Practice Areas

Bar & Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
Photo of Stephen Z. Kaufman

Stephen Z. Kaufman

Senior Counsel
ph: 301.961.5156
7200 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 800
Bethesda, MD 20814
News & Publications

Stephen Z. Kaufman is senior counsel. Over the course of his decades-long career, he has built a reputation as a trusted advocate and advisor who finds solutions that benefit his clients and the community while working effectively with local government authorities.

Stephen has been involved in land use for his entire career, dating back to the position he held as a right-of-way agent for the Maryland State Highway Administration before receiving his law license. Stephen also served as assistant county attorney for Montgomery County before joining Linowes and Blocher, a role where he gained an insider’s view of the approvals process, which he continues to use to this day.

Stephen concentrates his practice in the areas of municipal law, land use, and eminent domain in Maryland and Washington, D.C. His clients include private and publicly owned development, financial, and retail entities (including Fortune 500 companies); nonprofit organizations; religious institutions; educational institutions; and national real estate investment trusts (REITs). Stephen takes a pragmatic approach to his practice, pursuing resolutions that prioritize his clients’ most-pressing issues without forsaking their big-picture objectives.

In his practice, Stephen routinely interacts with the Executive Branch and County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland General Assembly, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), and various local planning commissions. He relies on his close familiarity with local, state, and federal real estate laws and regulations to help clients benefit from tax abatement programs, tax increment financing (TIF) opportunities, and other opportunities available under enabling legislation.

As a recognized authority in his areas of practice, Stephen lectures and writes extensively on a wide range of topics. He also has authored legislation on public facilities, infrastructure finance, zoning and land use classifications, planned development zones, transfer of development rights, development finance districts, and moderate-cost housing. In addition, through his involvement with several industry and governmental organizations, Stephen is actively working to facilitate changes to the current regulatory structure that will strike a better balance between government and private-sector interests.

Significant Projects

  • Montgomery College Life Sciences Foundation (PICMC), which is intended to facilitate the integration of the Germantown Campus into a public/private partnership and provide locations for life sciences and cyber security companies
  • Drafted first moderate-priced dwelling unit legislation in the U.S. while assistant county attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Helped develop several zoning regulatory tools in cooperation with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Montgomery County Government, including:
    • Montgomery County’s Agricultural Preservation and Transfer Development Rights (TDR) enabling legislation, as well as zoning categories to be applied to both sending and receiving areas
    • Montgomery County Government’s creation of a state and local enabling authority to facilitate creation of Special Development Taxing Districts that would provide a funding mechanism using municipal revenue bonds to construct public infrastructure such as roads and sewer and water facilities, and provide capital funds for schools and park facilities
    • Montgomery County Government’s development of strategies and tools to implement growth management techniques in connection with the county’s Annual Growth Policy (AGP) and Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO)

Honors & Distinctions

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated; highest possible rating for both legal ability and ethical standards
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America®, 2011-2016
  • Selected as a Maryland Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers, 2010, 2011, and 2012
  • Selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers, 2008 and 2010
  • Selected as one of Washington, DC’s Best Lawyers for 2009 as seen in the Washington Post, by Best Lawyers
  • Selected as a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers, 2009
  • Selected as Legal Elite by Washington SmartCEO, December 2009
  • “Maryland Super Lawyer,” Law & Politics, 2007
  • “Greater Washington Legal Elite,” Washington SmartCEO, August 2005

Affiliations & Community Involvement

American Planning Association, Panel on Agricultural Preservation, Member

International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Member

Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Member

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, president 1983–1984

Urban Land Institute

  • Seminars dealing with land use regulation and inverse condemnation, Instructor
  • Public Development and Infrastructure Council, Member
  • Legal Ethics Committee, Chair
  • Fee Arbitration Committee, Member
  • Administrative Law Committee, Chair
  • National Council (Public Development and Infrastructure Council (PDIC), Member
  • Mentor for young professionals

Community Foundation for Washington, DC, Advisory Board Member