Ilana M. Quirk


Phone: 617.556.0007
Practice Areas: General Municipal, Real Estate, Land Use

Attorney Ilana Quirk in land use law, representing municipal boards and officials during local permitting efforts and in litigation before all courts. Her practice includes providing advice and representation regarding: building permits, certificates of appropriateness, comprehensive permits, orders of condition, public and private way disputes, septic permits, special permits, subdivisions, variances and all types of municipal enforcement. She drafts, provides advice regarding and defends challenges to municipal by-laws and regulations and regularly conducts municipal law seminars on land use topics. Her practice also includes general municipal and real estate matters.

Her past community service includes chairing her town’s Planning Board and co-chairing its Hazard Mitigation Committee (obtaining a $1.2 million grant to purchase properties subject to repetitive storm damage). She served on the Board of Directors for the Norwell VNA and Hospice, a non-profit home health care agency from 2002 to 2014. She serves as a volunteer judge for the American Mock Trial Association’s national college championship tournament.

Representative Matters

  • Representing zoning boards regarding numerous comprehensive permit projects.
  • Assisting multiple communities with preparation of by-laws and regulations.
  • Sucessfully obtained summary judgment regarding an appeal from a zoning board’s decision to affirm a zoning violation cease and desist order.
  • Successfully defended denial of a certificate of appropriateness following a remand.
  •  Brahm v. Provincetown Historic District Commission, Mass. App. Ct. (October 2, 2012). Successfully obtained a remand regarding a denial of a certificate of appropriateness.
  • Provided advice to potential host and surrounding communities regarding Expanded Gaming Act (St. 2011, c.194).
  • Assisted with permitting of a $4.5 million municipal library.
  • Successfully represented building commissioner before State Building Code Appeals Board, Superior Court and Appeals Court, upholding denial of a building permit due to building code and zoning violations. (Suffolk Superior Court C.A. No. SUCV2008-03539; appeal dismissed, Appeals Court No. 2009-P-1618.)
  • Successfully defended denial of an order of conditions in the Appeals Court, reversing a superior court decision that the commission improperly used an “ad hoc” agenda to deny pier projects. McCain v. Conservation Com. of Wareham, 76 Mass. App. Ct. 1119 (2010).
  • Successfully tried appeals from denials of zoning relief to allow expansion of a nonconforming dwelling. (Land Court MISC 353057-KCL and MISC 872846-KCL).
  • Successfully defended appeals taken from grant of zoning relief to allow expansion of a municipal fire station. (Land Court MISC 404398).
  • Successfully defended fraud and money damages claims against municipal agencies arising out of an ANR endorsement. Morgan v. Jozus, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 1115 (2009).
  • Provided persuasive amicus brief to Supreme Judicial Court for the American Planning Association, establishing that variance relief lapses unless timely recorded and exercised through construction or use. Cornell v. Board of Appeals of Dracut, 453 Mass. 888 (2009).
  • 2008-2009. Faculty, MCLE Panel, “Litigating Real Estate Disputes”.
  • 2008-2009. Provided advice regarding wholesale municipal rezoning efforts.
  • Successfully negotiated dismissal of appeal from conditional grant of subdivision approval, with conditions revised, but essentially intact, with a voluntary remand to the planning board and with the Town’s attorneys’ fees paid by the developer.
  • Successfully tried special permit denial for a drive-through window use for a Dunkin Donuts. Rich v. Norton Planning Board, Bristol Superior Court C.A. No. BRCV2006-01570.
  • Successfully defended suspension and revision of building permits against requests for injunctive relief in the Land Court and Appeals Court. Gordan v. Town of Provincetown, Land Court MISC No. 348861; Appeals Court 2007-J-0311.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment, upholding special permit denial for Dunkin Donuts’ drive-through window. Verc v. Stoughton ZBA, Land Court MISC 241075.
  • 2004-2005. Rewrote Town of Norwell’s Subdivision Rules and Regulations.
  • Successfully defended challenge to local by-law restricting jet ski operation in a municipal harbor. Mad Maxine’s Watersports, Inc. v. Town of Provincetown Harbormaster, U.S. District Court, CA. No. 02CV11582DPW.
  • Successfully defended permanent injunction enjoining violation of Historic District By-law. Historic District Comm. of Chelmsford v. Kalos, 48 Mass. App. Ct. 919 (2000).

Prior Experience

Kopelman and Paige, Boston, MA
Attorney (1994-2003; 2006-Present)

Town of Norwell, Norwell, MA
Town Planner (2003-2006)
Wrote permitting decisions; drafted regulations and by-laws; managed consultants, budget and payroll and surety funds; supervised inspections and enforcement.

Massachusetts State Senate, Boston, MA
Legal Counsel and Chief of Staff (1987-1994)
Directed office, constituent services and committee hearings for State Senator. Notable Legislation: Domestic Violence Registry (St.1992, c.188); Cape Cod Commission (St.1989, c.716).

Barron and Stadfeld, P.C., Boston, MA
Attorney (1983-1987).

Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel and Massachusetts Superior Court, Boston, MA
Law School Internships (1982-1983)

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Norwell VNA and Hospice; Board of Directors; Clerk(2004-Present)
  • Scituate Planning Board, Elected Member (1990-1994), Chairman, (1992-1994)
  • Scituate Recreation Committee, Appointed Member (1994), Chair
  • Scituate Hazard Mitigation Committee, (1992), Co-chairman

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts Bar
  • U.S. District Court (Mass.)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit


Suffolk University Law School
Juris Doctor, cum laude, 1983

Regis College
Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, 1980

Speaking Engagements

Attorney Quirk frequently conducts municipal law seminars. Recent topics include:

  • Massachusetts Association of Planning Directors Annual Case Law Update (2010-2011)
  • Preparation of Defensible Permitting Decisions
  • Stretch Energy Code
  • Public Records
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Open Meeting Law