JoAnn C. Butler, Partner at Butler Spink

JoAnn C. Butler, Partner

JoAnn Butler provides legal counsel in real estate, land use, and commercial law. Ms. Butler works with both developers and local governments to guide commercial and mixed-use developments through planning, annexation, zoning, development agreement, owner association and environmental procedures through final buildout. Transactional real estate work includes acquisitions, 1031 exchanges, leasing, loan negotiation, and documentation necessary to bring all aspects of development and commercial transactions to a close. Ms. Butler has represented both non-profit and for-profit developers in numerous affordable housing and historic preservation tax credit transactions.

Areas of Practice

  • Butler-Spink-Icon-RealEstate-Isolated
    Real Estate

  • Butler-Spink-Icon-Business-Law-Isolated
    Commercial Transactions

  • Butler-Spink-Icon-Development-Isolated
    Zoning, Planning and Land Use


  • State University of New York College at Buffalo, B.S. (Geoscience);
  • Pennsylvania State University; University of Natal, R.A., M.A. (Geography);
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D. (Certificate in Environmental and Public Utilities Law)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Certificate in Development Impact Fees).

Bar Admissions

  • 1987, Illinois; 1990, Idaho; 2007, Oregon

Professional Associations

  • Idaho State Bar Association
  • Oregon State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Urban Land Institute
  • American Planning Association

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Adjunct Professor, Boise State University (2009-2011)
  • Northwest Integrity Housing Company
  • Neighborhood Housing Services
  • Boise Elevated
  • City Club of Boise
  • Idaho Humane Society
  • Boise Art Museum

Honors & Awards

  • Best Law Firms (US News), Tier 1, Real Estate
  • Best Lawyers in America (US News), Land Use/Zoning and Real Estate – 2023, 17 Years
  • Best Lawyers in America (US News), Top 50 Women – 2022
  • Chambers and Partners, USA Rankings, Real Estate: Butler Spink, LLP – 2022
  • Chambers and Partners, USA Rankings, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, Band 1 – 2022
  • AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell®
  • AV® Preeminent™ rating from The American Lawyer/Corporate Counsel®
  • Listed under Real Estate in Best Lawyers in America® – 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Named Best Lawyers® 2011, 2014, 2019 Boise Land Use & Zoning Lawyer of the Year
  • Named Best Lawyers® 2012 Boise Real Estate Lawyer of the Year
  • Listed in the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015  Super Lawyers – Business Edition® under Construction & Real Estate
  • Listed in the 2016, 2017 Super Lawyers – Business Edition® under Land Use and Zoning
  • Listed in the 2007-2020 Mountain States Super Lawyers Edition® under Land Use/ Zoning
  • Listed in Chambers USA 2015® as a “Star Individual” in Real Estate: Zoning / Land Use
  • Listed in Chambers USA 2013® as “Top Ranked” in Real Estate

Reported Cases


  • Regulation or Strangulation – Economic Aspects of Development: The Use of Impact Fees
  • Transportation Corridor Preservation
  • Affordable Single-Family Housing: A Review of Development Standards
  • Electric Utility Transmission Lines and Land Use Compatibility
  • Revising Zoning Codes to Encourage Home Occupations
  • Limits on Municipal Antitrust Liability

Papers & Presentations

  • Annual Update on Idaho Real Estate Law
  • The Need for Planning and Zoning Consistency in Light of Supreme Court “Takings” Cases
  • Growth Management Through Land Use Planning and Law
  • Major Land Use Laws in Idaho: Environmental Issues and Property Development
  • Model Rules of Procedure for Zoning Boards of Appeal
  • Zoning Code Impacts on Home Occupations
2019 Best Lawyers - Layer of the Year - Real Estate - Boise, Idaho
Super Lawyers - Joann C Butler
Ranked in Chambers USA 2019
Women in Law Top Pier Nominated Lawyer