Colleen P Gillis, Partner

Colleen Gillis is a partner in the Real Estate group at Cooley LLP. She joined the Firm in 2004 and is resident in the Reston office. 

Her practice includes representing major developers and national, regional and local companies in all areas of land use entitlement, including office, retail, industrial, mixed-use, residential, hotel and large planned community projects. Her prior experience as a transactional real estate lawyer enables her to effectively and efficiently advise and assist clients on the nuanced interrelationship of entitlement, acquisition, financing, and divestment during the life cycle of a given project.

Among the projects on which Ms. Gillis has worked:

  • One Loudoun - 360-acre, 3.7 million sq. ft. mixed-use Town Center located at the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Route 7 including 2.8 million sq. ft. of office, 600,000 sq. ft. of retail, luxury hotel, movie theater, restaurants and 1,040 residential units. Notably, One Loudoun is the only Loudoun County project to have been awarded the coveted Washington Smart Growth Alliance award and a member of the World Trade Center Association and the International Association of Science Parks. 
  • Dulles World Center – 80-acre, 5.7 million sq. ft. mixed-use Town Center located on the Loudoun / Fairfax county line at the front door of the Route 28/ CIT Metro Station and intersection of Route 28 and the Dulles Toll Road. Given its location, the project required approval from Fairfax and Loudoun Counties and coordination with Herndon, MWAA and Dulles Airport. 
  • Brambleton – In addition to providing ongoing advice and counsel for the development of the mixed-use Brambleton community in Loudoun County, oversaw the entitlement of four interrelated cases approving more than 2,000 residential units to the more than 6,200 units already approved at Brambleton and proffering to the construction of 1-3/4 miles of the Loudoun County Parkway, a critical, north-south roadway connecting Route 7 to Route 50.
  • Willowsford – Assisted in the acquisition of 2,000 acres in the Dulles South area of Loudoun County. Continued guidance and counsel in connection with the development of four separate residential communities. 
  • Leesburg Promenade and Offices at Georgetown Park – 200,000 sq. ft. of office and retail uses adjacent to the W&OD Trail and King Street in the Leesburg Historic District.
  • Oaklawn – 1.4 million sq. ft. mixed use environment in Leesburg at the intersection of the Dulles Greenway and Battlefield Parkway, including 1.2 million sq. ft. of office uses and 275,000 sq. ft. of retail, restaurant, grocery store and high-end hotel development. 

Ms. Gillis also worked closely with county staff and a number of companies with property along the Route 28 Corridor to influence Loudoun County's efforts to create a more contemporary vision for the area. 

Ms. Gillis was individually recognized by Chambers USA as "Up and Coming" in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use: Northern Virginia in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015, and the entire Cooley Reston Real Estate Team was honored with a #1 ranking in Northern Virginia by Chambers USA in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. She has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America in 2013-2015 for her work in land use and zoning law. Ms. Gillis was nominated for Leesburg Today's "40 Under 40" Awards honoring the top young professionals in Loudoun County in 2013. She was also named a Law360 "Rising Star" in 2013 – one of only 6 Real Estate attorneys in the country. Ms. Gillis also received recognition as a leading lawyer in the 2015 US edition of Legal 500 in the category for Real Estate and Construction - Land Use/Zoning.

Ms. Gillis is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Bar Association, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) and the Urban Land Institute. She is a member of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Leadership Fairfax Board of Directors and has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Alzheimer's Association for the National Capital Area. Ms. Gillis was selected as one of Bisnow's 35 Under 35 in Commercial Real Estate. 

Ms. Gillis received her JD, cum laude, from the University of Richmond in 2000, where she served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Law and the Public Interest and on the Trial Advocacy Board. She earned her BA in English and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia in 1997.


  • University of Richmond School of Law
    JD, 2000, cum laude
  • University of Virginia
    BA English & Foreign Affairs, 1997

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia


  • National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP)
  • Urban Land Institute
  • Virginia Bar Association
One Freedom Square
Reston Town Center
11951 Freedom Drive
Reston, Virginia 20190-5656

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Fax: +1 703 456 8100
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