Creating Thriving Communities Through Land Use And Real Estate Law


Donald F. Borenstein

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Practice Areas

  • General Civil Litigation
  • Real Estate Transactions and Financing
  • Real Estate Dev. & Land Use Permitting & Appeals
  • Title Litigation and Title Insurance Defense


Don, a Medford, MA native who joined the firm in its earlier iteration in 1997, partnered with Mark Johnson in 2005 to form Johnson & Borenstein, LLC. His practice focuses on residential and commercial real estate development and real estate litigation, including permitting appeals and title disputes. Don represents a broad range of private and non-profit developers, land owners and other stake-holders in the land development process. Don regularly appears before the Massachusetts Land Court, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and various local permitting authorities, and has argued several land use matters before the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Don has previous experience working in the engineering department of the New York State Attorney General’s Office and for the City of Boston Law Department, focusing on land use and environmental issues. He lives in Andover, MA with his wife and three children, where he is active in several community organizations.


  • Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts
    • J.D. – 1994
    • Honors: cum laude
  • Vermont Law School, South Royalton, Vermont
    • Environment Law Center – 1993
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
    • B.S. – 1991
    • Major: Business Management

Bar Admission

  • Massachusetts, 1994
  • New Hampshire, 2006
  • U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts, 1996
  • Maine, 1994
  • U.S. District Court District of New Hampshire, 2010

Published Works

  • Author: "End of the Dominance of the Dominant Estate Holder," Mass. Bar Assoc., Sect. Review, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2004)

Representative Cases

  • O’Brien Homes, Inc. v. Lunenburg Planning Board, 26 LCR 260 (2018)
  • Macleod v. Methuen Conserv. Comm., Essex Sup, Ct. 13-1589 (2014)
  • CF Invs. V. Option One Mortgage Corp., 163 NH 313 (2012)
  • Agin v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, 462 B.R. 1 (2011)
  • Proulx v. D'Urso, 60 Mass. App. Ct. 701 (2004)
  • Jarvis v. West Newbury Planning Bd, 6 LCR 225 (1998)
  • United Mortgage v. Long, 9 LCR 368 (2001 ) & 12 LCR 247 (2004)
  • Brown v. Saugus Planning Board, 9 LCR 179 (2001)
  • Watson v. YMCA and Newburyport 5 Cent Savings Bank, 14 LCR 528 (2006)

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Andover Soccer Association, Youth Coach, Board Member
  • N.H. Appalachian Mountain Club, Whitewater paddler and instructor
  • Lexington Christian Academy, Alumni Association (co-founder, former officer)
  • "Over the Hill League" Men's Soccer, player, Asst. Manager

Professional Associations

  • Real Estate Bar Association, Land Use & Affordable Housing Committees
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Maine State Bar Association, Real Estate & Environmental Committees
  • New Hampshire Bar Association, Real Property Law Section
  • Lawrence Bar Association
  • Recipient of Mass Housing Partnership Certificate for Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan, Resident Selection Plan, and Lottery Training

Current Employment Position

  • Partner

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Massachusetts Real Estate Broker