Emily Morris

Emily K. Morris


Emily K. Morris

Emily’s practice focuses on real estate transactions and municipal law in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Before entering private practice, Emily was an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia for 13 years, where she served as counsel to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) on large-scale economic development projects, including I-395 air rights disposition (Capitol Crossing), Saint Elizabeth East Campus redevelopment, Hines School, CityMarket at O Street, and Howard Theatre ground lease.

In private practice, Emily serves as counsel to District and Maryland residential and commercial developers, individuals, and businesses. Her practice includes the negotiation of purchase and sale agreements; serving as counsel on residential and commercial real estate closings; drafting and negotiation of retail leases; creating condominium regimes; and obtaining land use special exceptions and variances. Emily also represents and assists private sector clients with District, federal, state, and municipal compliance issues, including District TOPA, Certified Business Enterprises (CBE), and First Source compliance and certification requirements as well as state, federal, and municipal stormwater management, energy efficiency, green buildings, waterfront re-development, and floodplain development requirements.

  • Served as outside general counsel to District and Maryland residential developers. Representation includes drafting of purchase agreements, creation of limited liability companies for each purchase, and advice/representation on land use matters
  • Drafted and filed documents required to create residential condominiums in the District of Columbia
  • Represented Spring Flats MD LLC’s in its negotiation of the Land Disposition and Development Agreement with DMPED for the purchase and redevelopment of former Hebrew Home (1125 Spring Road, NW). Assisted with CBE and First Source compliance and negotiated street dedication agreement with the District Department of Transportation
  • Represented individual individuals/trusts in purchase and sale of homes in District and Maryland to ensure that contractual obligations are satisfied, such as due diligence, TOPA and title review/removal of encumbrances
  • Negotiated retail-office leases (e.g. costume shop in Georgetown, bicycle shop in Bethesda, health-wellness facility in Silver Spring, co-working space in Brookland, office sublease in Dupont)
  • Assisted large DC developer with its RFQ proposal to redevelop the air rights above I-395 (aka Capitol Vista project), including outlining the process and requirements to obtain Federal Highway Administration approval for construction
  • Served as co-counsel representing an elderly property owner in a family dispute involving historic Anacostia mixed-use property and guardianship of the client’s brother involving a $50M property portfolio (Maryland and DC)
  • Served as co-counsel to an owner of a historic Logan Circle rowhome against adjacent owner-developer’s construction impact on the LLC property’s chimney and other encroachments on the LLC owner’s property
  • Served as counsel to a local developer in the resolution of condominium association warranty claims in conjunction with a co-counsel representation of a developer in arbitration with a builder over construction errors and payment
  • Assisted trust client with the sale of a 14-unit Capitol Hill apartment building, including compliance with TOPA requirements and certificate of occupancy discrepancies
  • Assisted District Certified Business Entity (CBE) entity whose certified status was revoked due to DC Council’s 2020 emergency and temporary acts changing the definition of “independently owned and operated”
  • Represented a development REIT with compliance with historic deed restrictions and requirements on phase two of a legacy RLARC disposition in SW DC, including compliance with historic first source requirements and phase completion certificates. Advised on compliance with the historic voluntary agreement and rent control considerations with tenants in the third phase of the development
  • Drafted lot line covenant required to construct a rooftop restaurant bar in the U Street corridor
  • Advised charter school on regulatory and District requirements for the creation of a new charter school at Joint Base Anacostia-Boling base
  • Advised on District of Columbia green building requirements for a new charter school in SE DC
  • Represented developers in obtaining land use special exceptions and variances from the District of Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA)
    • BZA Case 18690A: Obtained special exception under the requirements of Subtitle C § 1500.3(c), and variances from the lot occupancy requirements of Subtitle G § 404.1, the rear yard requirements of Subtitle G § 405, the side yard requirements of Subtitle G § 406.2, and the rear service staircase requirements of Subtitle X § 1001.2, to construct a roof deck above an existing fast food establishment in the MU-4 Zone at premises 606 Florida Avenue N.W. (Square 441, Lots 819, 837, and 838)
    • BZA Case 19435: Obtained without hearing a special exception under Subtitle D § 5201 from the lot occupancy requirements of Subtitle D § 304.1, the rear yard requirements of Subtitle D § 306.1, the side yard requirements of Subtitle D § 307.1, and the nonconforming structure requirements of Subtitle C § 202.2, to rebuild and screen-in a deck to the rear of an existing one-family dwelling in the R-3 Zone at premises 2651 Woodley Road N.W. (Square 2108, Lot 4)
    • BZA Case 20032: Obtained special exceptions under Subtitle E § 5201 from the lot occupancy requirements of Subtitle E § 304.1; the nonconforming structure requirements of Subtitle C § 202.2; and density requirements of Subtitle E § 201.4, to renovate and to expand an existing eight-unit apartment house to a ten-unit apartment house from in the RF-1 Zone at premises 585 Columbia Road N.W. (Square 3051, Lot 174)
    • BZA Case 20293: Obtained a special exception under the requirements of Subtitle U § 320.2 to construct a third story addition and a three-story rear addition to convert an existing attached principal dwelling unit into a three-unit apartment house in the RF-1 zone at premises 2116 4th Street N.E. (Square 3562, Lot 53)
    • BZA Case 20307: Obtained special exception under Subtitle U § 601.1(f) from the alley lot access requirements of Subtitle U § 600.1(f)(4)(B) to permit the renovation of an existing detached storage building into a principal dwelling unit in the RF-1 Zone at premises 315 Rear W Street, N.E. (Square 3562, Lot 60)
  • Member of District of Columbia Building Industry Association (DCBIA)
  • Board Member of SB Works
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • Inactive – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State