Bar & Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania


Harvard University Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1964

Yale University, B.A. (history honors), magna cum laude, 1961

  • Phi Beta Kappa

American Bar Association (Sections: Dispute Resolution; Environment, Energy, and Resources)

Pennsylvania Bar Association (Section: Environmental, Mineral, and Natural Resources Law)

University of Pennsylvania and Vermont

  • Former adjunct law professor
Professional Highlights

Joe is a founding partner of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP with more than 40 years of experience advising clients on environmental matters involving real estate transactions and development, regulatory permitting and compliance, environmental reporting and alternative dispute resolution.

Joe’s experience as the EPA Region III’s general counsel, after almost 10 years as a corporate practitioner, gave him the ability to see and therefore provide counsel on environmental issues in real life situations.

He spent 18 years teaching environmental law courses at the University of Pennsylvania and Vermont Law Schools.  Prior to founding the firm in 1989, Joe founded and chaired the Environmental Department at Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen.  Manko served for 27 years as an elected commissioner and officer on the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners, giving him insight into municipal issues.

He is the past chair of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, former vice chair of the State Water Law Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and past chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association. 

Appointed by Governor Tom Ridge in July 1997, Joe served on Pennsylvania's 21st Century Environment Commission and served as Governor Rendell’s designee to chair the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) from 2003-2012

Away from work, Joe was a member of the board of the Fairmount Park Commission and now serves on the boards of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Film Society and Philadelphia Orchestra.  He currently co-chairs Mayor Nutter’s Sustainability Advisory Board. 

Joe has been married to his childhood sweetheart Lynn for more than 50 years; they have 3 children and 6 grandchildren.  His avocations are golf, tennis and traveling.

Representative experience includes the following:

  • negotiating and drafting the environmental provisions included in transactional documents involving the sale, purchase, leasing, and financing of real estate;
  • counseling with respect to the development and redevelopment of brownfield properties, including attainment of governmental cleanup liability protection under Pennsylvania and New Jersey brownfield programs and the federal Superfund program;
  • negotiating documents to effect the settlement of violations of permits or government laws alleged by the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Departments of Environmental Protection ("DEPs") and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA");
  • obtaining regulatory approvals for real estate developments from the Pennsylvania and New Jersey DEPs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal and state regulatory agencies and municipalities;
  • representing clients before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board and state and federal administrative agencies and courts;
  • serving as a mediator or arbitrator in numerous environmental cases, including the allocation of costs to be incurred by responsible parties in several Superfund disputes involving tens of millions of dollars; and
  • advising clients and formulating policy on emerging issues related to the emission of greenhouse gases and other aspects of climate change.

Honors & Awards

Press Releases

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

"Practical Tips for Buying and Selling Contaminated Property," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute at the 16th Annual Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 5, 2013

“Green Infrastructure – Rethinking Roads, Bridges and Waterways,” presented at the Delaware Valley Green Building Council’s (DVGBCs) 3rd Annual PA/NJ Sustainability Symposium in Philadelphia, March 12, 2013

"New Requirements for Benchmarking and Reporting Energy and Water Usage in Commercial Buildings in Philadelphia -- What Real Estate Lawyers Need to Know," presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 5, 2012

"Sustainability Legal Issues & Risk Management Strategies for Existing Buildings," presented at the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA, May 1, 2012

"Greening Your Real Estate Deals: Opportunities and Risks in Sustainable Development" presented by the Temple Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, April 16 and May 10, 2012

"Making Sense of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy," presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 7, 2011

"Water, Water ... Everywhere? Anywhere? Who's Going to Pay?" presented by the Urban Land Institute for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission ("DVRPC"), Philadelphia, PA, August 11, 2011

"Builder Developer Summit," presented by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Conshohocken, PA, April 27, 2011

"It Takes A Village, So Build It - Citizenship and Getting Involved," presented at the Main Line Chamber of Commerce Leadership Main Line Class of 2011 program, April 13, 2011

"Adapting to Climate Change in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed," presented by the Chesapeake Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee in Philadelphia,  March 15, 2011

"Green Building & Sustainability:  Managing the New Risks," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 2, 2010

"Green Project Financing: How to Get the Green Elements of Your Construction Project Funded," presented by MGKF and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council in Philadelphia, November 8, 2010

"Funding in Infrastructure Driving Economic Prosperity - 2010," presented at the Third Annual Pennsylvania Infrastructure Summit in Philadelphia, May 20, 2010

"Business Opportunities for Companies that Focus on Renewable Energy and Infrastructure," sponsored by Select Greater Philadelphia, May 10, 2010

"Federal and State Issues," presented at the annual Environmental Law Forum sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in Hershey, PA, April 22, 2010

"Green Building Update - Managing the New Risks," presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's at the 13th Annual Law Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 3, 2009

"Impact of the Federal Stimulus Package on Clean Water Infrastructure," presented at the Montgomery County Planning Commission in Norristown, PA, April 16, 2009

"Environment & Energy Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," sponsored by MGKF in Philadelphia, PA, March 17, 2009

"Liquid Assets: A Philadelphia Perspective," presented by the Fairmount Water Works' Schuylkill Soundings at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center in Philadelphia, February 2, 2009

"Environmental Impacts on Real Estate: New Developments and Emerging Trends," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, December 4, 2008

"Current Environmental Issues for Commerical and Industrial Real Estate Professionals," presented by the Temple University Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, April 22, 2008

"The Impact of Climate Change on Real Estate Development," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia,  December 5, 2007

Media Coverage



Doin' the Dunes:  What Will They Cost? - Part III
December 2, 2013
American College of Environmental Lawyers

Doin' the Dunes:  What Will They Cost? - Part II
July 19, 2013
American College of Environmental Lawyers

Doin' the Dunes:  What Will They Cost?
June 11, 2013
American College of Environmental Lawyers

Preserving and Protecting Philadelphia's Water and Park Systems
June 7, 2013
World Class Greater Philadelphia