor Hotel, Green Mountain Suites (formerly Hawthorne Suites), Courtyard Marriott --Williston, Vermont
Erhart v. Agency of Transportation, 2006 Vt 68 (February 14, 2006) — One of a number of cases in which MSK represented business owners on Route 7 affected by the widening of Route 7 in South Burlington and Shelburne, Vermont. This particular case involved the issue of whether landowners were entitled to compensation for loss of traffic access to their properties as a result of the construction of a median.
Special Counsel City of Winooski Redevelopment — Special Counsel to the City of Winooski in connection with its ongoing downtown redevelopment project. The Winooski project is the largest urban redevelopment project in the state''s history, involving the acquisition of 125 acres from multiple owners through sales and condemnation, obtaining master plan approval to construct over 300,000 sq. ft. of retail/commercial space, a 250-room hotel, a 43,000 sq. ft. municipal center, 800 units of housing, and 3,100 parking spaces in multiple parking garages, and then working with private developers to implement the City''s vision for a redeveloped downtown.
Cupola Golf Course, Inc. v. Dooley, 2006 Vt 25 (April 14, 2006) — MSK represented a landowner regarding the interpretation of a view easement. The opposing party in the case involved was a current justice of the Vermont Supreme Court.
In re: Olde Orchard Realty Partnership, L.P., 2008-288 (January, 2009)
Attorney Murphy represented a landowner claiming pre-condemnation damages as the result of a condemnation action filed by the Vermont Electric Power Company which was abandoned after the landowner was forced to spend significant sums to appeal a proposed damage award.
State v. Central Vermont Railway, 153 Vt. 337 (December 22, 1989) — Attorney Murphy represented CVR in a precedent-setting case regarding the public trust doctrine in regard to lands submerged between navigable waters. The case involved the redevelopment of the downtown Burlington waterfront.

Client Comments

"Liam is a highly-skilled, intelligent, thorough advocate with the highest standards and integrity. Liam loves the Law and sees his way through the issues clearly. He has advised us well through many complex contracts, negotiations, and litigation. He has represented our company successfully from the board room to the Supreme Court with the utmost competency and professionalism. We are always confident with Liam on our side. "

"Liam Murphy has an excellent understanding of real estate law and extensive experience in the issues associated with ownership, development, and the many transactions in real estate. Liam is a pragmatic advisor and skillful in negotiating successful solutions to complex and difficult issues. Liam is a joy to work with. He is highly intelligent and brings a sense of reasonableness to every task. He is very approachable and responsive to his client's needs. He is loyal to his clients and does his absolute best to produce good outcomes for them."

-Derrick Davis
President
Davis Company

"Liam has an excellent legal mind that he combines with worldly common sense to provide exactly the type of counsel a business person needs."

-Tim Sampson
Principal
Infill Group

"Mr. Murphy has been my attorney since 1993 and has not only handled my corporate legal work, but commercial and personal real estate investments as well. Liam is a true professional; he is very knowledgeable in the field of real estate development and business law, and he is someone I would refer an associate or friend to."

-Earl Wertheim
President
Evergreen Development Two, Inc. dba The UPS Store

"Liam is an involved lawyer and a decided credit to the profession. His expert legal advice to the Winooski City Council during a five-year Downtown Revitalization Project, the largest in Vermont history, was critical to the City's time-sensitive condemnation proceedings, environmental permit processes, land acquisition, and construction contracting. Liam worked as a trusted partner throughout and the fact that this award-winning project finished on time, and on budget, provides testament to a lawyer (and a firm) that gets the job done! "

-Gerry Myers
City Manager
City of Winooski

"Admired by his adversaries, respected by the Courts, trusted and loved by his colleagues and clients - that is the essence of Liam Murphy. His reputation as an expert in real estate law is well known, and well deserved. Liam is a brilliant litigator whose power emanates from his innate ability to reason, and his expertise and his vast experience in Real Estate law. Liam is the hardest-working, most-zealous client advocate that we have ever observed. Liam is able to sympathize and empathize with his clients, yet keep them focused on the realities of their own particular situation. "

-Al and Nancy Dahm

Office Location

275 College Street
P.O. Box 4485
Burlington, VT 05406-4485
United States


Lawyer of the Year Awards

2017 Lawyer of the Year in Construction Law of the Burlington Metro Area2016 Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Law of the Burlington Metro Area2013 Lawyer of the Year in Litigation - Real Estate of the Burlington Metro Area2012 Lawyer of the Year in Land Use and Zoning Law of the Burlington Metro Area
Liam Murphy has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2017!Liam Murphy has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!Liam Murphy has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2013!Liam Murphy has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2012!

Practice Areas

Construction Law
Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law
Environmental Law
Land Use and Zoning Law
Litigation - Construction
Litigation - Environmental
Litigation - Land Use and Zoning
Litigation - Real Estate
Municipal Law
Real Estate Law (Business, Commercial, Condemnation, Construction, Development, Eminent Domain, Hospitality, Land Use, Litigation, Real Property Law, Residential, Tax Certiorari, Title Matters, Zoning)