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United States > Real estate and construction

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Overview

The US construction market has been slowly recovering over the past few quarters, and law firms are seeing their clients bidding more aggressively for work. This upward trend appears to be driven largely by the energy sector and by the large public works projects launched by the US government as part of its various economic stimulus measures. In addition, and in part because of the continued boom in the energy and infrastructure sectors, certain local markets such as Texas and Northern California are seeing strong activity. Demand from certain international markets is also helping to ease the pressure on law firms as they continue to contend with a suppressed and competitive domestic market.

A number of factors continue to weigh on the pace of the recovery, however. The continuing debt ceiling negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, as well as the lack of any form of long-term agreement over fiscal matters, has fuelled uncertainty and is impacting on project starts. The fact that a number of the stimulus measures adopted by Congress have expired, or will soon do so, is also likely to have some effect, although a number of public works projects are long-running and are only just getting off the ground. Less money seems to be being spent on litigation as clients are more eager to avoid lengthy and costly disputes.

The construction ranking takes into account transactional and contentious mandates, and aims to reflect the quality and complexity of work as well as the volume of instructions being handled. Regional practices with a strong profile and experience in complex matters feature alongside nationally recognised practices.

Law firms are cautiously optimistic in terms of the land use market. Public-private projects have driven recovery across the country, and the healthcare and educational sectors remain active. Further growth areas include multi-family housing and the oil and gas, power and renewable energy sectors. The East and West coasts remain strong, thanks in part to investment from large corporations and stronger residential sectors. Across the country, projects postponed over previous years have seen movement, with investors keen to redevelop existing sites.

The land use rankings aim to reflect national presence, regional connections, expertise and profile, and the scale and quality of the work undertaken by firms.

Cautious optimism has returned to the real estate market, on the back of low interest rates and a marked increase in available capital. The movement towards recovery has been steady, though often concentrated in gateway cities such as New York, Boston and San Francisco; Chicago, by contrast, is generally seen to have had a relatively slow year.

A significant trend for many law firms has been the movement of foreign investment capital, particularly in the form of private equity investments and from sovereign wealth funds, with the US market seen as a relatively safe haven. For many, the final quarter of 2012 brought an uptick in activity, in part stimulated by concerns over the fiscal cliff and potential tax changes, and strong shoots of recovery are being seen in the CMBS market, particularly in New York. 2012 was also a good year for real estate deals in the healthcare and senior living sectors, with many law firms reporting a strong deal flow.

The continuing improvement of the market is reflected in the rocketing prices for condominiums and other premises in cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The multi-family market is seeing a significant increase in activity, in contrast to the retail sector, where improvement is more gradual.

The real estate ranking includes an assessment of firms’ reach and national capability, their utilization of resources to represent the interests of domestic or international clients across the US, and their breadth of expertise.


Construction

Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

    • Jeffrey Appelbaum - Thompson Hine LLP
    • Lewis Baker - Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP
    • Deborah Ballati - Farella Braun & Martel LLP
    • Bennett Greenberg - Seyfarth Shaw LLP
    • John Heisse - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
    • Ty Laurie - Laurie & Brennan LLP
    • Michael Long - Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP
    • Andrew Ness - Jones Day
    • Robert Peckar - Peckar & Abramson
    • Stephen O’Neal - Jones Day
    • Steven Stein - Stein Ray LLP
    • Andrew Stephenson - Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP has one of the largest construction practices in the US, which fields 28 dedicated attorneys including ten core partners. The team assists clients from the negotiation of contracts and preparation of bids to the resolution of complex construction disputes. The practice’s reach is truly national in scope with offices located in all corners of the country and it is able to bring these resources to bear on all aspects of infrastructure, energy, commercial, residential, healthcare and manufacturing projects. Frederick Rohn represented the agency that runs New York City bus and subways systems and regional commuter railroads in connection with disputes arising from the design and construction of the East Side Access scheme. This is one of the nation’s largest public works projects and will allow routing of Long Island Rail Road trains to mid-town Manhattan’s East Side. The practice also advised Fermilab Research Alliance on several matters pertaining to the construction of a national physics lab, including the negotiation of unique risk terms for an underground cavern used to house equipment needed to collect neutrino beams from a site 400 miles away.

The construction team at Jones Day impresses with its ‘knowledge of the law’ and ‘very strong depth’. It forms part of the wider business and tort litigation practice and is able to draw on the firm’s wider resources to provide key industry players with the full range of support, from advisory matters to high-profile litigation. It ‘provides the highest level of service for public entities in construction cases’, and is acting for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in appeals arising from disputes with Tutor-Saliba-Perini in relation to the construction of sections of the Los Angeles subway system. The team is also acting for CityCenter against general contractor Perini in litigation surrounding the $8.5bn CityCenter mega-development in Las Vegas. The 18 million sq ft project led by a joint venture of MGM Resorts International and Dubai World has produced wide-ranging litigation totaling more than $500m in claims and counterclaims between CityCenter, Perini and numerous subcontractors. In 2012, the firm handled extensive discovery in this litigation, took and defended depositions, and managed a number of subcontractor claims. The team is spread across various US offices, with ‘extremely bright trial attorney’ Daniel McMillan being based in Los Angeles, and leading lawyers Stephen O’Neal and Andrew Ness operating from San Francisco and Washington DC, respectively.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has outstanding expertise in its 50-lawyer construction practice, as well as good geographic reach and an enviable list of top-shelf clients. Key clients include Alstom, Archstone and the City of Atlanta. The team has been involved in some of the biggest recent infrastructure projects and is continuing to work with longstanding client the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on ‘the Big Dig’, the largest and most complex highway project ever undertaken in North America. Recent work involves defending major contractor claims involving different site conditions. It has also been representing the City of Atlanta in its $6bn airport expansion and, as project counsel, has been involved in every phase of the program including planning, selection of delivery systems, contract drafting, and litigation. It continues to be involved in the day-to-day advice on claims avoidance and mitigation and also handles various contentious issues. The firm is also active internationally and is currently representing an international consortium of leading design, engineering and construction firms in a dispute arising from the construction of a renewable energy facility in Central America. As part of this dispute, it is acting in multi-jurisdictional litigation totaling several hundred million dollars.

Headquartered in New York, construction law boutique Peckar & Abramson has ‘excellent industry knowledge’, spread among more than 40 partners across nine offices. The firm has sought to enhance its capabilities and, to that effect, hired Frank Rapoport, previously chair of the global infrastructure and public-private partnerships practice at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, and also opened a new Atlanta office headed by Danielle Cole. The firm’s experience spans a diverse client base and it often works on multibillion-dollar projects spanning several jurisdictions. A team of New York and Washington DC partners acted for a leading national EPC contractor in a Federal Court dispute with a large owner operator of power plants. The disputes amounted to several hundred million dollars and the team successfully obtained a favorable settlement for its client. In Miami, the firm’s Latin American practice group works with domestic and international clients on projects throughout the Americas. It is currently representing a Latin American contractor in international arbitration being held in the US in a dispute with the owner of an ethanol plant, and is also advising a prominent US contractor on design and construction defect issues at a Mexican multi-purpose project site. Managing partner Steve Charney is valued for his ‘business acumen and subject matter knowledge’, and Robert Peckar is highly regarded for similar qualities.

Eminent boutique firm Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP underwent significant developments in 2012 with two new offices and a handful of partners being added. It opened a Miami office under Ben Patrick, who is praised for his ‘productivity’ and ‘matter management’, and also enhanced its Midwest presence by hiring several construction and surety attorneys from Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP to staff a new Chicago office. This added to the practice’s ‘excellent depth’ with close to 60 partners working on a wide range of legal issues with a broad spectrum of domestic and international clients including Hitachi, AECOM and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Vivian Katsantonis is acting for a large Virginia landowner in a $90m contract dispute against Capital One over the right to build several million square feet of office space. In addition, the firm is acting for a general contractor joint venture in a series of claims, totaling more than $60m, against the San Diego County Water Authority. The claims are linked to a $198m public works project connecting a pump and a hydroelectric plant. Non-contentious matters feature increasingly in the practice’s workload and it recently helped to draft a centralized construction contract for retail firm Ann Taylor. Paul Varela, who has the ‘ability to understand a client’s needs and goals’, is assisting a large international construction firm in complex contract disputes arising from two Asian projects. Alongside Joseph Guarino and David Wonderlick, he is also representing the executive construction manager of the CityCenter mega-development in Las Vegas.

DLA Piper’s 28-attorney construction practice is spread across the US. The group combines responsiveness, technical knowledge and practical industry experience to deliver ‘an overall level of service that is outstanding’. Major clients include clients as varied as SunEdison, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Chick-Fil-A. The firm’s expertise in real estate helps to fuel the construction workload and the ‘invaluableBrian Fielden is assisting the Federal Realty Investment Trust in drafting and negotiating design and construction contracts for a $150m mixed-use development in Massachusetts. The practice has experience in handling large and complex contentious matters for plaintiffs and defendants, including construction defect claims, class action cases and contract disputes. It is defending leading apartment developer Archstone in a $70m construction defect case in New York involving 20 parties and 50 insurance carriers. It is also active internationally; advising BioTherm Energy on drafting and negotiating an EPC contract as well as commissioning work on wind and solar energy projects throughout South Africa.

Duane Morris LLP has capabilities in all types of construction matters, working alongside owners, developers, contractors, lenders, engineers and public bodies on privately and publicly funded projects. It enjoys a strong reputation in dispute resolution and regularly handles complex contentious matters involving, among other things, defects, delays, accidents, and costs. Philadelphia-based Robert Prentice and Pittsburgh-based Albert Bates Jr are the team co-heads. Highlights in 2012 included acting as legal counsel to the presumptive developer of the residential portion of the 1.5m sq ft City Point mixed-use urban redevelopment in Brooklyn. The practice advised the developer on the construction and design provisions of the development agreement. Other work included defending Shell and Motiva Enterprises against a lawsuit brought by a commercial property owner seeking damages for the contamination of a former gas station site. The firm won the case for its clients at a non-jury trial in Florida and was able to recover attorneys’ fees.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s client base includes a number of prominent financial institutions. For SterlingsSavings Bank, it negotiated coverage issues with the insurance carrier of a troubled commercial project in Riverside, California, and successfully defended lien foreclosure claims. The practice continues to advise the bank through a protracted judicial foreclosure process. Clients also include prominent contractors and developers seeking assistance with contentious and non-contentious issues. In a matter involving complex causation issues and laboratory analyses, the practice negotiated a favorable settlement for its developer client in a flooring defect claim against the contractor. The defect affected close to 300 units in a large resort development. The firm represents a major religious organization in all of its construction-related transactions. Jeff Blease, who has ‘tremendous legal and technical skills’, advised a client on its rights and remedies following a Presidential Executive Order denying permits for the construction of an international oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. Christopher Maloney was made up to partner in 2012 and the practice hired two new senior counsels.

Commended for its ‘excellent response times and understanding of client needs’, K&L Gates’ construction and engineering practice fields well-respected litigators with experience in high-profile cases for domestic and international clients. Highlights included obtaining a seven-figure settlement, in addition to $10m in damages from a previous trial, for client Chicago Bridge & Iron Services in a long-running claim against the City of Los Angeles. The practice also represented owner Duke Energy Carolinas in connection with a change order request by the EPC contractor regarding a $1.8bn power plant construction project. The practice has a strong focus on international projects, drawing on the firm’s wider resources to advise domestic and foreign clients on multi-jurisdictional matters. The practice is acting for Brazil-based Tecnimont in ICC arbitration on $200m worth of claims and counterclaims. Pittsburgh-based practice group coordinator Richard Paciaroni is recognized for his ‘strong construction law experience’ and Charlotte-based Kiran Mehta is praised as a ‘quick study’ that always has the best interests of clients in mind. The practice lost two partners in 2012, as Joel Rubinstein retired and Larry Prosen joined Thompson Hine LLP.

The recruitment of more than a dozen attorneys in 2011 allowed Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s construction practice to capitalize by expanding its client base in 2012. The 19-partner team, located in various offices throughout the US, ‘combines deep subject matter expertise with a very practical business approach’ to advise large general contractors, owners, developers, engineers and financial institutions in all manner of construction litigation and advisory work. There has been a strong focus on energy-related matters and the practice recently represented a large utility firm in construction and insurance claim negotiations in connection with a multibillion-dollar nuclear plant project. In addition, Rob James is assisting Brookfield Renewable Power and Chevron with the negotiation and enforcement of EPC and public works contracts to develop renewable energy projects. Practice head John Heisse, who impresses with ‘the depth of his knowledge of construction law’, is representing Clark Construction in a $30m lawsuit arising from alleged design and construction defects in a multi-story residence hall complex at San Jose State University. He is also advising a foreign-based construction corporation on a series of proposed construction agreements for residential and commercial building projects in the US totaling several billion dollars. The ‘exceptionally knowledgeable and conscientious’ Dave Dekker acts for a world-leading engineering company in insurance claims arising from issues at a large power plant.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP provides ‘top-notch’ service across both contentious and non-contentious matters, and has ‘broad resources’ in its 50-lawyer practice, which operates from various offices across the country. The practice has new co-heads: Bennett Greenberg, who is commended for his business acumen, and Chip Ingraham, who has ‘a deep understanding of difficult and complex construction issues’ as well as ‘the ability to put himself in his clients’ shoes’. Additionally, former practice chair Richard McKim Prestonknows how to negotiate a win-win’. The firm represented Skanska in contract negotiations with the project developer to build a 32-story modular high rise in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards, which will be the tallest building of its kind in the US. It is also working with public bodies on a number of major transport infrastructure projects including serving as project counsel to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on the construction and design of the $2bn Dulles Rail Extension. On the contentious side, the team is acting for a contractor in a series of delay, damages and insurance claims arising from boiler failures at a $1.5bn coal-fired power plant in Texas. The practice has also represented clients working on projects in Africa, Central America and Europe in various international arbitration matters.

Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable’ lawyers have represented clients from across the construction industry, working with owners, contractors, subcontractors and architects. This construction boutique firm provides a ‘practical, timely and cost-effective’ service across the US and internationally. In particular, Eric Nelson ‘understands the business side of all legal decisions’ and is recognized for his expertise in contentious matters, having recently successfully defended a general contractor in federal litigation with an electrical subcontractor. The practice also defended a contractor working on an international infrastructure project in a multimillion-dollar claim brought against it by the US government; and a Southern power plant owner in a series of claims against several contractors. It is also advising Flatiron West, the joint venture designing and constructing a large infrastructure project in San Francisco, on drafting contracts as well as permitting and risk management. In January 2012, the firm added six new members of staff, including two partners, to its Washington DC office by merging with Saltman & Stevens. The merger solidified its presence in the capital and deepened its expertise in environmental law and government contracting.

Stein Ray LLP is a Chicago-based boutique with national and international reach that ‘brings very thoughtful lawyering and advice to any problem at hand’; its attorneys are commended for their ‘forward-thinking strategies’ and responsiveness. The team mainly acts in contentious matters for owners, contractors and designers, and has a strong record in energy-related matters. ‘Experienced and knowledgeable trial lawyer’ Steven Stein is acting as co-counsel for a Canadian firm working on a 2,000-mile oil pipeline project which was hit by design errors and omissions. ‘Fierce advocate’ Stephen Ray and the ‘meticulous’ Peter Bedard are prosecuting and defending claims for an international mining consortium before the International Chamber of Commerce; the cases have arisen from a nickel and mining processing facility in Africa. Carl Popovsky, who is ‘top notch’ and always responsive, is currently representing an EPC contractor in relation to a dispute involving the engineering and construction of a brine-processing plant in the southeastern US.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s construction practice has retained its core partners for over 25 years and also fields more than 20 attorneys across five offices. The team has experience acting for clients on all aspects of the development and construction process and has particular expertise providing ‘responsive’, ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘cost-effective’ advice regarding dispute resolution. The firm is representing Lend Lease Construction in litigation arising from the deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank building in downtown Manhattan, which was damaged during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The dispute involves claims and counterclaims totaling in excess of $200m. The firm is also representing Black & Veach in several multi-party lawsuits pertaining to the construction of nine jet bubbling reactors. The client is pursuing compensation for substantial costs incurred in the correction of deficient work. Practice head Lee Davis is recommended for his ability to ‘quickly understand and untangle’ complex contractual issues. Jennifer Fletcher, who has extensive jury trial experience, provides ‘excellent subject matter knowledge and advice’.

The eight-partner construction practice at Akerman Senterfitt operates from offices across the US and prides itself on being able to serve clients throughout the project lifecycle. Jeffrey Gilmore in Tyson’s Corner office, Virginia, heads the practice and recently obtained a favorable decision for client AGRA Industries in an arbitration hearing featuring a complex array of counterclaims and disputed claim amounts relating to the termination of an EPC contract. In Washington DC, Stephen Hurlbut is advising longstanding client Architect of the Capitol on the $200m development of the US Capitol’s visitor center. This involves pursuing $15m in design deficiency claims against the project’s architect and its subconsultants. Miami-based Stacy Bercun Bohm is assisting developer Resorts World Miami in drafting and negotiating LEED and design contracts for a $3bn mixed use mega-development encompassing hospitality facilities, residential and commercial space, and a mega-yacht harbor. Robert Smith acted for Peabody Energy in various disputes relating to the engineering, procurement and construction of a $3bn coal-fired power plant in southern Illinois.

Ballard Spahr LLP’s 30-lawyer construction practice is co-led by Philadelphia-based Mark DePillis and Allan Ritterband, and has additional partners in various other offices, notably Denver, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, and Bethesda. The firm has a niche in providing comprehensive advice to institutional clients and, for example, it has been engaged by a number of universities and colleges to advise on design and construction contracts as well as agreements for a range of campus projects including libraries and science facilities. The construction team is also able to leverage the firm’s wider real estate practice to attract work. It recently represented the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) in negotiating and drafting a lease, and all related construction contracts, for the new headquarters of the daily newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer. The practice also acts in construction-related disputes and recently represented an owner in a claim against a contractor for defects relating to a West Virginia shale gas facility.

Carlton Fields advise on all aspects of construction law, including pre-bid considerations, contract drafting, letting, construction administration, liens, bonds, and insurance. The firm specializes in dispute resolution at all stages of the process and is experienced litigating major construction cases at both trial and appellate levels. Recent work includes the firm’s representation of KB home in a delay claim against Adams Home, in which KB Home was awarded all of the relief it sought following three years of litigation. The firm has also represented Hunt Construction Group in connection with the default of a major subcontractor 10 months before the required completion of the Barclays Center, New York. The practice assisted with the negotiation of a take-over agreement between its client and the subcontractor’s surety, and ensured timely completion of the project. Luis Prats, who has over 30 years experience representing a range of clients in all areas of construction law, heads the team.

Operating out of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco offices, Cox, Castle & Nicholson act for project owners, developers, contractors, design professionals and public agencies. The practice advises on a range of transactional matters including the negotiation and drafting of construction contracts, architect agreements, engineering and design agreements, professional services agreements, purchase orders, payment and performance bonds, mechanics’ liens, stop notices, notices of completion, consulting agreements, and construction management agreements. Recent litigation work includes their representation of contractors and owners in several major construction claims at mediation and their obtaining a favorable settlement of complex, multi-party claims for the owner of a multimillion-dollar home. Edward Quigley and Robert Campbell offer a wealth of litigation experience and Kenneth Williams is the key contact for transactional matters.

Faegre Baker Daniels represents a cross-section of the construction industry in transactional and dispute matters, and has won major court and arbitration victories for contractors and project owners. Notably, the firm is at the forefront of automation and technology construction, which requires an integrated understanding of computer and construction law. The firm is currently acting as counsel for CapX2020 project, an electricity grid expansion jointly owned by 11 public utilities, on a $1.7bn project involving the construction of over 700 miles of transmission lines. The firm also recently acted as counsel regarding the $200m construction of hospital projects in Indiana and Ohio. Mark Voigtmann heads the practice. Patrick O’Connor has experience across a range of transactional matters and disputes.

Farella Braun & Martel LLP’s 15-lawyer construction team is highly regarded for its expertise on the West Coast. Leading lawyer Deborah Ballati continues to act for longstanding client the Port of Oakland, serving as primary counsel and advising it on legal matters involving virtually every aspect of its operations with a particular focus on the new intermodal transport facility being built there. The practice has seen a growing volume of document and transactional work, while its involvement with the Port of Oakland includes insurance risk management advice as well as contract negotiating. It is also increasingly active in the clean energy sector, representing Covanta Energy in several contractor and vendor cases relating to a resource recovery project in Honolulu. Scott Douglass represented McCarthy Building Companies in a $32m dispute between the design-builder client and the Twin Rivers School District regarding the pricing of a deductive change order following the District’s suppression of significant portions of work on a high school and junior high school campus in Sacramento. The dispute was successfully resolved through mediation and negotiation.

Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, Senet & Wittbrodt made two new partners in 2012 taking the total number of construction partners to 16. Managing partner Richard Wittbrodt, who is commended for his ‘great knowledge of the law’, became one of the name partners. Wittbrodt is lead outside counsel for Layton Construction in a $45m claim against Universal Health Services encompassing design issues, breach of contract and delay claims. Universal Health Services has counter-claimed for nearly $10m in lost profits. The practice delivers ‘outstanding services’ across contentious and non-contentious matters by drawing on the extensive experience and expertise of its lawyers. It is especially praised for its capabilities in public works construction litigation and won $52m in damages for the City of Victorville after an engineer was found liable for professional negligence in the construction of a power plant. Among other matters, the team is also acting for a casino resort owner in making multimillion-dollar claims against contractors and subcontractors regarding a renovation project.

Greenberg Traurig LLP shows ‘strong business acumen and industry knowledge’ and is also commended for its responsiveness. The practice is experienced in handling the transactional aspects of major construction projects as well as resolving contentious issues. ‘Strong client advocateJames Miller led advice to Areas USA on the negotiation and drafting of construction contracts and change orders for multiple rest stop projects across the US. It also helped the same client to negotiate design and construction contracts for restaurant projects at the Los Angeles, Chicago O’Hare and Miami international airports. The firm’s attorneys have wide-ranging experience in construction dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration and trial work. David Palmer is representing a large contractor in litigation case relating to the construction of a new processing plant in the eastern US. The dispute involves several hundred million dollars in claims and counterclaims with the owner having sued the contractor for allegedly failing to manage certain subcontractors effectively. The contractor has filed counterclaims against the owner and the practice has successfully consolidated the contractor’s defense in two federal lawsuits.

Hanson Bridgett LLP uses innovative integrated project delivery (IPD) and building information modeling (BIM) approaches to provide cutting-edge legal services. The firm acts for a range of parties in the design and construction industries and has significant experience in design-build and public-private partnership projects. It also advises on contentious matters and has over 20 years’ experience representing clients in ADR and mediation, as well as significant litigation expertise. Practice head Howard Ashcraft is at the forefront of IPD matters and has acted as a steering committee member and legal and risk chair of the AIACC’s interdisciplinary taskforce on IPD. His experience includes advising Autodesk on two LEED Platinum-certified projects delivered under multi-party IPD agreements, both involving extensive use of BIM. Other clients include MaineGeneral, Brown University and the University of Waterloo.

Holland & Hart LLP’s construction practice is well established throughout the western US. The team has advised on a number of large-scale infrastructure projects including a high-speed passenger rail connecting Las Vegas to southern California as well as a major, multi-year $700m highway construction project. It also acts as outside general counsel to the owners of a large public works water system, handling all construction disputes and contractual issues. Litigation experience includes having successfully defended a leading engineering firm against a $8.5m claim for extra work. After a two-week trial in Federal Court, the plaintiff was awarded $150,000 in damages, while the client obtained $1.5m. The highly experienced J Kevin Bridston is a key figure in the department.

Jenner & Block LLP’s ‘excellent’, ten-partner construction practice is based in Chicago. The team advises on a range of contractual matters and is experienced in handling administrative reviews. It also represents clients in litigation matters ranging from large payment disputes to complex claims involving substantial defects in major commercial and industrial structures. ‘Talented’ practice head Joseph Bisceglia provides ‘clear guidance as to the best course of action’, and has decades of experience conducting construction litigation and arbitration. He recently represented the University of Illinois in a number of multimillion-dollar suits claiming construction and design defects, and defended against related counterclaims for alleged non-payment, all of which were settled favorably. Bisceglia is acting as counsel for the City of Chicago regarding a number of high-value disputes over construction and design defects arising from the $300m renovation of Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Described as ‘attentive, prompt, well informed and highly qualified’, King & Spalding LLP maintains a dedicated transactional practice that advises on high-value matters nationally and internationally. It is at the forefront of LNG construction work, and is representing Anadarko in all aspects of its multibillion-dollar Mozambique LNG export facility. It is also advising a consortium of Georgia Electric Membership Corporations on issues relating to the permitting, development, construction and financing of an 850MW clean coal-fired power plant in Georgia, with an estimated construction cost of $2.1bn. On the contentious side, it is particularly strong in energy-related construction disputes and has a long record of success. In litigation matters, it has represented CEMEX in connection with claims of over $60m for alleged delays and disruption at a cement plant construction project. Following a number of court hearings, the case was pending in state court in Orlando, Florida, before being settled favorably to CEMEX. Practice head Scott Greer takes the lead on transactional matters and is recommended for his ‘vast array of knowledge of international energy construction and development projects’. Craig Ledet is an ‘exceptional litigator’.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP focuses on construction disputes for a diverse client base that includes developers, contractors, engineers, architects and private individuals. The core team of five partners is based in Chicago and is supported by the firm’s globally integrated litigation platform. Its strengths lie in representing clients in complex construction litigation and in providing high-caliber pre-litigation advice. It recently obtained a settlement for SSAB Americas in its case against the City of Chicago in which the steel supplier was alleged to have provided inappropriate steel for the façade structure of terminals 2 and 3 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. It is also serving as defense liaison counsel in the mass tort litigation claims brought by workers who performed repair and cleanup work to New York buildings damaged during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is defending Verizon, one of the major building owner defendants, against more than 400 individual complaints.

Recommended for its ‘extensive knowledge of construction law matters’ and ‘good sense of current market practices’, Mayer Brown’s construction and engineering practice group houses 15 attorneys across five US offices. It advises on all stages of the transactional process and on large-scale projects. Additionally, its litigators represent clients in court litigation, as well as domestic and international arbitration relating to a wide range of claims. The practice recently acted for the Texas Department of Transportation in all aspects of bidding, procuring, contractors and negotiating design-build and concession agreements for five major public-private highway construction projects valued in excess of $1bn. Other clients include the Panama Canal Authority, Carlyle and Caterpillar. Practice head Joanna Horsnail is ‘very knowledgeable and practical’. Marcia Madsen is also recommended.

The ‘tireless’ James Moye, who established boutique construction firm Moye, O’Brien, O’Rourke, Pickert & Dillon, LLP in 1989, has ‘a breadth of experience seldom seen’. The one-office firm - which is based in Maitland, Florida - provides ‘exemplary’ service to a wide range of clients and shows the ‘ability to utilize the law to bring pressure points for resolution’. It has vast construction litigation experience, including having assisted the general contractor of a Californian transport infrastructure project as plaintiff in resolving complex escalation, disruption and inefficiency claims worth around $50m against the California Department of Transportation relating to a $110m project on the 405 Freeway. It also acted for Odebrecht, a diversified Brazilian company with construction interests, to challenge successfully the constitutionality of a Florida law rendering companies with foreign affiliates in Cuba ineligible for state and local government contracts. This Federal Court decision is currently under appeal. The firm also represents developers and contractors in bid protests. On the non-contentious side, it is working on a number of high-profile projects including advising the joint venture in charge of the design and construction of a replacement bridge at the Port of Long Beach.

Reed Smith LLP acts for clients on all stages of a construction project’s lifecycle, providing procurement and risk management services, project counsel and, if necessary, litigation and dispute resolution advice. It is currently representing Comstock Companies in connection with a public-private partnership for the development, design and construction of a new metrorail station garage and related site work for the new Silver Line Metrorail. The $600m project will serve as a potential template for similar public-private partnerships for five other Metrorail stations in Virginia. The practice is also involved in a number of high-value lawsuits and recently successfully defended Duke Realty against a $45m case brought by CAN Corp. Michael Dingman is ‘knowledgeable’, ‘responsive’ and able to ‘understand commonsense solutions’.

Schiff Hardin LLP’s Chicago-based construction practice advises a range of clients but focuses mainly on working with owners on large-scale energy projects in the US and abroad. It is currently assisting utility firm Alliant Energy with the implementation of a $1.5bn pollution control program spanning several Midwest states. It also provided procurement advice to longstanding client Kansas City Power & Light regarding two separate $900m EPC contracts, reviewing both contracts simultaneously. The team has also worked with clients on a range of contentious matters, and is praised for its ‘innovative approaches to the prevention, mitigation and early resolution of construction disputes’. It was selected to mediate a potential $30m dispute relating to issues on the baggage handling system at the Miami-Dade County North Terminal airport expansion project. ‘Excellent strategic planner’ and ‘highly talented construction dispute resolution attorney’ Ken Roberts heads this experienced team. Kevin Kolton and Virgil Montgomery are ‘extremely good at negotiating large EPC contracts’, and Mandy Schermer is recommended for her ‘strength in contract interpretation’.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s construction practice has a strong reputation advising clients on a range of construction law issues, including contract drafting and negotiating, California mechanic’s lien law, and litigation, arbitration and mediation of construction-related disputes in and outside of the US. The practice is led by Hal Hamersmith in Los Angeles and Scott Hennigh in San Francisco. Recently, Hamersmith and fellow partner Candace Matson acted as outside project counsel to Baha Mar Development Company regarding its Bahamas resort development, a nearly $3bn project involving parties from across the globe. The team’s work in this matter involved the drafting and negotiation of various contracts, advising on contract and performance issues, related insurance coverage requirements and construction bonding and completion guarantees, as well as providing counsel on potential disputes. Hamersmith also recently led the successful defense of Orange County against almost $2m in claims brought by a contractor. In July 2012, the firm opened a new Chicago office, where Daniel Rosenberg is the key contact for construction law.

Highly regarded partner Jeffrey Appelbaum heads the 12-partner construction practice at Thompson Hine LLP, and also acts as managing director of the firm’s wholly owned subsidiary Project Management Consultants LLC. This multidisciplinary consultancy employs six full-time design and construction professionals who assist Thompson Hine LLP’s construction lawyers on various projects. In June 2012, the practice welcomed new partner Larry Prosen from K&L Gates to its Washington DC office. Prosen has a strong track record in cross-border construction issues and his recruitment is part of a concerted effort to enhance the practice’s East Coast presence in a bid to strengthen its international footprint. Tom Kirkwood in Cincinnati, Patrick Sweeney and newly promoted partner Alan Ritchie, who are both based in Cleveland, are also recommended. The team is nationally recognized for transactional construction work and has particular expertise in major recreational facilities. It is working on a variety of prominent projects including the construction of a new $1.2bn stadium for the San Francisco 49ers. The practice is project counsel for the design and construction of this facility. On the advocacy side, it is convergence counsel for litigation for URS Corporation, a leading design and construction services firm. This involves working on a number of civil actions and disputes with public bodies, financial institutions and project owners.

Oakland-based Wulfsberg Reese Colvig & Firstman has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and is experienced in acting for clients on a broad range of projects, with particular expertise in engineering, power and heavy civil construction matters. Representative experience includes having worked for a national healthcare facility provider on the construction of a number of new hospitals. The work involved the development of a uniform contract procurement and development policy, with flexibility sufficient for its utilization by project managers across the US, and the drafting and negotiation of $3bn worth of contracts for six large hospitals in northern California. In litigation, the firm is representing a major Midwestern engineering firm in connection with multiparty claims totaling $40m and alleging design and construction errors and omissions arising from the construction of a major surface water treatment facility. Senior partner H James Wulfsberg has ‘superior advocacy skills’. Tim Colvig, David Darroch and Stephen Cali are also recommended.

Well established in the New York area, boutique firm Zetlin & De Chiara LLP advises on all stages of the construction process, and has experience assisting with matters including contract preparation and negotiation, risk management, and litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Led by founding partners Michael Zetlin and Michael De Chiara, the 21-strong practice can draw on a depth of experience in arbitration matters and high-value, complex litigation. Zetlin has acted for prestigious clients such as Goldman Sachs, Hines, RREEF, Madison Square Garden and Louis Berger Group, the latter of which he represented with regard to a project in Sudan. De Chiara has acted for WSP Flack+Kurtz, Columbia University and Arup Services New York, among others.

California firm Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP’s 21-strong construction practice acts for a range of national and international clients on all transactional aspects of private and public construction projects, as well as litigation and other dispute resolution matters. The practice’s expertise encompasses contract review and negotiation, dispute resolution, government contracting, and green (eco-friendly) building. Transactional experience includes the firm’s work with LNR Property Corporation in connection with the preparation of documents for the design and construction of below-grade and at-grade elements of The Boulevards at South Bay, a $100m-plus mixed-use development. Dispute resolution experience includes having represented a large general contractor in connection with a $35m multi-party claim, which arose from a complex laboratory construction project and was resolved in mediation before any significant litigation. The practice is led by Raymond Buddie in San Francisco and Delmar Nehrenberg in Century City, Los Angeles.

Austin-based Allensworth & Porter advises clients from all sectors of the construction industry on a range of construction law matters, including contract preparation and negotiation, lien claims, bond claims, payout and retainer disputes, professional responsibility matters. The practice’s primary focus is litigation and arbitration, with all nine partners involved in some form of contentious or mediation work. The practice is headed by founder and Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, William Allensworth, who has 35 years’ experience in litigation and has handled numerous jury cases and appeals in both state and federal courts.

Houston-based Andrews Myers, P.C.’s 20-strong team acts for clients in matters including construction claims such as construction default, construction and design faults, mechanic’s liens and payment bond claims, as well as contract drafting and negotiation, and OSHA Citations and Proceedings. In 2012, the firm won Fifth Circuit affirmation of almost $7m in damages and attorney’s fees awarded to its client, Petrofac Inc following claims made under an EPC contract for the design and construction of a transportable degasification plant. Key contact William Andrews, who has over 30 years’ experience practicing construction law, was recently approved by the AAA’s National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee as a member of its construction arbitration master panel. Other clients have included Rosenberger Construction, EE Reed Construction and Way Engineering.

Arent Fox LLP provides transactional and litigation support to various parties within the construction industry, including owners, developers, contractors, architects, project managers, engineers, and construction managers. Based primarily in New York and Washington DC, the construction team advises on contact drafting, negotiation and administration, dispute resolution, green building, insurance, troubled projects, and collapse and structural failure matters. Practice head James Frankel has participated in numerous large-scale construction projects, including New York’s Grand Central Station, the Museum of Modern Art, Radio City Music Hall, and the Miami International Airport. Key litigator Eugene Scheiman was actively involved in the firm’s defense of the city of New York in connection with $1bn in claims arising from the collapse of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Responsive’, ‘practical’, ‘experienced’ and ‘cost-effective’ Florida firm Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. fields 18 dedicated construction lawyers. Expertise includes construction defects and delays, multiparty litigation, as well as surety work, lien and licensing work, and transactional matters. The firm has a particularly strong reputation advising owners of large residential properties, and other private and public entities through the construction industry. Swire Properties recently retained the firm to draft, negotiate and strategize on all design and construction contracts for a new five million sq ft mixed-use project in downtown Miami with an estimated value of over $700m. The firm is currently advising Carnival Corp and Roatan Cruise Terminal on multimillion-dollar claims against American Bridge arising from the construction of a cruise ship facility in Roatan, Honduras. The claim involves negligent design and breach of contact issues. Practice head Steven Lesser is ‘preeminent in the field of construction litigation’.

Full-service international firm Bracewell & Giuliani LLP’s construction team operates from the firm’s Austin and Houston offices. The practice represents a range of clients from the construction industry including owners, architects, contractors, engineers and manufacturers in almost every type of construction and real estate related litigation. Practice head and experienced litigator Phillip Sampson Jr is leading the firm’s representation of Parex in a $1m suit for indemnity brought by a building contractor, Fresh Coat. Having recently won summary judgement in the client’s favor, the team continues to represent Parex following an appeal by the plaintiff. Stephen Benesh’s experience includes his recent representation of the owner of a large condominium complex in Austin in connection with claims of defective construction and materials against the general contractor and previous owner. Estimated damages exceeded $10m and the firm ultimately obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of the client.

Bricker & Eckler LLP’s ‘top-notch’ construction practice fields five partners in Columbus and one more in its Cincinnati-Dayton office. The practice advises on all aspects of construction law, and is active in both the public and private sectors; it has been actively involved in the development of construction rules reform in Ohio. Transactional experience includes having acted for OhioHealth on a $321m design-build expansion project for the construction of a new patient tower at Riverside Methodist Hospital. Other clients include Avon Lake City School District and Gallia County. Practice head Jack Rosati is an experienced litigator. Mark Evans, who is qualified as an engineer, has a solid understanding the construction process ‘from contracting, through bidding and awarding of contracts, to dealing with problem contractors or risk issues’.

Bryan Cave LLP’s construction transactions practice acts for clients at all stages of the process and is experienced in project delivery, preparation and negotiation of design and construction contracts, and advising on contract compliance and amendments. The firm has a strong client base in the manufacturing, industrial and retail sectors, and advises on matters nationally and internationally. It is acting as counsel for a national logistics network regarding a dual EPC contract for a high-end automated distribution center valued at almost $300m.

Boutique construction firm Canterbury Elder Gooch Surratt Shapiro & Stein P.C. fields ten attorneys in Dallas. The firm has extensive experience conducting complex litigation, arbitration and mediation and act for a range of clients including project owners, contractors, sureties, and trade associations. Founding partner Joseph Canterbury is experienced and well respected in the field, and fellow name partner W Kyle Gooch is ‘a fantastic lawyer’.

Coats Rose Yale Ryman Lee’s construction practice has been active for the past 25 years and remains a cornerstone of the firm. The team represents a broad range of public and private sector clients, including the surety industry - for which it provides underwriting and claim advice across a wide range of surety products - and the Houston Chapter of Associated General Contractors. The firm is currently defending an international valve manufacturer against a $60m claim arising from the construction of gas plants in Wyoming and Colorado. It is also advising Texas’ largest school district on construction procurement contracts as well as issues relating to a $1.9bn bond issue. Well-respected practice head Patrick Gaas has experience of representing clients in high-value, international arbitration hearings and recently acted as lead trial counsel for a non-destructive examination contractor in a $60m lawsuit. Robert Hancock shows attention to detail and provides value for money.

Well established in the Texas area, Cokinos, Bosien & Young advises on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious construction law. The ‘excellent’ Gregory Cokinos, one of the founding partners, is a veteran litigator and was the first Houston lawyer inducted to the American College of Construction Lawyers. Cokinos also currently sits on the construction panel of the American Arbitration Association.

Dorsey & Whitney LLP specializes in high-value construction litigation, and has 12 partners its Minneapolis and 15 others across the US. Jocelyn Knoll heads the Minnesota team and is an experienced litigator, having represented various clients in numerous high-profile matters. Knoll is leading the practice’s representation of Kvaerner North American Construction after the client filed arbitration demands against a number of parties involved in the construction and commissioning of a $220m coal-fired power plant in West Virginia. Other clients include URS, Ryan Companies, Kraus Anderson Construction and Enclos Corp.

Minneapolis-based Fabyanske Westra Hart Thomson’s 18-attorney construction practice advises clients at every stage of the construction process. The firm is currently representing the Minnesota Sports Facilities Association on the design, construction and development of the new, $1bn Minnesota Vikings football stadium. Other experience includes having won a $13.2mn award for a North Dakota ethanol plant in arbitration over damages claims arising from faulty equipment. Marvin Fabyanske is a founding fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and a key figure in the practice.

Texas construction boutique Ford, Nassen & Baldwin represents a broad range of clients across the construction industry. The firm acts for numerous contractors and specialty contractors, including having represented Santos-CMI in the negotiation of a contract to build a gas-fired power plant in Latin America. It also defended Slack & Company Construction in multiparty arbitration brought by a project owner claiming $28mn in damages, in which all claims were dismissed and the client’s costs were reimbursed. Other clients have included Vratsinas Construction Company, Cadence McShane Construction, Medco Construction, Omni Hotels, and a number of major metropolitan cities in Texas. John Nassen is ‘a thorough and smart litigator’.

Frost Brown Todd LLC’s 15-attorney construction practice is based across five offices in Cincinnati, West Chester, Columbus, Indianapolis and Louisville. The team acts for contractors and other construction professionals. The firm has particular expertise in litigation and recent matters include having obtained a summary judgment awarding $16.3mn on behalf of a group of subcontractors. The practice was also recently able to reach a favorable settlement for a construction manager in defending multimillion-dollar claims filed by a school district. Key contact Terrence Brookie is currently chair-elect of the American Bar Association’s forum on the construction industry.

Texan firm Gardere Wynne Sewell has a ‘stellar’, ‘knowledgeable’ practice that advises on all areas of construction law. It has recently undertaken a range of transactional work, including negotiating and drafting of the construction contract for a $180m high-rise condominium; advising an Israeli firm on a public-private partnership project in Texas; and working for a large homebuilder in connection with a several thousand home residential development in California. The firm also has a solid reputation in litigation, where clients include Atkins North America, EMJ Corporation and Lennar Corporation. Steve Henry has ‘extensive knowledge of construction law’ and ‘business acumen’. Greg Harwell and John Slates are also recommended.

Knowledgeable, responsive, and experts in their fields’, McCarter & English, LLP’s attorneys are well respected in the Northeast and represent a client base that includes parties from across the construction industry on both transactional and contentious matters. Practice head Sarah Biser is acting for Technion in the negotiation and drafting of a joint-venture agreement with Cornell University to construct a $2bn new state-of-the-art applied science graduate school and research facility. The practice is also representing a client in the Republic of Panama: Consorcio Gavilan in connection with a $48.8m breach of contract case regarding alleged defects and malfunctions arising from the construction of a $400m hydroelectric power plant.

With over 40 years’ experience in the industry, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP’s construction practice is expert in all facets of federal and state infrastructure, public works and facilities projects, and also provides services for commercial and private projects. The firm was recently selected to advise the City of Davis, CA, on the construction of a $100m wastewater treatment facility. Of counsel Penny Cobey is overseeing the project, and will advise on procurement strategy, design-build project delivery, contract drafting and negotiation, and any related claims. Practice head Mark Budwig is leading the firm’s representation of San Diego County Water Authority in a number of complex disputes arising from the construction of a 40MW hydroelectric pump-storage plant. Since joining the firm when it merged with Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP in March 2012, Roger Haerr has been active in a number of high-value litigation cases. Frank Rapoport left the firm to join Peckar & Abramson in New York, but the practice was reinforced by the arrival of Richard Sigal in New York in 2012.

The 14-strong construction practice at Porter Hedges LLP provides ‘timely and comprehensive advice on strategy, exposure and analysis’, and advises clients on a range of transactional, litigation and insurance construction matters. Practice head David Peden recently successfully defended Brasfield and Gorrie against defects and delays claims totaling $50m. Peden secured a victory for the client, which was then affirmed on appeal. Allison Snyder is defending the City of Houston against a $15m claim for breach of contract. The case was won before the First Court of Appeals in Houston, and is now pending before the Texas Supreme Court. John Hawkins is ‘nothing short of fantastic’, and Cynthia Holub is also recommended.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP specializes in construction matters relating to energy and infrastructure projects. The practice acted for Neptune Regional Transmission System in negotiating an EPC contract for the $700m construction of a 660MW undersea electric transmission cable and associated converter stations between New York and New Jersey. Other recent experience includes the practice’s advice to Xcel Energy and Public Service Company of Colorado in connection with the $1.1bn development of a 750MW coal-fired power plant in Colorado. Lance Brasher and Paul Kraske are key contacts on the transactional side.

Located on the Washington DC Capital Beltway, Smith Pachter McWhorter acts for clients on all aspects of construction contracts, dispute avoidance and resolution. The practice recently represented a coalition of engineering and construction firms and an international rail car manufacturer in a dispute with New Jersey Transit over more than $100m in claims, and obtained a settlement five months into an expected 12-month trial. The firm has also advised on a number of other claims arising from large infrastructure and public works projects including the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge and the McKinley Test Chamber. Val McWhorter and Richard Smith each have over 30 years’ experience in construction law, with the latter focusing on dispute resolution and mediation. Both partners are fellows of the American College of Construction Lawyers.

Vedder Price has significant experience advising on a broad range of construction matters, including the drafting and negotiating of large-scale international and domestic construction and EPC contracts and counseling on litigation avoidance. The practice also has expertise in litigation matters in state and federal courts nationwide, as well as in the full range of alternative dispute forums. The firm has decades of experience dealing with matters arising from government contracts, and recently represented Kenny Construction Company in JAMS mediation in connection with $50m in fraud and breach-of-contract claims brought by Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. The team was able to obtain a settlement of all claims and procured the district’s agreement to issue a termination for convenience letter. Practice chair Karen Layng has extensive litigation and dispute resolution experience and currently sits as co-chair of the program subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s construction litigation committee.

Venable LLP advises on a range of construction matters including project structuring and claim litigation, contract negotiation, environmental issues, performance issues and disputes, and state and local government issues. The 21-strong team operates from five offices along the East Coast. Transactional experience includes the drafting and negotiation of design-build agreements for engineering, procurement and construction services in connection with a $1bn toll road project. The practice also acted for a government contractor to settle a dispute over the adequacy of equipment, after a subcontractor sued to recover $4.5m, but paid $3m to avoid trial following pretrial rulings.

Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. is known for its expertise in high-profile projects, primarily within the energy and infrastructure sectors. The firm represents project owners, developers, professionals and EPC contractors on both transactional and litigation matters, and is described as having a ‘superior’ knowledge of the field. The team recently represented Fluor Corporation as appellate counsel to oversee the EPC firm’s appeal of a $100m damages award against it under tortuous interference and disparagement theories. Transactional experience includes its current representation of Apache Corporation in connection with the construction and procurement aspects of a multibillion-dollar LNG liquefaction facility in British Columbia. It has also served as project counsel to White Stallion Energy Center, a $2.5bn solid-fuel electric power generation facility. Practice head D Ferguson McNiel is ‘a world class construction lawyer’.

Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial’s ‘outstanding construction lawyers’ represent construction owners and professionals in litigation and alternative dispute resolution. The team defended Brock Design Group against an engineering malpractice claim, in which the developer sought $8m in damages and settled for less the one-twentieth of that amount at the start of the trial. The team is currently representing Corelab Structures and Solar Erectors in a number of suits arising from the 2012 partial collapse of a pre-cast parking garage structure. This representation included defending the clients against allegations of improper design, manufacturing and installation of the pre-cast, as well as anticipated commercial construction and delay claims among the numerous project participants. David Dial and David Larson are ‘excellent trial lawyers and highly experienced construction lawyers’.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s construction litigation specialists have experience representing clients in every forum, including state and federal trial and appellate courts, industry and international arbitration panels, federal and state boards of contract appeals, and other ADR proceedings such as mediations. The firm also advises on transactional matters, with notable expertise in energy and infrastructure sector construction. The firm has acted for XL Insurance in resolving 21 lawsuits amounting to approximately C$100m following claims asserted by Shell Canada Ltd, which arose from the design and construction of an oil refinery. It has also represented The Industrial Company (TIC) in connection with EPC contacts for two cement plant modernization projects valued at $260m. Its work with TIC included representing the company in two major construction disputes that were resolved through ADR. Key contact David Romm concentrates on the prosecution and defense of complex construction cases.


Land use/zoning

Index of tables

  1. Land use/zoning
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Specializing in major projects, DLA Piper’s land use, development and government relations practice has a national presence with 21 partners located in six offices. The team recently represented Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison in his purchase of 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, in which the firm oversaw the review of the land use permits, entitlements, and governmental regulations governing the purchased property. The team also represented Chicago Clean Energy in all facets of the Illinois process to enact legislation enabling the development of a $3bn clean coal facility. The legislation was signed into law in July 2011. Chicago-based Ted Novak heads the practice.

Well established in New York, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s ‘excellent’ land use practice advises on a range of large-scale projects across the state. The firm is representing Cornell University in land use and environmental approval matters in connection with the creation of a new two million square foot campus for the study of applied sciences on Roosevelt Island, New York City. It is also acting for Forest City Ratner Companies regarding the planning and development of the Atlantic Yards project, a 22-acre mixed-use development in Brooklyn, which incorporates the creation of the $1bn Barclays Center, an 18,000-seat arena. Stephen Lefkowitz is highly regarded.

Holland & Knight LLP provides an ‘outstanding’ level of service and is recommended for its ‘knowledge, strength in depth, response time, creative problem solving, and sage advice’. The team operates across 11 offices and acts for large national companies in cross-jurisdiction matters across the US. The team recently assisted IKEA with identifying the site for its first Miami store; at 417,000 sq ft, the store will be the largest of the company’s four Florida outlets. Ongoing instructions include the firm’s work for Gallaudet University in Washington DC, which is the world’s only liberal arts university dedicated to the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. The team is aiding the university through the approval purpose for its ten-year campus development plan. Practice head Steven Elrod is highly recommended, as is the ‘business-savvy’ Jennifer Hernandez.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has accumulated decades of experience in obtaining land use approvals for some of New York’s most iconic buildings. Its 20-strong land use practice includes lawyers, an engineer and a planner as well as a veteran litigator. Extell Development Company has instructed the firm on a number of matters, including the acquisition of development rights, historic preservation and land use approvals for the development of a one million square foot mixed-use building on West 57th Street. Other representative projects include the Museum of Modern Art, New York University, Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall. Co-chairs of the department Paul Selver and Michael Sillerman are highly regarded in their field. The ‘highly knowledgeable’ James Greilsheimer often acts as lead counsel in condemnation matters.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s energy and infrastructure project siting and defense practice group focuses on the development of large-scale projects in California. The team has expertise in climate change, green building and sustainability issues, and maintains a strong record in litigation record, particularly in defending clients against challenges brought on environmental grounds. Current instructions include its work for NBCUniversal on its proposal for a 391-acre site in Los Angeles, a $1bn project requiring multiple agency approvals. It is also currently seeking approvals for a $1bn seawater desalination plant on behalf of Poseidon resources. Other clients include Paramount, Westfield, Marriott International and First Solar. Lucinda Starrett and Jim Arnone are key contacts.

With a strong West Coast presence, Perkins Coie LLP advises on matters across the US, fielding 62 lawyers in 12 offices. The firm recently represented Eagle Marine Services in CEQA and NEPA analyses and environmental permitting for the 56-acre expansion of its intermodal cargo terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. In Oregon, the firm is acting for Providence Health & Services on five matters, such as obtaining approvals and entitlements to facilitate a $200m long-term plan for improvements. Craig Shrontz in Bellevue and Portland-based Steven Pfeiffer co-head the practice.

Akerman Senterfitt advises on a range of cutting-edge development projects in Florida and New York. It is currently representing All Aboard Florida Station in obtaining regulatory approvals for the development of an inter-city train station and mixed-use development in Miami; this project will lead to the creation of Florida’s first private statewide rail service. It is also acting for clients seeking approvals on projects such as the Brickell Citicentre or Miami Design District, as well as in acquiring the capital financing and incentives package for the Yonkers Rising project. Orlando-based Cecelia Bonifay heads the practice and is ‘excellent’.

Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP has expertise in the full range of California land use services. The firm advises clients on approval issues, such as matters relating to the Subdivision Map Act, the Williamson Act, development agreements, and other zoning issues. Recent representative experience includes having obtained approvals for the development of a new air cargo facility at Ontario International Airport and a 935-acre master planned community in Ramona.

Ballard Spahr LLP’s 24-lawyer practice spans seven offices and acts for clients to obtain approvals and address zoning and land use issues through every stage of a development project. The firm is particularly strong in the education and medical sectors, and has represented the master developer of Baltimore’s ten-acre BioPark since its inception in 2005. In this capacity, the firm represented the developer in obtaining all land use approvals, negotiating acquisitions, and preparing related documents. Other experience includes having recently obtained zoning and land use relief for the William Way Senior Residences, a senior housing facility marketed to the LGBT community.

Miami firm Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP represents a range of foreign and domestic owners, developers and investors across the state of Florida. The firm recently advised a joint venture on its the Miami Beach Convention Center redevelopment, a 52-acre public-private project valued at over $1bn. The well-respected Al Dotson is a key figure in the department. Javier Aviñó, who was made partner in January 2013, joined the firm from Greenberg Traurig LLP in August 2012.

Bryan Cave LLP’s New York land use team fields lawyers, urban planners and registered architects, and represents clients across a broad range of land use approval and litigation matters. It represented the Gotham Organization regarding a 1.1 million square foot development on West 44th Street in Manhattan, which required various land use approvals. Other clients have included Carlyle, Consolidated Edison and Long Island University.

Carlton Fields’ 13-strong team operates across three Florida offices and acts for a diverse range of clients including private developers and governmental bodies. The team provides comprehensive land use services, as well as assisting clients in site selection, contract and other document preparation and negotiation, and diligence. The firm also assists clients with litigation and competition matters. The ‘highly qualified’ and ‘knowledgeable’ Nancy Linnan is well respected in her field.

San Francisco-based Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass advises on land use matters throughout the Bay area and is advising California Pacific Medical Center on its planned $2.5bn long-term development plan project. This included obtaining and defending entitlements and advising on the project’s CEQA environment review. Other clients include the San Francisco 49ers, California Academy of Science and Forest City Development.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson’s 25-strong land use and natural resources team advise on the entitlement, development and construction of a broad range of large-scale projects. It is known for its expertise in the permitting and development of wind and solar energy projects, and its strong record in land use litigation. Clients include Cisco Systems, Sony Pictures, KB Homes, Genentech and Lennar. Michael Zischke is highly regarded.

Arizona boutique Earl, Curley & Lagarde, PC has over 25 years’ experience representing clients in all facets of land use and zoning matters. The firm has represented American Express on a number of projects over the years, including advising on zoning, development and project review for the client’s two million square foot American Express Plaza office and industrial project. Other clients include Arizona Grand Hotel, Lennar Homes and Biltmore Fashion Park.

Providing an ‘excellent’ quality of service, Fowler White Boggs P.A. represents major developers and businesses throughout Florida. It is currently representing Newland Real Estate Group in all entitlement and permitting matters. It also recently represented Plymouth Capital Management in land use approvals for a 500-acre development in Gainesville, Florida. Rhea Law and Andrea Zelman are recommended. The practice was strengthened by the arrival of Wilson Atkinson, Dwayne Dickerson and Courtenay Terrell.

Goodwin Procter LLP provides a range of zoning, land use and related services, and has particular expertise acting for clients in mixed-use projects. Chicago-based practice head Martin Healy is currently acting for New Balance regarding the environmental review and permitting of a one million square foot development in the Brighton Landing area of Boston, as well as regarding a luxury hotel and convention venue in Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts. The team also advises on related zoning matters. Healy oversees the firm’s work providing permitting advice for Entergy Nuclear.

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s land development practice has advised landowners and developers for more than four decades, and is currently acting for developer Portman CMC in its bid to renovate the Miami Beach Convention Center and the surrounding district. The City of Miami has issued a Request for Qualifications and is seeking private developers to enter into a public-private partnership for the development of the 52-acre convention district. Lucia Dougherty and Alfredo Gonzalez oversaw the bidding process, in which Portman CMC’s proposal received the highest ranking, and have now commenced negotiations on behalf of the client. Debbie Orshefsky in Fort Lauderdale co-chairs the practice with Jay Segal in New York.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP is expert in coastal development, environmental impact analysis, redevelopment law and municipal law matters. The team works alongside its government practice and has a strong record in obtaining state and local government approvals. Current instructions include its work for Lewis Operating Corp in re-titling a 205-acre residential site for commercial and industrial uses. As a former dairy farm sited adjacent to a major interstate freeway, the project involves a number of environmental and health risk issues that must be addressed.

McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP welcomed four new partners to its land use, entitlements and CEQA practice in 2012 as a result of the firm’s merger with Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP. The team is currently acting for LNR Property in connection with its public-private partnership project to develop the Boulevards at South Bay. The site is entitled for up to 2 million square feet of commercial space and 1,550 residential units. Other active clients include The Monarch Group, Walgreens, and Southwestern Law School.

Described as ‘exceptional in all areas’, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP advises on virtually every aspect of land use, environmental and natural resources law. The firm is currently acting for Barrett Block Partners in efforts to entitle a high-density mixed-use project on a 100,000 sq ft site in downtown San Francisco. The ‘knowledgeable’ Robert Herr heads the practice. Gregg Miller and Ron Van Buskirk are also recommended.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP advises on a range of matters arising from land use and environmental regulations, agency approvals, and related litigation. Robert Thompson recently oversaw the firm’s instruction by Forest City Development in connection with its $1.5bn acquisition and development of Pier 70, a mixed-use project over 25 acres on San Francisco’s Central Waterfront. John Ponder recently represented independent energy company, Tenaska, during its CEQA, NEPA and Imperial County development permit approval process for a 130MW project on a 946-acre site.

Vedder Price’s ‘responsive’, ‘timely’ and ‘thorough’ team advises clients on a broad range of land use and development entitlements and governmental financial assistance programs. Chicago-based practice head Danielle Meltzer Cassel, who is recommended, recently represented Antheus Capital in a range of land use matters arising from its restoration and redevelopment of various historic hotel properties in Chicago’s South Side. Multiple land use and zoning challenges were successfully resolved and the $200m redevelopment was able to go ahead. Other clients include Target, the University of Chicago and BMO Harris Bank.

Excellent’ boutique firm Bercow Radell & Fernandez PA is well established in southern Florida. The firm recently acted for Rosal Westview LLC regarding its proposal for an ambitious 400,000 sq ft mixed-use redevelopment of an abandoned golf course property. It is also acting for Florida Power & Light Company in pursuing ‘unusual use’ approval for significant ancillary facilities required for cooling water for two nuclear reactors. Managing Partner Jeffrey Bercow is recommended for his ‘knowledge, judgment, advocacy skill and responsiveness’.

Cooley LLP acts for owners, developers and investors regarding all facets of land use, zoning, development and operation, and is particularly active throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. The firm is advising on acquisition, entitlement and zoning matters pertaining to each of the 11 rail stations located along the planned Silver Line section of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail extension project. Antonio Calabrese is the key contact.

Farella Braun & Martel LLP’s four-partner team has a strong presence in northern California. The firm recently served as development counsel to First Solar in connection with its Topaz solar farm, a 550MW solar photovoltaic site in San Luis Obispo County, California. Other clients include Archstone and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Arizona firm Fennemore Craig has broad expertise across zoning and land use. It represents large commercial, residential, industrial and institutional clients, and has acted for large master planned community developers. Michael Phalen heads the practice.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s practice operates from the firm’s offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Key contact Amy Forbes is representing Fifteen Group regarding its proposed $2bn mixed-use redevelopment of Wyvernwood Garden Apartments in Los Angeles. The entire 68-acre site is undergoing re-planning and rezoning as part of the redevelopment plan.

Gunster Law firm’s 27-strong team represents a range of clients in land use matters arising from agricultural, commercial, energy, industrial, residential, and mixed-use properties throughout Florida. The firm is representing New England Development as lead counsel regarding its redevelopment of Palm Beach Fashion Outlets mall. In this capacity, the team has obtained entitlements for the 88-acre property. Terry Cole and Amy Brigham Boulris joined the firm in 2012.

Herrick, Feinstein LLP provides a range of land use and planning services, and uses former urban planners to ensure that it provides pragmatic advice. The firm is representing Toll Brothers in land use and zoning matters arising from its joint venture development inside Brooklyn Bridge Park. Other clients include the Republic of Turkey and the Port Authority of New York. Practice head Mitchell Korbey is ‘detail-oriented’ and a ‘problem-solver’.

Tallahassee-based boutique Hopping Green & Sams PA fields an 11-strong team that acts for clients in preparing development programs and helps to develop strategies for the authorization of new projects or amendments to existing ones. The firm also advises clients on avoiding development of regional impact (DRI) review and provides representation when approval must be obtained.

Orlando firm Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. has years of experience advising clients on land use regulations throughout Florida. The team advises on all aspects of approval and permitting, including environmental permitting, governmental lobbying, historic preservation requirements, as well as tax and other incentive programs, administrative proceedings and land use litigation.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s strong San Francisco practice provides a range of land use services, and has particular expertise advising on environmental matters. David Gold was selected by Apple to act as lead land use and CEQA attorney for its 3.1 million square foot Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino, California. Other clients include BlackRock, First Solar, Gilead Sciences, and RREEF America.

Paul Hastings LLP’s team advises clients on every stage of real estate projects and related land use matters, including representation in land use and environmental litigation. Jeffrey Haber is acting as primary land use counsel to DreamWorks Animation and the J Paul Getty Trust, while Mitch Menzer continues to represent Korean Air Lines in connection with its redevelopment of the Wilshire Grand Hotel.

Venable LLP’s team in the Tysons Corner and Towson offices is currently representing David S Brown Enterprises in all land use matters pertaining to the its mixed-use development at Owings Mills Metro Station, which is a public-private partnership project valued in excess of $200m. John Milliken heads the team.

Boutique firm Withey Morris PLC is well established in Arizona and represents commercial, residential, industrial and master planned developers before the zoning and licensing boards in virtually every jurisdiction in the state. Current work includes acting for Barron Collier regarding a planned office development in downtown Phoenix.


Real estate

Index of tables

  1. Real estate
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Jonathan Mechanic heads the ‘smart’ and ‘efficient’ 15-partner real estate group at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, which grew at senior level with the promotion to partner of Avi Feinberg and Tal Golomb. Franz Rassman is based in Washington DC, with the rest of the ‘superb’ full-service team in New York. Mechanic has the ‘added value of knowing and working with many of the other major players; he can often get things done where a phone call to the right person is needed’. He led the firm’s advice in relation to a 150,000 sq ft lease in Manhattan by New York Genome Center, a consortium of organizations creating one of the largest bioinformatics and genomics facilities in the US. Along with Brian Lichter, Mechanic was also involved in the representation of the Kushner Companies in a $1.1bn loan restructuring and joint venture facilitated recapitalization relating to an office property at 666 Fifth Avenue. The firm also acted for SL Green Realty in relation to several matters, including the $416m acquisition of a portfolio of eight retail and multi-family properties along Fifth Avenue and the financing for four of those; advised both Related Companies and Coach in relation to the Hudson Yards project in Manhattan; and acted for Forest City Ratner in respect of the Atlantic Yards development and the $1bn Barclays Center. Google, Tishman Speyer and UBS are also clients. Other partners to note include Stephen Lefkowitz, the ‘hugely experienced, commercial, creative and user-friendlyRobert Sorin and Meyer Last. Rassman acted for Brandywine Realty Trust in a number of leasing matters in Washington DC, as well as in the sale of a major office building in Virginia.

With more than 200 real estate lawyers working out of 23 US offices, Greenberg Traurig LLP has a very diverse practice and an extensive footprint, and particular strongholds in New York, Chicago and Miami. Robert Ivanhoe advised the Chetrit Group on the $1.1bn purchase of the Sony building at 550 Madison Avenue; David Frankel Realty on the $416m sale of a portfolio of six commercial and multi-family properties in New York City; and UDR on the $325m acquisition of a luxury residential rental building located at 95 Wall Street in Manhattan. His right-hand-man in New York is Stephen Rabinowitz, who chairs the real estate practice in that office and whose clients include SL Green. Global co-chair Corey Light, in Chicago, meanwhile advised Kimco Realty on the $735m sale of the InTown Suites portfolio, which includes 138 extended-stay properties across 21 states. Sanford Presant (chair of the firm’s real estate funds group) and Louis Vitali acted for Greystar on its $1.5bn joint venture with Goldman Sachs to acquire a 27-property apartment portfolio from Equity Residential; and assisted the same client with the closing of a $650m blind pool apartment fund, as well as with joint ventures and financing for five multi-family developments in a number of states. The firm also advised Swire Properties on the acquisition, structuring, development and retail leasing of the Brickell CitiCentre project in Miami.

Philip Feder is global chair of the ‘strong and deep’ real estate practice at Paul Hastings LLP, which offers a ‘unique combination of skill, empathy and client service’. The team includes 120 attorneys across the US, and has particular strength in California, where both Feder and vice-chair Rick Kirkbride are based; Kirkbride is also global chair of the resort, restaurant and recreation practice group. Feder has recently handled a range of work for Oaktree Capital Management, notably acting on $1.5bn of non-performing loan acquisitions from institutions including the FDIC, and a $195m non-performing loan securitization involving 78 properties. Kirkbride continues to advise resort developer Baha Mar on a series of hotel development and management agreements, in a project financed by a $2.45bn loan from China Export-Import Bank. In a further significant mandate on the West Coast, the firm continues to assist the Lennar Corporation and affiliated joint ventures in relation to the Hunters Point Shipyard, Candlestick Point and Treasure Island development projects in San Francisco, which are projects with long-term development costs in excess of $10bn; the lead partner is Charles Thornton. In terms of the group’s East Coast presence, attorneys in New York include Robert Wertheimer, Eric Landau and John Cahill. Cahill, alongside London partner Jeffrey Diener, led a team advising Istithmar World on a $1.2bn refinancing of Miami’s Fontainebleau Resort and a $465m senior secure bond offering, which completed in April 2012. Stephen Berkman (San Francisco) and Josh Isenberg (Tokyo) advised salesforce.com on various matters relating to its global expansion, including in relation to a number of San Francisco leases. Peter Olsen is ‘an extremely talented and practical attorney’.

The real estate team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is led by Gregory Ressa, and has been busy with increased financing activity and a healthy amount of foreign investment capital moving. Significant deals included advising Barclays on the $2.9bn joint sale, with Bank of America, of the majority interest in Archstone to Lehman Brothers Holdings. The team handles a range of similarly impressive transactions for major client Blackstone and its affiliates; highlights included the $1.9bn acquisition of Accor’s United States Economy Hotels Division, with its exceptionally large portfolio of rooms in 1,100 locations across the US and Canada and including the Motel 6 and Studio 6 chains. The team also represented affiliates of Blackstone in connection with the $1.2bn acquisition of Apple REIT Six; a joint venture for the $1.79bn portfolio sale of 142 senior living communities across 31 states; and the $450m refinancing of three industrial portfolios. Elsewhere, the firm advised the Carlyle Group and its affiliates on a series of transactions related to the retail portion of 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, culminating in the $707m sale of Carlyle’s remaining retail condominium unit at that location to affiliates of Vornado Realty Trust. The group was also instructed by a joint venture including KKR in connection with its for $1.2bn acquisition of Sunrise Senior Living’s management business. Scott Kobak, Sasan Mehrara and Erik Quarfordt are the other partners in New York. Globally, the team is now five partners strong following the promotion of Anthony King in the Hong Kong office.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has a 17-partner global real estate group led by Harvey Uris, with New York, Chicago and Los Angeles its bases in the US. Paul Huff returned to the Chicago office from Tokyo, and Audrey Sokoloff returned to New York after a period as co-head of the firm’s Asia practice. The US team has been particularly active recently in private equity deals and transactions in the healthcare space, and cross-border transactions, involving both foreign investment in the US and US investment abroad, have also been a recent hallmark. Uris led the advice to Centro Properties Group in a A$16bn Australian debt restructuring (through a debt-for-equity exchange), and Evan Levy headed a team representing the Goodman Group in relation to a new partnership formation with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. In other work highlights, the firm assisted SL Green Realty in relation to the acquisition of control of a mezzanine debt stack on a portfolio totalling 4.5 million sq ft of office space, and advised on the subsequent debt-to-equity conversion, later recapitalized into a joint venture with the Blackstone Group. Nancy Olson advised Fortress affiliate Holiday Retirement Corp in connection with a $4bn Fannie Mae loan modification, and on further credit facility modifications with Freddie Mac. ‘Elder statesman’ Benjamin Needell has been advising Silverstein Properties on various leasing deals at the World Trade Center; and Neil Rock’s recent work includes acting for Genesis Healthcare on its $275m acquisition of the Sun Healthcare Group. Square Mile, Dune and Colony are also clients of the firm.

Based in New York, the ten-partner real estate team at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is ‘thoroughly knowledgeable about the specific industries applicable to a particular legal matter’, and offers ‘increasingly one-stop shopping’ for its clients’ legal needs. The managing partner of the ‘enormously practical’ commercial real estate group is Robert Schlein, who has returned to New York after a lengthy period in London. His recent work includes advising Frank McCourt and affiliated entities on negotiations and agreements leading to the $2.15bn sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and the Dodgers Stadium; the transaction also involved Joseph Shenker, who has ‘spectacular’ breadth and depth of expertise, and the ‘excellentIvan Deutsch. Other highlights for Deutsch and Shenker included acting for the New York Football Giants, the New York Jets and the San Francisco Giants in various contentious matters. Shenker also worked with Arthur Adler on Vornado Realty Trust’s $1.25bn sale of the King’s Plaza Mall in Brooklyn, NY, and Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, NY, as well as with Adler and Schlein in connection with General Growth Properties’ $270m acquisition of 11 anchor pads at malls in nine states. Anthony Colletta advised the owner of the John Hancock Center in Chicago on a proposed workout of mortgage and mezzanine loans and the eventual sale of the center. Alongside Shenker, Colletta also advised Dune Real Estate Partners on the acquisition of a defaulted mortgage loan on New York’s Mark Hotel, the restructuring of that loan and the acquisition of the mezzanine loan on the same property. Adler advised Outback Steakhouse and Bain Capital on the borrowing and securitization of $600m of mortgage and mezzanine loans, secured by 261 restaurants in 35 states.

Real estate financing powerhouse Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has a team ‘recognized across Wall Street’ and considered to be ‘fantastic’ for debt work, with great depth of expertise. William McInerney leads the group, which includes four partners and a senior counsel. With James Hassan having left legal practice, James Carroll - managing partner of the firm’s office in Charlotte, NC, and a ‘pragmatic actor’ with ‘extensive experience’ - is the only member outside New York. McInerney was the lead partner advising JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup on the $1.9bn financing connected with Blackstone’s acquisition of Motel 6 from Accor, involving a mortgage loan and multiple mezzanine tranches. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Fredric Altschuler (senior counsel) ‘can be a bulldog’ when needed, and recently advised UBS Real Estate Securities as placement agent for a $580m mortgage loan and mezzanine financing relating to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach refinancing. JPMorgan Chase instructed the group on a number of matters, including in relation to $400m in mortgage and mezzanine loans on the HSBC Tower at 452 Fifth Avenue, and on a $525m refinancing secured by the Palisades Center mall, also in New York; Melissa Hinkle led on the latter deal. Carroll advised Bank of America on the restructuring of the La Quinta hotel chain, with mortgage and mezzanine finacing of around $2.6bn; and also in relation to the rescue financing of a $500m mortgage loan to provide mortgage and mezzanine debt on a Clarion/Henley Group joint venture portfolio. Other significant real estate clients include Wells Fargo, HSBC and Vornado Realty.

A highly recommended firm noted for its broad geographical presence and its ‘informed, practical guidance’ and ‘extensive industry knowledge’, DLA Piper fields a 78-partner real estate group across 13 US offices, headed by Jay Epstien in Washington DC. Having seen a number of partner departures, the group is now back in a growth phase; Bryan Connolly and Kimberlie Pearlman were promoted to partner and real estate finance partner Joseph Forte joined in New York. In an unusual work highlight, the firm advised Larry Ellison in his purchase of 98% of the island of Lanai, HI, with 88,000 acres including residential developments, utilities companies and a solar farm being part of the deal; San Francisco partner Stephen Cowan was a key partner on the transaction, and has also recently acted for the Bank of China in a $3.5bn refinancing of the Venetian Macau resort. In New York, Scott Weinberg, whose specialisms include commercial mortgage origination and securitization, has a level of in-depth knowledge, ‘both business and legal’, which makes him a ‘go-to lawyer’. The firm advised Tishman Speyer on various matters including several acquisitions and dispositions in Washington DC, Chicago, and Arlington, Virginia, notably the $217.5m sale of 200 West Madison, Chicago, and the $126m sale of Chicago’s Civic Opera Building, with James Beard leading both deals. New client gains include the Intelsat Corporation, Healthcare Trust of America, and Ivanhoé Cambridge.

Headed by Jesse Sharf and Fred Pillon, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has a full-service real estate group with ten key partners across California and New York, including lateral arrival Andrew Dady and the newly promoted Matthew Kidd, both in New York. It has recently handled a number of transactions for Wells Fargo, including advising on its $3.3bn acquisition of a portfolio of 61 commercial real estate loans from IBRC, and on several repurchase facilities for the financing of commercial mortgage loan acquisitions (with an aggregate value exceeding $900m). Dennis Arnold led a team representing MPG Office Trust in the continuing $2bn restructuring of an over-leveraged office portfolio. Sharf, meanwhile, advised the Rockpoint Group in connection with a variety of acquisitions, joint ventures and financings throughout the US, including in Washington DC, Manhattan, and Orange County, aggregating over $1bn. Pillon acts for Dune Capital, HSBC, PCCP and Barclays Capital, recently advising the latter on a sale of mortgage notes totalling $750m. Michael Sfregola joined Sharf in leading the advice to Woodridge Capital on the $300m recapitalization of a debt and equity stack in the Hyatt Century Plaza in Century City, CA. Dady represented Tishman Speyer in its $1.5bn acquisition of an Australian REIT with ownership interests in 16 office properties. Other clients of the group include Fortress, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Oaktree Capital Management. Also recommended at partner level are Dennis Arnold, Michael Sfregola and Deborah Cussen in California, and Andrew Lance and David Furman in New York.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is seen to be ‘making a commitment to real estate as a serious, independent practice area’, and is best known for its funds work in this space, taking private equity clients through raising, structuring, capital deployment, recapitalizing and all else in between. The 23-partner team, across Chicago and New York, is ‘very professional and knowledgeable’, and ‘extremely thorough’. 2012 saw the lateral hire of David Fischman from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and the promotion to partner of both Travis Fleming and Christopher Hartmann, and the growth at partner level was reflected in several significant client gains, including Dune Real Estate Partners, KKR, Lubart-Adler, Morgan Stanley Mezzanine Partners, and Paulson & Co. Andrew Small advised KKR on the $196m acquisition of the Yorktown Center mall outside Chicago, and on financing related to the center and a joint venture for the acquisition. The ‘thorough, hardworking and reliableJonathan Schechter acted for Starwood Capital in the formation of a joint venture with a sovereign wealth fund and university endowment to acquire seven shopping malls in the US for $1bn; and led the advice to the same client on its formation of a joint venture with Toll Brothers to develop a hotel and condominium community beside Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York. Rachel Brown and the ‘very talentedDaniel Perlman represented General Growth Properties in the $1.4bn refinancing of the Ala Moana Center mall in Hawaii.

The real estate group at Shearman & Sterling LLP is headed by Chris Smith and has particular strength in hotel and leasing matters, and in cross-border transactions. On the leasing side, the ‘universally respected’ Smith led a team advising Viacom on a renewal and expansion at 1515 Broadway, New York, which was valued at over $1bn and closed in April 2012. Alongside Lisa Brill, Smith also advised the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation on two 97-year ground leases to a Toll Brothers City Living/Starwood Capital Group joint venture; the leases are to form the basis of a 550,000 sq ft development at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Malcolm Montgomery was part of an international, cross-practice team advising Citicorp North America on a $2.25bn credit facility for Digital Realty Trust, and was also part of a New York team acting for a syndicate of lenders (led by Citibank) in relation to $750m of secured credit facilities for Four Seasons Holdings and its subsidiaries. Deputy head of the global real estate practice John Opar has significant experience in cross-border and shari’ah-compliant transactions. He recently completed work for the Kuwaiti fund Wafra Partners in respect of multi-family property acquisitions in East Village, New York, and Johns Creek, Georgia; and assisted the same client as co-sponsor in the formation of a private equity fund targeting retail and mixed-use properties.

The ‘very responsive’ and ‘knowledgeable’ 73-lawyer team at Sidley Austin LLP has bases in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles along with a small Washington DC presence. Notable for its capital markets and financing experience, it has particular strength advising lenders and investors, and is globally co-ordinated by Marc Hayutin, Charles Schrank and Alan Weil, with support from Chicago real estate group head Anthony Aiello (following the departure of Lee Smolen in September 2012). Weil advised Forest City Enterprises on the sale of a 49% interest in New York by Gehry, Manhattan’s tallest residential tower. Chicago partners John Chamberlin and the ‘very experiencedJohn Rafkin acted for Wells Fargo in a number of performing and non-performing loan portfolio purchases; these included acquisitions of loans from Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland with a combined aggregate face value of over $2.2bn. Alongside Los Angeles colleagues Brian Flavell and Aimee Contreras-Camua, Schrank acted for Bank of America and Deutsche Bank in the origination of $503m mortgage and mezzanine financing secured by 261 restaurants across 34 states; and Schrank and Contreras-Camua, along with Kevin Blauch and Jonathan Nunes, acted for Deutsche Bank in the origination of $975m of mortgage and mezzanine financing secured by 168 hotels - both deals involved the securitization of the mortgage loans and sales of the mezzanine debts. Paul Walker and Mark Rogers advised Oaktree Capital Management on a $550m CMBS acquisition. Other notable clients include Starwood, Credit Suisse, Deloitte and Drawbridge (Fortress).

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz focuses its real estate efforts on M&A and strategic transactions, in particular for REITs. The department has three partners and two counsel, and is led jointly by Robin Panovka and Adam Emmerich. It has been particularly busy in the healthcare and gaming sectors, advising Sunrise Senior Living on its $1.9bn sale to Health Care REIT, on the sale of its management company to KKR, Beecken Petty and Health Care, and on a number of related joint venture and financing matters; the deals, led by Emmerich, represent a total investment of $4.3bn. The team also acted for Ventas in its $7.4bn acquisition of Nationwide Health Properties; Archstone management in its sale by Lehman to Equity Residential and AvalonBay; and Sears in the $270m sale of 11 properties to General Growth Properties. Penn National Gaming, a gaming REIT, has selected the team to represent it in the tax-free spin-off it has announced. Emmerich advised the Simon Property Group on its acquisition of a $1.5bn, 28.7% stake in Klépierre, which focuses on owning and developing offices and retail properties in continental Europe; and, alongside Panovka, assisted AMB Property in its $14bn merger with ProLogis. Stephen Gellman is also recommended.

Operating primarily from New York, Miami, Dallas and Washington DC, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s real estate practice eschews single-asset transactional work and has a commanding presence in real estate M&A. The ‘deep’ and ‘very substantial’ eight-partner practice is co-chaired by Michael Bond and the ‘outstanding’ and ‘very practicalPhilp Rosen, who are both very well respected by peers. Bond was joined by David Herman in acting for Lehman Brothers in its $3bn acquisition of the remaining 53% stake in Archstone, as well as later assisting Lehman and Archstone-Smith Trust in securing a $500m revolving credit facility for Archstone affiliates. Among a number of other notable transactions for Lehman, Bond and Herman advised on the $820m sale of a 90-plus% stake in LCOR and a number of specific real estate properties. Rosen advised the Jumeirah Group on the $362.3m sale by its affiliate, Dubai Investments, of The Essex House in Manhattan, which completed in August 2012. Among multiple matters for C-III Asset Management, Bond and Beatriz Azcuy-Diaz advised on a $115.9m mortgage loan restructuring and partial paydown (the loan encumbering The Modern Hotel, Honolulu, HI), and on a $195m mortgage loan restructuring related to 47 buildings in New York. Rosen also acted for Brookfield Asset Management in a $400m joint venture to acquire industrial properties, and for one of its funds in the $366m acquisition of Verde Realty. He also heads the firm’s leisure and hospitality group.

Arent Fox LLP’s 28-partner real estate department, across New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, is highly rated by clients. Finance expert David Dubrow, in New York, continues to advise Fannie Mae in relation to its participation in the HFA Initiative - a $25bn government plan for housing market stabilization. Kimberly Wachen is chair of the hospitality industry group and, alongside counsel Joseph Fries, advises Marriott International in various matters; work in 2012 included the development of the EDITION brand hotels in Manhattan and Miami Beach. Wachen acted for Sunrise Senior Living in its $362m sale, to Ventas, of 16 assisted living communities in 12 states. Michael Leahy is the lead partner in the firm’s 30-year relationship with Quadrangle Development, and continues to represent the client in a wide variety of real estate deals. Firm chairman Mark Katz is also part of the real estate group in Washington DC. Firm real estate practice leader Kenneth Jacob is ‘detailed, practical, knowledgeable and client focused’.

Bingham McCutchen LLP’s ‘excellent’ real estate team has 26 core partners across seven US offices. It continues to act for Silverpeak in its $2bn restructuring, including the workout phases of a global real estate indebtedness and partnership interest restructure, with Richard Fries leading the advice. Barry Rosenthal and Thomas Klanderman acted for the JBG Companies in a $308m lease-backed bond financing for the US Department of Health and Human Services’ headquarters renovation and in securing $131m construction financing for an adjacent building. Among a multitude of deals handled for the Berkshire Group, the team advised on the $358.1m acquisition of a nine-property multi-family portfolio, including loan originations and assumptions from six lenders. Carol Dillon, managing partner of the Silicon Valley office, led the advice to Stanford University on various matters, including the restructuring of five long-term leases with Hewlett-Packard. The practice is co-chaired by Fries (in New York), Kenneth Lore (New York and Washington DC) and Barry Rosenthal (Washington DC). Fries ‘stands out’ and ‘ensures top-quality work’. Neil Cohen was promoted to partner, and Ferdinand Gallo III is a recent hire in New York. The team’s attorneys are ‘truly trusted advisors’.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has five real estate partners in New York, with a ‘strong’ knowledge base and particularly strong experience in capital markets, finance and securitization matters. Steven Wilner, who ‘has an extraordinary ability to develop comprehensive solutions’, and ‘superior legal intellectSteven Horowitz have been advising longstanding client the Genting Organization in relation to a $4bn investment proposal for a convention center development at the Aqueduct Racetrack site in New York. Wilner and Horowitz are also acting for Genting New York in relation to the ongoing development of Resorts World Casino New York City, including a successful bid for the development and financing of a casino and entertainment facility at Aqueduct Racetrack. On the finance side, Michael Weinberger (‘often referred to as "the smartest guy in the room"‘) and Kimberly Blacklow advised Goldman Sachs in connection with various loans to subsidiaries of General Growth Properties, including $1.4bn secured by the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, HI, and $625m secured by properties in Las Vegas; Wilner is advising Colony Capital as mezzanine lender in a multi-tiered financing of Jameson Inns, winning a dismissal with prejudice of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of JER/Jameson Mezz Borrower II and a grant of relief from automatic stay; and Donald Stern advised Goldman Sachs on the acquisition of mortgage loan portfolios secured by US commercial assets. The team is ‘extremely attentive’ to clients’ needs, and is valued for its ‘continuity’.

Practice chair Peter Irwin and Nicole Mesard are the two partners in the real estate group at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, following the retirement from the partnership of Steven Alden, who remains as of counsel. Its strengths include single-asset, trophy transactions. Irwin led the advice to Rockefeller Group International and Mitsubishi Estate New York’s third joint venture, acquiring and financing class-A office tower 50 Beale Street, San Francisco. Mesard advised major client the Westfield Group on the $1.154bn sale of seven US shopping malls to a Starwood-led consortium. The firm also acted for Westfield in its $1.225bn investment in retail development areas at the World Trade Center site; JPMorgan Investment Management in a joint venture with Hines Holdings to develop a class-A New York office building to be known as 7 Bryant Park; Beacon Capital Partners in the joint venture acquisition and financing of 195 Broadway; and Carmel Partners in its joint venture acquisition of a California mixed-use development. Oaktree Capital Management, Tishman Speyer and UBS Wealth Management are also clients.

Dechert LLP has an ‘exemplary’ 17-partner finance and real estate group, spread over six of its US offices; it has ‘an extremely deep bench of attorneys, each of whom is knowledgeable, efficient and able to manage the trickiest of matters’. Specialized in funds and financing, the group’s mainstay is large loans, providing ‘high-level, quality service’ in this area. It continues to act as mortgage loan seller and special securitization counsel for Freddie Mac on its multi-family commercial mortgage loan program, with 2012 seeing the completion of 17 deals totalling $21bn. Co-chairs of the group Richard Jones and Joseph Heil, along with David Linder (who ‘does great work’), assisted a commercial bank in connection with two repurchase facilities with an aggregate value of $2.1bn to finance the acquisition of a non-performing debt portfolio. Heil is ‘extremely knowledgeable in all facets of CMBS’. Jones also acted for Citibank in the sale of a $350m pool of mortgage loans by means of various swaps and derivatives, and for Macquarie Banks in the acquisition of approximately $600m of mortgage assets. Philadelphia partner David Forti advised Genworth, Pacific Life, Hypo Real Estate and a Florida pension fund on a mezzanine loan stack workout for a $1bn hotel portfolio. Forti and Jason Rozes acted for H/2 Capital Partners in the co-origination, purchase and securitization of a mortgage and mezzanine financing of $500m, secured by 47 hotel properties in the US.

Valued for its ‘well-rounded’ and ‘timely’ legal and business-focused input, Goodwin Procter LLP saw a busy year in the hospitality sector, advising HEI Hotels & Resorts on over $500m of acquisitions and dispositions, and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts on the $88m acquisition of the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa in California. The group also acted for Four Seasons on various matters, including a joint venture to construct a $360m hotel and golf resort at World Disney World Resort in Orlando, FA, and the negotiation of development and management agreements for the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in Tanzania. The real estate, REITs and real estate capital markets group has 37 partners across Boston, New York, Washington DC, and California, and is co-chaired by Gilbert Menna (Boston and New York) and Andrew Sucoff (Boston). Menna, Mark Kirshenbaum and Daniel Adams advised Archstone on its proposed IPO and its eventual sale. The firm also advised AvalonBay on its part in the joint venture acquisition of Archstone (with the benefit of an ethical wall); and acted for long-term client Donahue Schriber Realty in the refinancing of a $365m credit facility

Holland & Knight LLP has a broad geographic real estate footprint. With 200 lawyers in eight states and DC after a year of headcount growth, the ‘very knowledgeable’ Joseph Guay’s team is one of the largest in the US and is ‘very client oriented’, delivering a ‘very high’ level of service. The New York office saw the arrival of both Stuart Saft, formerly head of real estate at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, who brought a team of associates with him, and Kenneth Lowenstein; and Colin Smith joined in Northern Virginia. Hospitality, retail and finance are key areas for the practice. Guay and Saft acted for Marriott International in its purchase of The Essex House in Manhattan, with complex condominium arrangements, for over $380m. Lawrence Wolk is assisting the Moynihan Station Development Corporation in its coordination with the State of New York, Amtrak, retail developers and others to complete a $500m development of the new Moynihan Station. Partners across the firm’s Fort Lauderdale and Miami offices assisted the Liberty Property Trust REIT in the acquisition of 124 acres for development into an industrial park. Kathryn Oberto in Orlando teamed up with James Mayer in Chicago to advise on the $132m acquisition of a multi-tenant office building in downtown Los Angeles from a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers.

Jones Day provides an ‘outstanding level of service’, and, with its ‘deep resources’, is able to handle ‘the most demanding assignments’; its attorneys are ‘experienced and aggressively fight for their clients’ best interests’. Strengths of the 21-partner team include private equity investments, real estate fund formations, and transactions for multi-family owners, developers and real estate lenders. Robert Lee and David Lowery lead the US practice and are supported by the ‘knowledgeable, prompt and practical’ Brian Sedlak as well as by Scott Specht, whose ‘wealth of experience allows him to handle a wide variety of deals’. Specht advised Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Georgia-Pacific LLC on a $112m loan secured by a 1.1 million sq ft office building in Atlanta. The firm also assisted Arctic Glacier Income Fund regarding the real estate portfolio of its subsidiaries, including over 70 manufacturing and distribution facilities in 17 states. Other major clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Black Creek Group, Goldman Sachs, and TriGate Capital.

Kaye Scholer LLP has a team of 40 real estate lawyers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and is particularly known for its private equity and CMBS work. Warren Bernstein and Stephen Gliatta in New York co-chair the group. Gliatta acted for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in relation to $145m of senior mezzanine debt financing for the Carousel/Destiny USA malls in Syracuse, NY, and for Jeffries LoanCore in providing $160m preferred equity financing for the Seagram Building on Park Avenue, New York; the latter financing was structured to comply with the terms of $620m of mortgage and mezzanine financing already in place. Bernstein, alongside Salvatore Mastrosimone, who also worked on the mall transaction, represented a European bank in connection with the $125m acquisition financing of a hotel in Anaheim, CA, structured to facilitate later syndication of the loan. Gliatta and Jeannie Bionda acted for RBS on the provision of a $103m first mortgage loan, secured by 24 industrial mixed-use properties and with a shari’ah-compliant structure. Recent work for Jeffrey Kapner includes assisting AWH Partners in relation to the acquisition of a hotel management company, and option contracts to purchase a $120m hotel portfolio.

The 18-partner real estate team at Latham & Watkins LLP expanded in 2012, with the lateral hire of David Broderick and Kevin Ehrhart (formerly head of real estate at Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP), with a view to rounding out and adding depth to the finance-strong team, particularly in the booming private equity and REIT areas. The practice is led in the US by global co-chair James Hisiger, who represented General Electric Capital Corporation in the $410m restructuring of four loans secured by 25 multi-family properties across the US. Broderick led on a $2.3bn loan restructuring for PCCP in relation to the Atlantis Paradise Island Hotel, Resort & Casino. Michelle Kelban combined with corporate colleagues to represent the Yucaipa Companies in the $240m acquisition of Soho House, a private members’ club with locations throughout the US and Europe, via a silo structure. Nathaniel Marrs in Chicago assisted Kennedy Wilson in connection with a loan portfolio acquisition from the Bank of Ireland, valued at $1.8bn; the deal involved the implementation of several levels of equity joint ventures and debt financings, and was collateralized by various UK assets.

One of the ‘best firms in terms of quality’, Mayer Brown delivers ‘excellent service and knowledge’, and its attorneys are ‘smart and thorough’. The 24-partner team, including Frank Henneberg (an ‘outstanding financing lawyer’), is spread across seven US states. Scott Buser and Leonard Rosenberg recently advised Australian investment trust Charter Hall Office Management Limited on the $1.7bn sale to Beacon Capital Partners of its US portfolio, consisting of direct and joint venture interests in fourteen office properties. The firm also acted for Principal Real Estate Investors in a number of transactions, including an $820m investment by CALSTRS; the formation of a joint venture with PCCP to acquire an office building in Seattle; and the disposition of a residential multi-family building in Denver. The firm also regularly handles multi-jurisdictional transactions, and other key clients include HFZ Capital Group and CRBE Investors. David Stewart joined in May 2012 from Latham & Watkins LLP’s New York office.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s focus is on lender-side financings and workouts; its industry knowledge in the field is ‘top notch’. In New York, Mark Edelstein heads the ‘excellent’ and ‘highly responsive’ real estate finance and distressed real estate groups, as well as co-chairing the global group with Los Angeles colleague Marc Young. Corporate and REIT specialist David Slotkin joined the Washington DC office in March 2012 from Hogan Lovells LLP. He and Thomas Fileti led the advice to Equity Residential in its joint venture with AvalonBay to acquire a $16bn Archstone apartment portfolio from Lehman. Edelstein and Young were both involved in the representation of Amalgamated Bank as agent for lenders of $300m loans (secured by two hotel airports) in litigation before the US Supreme Court, which ruled, in the bank’s favour, that mortgage lenders and secured creditors have an absolute right to credit bid in a bankruptcy case. Edelstein and Brett Miller represented Eurohypo as administrative agent in the multibillion-dollar bankruptcy of General Growth Properties and its affiliates; and the firm also advised Eurohypo, alongside Wells Fargo, in connection with a $700m restructuring for the Sky View Park project in Queens, New York. New York partner Christopher Delson advised JPMorgan Chase on a construction loan for CityCenterDC, a mixed-use development in the capital. Edelstein and Delson are highlighted as ‘industry leaders’.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has a six-partner real estate team, with Steven Simkin at the helm and Salvatore Gogliormella the latest addition to the ranks, following his promotion in January 2013. Harris Freidus and Mitchell Berg represented the CIM Group in several acquisitions and joint ventures through 2012, most notably 432 Park Avenue, which is to be the site of the largest residential tower in New York with flagship retail space along the 80 feet of frontage on East 57th Street. With its focus on New York, the firm has capitalized on increasing venture capital potential in the city, and has advised on various high-end technological development projects. It represented the New York City Economic Development Corporation in respect of an agreement with Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for the development of a $2bn engineering and applied sciences graduate campus, with Meredith Kane leading the advice. Simkin continues to assist New York Proton Management in connection with the proposed development of a proton center for cancer treatment; the project involves a number of institutions and hospitals, such as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Both Simkin and Kane contine to act for Time Warner in negotiations to consolidate its office spaces in the New York area.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP has real estate lawyers in New York, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Houston and California, and is capable of ‘exceptional’ work. Robert Herr in San Francisco heads the practice, which has been particularly active advising foreign investors. Herr and Rachel Horsch continue to advise Shorenstein Properties on the acquisition and financing of the Market Square office complex at Market and 9th Streets in San Francisco. New York senior counsel Alan Pomerantz, Jill Block and Marc Shapiro, who heads the New York real estate team, advised Triple Five Worldwide on the American Dream/Meadowlands project, a $3.6bn mixed-use development in New Jersey. Gregg Miller and Frederick Minnes advised AXA Equitable on a $44m leasehold mortgage loan on a San Francisco multi-family development, as well as on a $80m mezzanine loan as part of a $275m deal for a commercial office campus in California, TX. Spear Street Capital and Saul Centers (and its affiliates) are also significant clients of the firm. Laura Hannusch is also recommended. Carol Burke recently left to join Reed Smith LLP.

Providing ‘a higher level of service’ and with broad national scope, Proskauer Rose LLP’s nine-partner real estate practice has experience across acquisitions and dispositions, finance, commercial leasing, development and construction, capital markets, lodging and gaming, restructuring and workouts, and tax certiorari. Perry Cacace and Ron Sernau co-chair the team. Douglas Frank is noted for his ‘thoughtfulness, knowledgeableness, experience and timeliness’. Sernau acted for Vornado Realty Trust in a 20-year agreement to lease and redevelop the retail portion of the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. Frank assisted CBRE Global Investors in the restructuring of its equity and mezzanine debt investment in a construction project, including a complete UDD foreclosure process, a workout through debtor bankruptcy, and final disposition of the asset to a third party. The firm also represented Guggenheim Partners and affiliates in the origination of various mortgage loans throughout the US, including a portfolio of office buildings in Pennsylvania and shopping centres in Arkansas and California. AIG Global Investment, American Realty Capital, Hines Interests, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Bank are also clients.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP has continued on its course of aggressive expansion, adding 30 lawyers in 2012. Among the arrivals are Los Angeles partners Richard Mendelson, Stacy Paek and Andrew Shiner, who joined from DLA Piper. Paul Mattingly in Atlanta heads the practice. Chicago partners Joel Rubin and Kelly Bufton represented the DEXUS Property Group in its sale of an industrial portfolio of 68 properties across the Eastern and Central US, the deal closing in July 2012. Another client is LBA Realty, which has instructed the real estate department in relation to numerous joint ventures, financings, acquisitions and dispositions; recent work (led by Mendelson, Shiner and Paek) includes advising on the financing and acquisition of a 32-property industrial portfolio, and on a joint venture relating to a downtown Los Angeles office property. Andrew Pearlstein, who is ‘responsive’ and ‘communicates well’, continues to represent 7-Eleven across the Eastern US in a multitude of dirt matters, annually handling around 250 new store locations. The firm also acts for Cantor Commercial Real Estate in its securitized lending program, closing over $500m of loans in the past year. Rubin, Catherine Burns and Thomas Masenga are highly praised by clients. Jessica Pink left the firm in 2013.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s real estate team is co-chaired by New York partners Brian Diamond and ‘elder statesman’ Leonard Boxer. The group is 15 partners strong, and is based in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. JPMorgan Investment Management is a significant client: Diamond and Steven Horowitz recently represented it in connection with a $75m renovation financing for 141 East 88th Street’s conversion to condominium units; Diana Brummer advised it in relation to a pension fund’s joint venture with Mill Creek Residential Trust to acquire 15 acres outside Washington DC, adjacent to the Dunn Loring Metro Station, intending to develop apartments and retail space on the site; and Chauncey Swalwell handled several acquisitions, including the China Basin office project in San Francisco, valued at over $400m. Los Angeles colleague Stuart Graiwer meanwhile advises Argosy Real Estate Partners on a large number of significant transactions. Brummer and Steven Moskowitz represented The Pyramid Companies and its affiliates in the refinancing, with a $420m floating-rate package, of the Carousel Center/Destiny USA retail complex in Syracuse, NY; the financing involves a mortgage loan to be securitized and multiple mezzanine loans.

Steven Klein and Eugene Pinover co-head the five-partner real estate group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, which is based entirely in New York, and has particular strength in real estate M&A and financing. Pinover represented Sunrise Senior Living in relation to its $1.9bn sale of property to HealthCare REIT, and its buyout by the same, and also advised the client in a joint venture with CHT Partners. Pinover also advised Sherwood Equities on its joint acquisition of 370 Lexington Avenue with JPMorgan Chase, and the Paramount Group on its $1bn sale of 1177 Avenue of the Americas. Klein acted for Goldman Sachs on the origination of $1.85bn of mortgage and mezzanine loans for Cerberus Capital Management, and for Bloomberg on several matters, notably its new global headquarters lease in New York City.

Akerman Senterfitt has a sizeable real estate practice, with 57 partners led by Richard Bezold and including Manuel Fernandez, Susanne Zabloudil and Neisen Kasdin. Fernandez acted for JPMorgan Chase regarding the $250m sale by its Pension Trust Fund of the Potomac Yards office complex in Virginia. The team also advised key client Swire Properties on leasing and developing matters relating to the $1.05bn Brickell Citicentre mixed-use project in Miami; and Barclays Capital Real Estate in a 475,000 sq ft industrial lease to an international promotional products company. Hilton Worldwide and Parmenter Realty Partners are also clients. Andrew Robins joined the firm from Proskauer Rose LLP, along with Mark Levine (from Herrick, Feinstein LLP), Michelle Oms and Alberto Delgado.

Baker & McKenzie has five real estate partners in Chicago and Washington DC, and acts for a range of large clients globally, with notable strengths in hotels and leisure, infrastructure and funds. Michael Smith chairs the international practice from Chicago, and has particular expertise in public private partnerships for social and transport infrastructure, as well as in homebuilder and mortgage finance. He recently worked with the China Development Bank on a $16bn deal for the development of Treasure Island, Hunters Point and Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Matthew Alshouse acted for the Townsend Group in a major joint venture with Fortress Investment Group for the purchase of the trust beneficiary interests in three warehouses located in Japan; and also acted for Invesco Realty in relation to a $100m subscription-based revolving credit facility with Bank of America. The firm counts Amli Residential, Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company, Invesco Realty, Google, Motorola and Stoltz Real Estate among its other clients. Gerad Hannon and Sarah Winston are also recommended.

Patricia Stanton is the practice chair at Baker Botts L.L.P., heading a team of seven partners across Dallas, Houston and Moscow, including Paul Landen, Jonathan Dunlay and Kimberly Epstein Schlanger. The firm has recently handled a range of matters for Hines, including advising on the redevelopment of CityCenterDC, a 2.5 million sq ft mixed-use development project on a ten-acre site; and handling various asset acquisitions and dispositions for Hines Global REIT, the Hines Value Added Fund and other Hines entities, notably the acquisition of a mixed-use office, retail broadcast, and data centre project. Clarion, Crescent Real Estate, Dallas Centre for the Performing Arts Foundation, MJR Realty Advisors, and Coventry Development Group are also clients of the team, which has experience across acquisitions and dispositions, development, private equity, investment trusts, finance and leasing.

Ballard Spahr LLP’s real estate team comprises 53 partners in nine different US states, and provides ‘excellent service - very timely and highly competent’. Michael Sklaroff was succeeded as chairman in January 2013 by Bart Mellits, who has expertise across development, finance, leasing, REITs, and commercial real estate recovery. Jeffrey Pitcher is highly ‘knowledgeable’, with a ‘practical approach to client needs’, and Barbara Casey is ‘reputable, personable and highly accurate’. Ross Eichberg joined from Nixon Peabody LLP’s Washington office. The firm assisted the Rose Group in the $115m system-wide refinancing of its multi-state, multi-unit restaurant franchise business. Other clients include the Carlyle Group, DCP International, Johns Hopkins, The Ingerman Group and Wyndham Resort Development Corp.

Bryan Cave LLP’s 52-partner real estate practice spans commercial leasing and corporate facilities, construction, development, distressed assets, finance, private equity and joint ventures, sales and acquisitions, and is led by James Buell with support from Andrew Auerbach. The firm represented Guggenheim Partners in the 200,000 sq ft lease for its New York headquarters at 330 Madison Avenue; and also advised the administrative agent in a $600m syndicated credit facility to provide land acquisition and development funds for a commercial real estate developer with projects in 18 states. Ronald Emanuel heads the real estate private equity and joint venture group. Mal Serure joined the New York office in September 2012, while Bradford Lavender and Steven Monteforte left for Haynes and Boone, L.L.P..

Dentons’ level of service is ‘phenomenal’. Robert Fernandez, who is based in Chicago, heads a 39-partner practice, and has significant experience in property acquisitions and dispositions across the US. The firm acted for Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. in relation to the foreclosure of Lehman’s debt and equity positions in the workout of a five-star hotel portfolio with properties nationwide; and for Real Estate Financial Services, LLC concerning the exchange of its $175m controlling debt position for ownership of the Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Dianne Greenberg, Scott Toban and Eddie Frastai have joined the firm.

One can expect ‘exceptional service and the right amount of client touch points’ from Foley & Lardner LLP. The real estate team is chaired by Fred Ridley, who leads the 24-partner team from Tampa, Florida. Andrew Sternruns an efficient and client-friendly practice’, and Michael Hatch and Joseph Rupkey are both ‘hardworking and bright: good communicators, and excellent managers of their responsibilities’. Hatch and Rupkey recently advised US Bancorp on a $100m sale of property for the development of a new office tower as part of the US Bank Campus in downtown Milwaukee. The team also acted for Imperium Capital in a $100m investment in an office building in Manhattan’s SoHo district. The Mandel Group, Town Sports International, Imperium Capital and The Marcus Corporation are other clients of the firm.

Fulbright & Jaworski LLP’s team of 16 partners is ‘very responsive, demonstrating good knowledge and connections and giving a good level of advice’. It is led by Jane Snoddy Smith and includes James Summers, who has ‘strong knowledge of state and local requirements, and how to navigate them’. The firm is experienced in acquisition and sales agreements, and the representation of lenders, landowners, developers and other borrowers in joint venture transactions, project financing, structured financing and leveraged leases. Smith and William Sing acted for EPN Investment Management and others in one of the year’s largest commercial real estate transactions in the US, advising on the sale of a portfolio of 46 open-air shopping centres in 22 states, with a value of $1.43bn. The firm also advised Capital Senior Living Corporation on the acquisition of housing properties valued at between $7m and $20m across six states. PO’B Montgomery & Company, LTC Properties, Beck Ventures, and Stream Realty-Retail are also clients.

Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. provides a ‘very high level of service’; ‘it is very good at what it does, and has the capacity to supply plenty of experienced staff to any project’. Walter Schleimer and Matthew Schindel co-head a 24-partner team which includes Ann Saegert, who is ‘an excellent contract drafter with the ability to negotiate and draft extremely complex provisions’. The firm acted for SL Green Realty in a 1.6 million sq ft lease to Viacom International at 1515 Broadway; and Brookfield Office Properties in the execution of a lease for 1.2 million sq ft at One New York Plaza in Lower Manhattan, to Morgan Stanley. Archon Group, Rockwood Capital, Hillwod Development Company, United Commercial Development, and Heitman are also clients. The team was strengthened by the arrival of David Fields and Anthony Soards from K&L Gates, and Steven Monteforte, Bradford Lavender and Linda Herman from Bryan Cave LLP.

David Bryant’s team at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP has seen notable activity on the equity side in the multi-family residential rental and hotel investment areas, while on the lending side it remains active in relation to distressed assets and the movement of REO and loan pools. The 53-partner team is spread across New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and Century City. Wendy Fields and Rori Malech advised longstanding client Macerich on a 15-year lease with Intelsat. Chicago partner Mark Simon represented 13 lenders in a Eurohypo syndicate in the provision of a $650m revolving credit facility to Taubman Centers, secured by malls in Florida and Michigan. Alvin Katz, who has ‘great experience and insights’, and Scott Vetri acted for Shorenstein Realty Investors Ten in the acquisition of 350 West Mart, a two-building office complex in Chicago. Ira Swidler and Douglas Noren represented new client the Onni Group, in acquiring and financing 200 North LaSalle in Chicago. Carlyle Group, Related Companies and Macquarie Bank are also clients.

King & Spalding LLP’s real estate practice unites roughly 70 lawyers located in Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Charlotte, Houston, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Sarah Borders, in Atlanta, chairs the team and has notable expertise in restructurings and bankruptcy cases, representing creditors and debtors. She recently assisted GE Capital Real Estate in relation to its mortgage loan to an investment fund managed by the Blackstone Group, the proceeds of which financed Blackstone’s $1bn purchase from Duke Realty of suburban office buildings across the South and Midwest. The firm also acted for Morgan Stanley in relation to $2.5bn of investments across the US; and for Jamestown and its numerous private equity funds in wide-ranging investments and joint ventures. Clayton Howell advises equity investors in relation to real estate assets and platforms, and developers in complex urban development projects. Partners Group, Union Real Estate Investment, and The Brookdale Group are also clients. Kristina Kopf Thomas and Spencer Johnson were recently promoted to partner.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has a six-partner real estate practice, based in New York and co-chaired by Michael Korotkin and Jay Neveloff. Its attorneys are ‘real "business lawyers"’, and provide ‘incredible service’. Jonathan Canter is ‘very creative’ and ‘the lead on all things condo’, and James Godman is also recommended. The firm represented a Toll Brothers/Starwood Capital joint venture in relation to its winning bid for a ground lease to develop a $300m hotel and residential complex adjacent to Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park; Hypo Real Estate Capital Corporation in connection with the extension and modification of a $435m mortgage loan; Rockrose Development in a number of high-value financings in New York; and the New York Life Insurance Company in its $360m acquisition of a New York office building. It has also been involved in many New York hotel restructurings.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s real estate team, led by Dennis Martin, includes 19 partners firmwide, with six located in the US, and provides a ‘very good’ level of service; it is ‘very focused’, and has ‘strong knowledge of the client’s business’. Gerard Walsh, is ‘focused, attentive and knowledgeable’, and recently advised Walton Street Capital regarding its investment, possible restructure and foreclosure in multiple tranches of approximately $900m of debt secured by a portfolio of 12 office buildings in Seattle. In another highlight deal, the team acted for MacFarlane Partners in a joint venture with a local developer, investing in a large multi-family development project in Brooklyn. Other major clients include Westbrook Real Estate Fund VIII, Hackman Capital Partners, RREEF America LLC, Starwood Capital, and Rockwood Capital. Michael McAndrews is ‘very good in all facets’. Andrew Johnson and James Trevo have both left the firm.

Thompson & Knight LLP delivers ‘outstanding service’, and has ‘the ability to work with difficult tenants to get lease transactions signed’. The practice is headed by Andrew Ingrum and includes 28 partners. Mark Sloan, Benjamin Herd, Ted Benn and Brian Bolton are noted for their ‘transactional market knowledge of CMBS and real estate transactions’; and Susan Coleman’s ‘responsiveness and persistence helps to get deals done’. Sloan advised Dunhill Partners, Inc. on the acquisition of the 470,000 sq ft Timber Creek Crossing retail centre in Dallas; and Wells Fargo Bank on a $250m real estate credit facility. The team also acted for Trigild, Inc. regarding the consolidated bankruptcies of two Secured California Investments entities, and Bank of America, Granite Properties, JPMorgan, and Royal Bank of Canada are also clients. The team grew with the hire of William O’Conner and Evelyn Seeler; and Bryan Garner in Dallas and Travis McNellie in Fort Worth were promoted to the partnership.

Steven Vainder heads the real estate group at White & Case LLP, which includes 21 partners and counsels, and operates from New York and Miami. Its attorneys deliver an ‘excellent level of service, are very thorough and very professional’. Steve Lutt, in New York, is ‘extremely knowledgeable, very experienced, commercial and good at building relationships’. James Robinson II, on the litigation side, was promoted to partner. Vainder is active across acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, operations, development, management and financing, and recently assisted the McClatchy Company in the relocation of The Miami Herald, including a lease of office space and the acquisition of adjacent land. The firm also acted on the acquisition of a portfolio of Westfield Shopping Malls for the Starwood Capital Group, valued at $1bn. Tierra Subida and A V Foothills are also clients. Allen & Overy LLP has an ‘outstanding’ and ‘very responsive’ three-partner practice based in New York, best known for its finance and joint venture work and with strong experience in portfolio acquisitions. The ‘extremely bright, hardworking’ Kevin O’Shea leads the group, and is the firm’s US managing partner. He and Erwin Dweck were part of a team acting for Lone Star Funds in its acquisition of a $4.5bn non-performing loan portfolio from Anglo Irish Bank, and the firm continues to advise the client and its asset manager on various workouts and dispositions. O’Shea also represented Dune Real Estate Partners in its joint venture to develop the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort. Litigator Jacob Pultman is active in real estate matters.

With around 120 lawyers, California firm Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP is active across acquisitions and dispositions, commercial leasing, international transactions, real estate finance, transaction structuring and workouts, with particular expertise in structuring equity, debt and reorganization transactions. Anton Natsis, in Century City, is chairman of the practice, and has worked with JPMorgan Asset Management, Blackstone Real Estate, Brookfield Properties, Beacon Capital Partners, MPG Office Trust, Vornado Realty Trust, and the Westfield Corporation. Gary McKitterick, former vice-chair of the practice, is based in Orange County, and is experienced in advising developers and investors on commercial, retail, industrial, office, medical and residential projects.

Andrews Kurth LLP’s 56-partner team is based in Texas and represents equity investors, pension advisors, commercial developers and landlords nationally, as well as international and institutional lenders. It advised Cadbridge Investors on the purchase of Fairmont Hotels in British Columbia and Manitoba and the concurrent sale of eight hotels in Canada, valued at $750m; Crimson Real Estate Advisors on the $132.3m purchase and financing of a Class A Office Building in Houston, Texas; and Invesco concerning a $300m development of two new office buildings in Washington DC (led by Andrew Campbell). Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, General Electric Capital Corporation, JPMorgan Chase Bank, and NewQuest Properties are also clients. Jack Fields and Michael Boyd co-chair the practice and are highly regarded in the market, and Adrian Doxey Jr has been promoted to partner.

Michael Goodwin heads a 14-partner real estate team at Arnold & Porter LLP, across New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Its areas of expertise include joint ventures; protecting, structuring and enhancing the value of real estate owned by family businesses; corporate real estate; complex leasing transactions; and dispute resolution. Co-head of the New York practice Alan Lawrence recently acted for Brookfield Real Estate Financial Partners on a debt-for-equity settlement and the restructuring of the remaining US $2.3bn secured financing. Other clients include the JBG Companies, American Real Estate Partners, Wine Group, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and Five Mile Capital Partners. The firm’s merger with Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin PC brought the addition of Thomas Larsen and Kenneth Naele in San Francisco.

With a broad-based practice and strong international capabilities, Clifford Chance delivers ‘consistently excellent service at all levels’. Douglas Wisner in New York heads a team of 18 partners and 40 assistants, and is praised for his ‘high competency and deep understanding of his subject’. The ‘excellent’ Ness Cohen is noted for his commercial acumen, and Victoria Manthas is also recommended. Wisner advised Invesco Real Estate Management on the acquisition by certain fund affiliates of a 220,000 rentable sq ft office building in Boston, along with underlying ground leasing. Cohen advised Almanac Realty Advisors on structured investments of $150m in Westcore Properties and Drawbridge Reality Trust, and YES! Investors concerning a $312m refinancing of a 67-property multi-state portfolio of manufactured housing communities. The team has also recently acted for Madison International Realty and CIBC.

Cooley LLP handles a significant flow of property work and related capital markets transactions, with specialisms including transactions in the hospitality sector, joint ventures and restructurings. The ten-partner team is chaired by Antonio Calabrese, and includes Samantha LaPine and Ben Pierson. It represented LaSalle Hotel Properties in its purchase of a $72m mezzanine loan in Shutters and Casa Del Mar hotel in California; and is assisting DuPont Fabros in pursuing approval of a mixed-use project involving various buildings and residences located between the last Metro stations on the Silver Line. Arbor Commercial Mortage, Boston Properties, Greenfield Partners and Southwest Value Partners are also clients. Former practice head Thomas O’Connor left the firm in January 2013 to join Duval and Stachenfeld LLP.

With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco, Cox, Castle & Nicholson has a nine-partner real estate team chaired by Adam Weissburg, who specializes in secured transactions. Phillip Nicholson, a founding partner of the firm, is experienced in advising on development projects, investments, equity and debt financing, participation and profit sharing arrangements, restructures, disputes and strategic planning. Adriana Vesci recently joined in Los Angeles, and has a wide range of expertise.

New York-based firm Davis & Gilbert LLP has seven partners in its real estate team, chaired by Gerald Uram, who ‘consistently provides excellent service and is very cost effective’. Robert Karin ‘has a great demeanor, and is able to bring parties together for a mutually beneficial result in complicated real estate deals’. The firm recently assisted Young & Rubicam in the purchase of a commercial condominium unit and the leasing of additional premises at Columbus Circle in New York City, valued at approximately $143m. Other clients include Marsh & McLennan Companies, Union Investment Real Estate, Rockwood Capital, China Merchants Bank, Tishman Speyer Properties, Westbrook Partners, and Bank of America.

Faegre Baker Daniels’ 14-partner real estate group is chaired by Scott Anderegg, who is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He assisted Target Corporation in relation to the development of numerous Target and Mervyn’s stores, including purchases and land assembly matters; and, with Allen Wheeler, advised Piper Jaffray in relation to a 124,000 sq ft headquarters lease in downtown Minneapolis. The firm also acts for Gabbert and Gabbert Company, Gander Mountain Company, Life Time Fitness, Oceanaire Seafood Room, and Opus Corporation. Mary Lisher has wide-ranging experience, and John Wheaton was promoted to partner in January 2013.

The ‘really strong’ team at Fennemore Craig gives ‘invaluable assistance and advice’, and is ‘very responsive and pleasant to work with’. Jay Kramer chairs the practice group, which includes 32 partners across an array of offices. Joseph Chandler is an ‘excellent communicator’ and attracts praise for his negotiation skills. Charles King and Stephen Good are ‘very good transactional attorneys, with strong drafting skills’. The team acted for Drake Cement on a $300m project involving land acquisition, permitting, construction, and financing; and for a joint venture between a Trammell Crow Company affiliate and its equity partner in connection with the sale of a 258,300 sq ft office building in Arizona, valued at $79m. Four partners joined from Jones Vargas LLP, while three other partners left over the course of 2012.

Texas firm Gardere Wynne Sewell has 11 core partners based in Houston and Dallas, and has been particularly active in leasing and hospitality matters. Practice chair Kevin Kelley and George Dunlap continue to assist KDC Real Estate Development and Investments in relation to a $1.5bn mixed-use development project in North Texas; the acquisition of the 186 acres required closed in December 2012, with work continuing on the development portion. Dunlap advised the same client on the development of the Encana Oil & Gas Tower in Dallas. Cynthia Nelson acted on the purchase of the Dallas Patriot Tower and the leasing of the lower 16 floors; and, with Clifford Risman, is advising Aimbridge Hospitality on the acquisition of various hotels and hotel portfolios across several states, and in connection with multiple loans secured by hotel properties. April 2012 saw the promotion to partner of Scott Tuthill and Reuben Rosof.

Dennis Russo and Jonathan Adelsberg, both based in New York, co-head the 64-partner practice at Herrick, Feinstein LLP. Adelsberg acted for JPMorgan Chase in relation to the $87m acquisition of 525 Broadway. The team also acted for the Republic of Turkey in its project to build a new and expanded consulate at 46th Street and 1st Avenue; and for Toll Brothers in its joint venture development with Starwood Capital of a hotel and residential condominium in New York City’s Brooklyn Park. Other active clients are Community Preservation Corporation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Sherwood Equities, and Wells Fargo. Carl Schwartz left for Hunton & Williams LLP, while Richard Kalikow joined from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. April 2012 saw the arrival of nine attorneys specialising in co-operative, condominium and community association work, from Stark & Stark.

Based in Washington DC and New York, Hogan Lovells LLP’s real estate team has seven partners including ‘very insightful’ practice head Bruce Parmley and Carol Weld King, who co-leads the firm’s hospitality and leisure/gaming practice, an area of core strength. Parmley and King - both ‘extremely impressive’ - represented Gaylord Entertainment on the $210m sale of its management business to Marriott International. On the international side, Parmley advised Bright Start Holdings, the investment arm of the family of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in relation to a joint venture to develop a resort at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai. Parmley and Allen Hicks also advised the Schwan Foundation, the majority interest-holder in the Papagayo Four Season Resort, on the restructuring of its ownership positions; and the team represented the same client in the restructuring of subordinate debt on the Grand Canyon Ritz Carlton.

Holland & Hart LLP has a 47-partner real estate team across 12 states, including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Colorado Springs, Boise, Aspen and Santa Fe, and advises in relation to property assets nationwide. It includes Bradley Boodt in Las Vegas, who chairs the practice; the renowned Beat Steiner; and Elizabeth A Sharrer, a previous practice head and a current member of the firm’s management committee. Andrew Folkerth joined the Denver office from Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, and has wide-ranging experience including workouts, receiverships, and foreclosures.

William Walsh and Howard Schreiber (‘very professional and timely’) head the practice at Hunton & Williams LLP, which has 21 other partners including the ‘exceptional’ Carl Schwartz. In the past year it has established a real estate practice in New York, with two partners joining from Herrick, Feinstein LLP and four others from Dentons. The firm assisted World Wide Holdings in relation to its $550m development of an entire city block on 57th Street and 2nd Avenue; and represented RBH Group in structuring its public/private financing arrangement, incentives and investments with Goldman Sachs Urban Development Group, Prudential, TD Bank, New Jersey Community Capital and the Brick City Development. for a $150m development project in New Jersey. Mathews Southwest and 111 Realty Investors are also clients of the firm.

K&L Gates has a broad-based, 21-partner real estate practice across 12 states, chaired by Walter Fisher Jr and including Jeffrey Weitzman, David Jones and Michael Tomlinson. The firm represented CBRE Global Investors in the acquisition of an office building in New York City. Jones and Fisher also assisted Wells Fargo Bank in relation to a performing loan portfolio and the acquisition financing used by the buyer of the non-performing portfolio; and assisted Trinity Capital Advisors, LLC. in the negotiation of a joint venture, as well as the simultaneous closing of a deed in lieu of foreclosure transaction vesting ownership of a portfolio of four office buildings, valued at $42m. David Fields has moved to Haynes and Boone, L.L.P..

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP’s two-partner real estate team is based in New York, and delivers ‘excellent service in every way’. Its attorneys are ‘superb leasing lawyers, have great understanding of the industry, and are practical and efficient’. Wallace Schwartz heads the team, and is ‘a wise advisor, and a thoughtful influence at meetings, able to mold a beneficial consensus’. He works alongside Adam Endick, who has ‘incredible attention to detail’. The practice assisted Starwood Capital Group in the $180m acquisition of the leasehold interest in the office building located at 1372 Broadway; and acted in relation to a comprehensive development project in Springfield, Massachusetts worth $800m, for Penn National Gaming. The firm regularly acts also for Boston Properties, Five Mile Capital Partners, DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, the Witkoff Group and Microsoft Corporation.

Raymond Sanseverino chairs the real estate team at Loeb & Loeb LLP, which has the ‘knowledge and leverage to level the negotiation playing field and, in most cases, tips the scales in their client’s favor’. The group includes 15 partners including Michael Kinney and Michael Beck, who are ‘honest, diligent and extremely knowledgeable in all real estate matters’, and Steven Kornblau, who joined in New York from Bryan Cave LLP. Major clients include Bank of America, Brookfield Properties, Canyon Capital, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and KPMG. Sanseverino acted for Google in the expansion, extension and restatement of its leases in two buildings in the Cambridge Centre in Massachusetts. Kornblau acts as lead counsel for National Consumer Cooperative Bank and its subsidiary NCB, FSB in relation to their loan origination, securitization, servicing and real estate capital markets businesses; and also advised Aareal Bank on matters including the origination of two mortgage loans, valued at $110m.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP gives ‘thorough and well-thought-through’ advice, and is noted for its ‘excellent response times and overall service’. The California-based practice includes 19 partners, and is co-chaired by Tom Muller and Michael Polentz. Marv Pearlstein is acting for Carmel Partners in its acquisition of multi-family apartment operating properties and development sites, along with performing and non-performing real estate secured loans, across California, Washington DC, Hawaii and Colorado. The team also assisted the Torgan Group in the acquisition of a development project in California, valued at $250m. Archstone, Stark Investments, and Alvarez & Marsal are other major clients. Steve Edwards and Lauren Spiegel are ‘highly technically skilled, and bring on-point business sensibilities and practical solutions to complex issues’.

McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP’s 34-partner real estate practice is chaired by William Timmons, with Kenneth Stipanov the vice-chair of the group. The team grew significantly with the firm’s merger with Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP in March 2012, and also recruited Christina Rogers, formerly of Alston & Bird LLP, but also saw a number of departures, notably of Tony Toranto (to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP), Daryl Steinhause (to DLA Piper) and Justin Kleinman. The firm acted for PNC Bank in closing CMBS eligible permanent loans on 23 projects with a cumulative loan amount of $584m. Other clients include Fresh & Easy Neighbourhood Market, Tenaska, David D Bohannon Organization, Ion California Land Fund, Holdings, Landmark Properties Holdings, Landmark Properties, and Olson Urban Housing.

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP delivers ‘exceptional service’. The team, chaired by Thomas Gryboski, added two partners in the last year: the ‘extremely talented’ Carl Westmoreland Jr (formerly of Seyfarth Shaw LLP), and Christina Graham, who specializes in multi-family development. Jessica Hill has ‘invaluable relationships with all levels of municipalities’. The practice handles transactions across the US, and represents, among others, Noble Investment Group, Coro Realty Advisors, Industrial Development International IDI, Square Mile Capital Management, and Regent Partners. Frank Bazzel acted for Wood Partners in a transaction known as 55 Laguna in San Francisco, involving the redevelopment of an area owned by The Regents of California University. The team also advised Cole Real Estate Investments on the acquisition of the Canarsie Plaza shopping centre in Brooklyn, valued at $124m.

Noted for its ‘depth of knowledge’ and ‘superior service’, Nixon Peabody LLP has a ‘strong team that is able to respond to a wide range of real estate related issues’. Denise Pursley has taken over as head of the 21-partner practice from Justine Wilcox, who is ‘tough when she needs to be, but also a real deal-maker’. John Garibaldi is ‘highly experienced and responsive’, and James Kerouac is a ‘strong middle-market attorney with a good perspective on relative importance and negotiation skills’. The firm assisted Beacon Communities LLC in a housing transaction in North Easton, Massachusetts, to preserve the historic Ames Shovel Works Complex; and Principal Life Insurance Company in the origination of a $46m first mortgage and mezzanine loan secured by interests in a 1.5 million sq ft warehouse and distribution facility in Texas. James Vallee joined in Boston, while Thushna Gamadia joined in New York from Citibank Global Markets Realty Corp.

The ‘great’ Dusty Elias Kirk leads the 33-partner team at Reed Smith LLP, which includes Olivia Shay-Byrne, Joseph Marger and Ziad A Hammodi, and David Houston, who joined in 2012 from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. The firm represented the Parkway Development Group in relation to a $250m mixed-use facility, part funded by new market tax credit financing; and PCG Exchange in relation to the 1031 exchange of three iconic California hotels for a portfolio of 27 CVS stores located in various states. Other clients include W P Carey & Co, Capmark, Gerneral Electric, Rockwood Capital, Simon Property Group, and Comstock Partners. The team does a ‘great job of getting the deal complete, and is very timely’, and its ‘depth and experience works well, especially when the deal is complex’.

Ropes & Gray LLP has a growing group of real estate lawyers globally, with six partners based in the US. The firm’s distressed special situations group has been particularly busy during the past year, with the real estate team playing a central role in its work. Boston partner Jason Dunn represents an investment management company in relation to various direct and indirect investments in real estate and funds; examples include the formation of a $500m retail and industrial-targeted fund, and a $560m sale of malls in Tennessee and California. Walter McCabe III represented a retail giant in a number of property transactions, including the acquisition of a Massachusetts office campus portion. David Djaha heads the practice group.

New entrant to the table Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP has a five-partner team based in the firm’s New York office, with a focus on private equity transactions. It is led by Jeffrey Lenobel and includes Marshall Brozost, formerly of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. Lenobel is acting for the Museum of Modern Art on the development of a new tower with gallery space, having previously represented the museum on the acquisition of the land and building housing the American Folk Art Museum. Brozost represented the Praedium Group in matters involving 16 properties with an aggregate value of $500m. The firm also completed work for the Kyo-ya Company and a subsidiary in relation to six resort hotels in Waikiki and Maui, Hawaii, and San Francisco; the hotels secured a $1.25bn securitized mortgage loan and the team, led by Lenobel and Bruce Cybul, negotiated $1.85bn mortgage and mezzanine refinancing.

Noted for its ‘excellent service’, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLPdoes great work, is aggressive and is appropriately priced’. Domenic Drago chairs the eight-partner practice group, which is based across Del Mar, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington DC. Michele Williams is praised for her ‘superb ability, persistence and client loyalty’. Other noteworthy lawyers are Gregory Grigorian, in Washington DC; and Jerold Neuman and Phillip Tate, in Los Angeles. The firm advised JMA Ventures and Alpine Sierra Ventures in connection with the sale of the Alpine Meadows ski resort on Lake Tahoe; and acted for various entities advised by Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, on matters including the acquisition and financing of the 795 Folsom Building in San Francisco. It also acts for the Prudential Insurance Company of America, Chevalier International Holdings (of Hong Kong), and NRG. Tony Toranto joined from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP.

James Jordan heads the 11-partner team at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, which provides ‘excellent service: the lawyers have good business judgment and a sense of what terms will work for both parties’. Michael Kerman ‘cuts through to the main issues and knows how to reach agreement, is respectful of all parties, and is hard-nosed when needed’; and Victor Haley and David Reid are noted for their ‘knowledge of the asset class, transaction documents, and terms of deals in formulating strategies’. The firm advised Citigroup in relation to a $2.8bn multi-family commercial loan portfolio, and UBS Realty Investors regarding investments in acquisition, participation mortgage and joint venture transactions. It is also active for Sunbelt Ventures, Heitman American Real Estate Trust, Shoptaw, and Florida State Board of Administration, and is well known for its expertise in timberland transactions.

Praised for its ‘high-quality service and responsiveness’, Thompson Hine LLP’s real estate team includes 13 partners located in Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus, Washington DC, and New York. Thomas Coyne heads the practice, and recently assisted AMTrust Financial Services in a complex financing and development program and lease relating to the major part of a 470,000 sq ft building. Robyn Minter Smyers, noted for her ‘appropriate advice’, assisted DDR in the $125m acquisition of the Tucson Spectrum shopping centre in Tucson, Arizona. The team also assisted AmRest in the sale of a portfolio of restaurants in eight US states, valued at $100m. Other clients include Forest City, KeyBank, Fifth Third Bank, CH Energy, Crown Equipment, AkzoNobel and Verizon. Robert Curry delivers ‘superior work’. Karen Kozlowski and Rocky Horde have joined the team.

Thomas Millspaugh chairs the 29-partner real estate team at Venable LLP, which added eight partners including Peter Koffler, from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP; Valentin Aguilar II, from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Mitchell Evall and Andrew Schmerzler, from Weissmann Wolff Bergman Coleman Grodin & Evall LLP; and Peter Britell, Gordon Davis and Michael Peskowitz, formerly of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. The firm delivers a broad range of real estate services, including local transactions, multi-faceted projects, and sophisticated financings. It recently assisted Marriott in relation to a $1.45bn hotel portfolio acquisition.

Corey Tessler chairs the 18-partner real estate practice at Winston & Strawn LLP, and has developed mortgage conduit and securitization programs for lending institutions across the country, involving retail, multi-family, hotel, and office properties. Also recommended are Chicago-based Christine Graff and Mark Henning, the latter heading the real estate side of the firm’s leveraged leasing practice. The firm advised Wells Fargo Bank on the origination of a $165m first mortgage loan, which was secured on 1 South Wacker Drive, Chicago. It also advised Prime Retail, Prime Group Realty Trust, Capital Automotive REIT, Macquarie Real Estate, AMLI Commercial Properties, and underwriters such as Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co, Wachovia Securities, and RBC Capital Markets. Susan Chalfin has joined the team.


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  • Austria/Malta: Schoenherr advises Oesterreichische Volksbanken on sale of Volksbank Malta

    Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Österreichische Volksbanken-AG (OeVAG) on the sale of its fully-owned subsidiary Volksbank Malta Limited to Malta-based Mediterranean Bank plc. On 11 April 2014, OeVAG and Mediterranean Bank signed a Share Purchase Agreement for 100% of the shares in Volksbank Malta. Closing shall take place after the required approvals of the relevant regulatory bodies are received. read more...
  • Austria: Stefan Kuehteubl new head of Employment practice at Schoenherr

    Stefan Kuehteubl will join Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), as a partner and the head of the firm's Employment practice as of July 2014. A highly-regarded employment law practitioner, Kuehteubl will be returning to Schoenherr, where he previously worked as a member of its employment team between 1999 and 2004. During the past ten years, he worked in a well-known Vienna-based employment law boutique, in which he was a partner since 2008. read more...
  • Proud to continue charitable donations in 2014

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  • New Swiss Law on Product Safety

    The Swiss law on product safety ( Produktesicherheitsgesetz, PrSG) is currently scheduled to enter into force on July 1, 2010. This new law aligns Swiss product safety requirements with EU law. It applies not only to manufacturers, but to anyone who commercially or professionally markets products in Switzerland, and it introduces substantial new obligations before and after the sale of a product.
  • Chambers Global has once again recognised Pepeliaev Group's tax practice as the best in Russia

    The Chambers Global 2014 international ratings have hailed Pepeliaev Group's tax practice and the firm's managing partner Sergey Pepeliaev as Russia's best in the area of taxation (band 1 and Star Individuals). Commentators describe Mr Pepeliaev as "the father of Russian taxation." He has an outstanding reputation in tax litigation, for which he is said to be "absolutely brilliant." In addition, Chambers Global  lavishes praise on Rustem Ahmetshin (band 2), one of the firm's senior partners, who has considerable expertise in areas such as VAT and audit advice. Chambers Global sources commend Pepeliaev Group partner Valentina Akimova (band 3) as a "smart tax specialist." She has significant experience in a wide range of tax matters such as VAT, income tax and excise duties. Sources recommend Andrey Nikonov (band 3), another senior partner in the firm, as an authority on VAT, mineral extraction tax and unified social tax.  Chambers Global also rates Mr Nikonov highly for his experience in resolving tax disputes advising on the tax aspects of M&A transactions.
  • DHIR & DHIR ASSOCIATES ADVISES NATIONAL HOUSING BANK ON THE TRANCHE- II OF PUBLIC ISSUE OF TAX FREE

    Dhir & Dhir Associates advised National Housing Bank, wholly owned by Reserve Bank of India, on the Tranche- II of public issue of tax free bonds in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures with benefits under Section 10(15)(iv)(h) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, aggregating upto Rs. 1,000 Crore.
  • WHAT CANNOT BE DONE DIRECTLY CANNOT BE DONE INDIRECTLY ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT

    In a recent landmark judgment of the Hon'ble Andhra Pradesh High Court in the matter of Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd. (DCHL) & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors ., the Hon'ble Court has laid down an important principal of law to the effect that SARFAESI Action can be taken by an assignee/ successor in interest only if the original lender had SARFAESI power.
  • DHIR & DHIR ASSOCIATES ADVISES NATIONAL HOUSING BANK ON THE PUBLIC ISSUE OF TAX FREE BONDS AGGREGATI

    Dhir & Dhir Associates advised National Housing Bank, wholly owned by Reserve Bank of India, on the public issue of tax free bonds in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures with benefits under Section 10(15)(iv)(h) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, aggregating upto Rs. 2,100 Crore.
  • Angel Buzalov from “Popov & Partners” has participated in “Legal Day 2014”of GBICC

    On 20.03.2014 was carried the first part of the annually organized forum "Legal Day" of German-Bulgarian Industrial Commercial Chamber. Representatives of the leading legal companies in Bulgaria and industry representatives also took part in the event.
  • “Popov & Partners” took part in the consultations organized by the German-Bulgarian Industrial C

    On 24.03.2014 a meeting of the Advisory Board "Law" of the German-Bulgarian Industrial Commercial Chamber (GBICC) was held. The event was attended by representatives of the business as well as lawyers from major law firms in Bulgaria, including the law firm "Popov & Partners."