The Legal 500

United States > Real estate and construction

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In 2014, law firms involved in construction work saw a boom in transactional matters, with new projects cropping up as the economy recovered. Energy and transportation infrastructure projects, many of which were funded by public private partnerships (PPP), topped the market trends list. However, the drop in the price of oil during the last quarter has led to concerns about the profitability of crude oil; liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the sub-market that is most concerned about the price per barrel of oil, which has caused the fracking revolution to reassess and regroup.

Other work has been generated by the construction of sports stadia for professional and collegiate entities. Multifamily housing projects and condominiums also had an excellent year, with significant investment from both domestic and foreign investors.

General contractors and sub-contractors were in intense demand for new property developments, which has affected the amount of contentious work firms’ clients chose to pursue, as well as the manner in which they made claims. Arbitration and onsite risk management systems have been growing in popularity to settle smaller disputes, but serious claims on large projects also made 2014 a good year for litigators.

A large number of firms predict that skilled labor shortages will strain the growing construction market. As more money becomes available, and the demand for construction projects increases, there may be an increase in delay and defect claims once projects are complete.

Few firms have a nationwide footprint in the land use and zoning area, but those that do are hugely successful. The majority of others are concentrated on single states. The recent upturn in the real estate sector - particularly new large-scale projects in California, New York and Florida - resulted in an increased demand for land use and zoning advice.

The US real estate industry enjoyed a relatively buoyant year as heavy foreign investment drove the market forward. In particular, cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami and Los Angeles have been beneficiaries of the trend, with an increase in activity in other cities such as Seattle, Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco and Denver.

The strength of the economy, the availability of capital, an increase in joint ventures and favorable interest rates have encouraged investment, particularly at the upper end of the market; the multifamily and condominium sectors have remained robust. There has been an increase in office-related real estate work as economic circumstances have led to rising employment levels.

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

The stabilizing US economy and a decline in interest rates in 2014 helped the REITs market to further thrive, with equity REITs in particular outperforming the broader stock market and recording an all-time high. Prominent IPO’s included the $2.3bn offering of Paramount Group - the largest ever by a US REIT. On the M&A-front, the $3.1bn acquisition of Cole Corporate Income Trust by Select Income REIT represented one of the major transactions.


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
    • Jeffrey Appelbaum - Thompson Hine LLP
    • Lewis Baker - Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP
    • Deborah Ballati - Farella Braun & Martel LLP
    • Albert Bates - Pepper Hamilton LLP
    • David Buoncristiani - Jones Day
    • Steven Charney - Peckar & Abramson
    • Gregory Cokinos - Cokinos, Bosien & Young
    • Brian Corgan - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
    • Bruce Ficken - Pepper Hamilton LLP
    • Jennifer Fletcher - Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
    • Bennett Greenberg - Seyfarth Shaw LLP
    • Scott Greer - King & Spalding LLP
    • Randall Hafer - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
    • John Heisse - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
    • Steven Lesser - Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.
    • John Nassen - Ford, Nassen & Baldwin
    • Andrew Ness - Jones Day
    • Stephen O’Neal - Jones Day
    • Robert Peckar - Peckar & Abramson
    • Stephen Shapiro - Holland & Knight LLP
    • Charles Sink - Farella Braun & Martel LLP
    • Steven Stein - Stein Ray LLP
    • Neal Sweeney - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
    • George Wenick - Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP

The highly regarded practice at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton is based in Atlanta, and led by Randall Hafer. This ‘leader in the industry’ has the ability to advise on the full life cycle of construction projects, drawing on its extensive experience of commercial buildings, private and public heavy infrastructure, and industrial projects. It has specific expertise in sophisticated industrial refineries and facilities. In 2014 the firm was instructed in numerous EPC contracts, and handled a number of nuclear contracts and disputes. High-profile infrastructure project highlights included Boston’s $14.6bn ‘Big Dig’ project, the $6bn expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the $5bn clean-up of Boston Harbor. Neal Sweeney is an ‘extraordinary’ attorney who has ‘a very strong command of the technical aspects of construction controls’.

King & Spalding LLP’s sizeable construction transactions practice is based in Houston and specializes in large cross-border projects. Department head Scott Greer leads the 15-partner team, which handled over $100bn in construction and engineering contracts in 2014. The firm is renowned for advising on energy infrastructure transactions; indeed it is considered to be ‘top in the EPC industry’ and is ‘the go-to firm for large oil and gas projects on the Gulf Coast’. It also has a reputation for housing some ‘very tough negotiators’ and wins praise for its ‘extremely fast response times’. Specific expertise relates to clean energy plants, crude oil infrastructure, and liquefied natural gas refineries, and many of its attorneys have engineering backgrounds. In a significant highlight, the firm was instructed as lead counsel for South Africa-based Sasol for the $20bn construction of a mega-chemical complex in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

New York-based Peckar & Abramson has a ‘premier’ practice of ‘the highest caliber’. The firm advises owners and construction contractors on specialist infrastructure projects such as power plants - including nuclear, coal, gas, hydro-electric, bio-fuel, and solar-powered facilities - and also has significant experience in resolving complex public private partnership disputes. The ‘practical, efficient, and useful’ attorneys are ‘truly passionate’ about what they do; in particular, epartment chair Steven Charney is widely respected in the industry and Todd Bressler has a ‘distinctly advantageous’ knowledge of construction law. Among recent highlights the firm is advising a construction joint venture on three bridge projects in New York and New Jersey, which are valued a total of $3.65bn. Other work highlights include advising an international contractor on the construction of new tunnels and station caverns under Park Avenue in New York for The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which was valued at more than $1.2bn.

Thompson Hine LLP’s substantial expertise in new stadia work is ‘outstanding’. Known for its ‘deep industry-specific expertise’, the team has also gained a reputation for educating clients about issues that could arise from a project before problems occur. An additional string to its bow is the fact it shares its Cleveland office with subsidiary company PMC LLC, a team of architects and engineers that provides a unique onsite consultation to clients. Department chair Jeffrey Appelbaum is considered ‘a unique national resource for large or complicated construction projects’. In one recent example of work, the firm advised Cobb County on all construction and development agreements with the Atlanta Braves in connection with the planned $1.2bn new baseball park, scheduled to open in 2017. Another significant work highlight was acting as project construction counsel for the $850m new arena for the Golden State Warriors; the mandate included creating all front-end contracts and implementing a risk management system. The specialist 12-attorney team also includes Patrick Sweeney.

Constriction boutique Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP is led by Lewis Baker in McLean, who specializes in architectural and engineering claims. In early 2014, 17 attorneys left to start up new firm Varela, Lee, Metz, & Guarino, LLP. Nonetheless, the firm still stands at 37 partners and is viewed as an ‘industry leader in construction and surety work’. It has specific expertise in bonding and surety work, in addition to cross-border infrastructure projects. Its primary focus is litigation and contract work involving major contractors, but it does also work with owners. In 2014 the firm opened an additional office in Chicago to complement the existing East and West Coast practices. Work highlights included pursuing $60m in delay claims for the San Vicente Emergency Pipeline on behalf of a joint venture client, which selected the firm in light of its experience in tunneling projects.

At Duane Morris LLP, Albert Bates now leads the construction practice out of the Pittsburgh office, taking over the reins from Robert Prentice in the Philadelphia office. The 30-attorney practice has deep expertise when it comes to complex construction and public contracting matters. It represents a wide range of clients including lenders, public agencies, owners, designers, developers, contractors, sureties, subcontractors and suppliers. In 2014, the construction department advised on more litigious matters than transactional ones. Public private partnerships have formed a significant portion of the firm’s work of late, and as a result it handled a substantial amount of infrastructure development work. Among highlight matters, it acted as special construction counsel for the high-profile PPP involving Goldman Sach’s bid for LaGuardia Airport’s $1bn central terminal building. Other significant work included the negotiation of design build agreements for a multi-phase and 22-year infrastructure improvement project for Columbia University. Since publication, *Albert Bates joined *Pepper Hamilton LLP.

The San Francisco-based, ten-partner group at Farella Braun & Martel LLP is led by Richard Van Duzer. The firm specializes in PPPs, international construction litigation, and design build projects and recently advised on multiple clean energy projects in various different states. Deborah Ballati leads the firm’s role as primary outside counsel to Port of Oakland on the development of the former Oakland Army Base. In 2014, it won a highly competitive bid to become one of two outside law firms advising the City of Los Angeles’ airport division, Los Angeles World Airports, with $5.1bn of new construction projects at LAX.

Greenberg Traurig LLP, practice, which is co-chaired by Robert Epstein and Robert Brams, has 32 partners and is spread across 31 offices across the US. Brams and Michael Schaengold joined the firm in 2014 from Squire Patton Boggs. It has specific experience in major infrastructure projects globally, and advises major developers, government bodies and owners on complex construction matters. The firm excels in disputes - its strong team of litigators it is renowned for obtaining results for large defect and delay claims for clients - and cross-border transactions. It is also handling a number of domestic construction developments through foreign investors and contractors. In a recent highlight, it was instructed as national construction counsel for Canon’s $300m capital improvement and expansion projects throughout the US.

Holland & Knight LLP’s 13-partner construction practice is led by the well-regarded Stephen Shapiro. The firm wins plaudits for its ‘outstanding industry knowledge, exceptional response times, and very high quality of advocacy’. It advises both public and private sector owners and contractors on government contracts, energy infrastructure, industrial facilities, complex litigation, and PPPs and is fairly balanced between litigious and transactional work. Transportation is an area of niche expertise. The firm represented the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York in 2014 in a $3m dispute over the relation of design errors to policy limits, which had a satisfactory judgment from the Court of Appeals. Paul James moved in-house to work for firm client Bond Brothers.

Jones Day has the advantage of a physical presence on several continents as well as a full-service offering. The team is best known for construction litigation, but operates alongside a sizeable transactions department. The firm’s sweet spot is in high-value public and energy infrastructure projects, and this is demonstrated through its representation of Georgia Power Company, defending it against claims amounting to $918m. It was also involved in the resolution of over $100m of claims relating to a new hospital tower at San Antonio Community Hospital in California.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s team is chaired by John Heisse from San Francisco; he is supported by a team of 13 partners considered to be the ‘highest level of caliber’. Within the group is ‘exceptional business acumen’, and the ability to handle both complex contentious and transactional matters; ‘the firm has deep resources to draw from when new, novel, demanding or complex issues arise’. Clients range from heavy infrastructure to public transport, higher education, and commercial development. It recently acted for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in a $4bn arbitration regarding defects in replacement steam generators for a nuclear power plant in Southern California. In 2014, Washington DC-based Melissa Lesmes became vice-chair of the construction counseling and dispute resolution practice. David Dekker, also in Washington DC, was selected to the firm’s board of directors in May 2014.

Schiff Hardin LLP’s 17-attorney specialist team is led out of Chicago by Kenneth Roberts. Demonstrating deep understanding of energy and infrastructure matters, the department is frequently called upon to handle disputes and contractual matters involving major public and private entities. Highlights included assisting Kansas City Power and Light Company with its competitive bid to obtain EPC contracts for developing the La Cygne Generating Station, worth over $900m. The firm also was retained by Chicago Southwest Development Corporation on a $400m project in the city, which will involve the Focal Point retail and arts recreation facilities as well as a new complex for Saint Anthony Hospital.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s 17-attorney dedicated group is spread across multiple offices and is co-chaired by Bennett Greenberg and C Walker Ingraham from Washington DC and Atlanta respectively. The firm is ‘excellent on all levels’ and ‘provides a prompt, thorough, and resourceful service’. The firm has demonstrable ability to see projects through from beginning to end, within both the public and private sectors. It ‘covers a lot of ground, not only in construction and construction litigation, but contracts in general, including issues of insurance coverage and other matters’. The firm is project counsel for OCI NV for the EPC contracting of the largest methanol production facility in the US, valued at $1.8bn.

Atlanta-based boutique Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP is led by Robert Chambers, and with 29 partners dedicated to construction work, it has an ‘exceptional’ practice. It recently represented a general contractor in a $10.5m suit arising from alleged defect claims following the construction of a Hampton Inn Hotel in Maryland. George Wenick is singled out as an ‘experienced and effective advocate and negotiator’. Adam Haimo recently joined the firm from Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP.

The construction group at Chicago-based Stein Ray LLP is chaired by well-known litigator Steven Stein. The firm is regularly called upon by clients across the country to resolve disputes, a result of its reputation for housing ‘excellent and knowledgeable lawyers who have the ability to provide practical and sound business advice on a myriad of issues’, and for its ‘very responsive and superior service’ and ‘thorough analysis on complex matters’. It has a niche in energy-related litigation, with knowledge of oil refineries, power generation projects and other infrastructure projects. The practice has a wealth of experience in working with EPC contractors, and also works with design companies and lenders. Significant work highlights included representing a large EPC contractor in arbitration concerning a $10bn refinery project, with over $1bn in claims at stake.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s practice is centered in Atlanta but also has attorneys in Washington DC and New York. A diverse client base includes major contractors, owners, developers, design professionals, energy companies and building materials companies. With its ‘highly technical knowledge’ of contentious matters, ‘top-of-the-line legal knowledge and expertise, and with strong strategic skills to assist in-house counsel with practical business solutions’, the firm is well-placed to handle all types of disputes including those with a cross-border element. Department chair Lee Davis, who works out of Atlanta and New York, is ‘very skilled at understanding and incorporating the political and business parameters into his solutions’. Jennifer Fletcher is also highly recommended; she recently led the group’s representation of Lend Lease’s in $200m litigation arising from the deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank building, which was the last building to be removed from the Ground Zero site. Other highlights for the group included advising DeKalb County on the implementation of complex construction agreements for a major metropolitan school system.

Varela, Lee, Metz, & Guarino, LLP was established in March 2014 after 17 attorneys broke away from Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP. The boutique construction firm has offices in Northern Virginia and San Francisco, and has already attracted praise for its ‘responsive, diligent, and efficient’ attorneys who ‘provide excellent value’. The firm specializes in complex litigation for large contractors as well as owners. Paul Varela, who has a ‘strategic, trustworthy, and tenacious’ demeanor, advises a number of large engineering and construction companies entities on cross-border matters. Joe Guarino is also singled out as an ‘extremely thorough and aggressive advocate’.

Akerman LLP’s ten-partner construction team is led by Jeffrey Gilmore, and is based in Miami, but operating across the country. It handles a large amount of public sector transactional work from both federal and state agencies and also has a niche in energy sector advocacy work and hospitality and multi-family projects. While specializing mostly in contentious matters, the department also implements design-build projects for clients. The practice also handles cross-border industrial work for owners, public authorities, non-profit companies, lenders, designers, and sureties. A recent work example was representing the owner and developer of a 75MW biomass-energy plant in New Hampshire, in defense of claims over $66m.

Andrews Myers, P.C.’s construction group is centered in Houston, but more recently has also been operating from Austin. Mostly active on the contentious side, it has experience of matters involving EPC contractors, LNG facilities, public infrastructure, and specialist sub-contractors. Unsurprisingly given its location, it also deals in energy-related disputes as well as other complex commercial suits. William Andrews leads the team, which includes Thomas Myers who is recommended for transactional matters.

Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. based primarily in Fort Lauderdale but with additional offices in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington DC, specializes in construction litigation for large commercial developers, owners, and design professionals. Steven Lesser, who is ‘a smart, patient, and very impressive lawyer’ is the chair of the practice. The department has 16 partners based primarily in Florida where a large proportion of its clients are, however it also advises foreign clients on cross-border transactions and litigious matters. Large commercial buildings, multi-family housing, and industrial infrastructure are areas of particular expertise. Recent work highlights include representing general contractor WG Yates & Sons Construction Company in defense of $200m worth of defect claims, and representing Carnival Corporation in the $15m recovery and defense of a counterclaim for faulty construction.

Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP merged with Wulfsberg Reese & Colvig in September 2014. The construction practice is still chaired by H James Wulfsberg, who presides over a team of 15 partners. It is adept at handling major construction disputes as well as other advocacy and transactional matters, and the ‘highly intelligent, very strategic, and remarkably articulate’ attorneys are able to obtain ‘very positive results’. A recent success was acting for the City of Alameda in breach of contract claims exceeding $10m; the case was settled in October 2014. The construction team also has ongoing work with County of Stanislaus, County of Kern, and County of Imperial for complex construction, design and procurement contracts to be implemented for California detention facilities.

Renowned practitioner Gregory Cokinos leads the Texas-based team at Cokinos, Bosien & Young. It specializes in contentious matters for public and private developers, general contractors, and design firms. Commercial, civil, offshore, and public infrastructure projects are some of the areas the practice excels in.

DLA Piper’s construction practice is chaired by Anthony Meagher out of the firm’s Baltimore office. It handles both large commercial projects and significant litigation. The firm’s full service offering and substantial resources mean that it is well placed to see projects through from beginning to end. The transactional side of the practice specializes in stadia, multi-purpose buildings and malls, in addition to PPPs for healthcare, and other public infrastructure projects such as airports. It continues to serve as lead counsel for the Port Authority in the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in New York City, which has been described as the ‘most high-profile construction project in the past several decades, if not ever’. Other significant work highlights includes the Atlanta Braves new MLB stadium negotiations, valued at over £1bn, and representing Goldman Sachs and Union Bank in the $975m private bank financing for the construction of the new Minnesota Vikings NFL Stadium. Robert Crewdson is also recommended.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s construction practice is chaired by Jeffrey Blease out of San Francisco and Boston, with on-the-ground resources spread across the US. The team of eight dedicated attorneys are ‘superiorly intelligent and very experienced in construction law’. The group handles both transactions and disputes, and has significant experience in clean-energy projects and other heavy infrastructure in the US and abroad. In 2014 it represented The Catholic Cathedral Corporation of East Bay in a $10m lawsuit to recover construction defect damages for the first cathedral built in the 21st century. Adam Adams led advice to BRE/Cocoa Beach Owner on a successful $4m suit brought against a general contractor for damage and defect claims regarding the Cocoa Beach Hilton Hotel in Brevard County, Florida.

Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, Senet & Wittbrodt’s team is based out of Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It can frequently be found litigating multimillion-dollar claims for predominantly commercial developments. It also handles transactional matters, and specific expertise includes healthcare facilities, energy infrastructure, and multi-family projects. Significant work highlights included advising Layton Construction in claims relating to the construction of the $200m Palmdale Regional Medical Center in California. Glenn Turner leads the 14-partner practice, and managing partner Richard Wittbrodt is also recommended.

Holland & Hart LLP operates primarily across the Mountain West, an area sometimes neglected by the large coastal firms, giving it a unique vantage point when it comes to large construction projects. With 45 partners across 12 offices in the region, it is well placed to advise on large commercial and industrial developments. It handles complex civil matters as well as commercial projects and PPPs. It recently welcomed of counsels Scott DeGraffenried and Kate Noel, however former partners John Beckstead and David Zimmerman recently left the firm.

The team at K&L Gates is led by Richard Paciaroni. Owing to its size, experience and full-service offering, it has the capacity to act in complex multimillion-dollar disputes and can usually be found representing EPC contractors and owners. In 2014, it was busy acting in a number of liquefied natural gas contracts and disputes, although it also advises on other large infrastructure projects. A recent highlight was representing a Brazilian client in an ICC arbitration, with claims and counterclaims regarding five hydroelectric power plants in Brazil amounted to approximately $200m.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s eight-partner construction practice is based primarily in Chicago and is led by James Nowacki. The firm is a heavyweight in litigation, and as such it can often be found in the largest and most complex disputes in this sector. Its diverse client list includes general contractors, architects, owners, and design firms. Energy infrastructure and aviation are areas of particular expertise. The firm has been defending Verizon in one of the largest pending mass torts ever in the US; the claims arose from 9/11. It also achieved a favorable settlement for Boeing in a $10m suit related to the design and construction of Saipan International Airport. Other key clients include BP and Clark Realty.

McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP’s four-attorney construction practice is led by Mark Budwig out of San Diego. The firm handles both complex disputes and transactions, and clients range from public and private entities to general contractors, and design firms. It is well versed in large and complex public infrastructure projects relating to waste treatment facilities, dams, and healthcare, among others, and its specialized PPP arm regularly works with government agencies to negotiate construction projects. The firm is assisting Northside Hospital in Georgia with the ongoing drafting and design of construction contracts for a large series of projects with a total value of approximately $175m. A 2014 highlight saw the firm reach a favorable $30m settlement for The San Diego County Water Authority over claims regarding the Lake Hodges projects. Since publication, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP has merged into Dentons).

Moye, O’Brien, O’Rourke, Pickert & Dillon, LLP is a construction boutique of eight dedicated partners based in Maitland, Florida. Led by James Moye, it handles both contentious and transactional matters for clients across the US, Caribbean, and Latin America. Within the group is a a significant PPP practice, and it has experience in procurement deals for civil infrastructure as well as design build contracts. A 2014 highlight was advising a client on the $800m SH 288 toll road expansion project in Texas.

The construction practice at Pepper Hamilton LLP is primarily located in Philadelphia, where practice chair Michael Subak and ‘top-of-his-game’ chair emeritus Bruce Ficken are based. The ‘outstanding’ 14-partner team specializes in dispute resolution through various means, such as domestic arbitration, commercial litigation, and jury trials, and works across all industries, delivering a ‘superb level of overall service’. It has a proven track record for large commercial and infrastructure litigation, producing ‘high-quality work product which is consistently on time and in line with the scope of deliverables actually requested’. Usually working with owners, contractors and designers, the department is also given credit for its ‘practical and dedicated approach’. Among 2014 work highlights, it acted in a $7m post-production dispute for MasTec Inc, which is being heard in a US District Court in Western Pennsylvania. It is also representing West Kingston Power Partners in an ongoing supply claim of over $6m for a power plant in Kingston, Jamaica. New York-based Ira Schulman and Raymond DeLuca in Philadelphia are also recommended. Since publication, Albert Bates has joined the Pittsburgh office from *Duane Morris LLP.

Porter Hedges LLP’s seven-attorney construction department is led by David Peden. Specializing predominantly in contentious matters, it has a strong focus toward energy and public infrastructure-related work. The team’s expertise also extends to advising public agencies and authorities on projects where damage and delay claims arise. It recently had success in defending HOK against claims arising from Baylor College of Medicine’s $230m new replacement hospital. Other significant work highlights included representing Houston Airport System in a $20m lawsuit over four miles of concrete taxiway that failed durability requirements. Kyle Reeb joined the firm in June 2014 from Hodgson Russ LLP.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s ten-partner team wins plaudits for ‘exceptional’ service. It represents owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, government agencies, lenders, and sureties. With extensive experience in both transactional and contentious matters, the firm is able to provide clients on both front-end and back-end matters. Department chair Harold Hamersmith is a ‘seasoned, attentive, business-savvy attorney’ who ‘always provides helpful, targeted advice when requested, often on short notice’. Candace Matson is an ‘excellent lawyer’ who has an ‘understanding of major market expectations, both domestic and abroad’. Scott Hennigh co-chairs the construction litigation team.

Allensworth & Porter is a construction boutique of ten attorneys based in Austin. And led by William Allensworth. It acts primarily for engineering and architectural clients, on both contentious and transactional matters. The firm attracts praise for its ‘superior’ service and despite its small size can handle ‘any size or shape of legal matter’. Work highlights included defending paving contractor Delhur Industries, Inc in a construction dispute between the City of Andrews and the design and construction team for a truck reliever road around the City of Andrews, Texas. The firm was also engaged by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Texas to draft an amicus brief regarding derivative sovereign immunity for private entities engaged by public entities.

Arent Fox LLP has eight dedicated partners advising on both contentious and transactional matters for owners, developers, design firms, and public authorities. It has particular expertise in advising on project delay claims, design and construction defects, and structural failure collapse disputes, and has a proven track record in complex cross-border transactions and large commercial projects. Ongoing work includes assisting leading window manufacturer Glasswall with a $332m project for two large residential buildings on Long Island, New York. The firm is also acting as transactional counsel for design firm Studios Architecture in several significant ongoing projects.

Bracewell LLP’s three-partner construction team acts for a number of owners, general contractors, and component manufacturers. The practice is fairly evenly split between litigation and transactional work. Renowned trial lawyer Phillip Sampson, who ‘knows how to win a case effectively with sound rhetoric’, leads the group. The firm often conducts and oversees internal investigations into alleged defective products for its components clients. New client Enduro Composites instructed the firm in litigation for defective construction of a multimillion-dollar polymer composites manufacturing facility in Fort Bend County, Texas.

Ohio-based Bricker & Eckler LLP primarily represents public and private owners, but also select contractors, in all aspects of construction matters. Chaired by Jack Rosati the firm is a popular choice among healthcare companies and government agencies, owing to its experience in public infrastructure-related matters. While the practice is able to cover most areas of construction law, it is particularly well renowned for wastewater projects, heavy highway contracts, and energy efficiency/conservation projects. In 2014 it advised on a $12m design/build project for the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, which was used to implement a new sewer system for the city.

The 13-partner group at Coats Rose Yale Ryman Lee is based primarily in Houston and is led by Patrick Gaas. A large amount of the firm’s construction work is generated by EPC contractors, as well as developers and owners and it covers both the contentious and transactional sides. It is particularly noted for its specialist knowledge of petrochemical plants and related matters. The firm was retained by the Mickey Leland International Terminal at Houston Airport to advise on procurement documentation, design, program management, and engineering for the airport expansion project.

Dorsey & Whitney LLP is led by Jocelyn Knoll in Minneapolis. Well versed in heavy industrial construction design projects, a particular area of focus is complex commercial claims for public and private agencies. The firm is also able to draw upon the expertise of its international offices in order to handle clients’ cross-border matters when needed. Its client base comprises a mix of general contractors, owners, design companies, and engineering firms.

Boutique construction firm Ford, Nassen & Baldwin operates out of three offices in Texas. Managing partner and ‘incredible litigator’ John Nassen leads the 12-partner firm, and has a wealth of experience in the industry. The ‘top-notch’ group adopts has a three-pronged attack, with the Houston office concentrating on infrastructure matters, Austin dealing mostly with government contracts, and Dallas providing general advice across all aspects of construction law. In line with the post-recession construction boom, the practice has been more active on the transactional side of late, but it does also handle dispute resolution for general contractors, subcontractors, developers, and suppliers. It has specialist expertise in large public infrastructure projects, energy facilities, and commercial developments. Gene Blanton is also highly recommended for his ‘responsiveness, clarity, and willingness to fully understand clients’ needs’. A 2014 work example was acting for US Concrete to enforce claims against a public works payment bond surety. George Baldin also pursued $15m worth of claims against the United States Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of general contractor client McCarthy Building Companies.

Hanson Bridgett LLP’s San Francisco-based team acts for owners, developers, and contractors. Howard Ashcraft chairs the department, which has twelve attorneys specializing in this area. With extensive experience in healthcare facilities, stadia, and infrastructure, the firm wins plaudits for its ‘outstanding legal technicians who are tough as nails’. Work highlights included implementing the new 18,000-seat sports arena and entertainment center for the Golden State Warriors., and representing Cook’s Children’s Healthcare System in Texas in its $300m expansion of its medical center. Lisa Dal Gallo is an ‘excellent’ attorney who provides ‘terrific advice’.

The Chicago-based team at Jenner & Block LLP is led by arbitrator and trial lawyer Joseph Bisceglia. The construction practice works alongside the real estate team to assist owners, contractors, investors, and developers with complex dispute resolution. The nine-attorney group has particular knowledge of nuclear power and infrastructure-related matters. Transactional partner Donald Horvath is another name to note.

Mayer Brown in Chicago has a ‘terrific’ group of ‘responsive counsel who are especially good on complex construction initiatives’. The group has ‘extraordinary industry knowledge’ of energy infrastructure and transportation projects, is strong with EPC contracts for various commercial buildings, and particularly adept in planning and design work. The 11-attorney group is chaired by Joanna Horsnail. It is providing ongoing advice to the Texas Department of Transportation to implement projects for PPPs throughout Texas. Significant work from 2014 includes a $400m project for the University of Notre Dame’s campus crossroads project, which will expand the football stadium and connect three new buildings to it. Associate Sara Hess is ‘very responsive and detail oriented’.

With offices in Newark, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, McCarter & English, LLP has sufficient depth to handle cross-border matters involving large infrastructure projects, including complex disputes. It acts for both public and private clients, namely developers, general contractors, architects and owners. The group has niche expertise in higher education transactions; it was recently appointed as transactional counsel for the Temple University Library which is to be built in Philadelphia later this year, as well as the RBH Group Teachers Village re-development project in Newark. Sarah Biser leads the seven-attorney team, which also includes Mary Jane Augustine.

Ober Kaler’s construction practice has a strong litigation focus, with experience of cases relating to transportation infrastructure, healthcare projects, and commercial developments. Centered on the East Coast, the group is chaired by Joseph Kovars out of Baltimore. While it is weighted towards the contentious side, it does also advise on a number of PPPs, work that is generated by the firm’s strong government contracts practice. Noteworthy work from 2014 includes assisting The University of Maryland Medical System with negotiating a $9m Energy Services Agreement for Upper Chesapeake Health for the creation of a tri-generation system for the production of electricity, steam, and hot and chilled water for the hospital. The firm also acted as lead counsel in the $21.5m high-profile action brought by its client the Delaware Department of Transportation against geotechnical consultants for design errors, which was successfully mediated.

Reed Smith LLP usually acts for private owners, public authorities, and major contractors. Spread across 15 US offices, the group has ‘excellent depth and range of knowledge of construction law and procurement’ meaning it can handle both non-contentious and contentious work, however it is weighted more heavily toward the latter. Much of the transactional work emanates from the high end of the energy sector, and it also advises on infrastructure projects for PPPs. Mike Dingman led representation of the China Machine New Energy Corporation in ICC arbitration involving $400m in claims relating to a power plant project in Guatemala. The ‘expeditious’ Thomas Folk successfully defended a prominent US developer in a $235m case. Lee Haag, who specializes in major petro-chemical infrastructure facilities, is also recommended.

Andrew Ingrum heads the construction department at Thompson & Knight LLP, which is primarily focused on transactional work. With offices on both coasts as well as Texas, and a presence overseas, the firm is well positioned to advise on cross-border matters. Typical mandates include complex multimillion-dollar projects involving major healthcare facilities and large commercial buildings. The ‘prompt and strong’ group is praised for its ‘expeditious responsiveness’. Noteworthy work from 2014 includes advising United Overseas Bank on the $860m development of a luxury 72-story residential tower in midtown Manhattan. Bruce Merwin joined the firm in June 2014 from Haynes and Boone, L.L.P., and Benjamin Herd was promoted to partner.

Vedder Price is based primarily in Chicago but with some attorneys also in Washington DC. Head of department Richard Pearse has extensive knowledge of engineering and procurement as well as being ‘exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable in construction law, project financing and international matters’; he is also the ‘expert’s expert on EPC contracts and relevant matters’. Typical mandates for the group include domestic and international project development, damage and defect claims, and breach of contract litigation. It recently advised MECS Inc on the $9bn complex equipment sale through engineering procurement and licensing of technology for ten different projects, including new sulfuric acid plants in India and Australia.

At Vinson & Elkins LLP, D Ferguson McNiel, leads a team of five partners operating out of Texas, New York, Washington DC, and California. Many of its clients are from the energy and heavy infrastructure sphere, where the firm can provide industry-specific expertise, and it is no stranger to complex multibillion-dollar transactions. When it comes to new domestic projects and EPC contracts, and cross-border arbitration and litigation, it has the added benefit of international offices. Noteworthy work from 2014 includes advising on the $2.05bn Alto Maipo hydroelectric project near Santiago, Chile, and separately, Occidental Chemical’s $1.5bn ethylene cracker in Ingleside, Texas. It also advised subsidiaries of Trafigura on the $1bn development and expansion of oil and gas storage facilities’ at its 84-acre industrial site in Corpus Christi, Texas. Katy Gottsponer made partner in January 2014, and Kaam Sahely, is another name to note.

Land use/zoning

Index of tables

  1. Land use/zoning
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

An undoubted force in the real estate market, DLA Piper’s land use, development and government relations practice is praised by clients as being ‘world class’, providing an ‘overall excellent service, business acumen and industry knowledge’. Headed by Ted Novak, the group’s main field of activity spans the hospitality sector, multi-family residential complexes, office buildings, integrated mixed-use developments and stadiums across the states: recent highlights include assisting EF Education First with all aspects of state and local permitting for the development of its new headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and representing the Port Authority of New York in connection with its redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Chicago-based Richard Klawiter has ‘a very good understanding of local land use and zoning issues’, Paul Shadle is ‘an excellent attorney’ and Mariah DiGrino was promoted to partnership; all attorneys mentioned are based in Chicago.

A heavyweight in the New York real estate market, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP routinely advises on high-end projects in the city and has expertise and deep experience in handling the entire lifecycle of development projects. Recent standout matters include advising Time Warner on the development and purchase of its new headquarters, assisting Park Tower Group in the land use and development of Greenpoint Landing in Brooklyn and acting as counsel to Time Equities in several land use matters to approve the development of hospitality and residential buildings at 50 West Street. The firm recently bolstered its team by hiring David Karnovsky, who previously served as general counsel to the New York City Department of City Planning. Stephen Lefkowitz heads the practice.

Holland & Knight LLP’s land use and zoning practice has a tremendous reputation and is particularly notable for its nationwide spread. Chicago-based Steven Elrod, chair of the national land use group, was part of the team which represented the governor of Illinois in relation to the development of a third airport in suburban Chicago. The busy California practice was strengthened by the arrival of land use and environmental expert Tara Kaushik, who was previously at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. In Florida, where the firm has eight offices covering land use matters, Joseph Goldstein and colleagues advised Baptist Health South Florida on obtaining governmental approvals of a significant master plan modification to the client’s main campus; the team also continues to advise on the state’s largest-ever land use matter, the Farmton Local Plan, a model for long term, large-scale planning that prioritizes protection of environmentally sensitive lands.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has been a major presence in New York for 50 years and thereby handled an impressive amount of sophisticated land use and zoning matters for many of the city’s landmark buildings such as the Lincoln Center, the Empire State Building and Carnegie Hall. Other standout matters included obtaining landmarks and zoning approvals for Hines for a 1,050ft tall mixed-use tower adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); highly regarded practice co-chair Michael Sillerman led the advice. Fellow co-chair Paul Selver is assisting South Street Seaport with land use, historic preservation and environmental issues regarding the client’s new Pier 17 building, and Elise Wagner regularly advises New York University on land use approvals for the Center of Urban Science and Progress in Brooklyn. Gary Tarnoff is another name to note.

Latham & Watkins LLP has a particularly splendid track record throughout California. The land use group, which forms part of the energy and infrastructure project siting and defense practice, naturally handles a large amount of matters in the energy industry, but is equally busy in the hospitality, retail, residential and industrial sectors. Highlights in 2014 included obtaining entitlements for a new one million sq ft mixed-use center in the Village at Westfield Topanga, as well as advising The Related Companies, a New York-based real estate company, on entitlements for the Grand Avenue project in Los Angeles. The client roster also includes NBCUniversal, JMB Realty and California American Water Company. Lucinda Starrett heads the practice from the Los Angeles office; in the same office, Beth Gordie and Benjamin Hanelin were promoted to counsel; Christopher Garrett in San Diego is another name to note. Laura Godfrey Zagar joined Perkins Coie LLP.

Perkins Coie LLP’s land use practice is highly regarded for its contentious and non-contentious proficiency and attracted a large number of new clients in 2014. Google, the Academy of Art University and Bay Rock Residential, among many others, instructed the 23-partner practice on development and approval matters. In other work, San Francisco-based Cecily Barclay led advice to Oakland Athletics on all land use and environmental aspects of the approval and development of the client’s new stadium in San Jose. Portland-based practice head Steven Pfeiffer assisted Sunny Valley Sand & Gravel with the development of a 212-acre aggregate mining site in Josephine County, Oregon. Laura Godfrey Zagar joined from Latham & Watkins LLP and Christopher Criglow was promoted to partner.

Akerman LLP’s integrated land use and sustainable development group has longstanding experience in urban redevelopment projects in Florida and has tapped into the recent upturn in the retail, residential and industrial real estate sectors. Orlando-based Cecelia Bonifay heads the group, which has been representing Miami Beckham United in site assessment and due diligence for the development of a Major League Soccer stadium in Miami and assisted Berkowitz Development Group with obtaining site plan approval of a $430m, 1,000ft tall observation tower and entertainment center, the SkyRise Miami. Of counsel Michael Bailkin is the key contact in New York.

Built on deep environmental expertise and land use experience, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP assists its prominent client base with cutting-edge development projects across California. The 21-partner practice is proficient in advising on issues related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as land use litigation, zoning, approvals and due diligence. Experience includes having acted for a developer of a 600-acre mixed commercial/industrial project on planning issues, CEQA compliance and related litigation. Clients include Google, Ontario International Airport and Sunstone Hotel Investors. San Diego-based Jeffrey Chine is recommended.

Ballard Spahr LLP is adept at advising on the entire lifecycle of development projects and has staff in offices across nine states, with Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Baltimore being particularly busy. In a notable highlight, Philadelphia-based practice head Matt McClure assisted iPic Entertainment with obtaining approvals to demolish all but the front of the city’s Boyd Theatre.

Enjoying a tremendous reputation in south Florida, Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP acts for developers, owners and investors across the state on the entire spectrum of land use and zoning matters. Its land development and governmental relations practice is praised as having good relations with government and regulatory agencies, and for its awareness of policy developments. The ten-partner group acted for All Aboard Florida in the procurement, land acquisition and development related to the $2.4bn high-speed rail project, which will connect south and central Florida, as of 2016. Brian Adler is a key contact.

Bryan Cave LLP is frequently involved in cutting-edge development projects, having - for example - obtained land use approvals for Gotham Organization’s 1.1m sq ft development on West 44th Street and assisted The Rockefeller Group and TDC Development with land use matters pertaining to the Flushing Commons project. Judith Gallent heads the practice, which hired of counsel James Colgate, who previously served as assistant commissioner at the New York City Department of Buildings. Margery Perlmutter left to serve as chair of the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals.

Recently merged Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney/Fowler White Boggs now operates from offices in nine different states, albeit the land use practice remains focused on development projects in Florida. Tallahassee-based practice head Linda Loomis Shelley continues to advise Hollywood Ocean Group on land use issues related to residential condominiums and high-end development projects.

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt’s land use practice is highly rated in Florida and is particularly well known for its litigious skills. The ten-partner practice has deep expertise in the full spectrum of environmental and land use matters; the team also includes two certified planners and government consultants. Of counsel Ray Allen II in Tampa is the key contact and Tallahassee-based Nancy Linnan is also recommended.

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass has established itself as one of the key fixtures in the San Francisco real estate market and is frequently involved in the city’s most prominent development projects. Longstanding clients include Focil-MB, San Francisco 49ers, Wells Fargo Bank and California Academy of Science. More recently, the team acted as land use counsel for Forest City with regard to its residential apartment project at 2175 Market Street in San Francisco’s prime Upper Market neighbourhood. Pamela Duffy is well regarded.

California-based Cox, Castle & Nicholson’s land use and natural resources team advises a broad range of industry clients, but is particular adept at acting for clients in the renewable energy sector. The 13-partner practice’s experience includes having assisted a university in CEQA-related litigation pertaining to a campus development on a 200-acre project site. It also represented the developer of a 2.4m sq ft logistics facility in obtaining land use approvals and in two subsequent lawsuits seeking to derail the project. San Francisco-based Michael Zischke is recommended.

Earl, Curley & Lagarde, PC is Arizona’s go-to boutique for land use, property development and zoning matters; it has acted on many matters pertaining to Phoenix’s most prominent buildings. It assisted American Express with zoning, development and review of a 1.2m sq ft office and industrial project in Phoenix. Other clients include Crown Realty Trust, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Four Seasons. Founding partners Stephen Earl, Michael Curley and Lynne Lagarde are the key contacts.

A key player in California, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP accompanies clients through the entire lifecycle of development projects. Well-regarded co-chair Amy Forbes advised Fifteen Group on the revision of planning and zoning of Wyvernwood Garden Apartments in Los Angeles and fellow co-chair Mary Murphy has been assisting Stellar Management with its proposed redevelopment of Villas Parkmerced in San Francisco. Other clients include Madison Square Garden, Heritage Fields and Paramount group.

Goodwin Procter LLP’s land use and zoning practice is part of a multidisciplinary real estate department, which advises high-profile developers nationwide. The client roster includes Millennium Place, Entergy Nuclear and New Balance Athletic Shoe. Boston-based Martin Healy is the key contact.

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s land use attorneys ‘provide really thoughtful advice and insight’ and ‘understand the broader political, governmental and community environments that land use decisions are made in’, The team is particularly active in developments in New York and Florida: a team in Fort Lauderdale recently advised B & H Fort Lauderdale on land use and environmental permitting issues pertaining to a 64-unit condominium project on the oceanfront at Hallandale Beach. Fellow co-chair Jay Segal is also recommended and Nick Hockens is ‘superb across the board’; both are based in New York. Debbie Orshefsky recently left the firm.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP’s attorneys produce ‘outstanding advice and winning strategies’. Particularly visible in California, the group is assisting Tarpon Property Ownership with amending entitlement of a 205-acre site from a residential zone to use as a logistics facility. It is also advising Marina Admiralty on obtaining entitlements for the renovation of a mixed-use coastal development in southern California. San Francisco-based Kristina Lawson is recommended.

San Francisco-based Timothy Tosta at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP is ‘expert in California land use’, ‘politically astute and has excellent ideas on how to get projects approved as well as to garner public support’. The group is currently advising three blue-chip tech companies on land use matters pertaining to development projects. Other clients include California Credit Union, Capitol One and Northside Hospital. Jennifer Renk joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP. Since publication, Timothy Tosta has joined Arent Fox LLP, and McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP has merged into Dentons.

Active throughout California and increasingly busy in New York, Morrison & Foerster LLP’s growing land use practice handled various high-value matters in 2014: a San Francisco-based team of David Gold, William Sloan, practice head Chris Carr and new partner Miles Imwalle continues to assist Apple Inc with final approvals for its 3.4m sq ft Cupertino Campus, while the New York team is representing a consortium of airlines in the $3.6bn redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal building.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP represents a diverse client base in a broad range of matters pertaining to development projects. Recent highlights include representing the Bohemian Club in administrative proceedings to obtain approval of a non-industrial timber management plan for selected harvest of portions of Bohemian Grove and assisting Barrett Block Partners with obtaining entitlements for an office and residential project. Robert Herr is the key contact.

Great in every respect’, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s strength in the land use sector is underpinned by its real estate, litigation and environmental law practices. San Francisco-based Judy Davidoff represented California College of Arts in obtaining land use approvals to expand its campus in San Francisco, while San Diego-based Donna Jones successfully assisted Host Hotels & Resorts with development permits and concept approvals relating to a $200m Marriott Marquis & Marina. Jennifer Renk joined the San Francisco office from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP. Jim Pugh was promoted to partner.

Vedder Price’s Chicago-based land use practice assists a broad range of educational and religious institutions, developers and privately held companies with development projects across Illinois. Practice head Danielle Meltzer Cassel recently advised General Growth Properties on the development of the Oakbrook Center, the US’ largest open-air mall, and acted for the University of Chicago and its commercial tenants to obtain zoning approvals and permits for several commercial redevelopment projects.

Clients consider Bercow Radell & Fernandez to be ‘one of the best in Florida’. The ‘excellent’, Miami-based boutique recently obtained approvals for two different plans for Terra Group to develop a two-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean in Miami Beach. Practice head Jeffrey Bercow is ‘result-driven’ and Michael Larkin is also well regarded.

Cooley LLP’s three-partner land use and zoning team is based in Reston, Virginia, where it is supported by three land use planners and assists clients in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. In 2014, Colleen Gillis filed six significant zoning applications on behalf of Brambleton Group pertaining to residential developments as well as public facilities. Other clients include Capital One and Boston Properties. Antonio Calabrese heads the group.

With particular clout in the San Francisco area, Farella Braun & Martel LLP handles a steady stream of land use instructions for reuse of historic sites as well as new development projects. Led by Steven Vettel, the four-partner practice advised Avalon Bay Communities on obtaining land use entitlements for a mixed-use project and represented Seven Hill Properties in a CEQA appeal and after obtaining entitlements for a mixed-use development in the Mission district.

Fennemore Craig is a well-known adviser on land use approvals, entitlements, zoning issues and permits, particularly in Arizona. The team acts for community developers, educational institutions, investment groups and commercial clients. Phoenix-based Michael Phalen is the name to note.

Gunster Law Firm has a significant environmental and land use practice across Florida, where the firm has nine offices. Public as well as private clients retain the 28-strong group for representation before local, state and federal regulatory agencies. Brian Seymour in West Palm Beach is the key contact.

The ‘very capableHerrick, Feinstein LLP has established a solid reputation in the highly competitive New York land use market. Chair of the land use and environmental group Mitchell Korbey recently advised the Republic of Turkey on land use and zoning matters pertaining to its new and expanded consulate at 46th Street and 1st Avenue. Other clients include Toll Brothers, Sherwood Equities and Read Property Group.

Hopping Green & Sams PA fields 12 attorneys focusing on land use and zoning matters across Florida. The team covers all facets of land use and real estate developments, including advising on developments of regional impact (DRI).

Orlando-based Becky Wilson at Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. recently acted as the land use lead counsel for Casto to negotiate approval of the Winter Park Village apartment complex and also assisted Jefferson Apartment Group with the rezoning and approval of over 300 units and retail space in downtown Orlando.

Clients consider Paul Hastings LLP to be ‘one of the leading land use firms in Los Angeles’. The California-based practice is jointly headed by the ‘well-connected and knowledgeableMitch Menzer and the ‘intelligent and articulateJeffrey Haber: the latter advised Townscape Partners on the redevelopment of a prominent property at the gateway to Sunset strip and Menzer assisted Mack Urban Development with obtaining entitlements for a large-scale residential community in downtown Los Angeles. David Hamsher in San Francisco was promoted to the partnership.

Venable LLP fields a team of 14 land use experts, while the practice is particularly visible in New York and Maryland. In 2014, the Washington DC team obtained zoning approvals for a 252-unit residential conversion in Crystal City and David Karceski, who divides time between the Baltimore and Towson offices, advised Enterprise Holdings on land use matters related to a new rent-a-car facility in Towson.

Arizona-based land use boutique Withey Morris PLC has longstanding experience in advising commercial, industrial and residential developers in the state. It has deep expertise in representing clients before state, county and municipal councils and commissions. Clients include blue-chip corporations such as Amazon, Volkswagen Group of America and ExxonMobil. Michael Withey and Jason Morris are the names to note.

Real estate

Index of tables

  1. Real estate
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s ‘depth of collective knowledge is unparalleled’. The ‘outstanding’, 13-partner department includes ‘some of the brightest minds in the business who represent the highest standards of service, experience and professionalism’. The ‘hardworking and dedicatedMeyer Last and department head Jonathan Mechanic - whose clients say his ‘negotiation skills are second to none and he always brings a business sense to the table’ - led advice to Citigroup on its long-term lease and headquarters relocation to 388-390 Greenwich Street. The ‘brilliantStephen Lefkowitz acted for Time Warner in connection with the $1.3bn sale of its office condo unit at Time Warner Center; he is representing the same client concerning the development and purchase of new headquarters at 30 Hudson Yards. Lawyers from the department served as co-counsel to Anbang Insurance Group in its agreement to purchase the Waldorf Astoria New York from Hilton Worldwide Holdings for $1.95bn, a matter also led by Mechanic. The team also acted for The Children’s Investment Fund Management (UK) in financing related to developments including the Four Seasons Downtown Hotel and Residences at 30 Park Place, 520 Park Avenue, 432 Park Avenue and 625 Madison Avenue in New York, as well as Parkmerced in San Francisco. The team also has been advising SL Green on several instructions including the $275m acquisition and related financing of the upper floors of Extell Development’s International Gem Tower and the $386m agreement to purchase The Olivia building on Manhattan’s West Side. In New York, Robert Sorin is ‘first rate’, Ross Silverconsistently demonstrates his depth of expertise’, Joshua Mermelstein is ‘an exceptional attorney’, Michael Barker is ‘extremely knowledgeable’, and Avi Feinberg is also recommended. Franz Rassman in Washington DC is also well regarded. David Karnovsky, formerly general counsel to the New York City Department of City Planning, joined the firm in March 2014, although Harry Silvera moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in May 2014.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s ‘fantastic’ department is based in the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices and is jointly led by Eric Feuerstein, Fred Pillon and Jesse Sharf. Recent highlights include advising Tishman Speyer on the $309m sale of the iconic office tower, 650 California Street (The Hartford Building), in San Francisco to Columbia Property Trust and acting for Shapell Industries on the $1.6bn sale of its homebuilding business to the residential real estate developer Toll Brothers. AECOM Capital instructed the practice on several matters including the financing of Flushing Commons, a mixed-use development, and acted for fashion retailer Coach on the $750m relocation of its headquarters to Hudson Yards in New York. Key individuals include David Furman, the ‘excellent’ Steven Klein, Andrew Lance and Andrew Dady, all of whom are in New York, while San Francisco-based Drew Flowers and Los Angeles-based Michael Sfregola are also recommended. Recent arrivals include New York-based Harry Silvera, who joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, and Los Angeles-based Stuart Graiwer, who joined from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

Greenberg Traurig LLP has ‘a strong national practice’, which has ‘excellent in-depth expertise for real estate matters across the country’, and is noted for its ‘broad national reach’. The department is headed by New York-based Robert Ivanhoe, who is ‘focused and hardworking’, and Chicago-based Corey Light, who is ‘highly regarded’; most of the department’s lawyers are based in the New York, Miami and Chicago offices. Ivanhoe advised Peak Hotels & Resorts Group as lead investor in the $358m acquisition of Amanresorts, while the ‘excellentStephen Rabinowitz in New York led work for SL Green Realty and its joint venture partner, The Moinian Group, in the $470m sale of 180 Maiden Lane in Manhattan. Headline work also included advising Kimco Realty on the $222m sale of a nine-property retail portfolio in Mexico and acting for BioMed Realty Trust on its $308m investment in two office buildings in New Haven, Connecticut. The ‘highly regarded team’ also includes Phoenix-based Rebecca Burnham, Gregory Fishman in Los Angeles and Chicago-based James Caserio.

One of the best firms for real estate in the US’, Paul Hastings LLP’s 32-partner group ‘is extremely knowledgeable’; its ‘advice is first rate, the level of risk mitigation is understood and its ability to close is perfect’. The department - which works nationally from the firm’s offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta and Chicago - is chaired by ‘true expertPhilip Feder in Los Angeles. Feder led advice to Aecom Capital and Mack Urban LLC regarding the $80m purchase of six acres of land in downtown Los Angeles’ South Park district from Evoq Properties, while Rick Kirkbride in Los Angeles led representation of Related in its $750m development, The Grand Avenue Project. In New York, the ‘highly recommendedDavid Viklund acted for Triple Five regarding a $1.4bn loan to refinance the Mall of America. The firm is also renowned for its hotels and resorts practice and is acting for Carey Watermark on nearly $745m worth of hotel acquisitions across seven different states. On the leasing side, San Francisco-based Steve Berkman - ‘an outstanding negotiator who provides excellent advice’ - represented in becoming the anchor tenant of Salesforce Tower (formerly the Transbay Tower), which is under development in San Francisco. Other notable individuals in the ‘hardworking and focused’ department include the ‘diligentCharles Thornton in San Francisco, Patrick Ramsey and Mitchell Menzer in Los Angeles, and Robert Wertheimer in New York.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s ‘exceptional’ practice is ‘a go-to team for complex transactional matters’ and is led by the ‘renowned’ Gregory Ressa, who is ‘a true leader in the US market’ and has ‘vast knowledge’. The department was instructed by Hilton Worldwide Holdings on several matters, including a $3.5bn mortgage refinancing, secured by a portfolio of 23 hotels; its agreement with Anbang Insurance Group to sell the Waldorf Astoria in New York for $1.95bn; and the client’s $2.7bn IPO of shares of common stock and $2.3bn secondary offering. The team advised key client Blackstone on a range of instructions which included acting for Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII on its $1.73bn agreement to acquire Nevada Property 1 LLC from Deutsche Bank and advising Blackstone on the $1.46bn sale of a portfolio of prime shopping centers to joint venture partner DDR Corp Other highlights included acting for Glimcher Realty Trust during its $4.3bn acquisition by Washington Prime Group, assisting Carlyle Real Estate Fund with the $1.3bn sale of 650 Madison Avenue, New York, and advising Brixmor Property Group on its $950m IPO. New York-based Scott Kobak is ‘superb’; Sasan Mehrara and Erik Quarfordt are also recommended. Krista Miniutti was made partner in January 2014.

A leader in the field of real estate work’, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has ‘strong international reach’ and ‘deep expertise’ across a range of complex real estate work. In the hospitality sector, the team advised Anbang Insurance Group on its $1.95bn acquisition of The Waldorf Astoria from Hilton Worldwide Holdings and acted for the special committee of Caesars Acquisition Company in connection with Caesars Growth Partners LLC’s $2bn purchase of casinos and resorts from Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Other work included advising Brookdale Senior Living on its $1.2bn joint venture with HCP to own and operate retirement communities and acting on behalf of Formation Capital on several transactions including its $1.05bn joint venture with NorthStar Realty Finance Corp, in which the client and NorthStar acquired six healthcare real estate portfolios. The team also advised on several notable transactions in New York, including representing Credit Suisse in connection with the lease of its headquarters at 11 Madison Avenue; acting for Culture Shed regarding the development of an exhibition, arts, culture and performance venue in Hudson Yards; and assisting Silverstein Properties with several matters including the $230m financing of One River Place residential and retail complex and the $158m acquisition, financing and development of a mixed-use project. The ‘first-class’ Harvey Uris heads the department and is recommended alongside the ‘focused and hardworking’ Benjamin Needell, Audrey Sokoloff and Evan Levy, all based in New York, while Nancy Olson in Chicago is also recommended. Paul Huff left the firm in July 2014.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York-based real estate department has ‘superior knowledge’, ‘deep experience’ and ‘business focus’; the ‘focused and dedicated team’ advises on complex, global commercial real estate transactions and restructurings. The ‘brilliantArthur Adler led a number of transactions for Vornado Realty Trust, including advising on a $325m mortgage loan refinancing of Manhattan Mall in New York and a $600m land loan secured by its 220 Central Park South development site. Anthony Colletta, who shows ‘sound judgment’, advised Highgate Hotels on the sale of a minority stake to Trilantic Capital and on the related financing from Ares Capital. Colletta also represented Goldman Sachs in work pertaining to $2bn worth of real estate developments and projects throughout the US, including joint ventures with Wood Partners, Alliance Communities, Lincoln Property, Greystar and Lennar Multifamily. The team also acted for AT&T on a $4.83bn transaction to lease, sublease, sell or otherwise transfer to Crown Castle International approximately 9,700 wireless communications sites, as well as handling the $2bn sale of its incumbent local exchange operations in Connecticut to Frontier Communications. Other work included advising Cole Holdings Corporation on the $3.7bn merger of Spirit Realty Capital and Cole Credit Property Trust II. Other recommended team-members include Joseph Shenker, who is ‘highly regarded’; the ‘first-rateIvan Deutsch; Benjamin Weber, who is ‘vastly knowledgeable’; and Robert Downes, who is ‘client-focused’. Managing partner Robert Schlein is ‘always accommodating’ and ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Praised as being ‘a leader in the industry in terms of knowledge and innovation’, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP fields ‘a strong and deep group of professionals versed in all relevant areas from real estate finance to securitization and tax’; it has the ‘depth and ability to handle multiple transactions at any given time’. Highlights included advising Deutsche Bank Securities as lender on a $700m mortgage loan and three layers of mezzanine financing totaling $240m to refinance existing debt on a portfolio of 167 nursing facilities operated by Sava SeniorCare. The team also advised JPMorgan on several matters in its position as lender, including a $635m mortgage loan and two mezzanine loans, all of which were secured by a portfolio of 47 hotels; and in relation to four mortgage loans totaling $222m, as well as a $950m refinancing of mortgage and mezzanine loans which was secured by the Innkeepers Portfolio. Other clients include Bank of America, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Cantor Commercial Real Estate and Ladder Capital. New York-based practice head William McInerney is ‘highly regarded’, Steven Herman is ‘excellent’, and Melissa Hinkle is ‘outstanding’, and senior counsel Fredric Altschuler is also singled out for praise. Senior associate Bonnie Neuman shows ‘attention to detail’ and has the ability to ‘firmly negotiate relevant points while maintaining a good relationship with the opposition’. Charlotte-based James Carroll and Holly Marcille Chamberlain are also recommended.

With four New York-based partners, the ‘brilliant’ department at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLPpunches well above its weight’ and has ‘an excellent reputation for high profile real estate work’. The ‘renowned’ Michael Weinberger acted for Goldman Sachs on $2bn worth of mortgage lending matters, including a $70m mortgage loan to an affiliate of Rouse Properties that was secured by the Chula Vista Mall in California, as well as a $185m mortgage loan to affiliates of Genzon Property Group and Flynn Properties, secured by 225 Bush Street in San Francisco. Weinberger also managed work for Banco Inbursa as lender regarding several construction loans and financings of developments in Florida and New York. Steven Horowitz advised Kindred Healthcare on real estate aspects of the refinancing of existing credit facilities. Horowitz also worked alongside Steven Wilner to advise Genting Group and affiliates, including Resorts World Casino, on several matters such as its bid to obtain one of four new casino licenses in New York state as well as the financing of Resorts World Casino New York City and a proposed five acre, mixed-use development in Miami. Kimberly Brown Blacklow is also recommended. Donald Stern retired in April 2014.

DLA Piper’s ‘robust’ real estate department spans 13 offices and ‘houses a wealth of top line practitioners across the US’. The ‘outstandingJay Epstien, who is based in Washington DC, heads the team, which handles complex, multi-state and cross-border real estate matters. Recent highlights include advising the US affiliates of Shanghai-based Greenland Holding Group regarding the formation of a joint venture with Forest City Ratner to develop the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, New York. It also advised Shanghai Greenland US Commercial Holding on the purchase of land near the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles. Atlanta-based Maxine Hicks acted for the Atlanta Braves in securing a large tract of property in Cobb County, Georgia for the development of a Major League Baseball stadium and integrated mixed-use development. John Rattigan in Boston represented the The Fallon Company and Mass Mutual Life Insurance Company during their $1.125bn sale of Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ global headquarters at Fan Pier in Boston to Senior Housing Property Trust. Clients also include Pfizer, The Macerich Company, SEB Investment, Green Courte Partners and Ivanhoé Cambridge. Chicago-based Alison Mitchell is ‘bright, quick and extremely efficient’; San Francisco-based Stephen Cowan is ‘extremely reliable’; and Michael Hamilton in Los Angeles is also ‘excellent’. New York-based Martin Polevoy and Boston-based John Sullivan are also recommended. Craig Cartwright and Kevin Lytle joined the Phoenix office from Snell & Wilmer LLP in June 2014, while Elizabeth Karmin moved to Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP in May 2014.

Dechert LLP has an ‘excellent lending practice’ and ‘strong financial expertise’; ‘not only is the team responsive, knowledgeable and valuable, but it is friendly and personable’, and is also praised for its ‘strong depth of understanding’. The team advised Prudential on multiple mortgage loan origination transactions, totalling more than $2bn, secured by commercial real estate throughout the US, and acted for Starwood Property Trust as lender in multiple mortgage and mezzanine loan origination transactions totalling more than $700m and advised Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and RBC on the origination of a $1.4bn loan secured by the Mall of America. It also acted for Wells Fargo’s commercial mortgage servicing group in transactions as servicer of mortgage loans for over $3bn. Other clients include Apollo, Bank of America, Barclays Capital, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, Deutsche Bank and H/2 Capital Partners. The ‘fantasticRichard Jones, who divides his time between New York and Philadelphia, heads the department, in which various individuals are recommended: these include David Linder in San Francisco and Philadelphia-based Jason Rozes, Ralph Mazzeo, David Forti and Jay Zagoren. Philippe Phaneuf joined the Los Angeles office in February 2014 from Greenberg Traurig LLP. Justin Gdula, Matthew Ginsburg, Andrew Pontano and Sean Solis were promoted to partner in January 2015.

Goodwin Procter LLP’s ‘efficient’, ‘well organized’ team delivers ‘very commercial advice’ and is ‘consistently responsive and incredibly thorough’. Noted as being ‘a leader in the REIT industry’, it is also recognized for its ‘strong’ real estate capital markets practice and its ‘excellent track record in complex transactions’. The team advised Essex Property Trust on the $4.3m acquisition of BRE Properties via a merger to create a $16.2bn portfolio of apartment buildings. It was also instructed by Forest City Enterprises on its $5bn joint venture with Greenland Group to develop Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Other highlights included acting for Boston Properties on its $1.5bn sale of a 45% stake in three properties (601 Lexington Avenue in New York, as well as Atlantic Wharf Office Building and 100 Federal Street in Boston) to affiliates of Norges Bank Investment Management and advising Delaware North on its $1bn Boston Garden Project joint venture with Boston Properties. In Boston, Gilbert Menna has ‘vast expertise’ and is recommended along with Christopher Barker, James Broderick, Alexander Randall, Ettore Santucci and David Watson. Lewis Feldman in Los Angeles and Christopher Price in New York are also singled out for praise.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘insightful, knowledgeable and responsive’ department ‘consistently exceeds expectations and creates value for any deal’, and has ‘a fantastic reputation for transactional work’. Clients span private equity sponsors as well as sovereign wealth funds, pension organizations and institutional investors and the team advises on ‘the full gamut of real estate matters’. Starwood Capital Group instructed the department on several matters including its definitive agreement with Taubman Centers, whereby the client, through a controlled affiliate, agreed to purchase a portfolio of seven Taubman malls for $1.4bn. The department is also advising Golden Gate Capital on its deal to acquire the Red Lobster restaurant chain from Darden Restaurants. Other highlights included advising a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund on its purchase of 1.1m square feet of office space at the Time Warner Center in New York and representing General Motors Investment Management Corporation on the $2.45bn sale of a Los Angeles office complex to affiliates of JP Morgan and Hines. Noted individuals in New York include Scott Berger, who gives ‘spot-on advice’; Stephen Tomlinson, who is ‘consistently reliable’, Jonathan Schechterdoes a good job thinking through and evaluating risks relevant to particular issues’, and Jennifer Morgan is also recommended. Among the Chicago-based team, Joshua Hanna is ‘outstanding’, Rachel Brown is ‘scrupulously thorough’, Daniel Perlman is ‘excellent’ and Andrew Small is ‘very skilled’. David Wolff in Chicago and Jennifer Sheehan in New York were promoted to partner in October 2014.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘broad-based’ practice demonstrates ‘professionalism, responsiveness, market knowledge and the ability to work through complex issues in very short periods of time’. Global co-head of real estate James Hisiger, who is based in New York and is ‘very in tune with the market’, worked alongside the ‘fantasticSony Ben-Moshe in San Diego to advise Bank of America on a $1.25bn senior secured refinancing along with a $300m senior unsecured note offering for Penn National Gaming as operator/lessee and manager of gaming and pari-mutuel properties, and a $1.15bn financing, concurrent with a $2.05bn senior bond offering, for GLP Financing LLC, a newly formed REIT and subsidiary of Gaming and Leisure Properties. Particularly noted for its hospitality expertise, the team is advising Starwood Capital Group Global on its acquisition of TMI Hospitality, a matter which was led by Edward Sonnenschein in New York and the ‘brilliantGary Axelrod in Chicago, who has ‘vast expertise in the hospitality sector’. New York-based Michelle Kelban, who is ‘always very responsive’, led advice to Constellation Barclay Holding U.S. LLC on its $240m purchase of an 80% stake in the Intercontinental New York Barclay Hotel, together with the financing of the acquisition and renovation. The team also advised MPG Office Trust during its $2.03bn sale to Brookfield Office Properties. Chicago-based Robert Buday is recommended along with David Meckler in Orange County and Los Angeles-based Kevin Ehrhart. The ‘brilliant’ Scott McPhee joined the Los Angeles office from Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Sidley Austin LLP’s clients praise its ‘first-rate services’, ‘extremely responsive and proactive approach’, ‘strong industry connections’ and ‘excellent insights’. The team is jointly headed by Marc Hayutin in Los Angeles, Charles Schrank in Chicago and Alan Weil in New York, who has ‘a fantastic reputation’. The team was bolstered by the arrival of Richard Fries, Neil Cohen and Todd Marcus, formerly of Bingham McCutchen LLP. Matthew Fernand in New York advised Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) on the recapitalization of One Park Avenue in New York, while Chicago-based Anthony Aiello and David Siegel acted for Commonwealth Edison Company on the expansion of transmission lines and other facilities across northern Illinois as part of the Gateway Expansion project. Los Angeles-based George Means and ‘excellent negotiatorPaul Walker acted for Credit Suisse regarding workout negotiations, receivership, bankruptcy and litigation issues pertaining to $250m in syndicated senior debt secured against the Tamarack ski resort project in Idaho. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, M&T Bank and Starwood Property Trust. Also singled out are: the ‘first-rateAimee Contreras-Camua) in Los Angeles, Chicago-based John Chamberlin and John Rafkin, as well as Jonathan Nunes in New York.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has ‘a strong bench’ led by seven partners; the team is ‘extremely responsive’, has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and delivers ‘a very high level of service’. The team’s expertise spans real estate investments, acquisitions, divestments, debt offerings, financings, leasing and REITs. Philip Rosen, who has ‘an impeccable reputation’ and ‘a “can-do” approach’, jointly heads the practice with ‘top-quality attorneyMichael Bond. Rosen advised Brookfield Asset Management on its $110m acquisition of Revel Casino in Atlantic City and led work for Crown Acquisitions and Vornado Realty Trust on the $700m acquisition of a condominium at the St Regis Hotel and an adjacent townhouse in New York.David Herman and Bond led the team acting for Lehman Brothers Holdings regarding the settlement of $400m of defaulted loans which were secured for the failed Fontainebleau project in Las Vegas. The team also advised CWCapital LLC on the restructuring of a $678m loan to a subsidiary of Vornado Realty Trust, secured by seven office buildings in Virginia, and acted for Fortress Credit Corp as lender in the refinancing of a $172m loan secured by the Shore Club in Miami, Florida. Samuel Zylberberg and Miami-based Beatriz Azcuy-Diaz are recommended, as is of counsel Elliot Ganchrow, who is ‘a hard worker who will do whatever it takes to meet deadlines’. All attorneys are based in New York, except where noted otherwise.

Arent Fox LLP’s team in Washington DC, New York and San Francisco provides ‘an excellent and thoughtful service’, ‘prompt responses’ and ‘top-notch research’. Its real estate finance practice is active on both the borrower and lender side and the team is also recognized for its expertise in tax-exempt bond financing. David Dubrow is leading work for developer Larry Silverstein regarding a $1.6bn municipal bond financing deal that will enable the World Trade Center to add a fourth tower and advised TIAA–CREF on a $1bn real estate finance joint venture, a matter that was led by Mark Fawer who joined from Brown Rudnick LLP in March 2014; Carolyn Austin also joined from the same firm. Washington DC-based department head Kenneth Jacob has been advising South Bay Partners on the development, management and sale of senior living facilities. The team also advised the Brooklyn Nets franchise on the team’s training facility, to be located in Brooklyn’s Industry City, and assisted NorthStar Realty with several commercial real estate deals in the senior living industry. In the hospitality sector, the practice has been acting for Marriott on several matters including the development of Edition brand hotels in Manhattan, the Seville Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, and the financing of the development in Potomac Yards. Mark Katz, chairman of the firm, is ‘brilliant’; Kimberly Wachen is ‘hardworking and thorough’; David Martin is ‘excellent’; and Karen Candreva and Richard Newman are also recommended.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s New York-based team has ‘a strong record for complex real estate transactional matters’. ‘Formidable’ department head Peter Irwin advised JP Morgan Asset Management on a $1.5bn equity transaction with national retail real estate investment company Edens Investment Trust, and also advised on the acquisition by Edens of AmREIT for $763m. Nicole Levin Mesard, who has ‘an excellent reputation’, advised Westfield Corporation on the $1.4bn acquisition of a leasehold interest in the retail portions of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Fulton Center transit hub and advised the same client on the $1.4bn acquisition of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 50% interest in the World Trade Center retail facilities. Other work included acting for The Rockefeller Group regarding the leasing of 1221 Avenue of the Americas in New York to MUFG Union Bank and two law firms. Edward Rishty was promoted to partner in July 2014.

Holland & Knight LLP has an ‘excellent leasing practice’, is ‘solid for real estate finance’ and is also recognized for its hospitality and retail sector experience. Highlights included advising InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) on several real estate projects including the acquisition and development of a hotel project in Brooklyn. It advised Corvias Group and its student housing division, Corvias Campus Living, on becoming concessionaire of a $517m project to develop and manage student housing for nine campuses within the University System of Georgia. The team is also recognized for its track record in the timeshare sector, where it advised Interval Leisure Group on the acquisition of Hyatt Hotel’s timeshare division and regarding the long-term master license agreement that grants the client exclusive rights to use the Hyatt brand in the timeshare space. The team was also retained to handle retail leasing work for the $3bn American Dream Meadowlands entertainment and shopping mall complex in New Jersey. New York-based Joseph Guay has lawyers in offices in numerous states across the country - including California, Florida, Illinois and New York - as well as Washington DC. Recommended individuals include Josias Dewey in Miami, Susan Booth in Los Angeles and New York-based Martin Miner, as well as Chicago-based David Allswang and James Mayer.

Jones Day’s 34-partner practice has ‘a deep bench of resources’ and ‘attorneys that anticipate client needs and respond quickly with well-crafted and customized solutions’. Chicago-based Brian Sedlak continues to act for the City of Detroit in the negotiation of infrastructure and real estate transactions in connection with its Chapter 9 filing, while Michael Haas in Cleveland advised DDR Corp on a joint venture with an affiliate of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII to acquire 71 shopping centers for $1.93bn. The ‘detail-orientated’ Scott Specht in Atlanta advised GLL Real Estate Partners on the sale of One Winthrop Square in Boston’s financial district. The ‘brilliant’ Steven Koppel in New York advised Goldman Sachs on entering into a joint venture with BFC Partners to lease from the City of New York a 7.9 acre site directly adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. The department is headed by Robert Lee in Chicago and David Lowery in Dallas. Key figures include the ‘very hardworking’ Michelle Brown in Dallas and the ‘extremely knowledgeable and experienced’ Michael Ording in Columbus, Ohio. The ‘effective and efficient’ Richard Rosenblatt in Atlanta and the ‘attentive and very thorough’ Trisha Mowbray in Chicago were elevated to the partnership in January 2014.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s ‘proactive’, ‘focused’ department has ‘a solid national reputation’. Headline work includes advising Callahan Capital Partners and Ivanhoé Cambridge on several matters worth $2bn, including the purchase and sale of interest in office buildings, and associated financings and the formation of joint ventures, work that was led by department head David Bryant. Seth Madorsky represented Allstate Insurance Company in the establishment of a $400m investment program in conjunction with MetLife, while Kenneth Lore - who heads the East Coast practice - acted for TF Cornerstone Inc on the $500m financing and development of a multifamily project located at West 57th Street in Manhattan. Mark Simon led advice to U.S. Bank as lead lender of a $320m syndicated loan to The Taubman Realty Group LP to develop a mall in Puerto Rico. Other noted individuals include chair of the Chicago real estate group David Dlugie, the ‘excellentAlvin Katz, Ira Swidler, and Scott Vetri. Douglas Noren joined Polsinelli PC in June 2014.

A standout firm’ for real estate, Kaye Scholer LLP’s nine-partner team ‘punches above its weight’ for transactional matters and is particularly applauded for its ‘strong loans and finance expertise’, where it acts for a range of major financial institutions. It advised Deutsche Bank on matters including the $520m mortgage and mezzanine financing of the Google and Amazon office complexes in Sunnyvale, California and also advised on the $240m mortgage and mezzanine financing of a 22-hotel hospitality portfolio. The team was instructed by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on the $225m mezzanine loan financing in connection with a mortgage and multiple mezzanine financings to refinance existing debt secured by the Atlantis Resort located in the Bahamas. It also advised Greenfield Partners and Magna Hospitality Group on the complex ground leasing and leasehold financing of three hotels in Manhattan as well as the $113m sale of the Holiday Inn Chelsea in Midtown Manhattan. Clients include RBS, Jefferies LoanCore and Prime Finance Partners. Department co-heads Warren Bernstein and Stephen Gliatta are ‘outstanding’, while other noted individuals include Jeannie Bionda, Michael Damast and Jeffrey Kapner.

Mayer Brown delivers a ‘terrific and responsive’ service; attorneys are ‘both business and legal partners who create value for clients’. Recent work includes Washington DC-based Frank Henneburg leading advice to Clarion Partners during the $800m sale of 47 limited service hotels to Blackstone. Other highlights included advising a real estate development company on the purchase of a development site owned by the Collegiate Church in New York and the acquisition and financing of a 150,000sq ft indoor sports and recreation facility in Waldwick, New Jersey. Key individuals in the ‘deal-friendly’ team include: the ‘highly regardedKeith Willner in Washington DC, the ‘brilliantJeffrey Usow in Chicago, as well as Leonard Rosenberg and the ‘outstandingScott Buser in Palo Alto. Charlotte-based David Saye has ‘an in-depth knowledge of the issues and relationships with regulatory agencies to move projects along’. Marc Shapiro and Jill Block joined the New York office from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘extraordinary’, ‘versatile’ department is headed by ‘strong leader’ Mark Edelstein, who is chair of the real estate finance and distressed real estate group, and Marc Young in Los Angeles, who heads the real estate group and is noted for his ‘excellent client service’. Edelstein and the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Christopher Delson are acting for the owners - Goldman Sachs, Hines Interests and Pontiac Land - on the $860m construction financing of the MoMA Tower, while Los Angeles-based Tom Fileti advised UDR on the formation of a development joint venture between some of its affiliates and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company regarding a 41-story residential tower in downtown San Francisco. Headline work also included advising Eurohypo Bank (currently doing business as Hypotheken Frankfurt) on the winding down of its US real estate lending and business operations. Key figures include Philip Levine in Palo Alto, who is ‘top quality’, and Lawrence Ceriello, who has ‘an incredible wealth of experience in the CMBS arena’ and works alongside Thomas McGovern in the New York office. Scott McPhee joined Latham & Watkins LLP in June 2014.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s six-partner practice in New York has a client base that includes major developers, government agencies, entrepreneurs, investors, lenders and REITs. Noteworthy recent work includes advising Allied Partners Management, the owners of the Savoy Hotel in Miami, on a capital transaction to expand and refurbish the property, a matter that was led by the ‘brilliantSteven Simkin and Peter Fisch. Salvatore Gogliormella and Mitchell Berg advised Savills on its $260m acquisition of Studley, a privately held national real estate services provider. Other instructions included advising HCP on various transactions such as the formation of a $1.2bn joint venture with Brookdale Senior Living. The team also advised the same client on its $1.73bn acquisition of 133 senior housing communities from a joint venture between Emeritus Corporation and Blackstone. The ‘thorough’, ‘excellent’ practice notably also includes Harris Freidus and Meredith Kane.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is ‘excellent for complex real estate deals’, and has attorneys based in New York, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Texas, Los Angeles and San Diego. Highlights included advising Barrett Block Partners on a $250m mixed use project in downtown San Francisco, which was led by department head Robert Herr and the ‘very experienced’ Rachel Horsch, who also advised Shorenstein Properties on the $300m financing, renovation and operation of Market Square in San Francisco. Houston-based Laura Hannusch, who is highly regarded, led advice to Crescent Real Estate Equities on the $1.2bn sale of two Texan commercial office properties - Greenway Plaza ten-building complex in Houston and 777 Main, a 40-story tower in Fort Worth - to holding companies owned by Cousins Properties. Other noteworthy attorneys include Eric Kremer in San Diego and David Miller in McLean, Virginia. Marc Shapiro and Jill Block joined Mayer Brown in August 2014.

Recent work for Proskauer Rose LLP’s ‘first-rate’ team includes having acted for Diplomat Properties on the $535m sale of the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, a matter led by Wendy Schriber. The ‘experienced’ David Weinberger led advice to Harbor Group International on the $157m acquisition of 55 Broadway from Broad Street Development and practice co-head Ronald Sernau assisted Hines with several matters including the sale of two midtown New York office properties for more than $1bn. The department also continued to advise American Realty Capital Properties on its $11.2bn combination with Cole Real Estate Investments. Other clients include United Realty Trust, Vornado Realty Trust and Wells Fargo. Perry Cacace is the other real estate practice co-head alongside Sernau, while Peter Fass co-chairs the real estate capital markets team alongside Steven Lichtenfeld, who also heads the real estate finance department. Jeffrey Horwitz heads the private equity real estate group.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s ‘highly responsive and deeply knowledgeable’ department has ‘a great working rapport with clients’ and ‘excellent industry knowledge’. The team is led by the ‘brilliantPaul Mattingly in Atlanta. Christa Dommers in Washington DC, who has ‘exceptional understanding of business objectives’, advised Northrop Grumman on a development project that included the consolidation of multiple leased parcels of land at a commercial airport. The department also acted for LBA Realty on a range of matters including joint ventures, financings, sale and purchases transactions, including advising on its $224m financing through The Prudential Insurance Company of America secured by twelve commercial properties. It also advises 7-Eleven on many real estate matters including leasing, acquisitions and disposals, sale-and-leaseback transactions, workouts, litigation, and gas arrangements. Key individuals in the practice include the ‘extremely knowledgeableRon Gart, who heads the real estate team in Washington DC, as well as ‘very experienced transactional attorney’ Tom Masenga, who heads the Los Angeles office. Boston-based Andrew Pearlstein and Peter Korda in New York co-chair the national structured and real estate finance practice. Joel Rubin is the key figure in Chicago. Mitchel Hill joined Fox Rothschild LLP in April 2014.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s recent achievements include advising Wharton Properties on a joint venture with General Growth Properties to acquire the Crown Building at 730 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for $1.75bn and acting for Norges Bank Investment Management regarding its agreement to acquire a 45% interest in 601 Lexington Avenue in New York, 100 Federal Street in Boston and the Atlantic Wharf Office Building in Boston via a joint venture with Boston Properties. On the leasing side, the team advised SL Green Realty on a transaction with an affiliate of Citigroup, extending Citi’s leases at 388-390 Greenwich Street. The team is based in New York and Washington DC, and key members include Chris Smith, who is ‘a highly skilled attorney’; Lisa Brill, who is recognized for her expertise in joint ventures; the ‘excellentJohn Opar, who is deputy head of the real estate group; and ‘practical and responsive’ head of real estate finance Malcolm Montgomery.

Leonard Boxer and Brian Diamond lead Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s ‘very experienced’, ‘talented team’. The practice covers developments, investment, leasing, financings and sale and purchase transactions through its teams in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Diamond led advice to J.P. Morgan Asset Management regarding the $2.5bn recapitalization of the Century Plaza Towers and 2000 Avenue of the Stars complex in Los Angeles; he also worked alongside Steven Moskowitz to advise J.P. Morgan Investment Management on a $1.4bn joint venture to develop the first tower at the Hudson Yards development in New York. Eugene Balshem recently led the team’s advice to Turnberry Associates regarding the $1.2bn refinancing of Aventura Mall while Ross Moskowitz is advising the New York Mets Baseball Club on the redevelopment of Willets Point district in Queens. Other notable individuals include Karen Scanna, Michel Evanusa, Diana Brummer and Chauncey Swalwell. Stuart Graiwer joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s ‘first-class’ department is ‘very experienced in M&A-related real estate transactions’, and is particularly noted for its ‘strong expertise’ in the REIT industry. The team has ‘a strong capability for complex and high-profile work’. Adam Emmerich is advising French retail landlord Klépierre regarding its $9.68bn acquisition of Corio and Robin Panovka is acting for Ventas in its $3.1bn acquisition of Atria’s senior housing portfolio. Other highlights included acting for Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley Funds on the sale of the Revel Hotel and Casino project in Atlantic City and the restructuring of the CNL hotel portfolio. The department is also instructed by clients such as Colony Financial, Sears and Washington Prime Group. Sadly, Stephen Gellman passed away in February 2014.

Akerman LLP’s ‘excellent’, ‘skilled’ lawyers advise clients on large-scale development projects in Florida and New York, as well as complex transactional matters. Eric Rapkin acted for Parmenter Realty Partners on several matters including the acquisition of The Tower at Cityplace in Dallas, as well as the $215m sale of Fifth Third Center in Charlotte. Rapkin continues to advise All Aboard Florida on the development of an intercity passenger rail project between Miami and Orlando. The team is also advising Swire Properties on the $1.05bn Brickell City Centre mixed-use development, including its leasing to Saks Fifth Avenue, a matter that is being led by Neisen Kasdin. Among other work, the department advised Samsung Electronics America on the leasing of a building in the Meat Packing district of New York and is acting for Rialto Mortgage Finance on the closing of mortgage loans originated for sale in connection with the issuances of commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS). Department head Richard Bezold is highly regarded and Steven Polivy, who heads the economic development practice and is managing partner of the New York office, is ‘fantastic’. Other recommended individuals include Andrew Robins, who chairs the firm’s lodging and lifestyle team, the ‘extremely brightIsrael Alfonso and the ‘dedicatedManuel Fernandez. Recent hires include Yariv Ben-Ari from Morrison Cohen LLP, Susan Robin from Proskauer Rose LLP and Brian Tague from the defunct Tew Cardenas LLP, as well as Lisa Lim, who was previously senior counsel at Empire State Development, and Andrew Berman a former Professor of Law at New York Law School.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s ten-partner department spans the New York, Chicago, Dallas and Houston offices. The team, which is led by the ‘excellent’ Michael Smith in Chicago, is noted for its expertise in advising REITs, lenders and multinational corporate clients, and is ‘excellent on cross-border work’. The team advised Motorola Solutions on the disposal of half of its assets to Zebra Technologies, which involved the sale and restructuring of over 150 sites globally; the properties were valued at over $3.5bn. The team acted for lenders Bancomext and Banco Invex on the financing of the $80m Tijuana Cross-Border Facility Project, including designing the US and Mexican security packages. The department also acts for Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores on management of its global lease portfolio. Chicago-based Matthew Alshouse is ‘an expert’ and Richard Cremieux is also highly regarded.

Based in Dallas and Houston, Baker Botts L.L.P.’s ‘responsive, efficient and knowledgeable’ department acts on a range of major leasing, acquisition, sale and refinancing transactions. It continues to act for key client Hines on various matters including the public and private redevelopment of CityCenterDC, a 2.5m sq ft mixed-use project, and recently advised on the documentation of phase two of the project, which involves the development of a luxury hotel and retail outlets. The team also advised Hines on $1.2bn worth of financings for Hines REIT and other Hines entities. Other work includes advising Tenaris on several site acquisitions as well as the development of its first US seamless pipe mill factory and the lease of port facilities. It acted for Hawkeye Partners on various real estate acquisitions and financings. Dallas-based Patricia Stanton, who has ‘extensive experience’, heads the ‘strong’ department, in which Jonathan Dunlay is noted for his ‘ability to negotiate documents and explain issues and risks in layman’s terms’. Paul Landen, Kimberly Epstein Schlanger, Chris Wilson and the ‘proactive’ Robert Wright are also recommended.

Ballard Spahr LLP’s ‘top-quality’ practice spans 13 offices and as a result it has ‘vast depth of knowledge in real estate across the US’. It is also noted for providing ‘excellent customer service’. Mary Jo George in Washington DC led work for Greystone Servicing Corporation on a $117m multifamily affordable housing transaction in Georgia, and the ‘outstanding’ Alan Ritterband in Philadelphia is leading work for Comcast on its joint venture agreement with Liberty Property Trust and on the long-term lease regarding the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center in Pennsylvania. The team continues to advise Majestic Realty, recently advising it on the negotiation of a ten-year lease for a regional warehouse facility in Atlanta. Practice chair Bart Mellits in Philadelphia is ‘excellent’ and Baltimore-based Raymond Truitt is ‘top notch’. Los Angeles-based David Barksdale, head of the private equity real estate team, is also recommended. Molly Bryson joined the Philadelphia office in July 2014 from Nixon Peabody LLP, and in November 2014 Laura Seidel joined in Atlanta from Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.

Dentons’ ‘top-quality’ 36-partner department operates mainly through its New York, Chicago, St Louis and Kansas City offices. It is ‘excellent for complex real estate work’. A recent instruction came from an affiliate of Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, on a $210m senior secured credit facility for a property portfolio consisting of high-end condos, homes and apartments. It also advised Bancorp Community Development Corporation on the rebuilding of BW Cooper, a New Orleans affordable and public housing apartment complex which was significantly damaged during Hurricane Katrina. It also acted for Lehman Brothers Holdings in several matters, including the sale of the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Maui Resort, to Woodridge Capital Partners and Colony Capital for $142m, and advised NYU Hospitals Center on the closing of its $145m acquisition of the ground leasehold interest at 673 First Avenue in Manhattan. Department chair David Hall in New York is ‘highly regarded’, and department vice-chair Robert Fernandez in Chicago, as well as Tom Vandiver in St Louis and Los Angeles, are also recommended. Julia Taylor in Kansas City was promoted to partner in March 2014. Post the merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, the team welcomed Atlanta-based William Timmons, co-chair of the practice, and Matthew Royko, also in Atlanta.

The ‘commercially aware’ attorneys at Foley & Lardner LLPalways respond on time’ and ‘understand the legal, political and business aspects of any transaction’. The group advised AgReserves, an affiliate of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on its $563m acquisition of 383,000 acres of timberland from The St Joe Company and advised an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group on the $1.45bn acquisition of a seven-mall portfolio from Taubman. It also acted for 100 South Ashley Property Owner, controlled by Greenfield Partners, on its $78m acquisition of a Class A office tower in Tampa, known as the Wells Fargo Center. For Parkway Properties, it advised on the $65.4m acquisition of a prime office building in Miami Beach. Other clients include Raymond James Bank, Regency Centers and Farmland Reserves. Key contributors to the ‘exceptionally high service’ include department chair Fred Ridley in Tampa as well as vice-chairs David Cook in Jacksonville and Jason Barglow in Los Angeles. Michael Hatch is ‘exceptionally talented’, Sarah Jelencic is ‘spectacular’ and Joseph Rupkey is ‘extremely knowledgeable’. Brian Cohen* and W Christopher Rabil were recently promoted to partner. *Since publication, Brian Cohen has joined the New York office of Goulston & Storrs.

Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.’s real estate practice spans its 11 offices across the US. Regarded as ‘excellent for leasing work’, the department also advises on acquisitions, dispositions and finance-related matters across the office, multifamily, retail, hospitality and industrial sectors. Recent work includes advising a national finance institution as lead agent on a debt restructuring for a commercial real estate development company, which included multiple revolving loans, term loans and construction loans. Names to note include practice chair Walter Schleimer in New York and Dallas-based Matthew Schindel. Also In New York, Jeremy Herskowitz, Russ Rabinovich and Nicholas Hoffman were promoted to partner in January 2015, and Tony Soards in Dallas was made partner in June 2014.

King & Spalding LLP is noted for its ‘excellent response times and industry knowledge’. The depth of the team is praised, along with its ‘ability to quickly draw on specialized expertise from across the firm’. It advised Columbia Property Trust on two separate real estate transactions which included a $309m acquisition of 650 California Street, a Class A office tower in San Francisco and a $290m disposition of Lenox Park, an office portfolio in Atlanta. Cousins Properties instructed the team in the acquisition of Northpark Town Center in Atlanta for $348m from an investor client of AEW. It also advised Deka Immobilien Investment on the $170m acquisition of the retail condominium portion of 522 Fifth Avenue, a joint venture with Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation. Department head Sarah Borders is recommended alongside Timothy Goodwin and Joshua Kamin in Atlanta, where Brent Gilfedder was made partner. In the New York office, Andrew Charles is singled out alongside new partner Sheryl Kass, and Drew Chapman who joined from WilmerHale in May 2014.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is ‘excellent on transactions’; it advises on a range of sales, acquisitions, development projects, leasing and finance matters and is particularly noted for its expertise on high-profile condominium developments. The ‘brilliant’ Jonathan Canter led advice for The Related Companies on a range of high-profile matters regarding the Hudson Yards development, including advising on a project-wide ownership association and management regime to govern all the individual development parcels on the site. Canter also advised a number leading developers regarding the registration and sales of a range of high-profile luxury condominium projects in New York. The Peebles Corporation instructed the team (a matter led by James Godman) on its acquisition, financing and joint venture regarding 346 Broadway in New York. Department head Jay Neveloff, ‘a fantastic attorney’ who is ‘very focused and detailed’, led work on behalf of Sotheby’s regarding potential transactions involving its existing New York headquarters. Former co-chair of the practice Michael Korotkin is now senior counsel in the team. Jeffrey Braun and Neil Tucker are also noteworthy.

The ‘pragmatic’ six-partner team at Norton Rose Fulbright is noted for its expertise in debt and equity financing as well as development projects, purchase, sale, leasing and real estate disputes, with strengths across the industrial, manufacturing, retail, leisure and commercial sectors. The department is headed by the ‘focusedJane Snoddy Smith in Austin, who acted for Hartz Mountain Industries on the $19m purchase of a Class A industrial property in Maryland which was formerly occupied by Coca-Cola. Dallas-based Winston Walp led work for Beck Ventures regarding the acquisition of Valley View Mall in Dallas. Walp also led on several matters for Capital Senior Living Corporation, including its acquisition of 11 senior housing properties located in eight states across the US. New York-based Douglas Danzig acted for G-III Apparel Group regarding its leasing of more than 175,000 sq ft of showroom and office space in New York. John Jennings in San Antonio, who focuses on commercial real estate, is also recommended.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s ‘client-orientated’ seven-partner team has ‘great technical expertise’ and ‘a deep knowledge of commercial real estate’. It is based on both the East and West Coasts. William Murray led advice for DBNCH Circle LLC, a joint venture controlled by Bristol Group, in a CMBS financing from UBS Real Estate Securities, secured by a real estate portfolio consisting of 106 gas station and convenience stores. Department head Michael Liever, who is ‘able to cut to the chase quickly’, is advising the City of San Francisco on the development and financing of a four-star hotel. Gerard Walsh is noted for his hospitality-sector expertise and led work for Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers in the sale of the Ihilani JW Marriott Hotel at Ko’Olina. Based in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Dennis Martin acts for a number of real estate private equity funds. Michael McAndrews is also noted as being ‘very experienced’. In February 2014, William Cullen and Janet Barbiere joined the New York office from Kaye Scholer LLP boosting the team’s CMBS capabilities.

New York-based Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s ‘quality-driven’ five-partner department often handles sophisticated deals including complex financing structures. Its client base includes a number of private equity funds as well as developers, borrowers, lenders and financial institutions. Led by the ‘knowledgeableJeffrey Lenobel, it is advising Oxford Properties Group on its interest in the joint venture with The Related Companies to lease and develop the Hudson Yards site in New York. It is also advising Albertsons and Cerberus Capital Management LP on the pending $9bn acquisition of supermarket chain Safeway, with 950 owned and ground-leased properties located throughout the US. It is also advising MoMA on the expansion of its existing museum facility and the sale of air rights to an affiliate of Hines Interests Limited Partnership. Key individuals include the ‘brightBruce Cybul, Julian Wise, the ‘exceptionalMarshall Brozost and Robert Nash.

The New York and Texas-based team at Thompson & Knight LLPgoes the extra mile to understand the client and its business strategy’. Recent highlights include advising Olympic Property Partners on its acquisition of the First National Bank Building at 1401 Elm Street in Dallas, a matter led by Mark Weibel and William O’Connor. Jennifer Taylor Fargo is leading work for New York Life Insurance Company on a $97.5m loan to a Mac Haik Enterprises company, secured by Energy Tower III in Houston. Among the 25 partners, team head Andrew Ingrum in Dallas delivers ‘exceptional knowledge, advice and responses’ and Mark Sloan is also singled out for praise. Bruce Merwin joined from Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. in June 2014 and Benjamin Herd was promoted to partner in February 2014.

With a presence in the Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore, Venable LLP’s ‘stellar’ transactional experience covers development, leasing, financing and tax-related work. It is also noted for its disputes expertise. Lawrence Gesner is recommended for complex real estate financing matters and leads work for Fannie Mae on structured financing transactions. Thomas Millspaugh heads the department, which also includes Robert Gottleib, noted for his tax-related expertise, and Mitchell Evall and Andrew Schmerzler.

White & Case LLP is noted for its strong lender, developer and investor client base, advising on high profile transactions and disputes. Recent work for the ‘very thorough’ team includes acting for Codina Partners as investor and developer of a $1bn mixed-use development project, and successfully representing UBS Real Estate Securities on a significant brokerage commission dispute. It was also instructed by Standard Pacific Homes on the acquisition, disposition and financing of numerous properties across Florida. In Miami, department head Steven Vainder is ‘highly regarded for his real estate expertise’ and the ‘first-rateJames Robinson II is also based in that office. In New York, Steven Lutt (‘very experienced’) co-heads the hospitality and leisure group.

With an ‘excellent market presence’, Winston & Strawn LLP’s nine-partner group serves a roster of major purchasers, sellers, developers, borrowers, and lenders in the development, financing, acquisition, and sale of commercial, industrial and multifamily properties. Recent work includes advising Natixis Real Estate Capital and its affiliates on the $100m financing for 1412 Broadway in New York, and assisting DDR Corp with the $103m refinancing of a portfolio of shopping centers. Other clients include RBS, Altpoint Capital Partners and Luxottica. Department head Corey Tessler and Michael Moser (both in New York) are noted for complex finance transactions and work alongside William Lang and Ilan Lerman who co-head the real estate transactions practice. Christine Spletzer leads on structured finance and capital markets work. Mark Henning and Christopher Murtaugh are the names to note in Chicago.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘strong’ five-partner team has ‘first-class’ real estate finance experience in addition to its acquisitions and litigation prowess. An additional boon is its cross-border expertise - the team acts for a number of Chinese investors on US real estate matters. It also advises a number of private equity funds. Group head Kevin O’Shea acted for Primark on its $100m lease for 112,000sq ft of space in the Burnham Building in Boston. O’Shea also led on several matters for China Vanke including its second joint venture with Tishman Speyer to develop a luxury condominium project in San Francisco and on a joint venture with developer RFR Holding to acquire a parcel of land located at 610 Lexington Avenue in New York for $180m. Erwin Dweck advised PIMCO Bravo Funds on its joint venture with a local operating partner to acquire a portfolio of 16 office buildings in the Palo Alto sub-market. Robert Grados, Mitchell Silk and Jacob Pultman are also noted.

The team at Clifford Chance is praised for ‘strong service, advice and advocacy’, as well as its ‘sheer depth of expertise’. A recent highlight was advising JSRE Acquisitions on a real estate acquisition program consisting of ten separate purchases of retail and office properties located throughout the US. The ‘brilliant’ Ness Cohen is ‘very experienced’ on private equity matters and led Almanac Realty Investors on the $150m convertible debt credit facility to Historic Restoration Incorporated, a leading developer of multifamily and hospitality projects. The group also receives instructions from Madison International Realty, CIBC and Berkshire Property Advisors. Department head Douglas Wisner ‘combines technical skills with a strategic approach to safeguard client interests’. Michael Seaton was promoted to partner.

The New York-based group at Davis & Gilbert LLP is ‘thorough, practical and focused’ and advises on matters ranging from ownership, leasing and conveyancing to financing. It is particularly applauded for its ‘strong leasing practice’, where highlights include advising GroupM, a subsidiary of WPP, regarding the lease of office space at 3 World Trade Center in New York, and advising Tishman Speyer on a number of leasing matters at the Rockefeller Center, Chrysler Center and 520 Madison Avenue. It negotiated leases for a number of retail clients, including Chick-fil-A, Polo Ralph Lauren and Uniqlo. It also acted for Ross Procurement, a subsidiary of Ross Stores, on the acquisition of 1372 Broadway. The ‘brilliant’ Mark Maltz and Donald Sonnenborn head the eight-partner group. Robert Karin ‘provides timely and practical legal guidance’ and ‘understands the clients perspective’. Gerald Uram is also noteworthy.

Hogan Lovells’ ‘extremely responsive’ group has a ‘deep knowledge of real estate and financing matters’. It is particularly strong in the leisure industry, and is noted for its REITs practice. Parkway Properties instructed the team on its $1.2bn acquisition of Thomas Properties Group. Playa Hotels & Resorts instructed it in a $325m equity investment by a subsidiary of Hyatt Hotels. In addition, the team acted for Thayer Lodging Group on the sale of its investment management and asset management platform to Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management. Washington DC-based Bruce Parmley heads the team. In Los Angeles, Albert Stemp joined from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Hunton & Williams LLP’s ‘first-rate transactional practice’ spans commercial, industrial, retail, hospitality, leisure, multifamily and mixed-use properties. It advised Chatham Lodging Trust on the acquisition of a 51-hotel portfolio from a joint venture in two separate transactions for a total purchase price of $1.3bn, and acted for 111 Realty Investors on the $257m sale of 106 drill sites to Chesapeake Land Development Company. It also advised on the real estate aspects of a number of energy transactions. The group continued to grow, with the arrival of Robert Johnson fromSeyfarth Shaw LLP in August 2014. It is co-headed by Howard Schreiber in Dallas and Carl Schwartz in New York, and also includes Rori Malech, who is ‘a class act’, as well as Jeffrey Giese and Lawrence Adams. William Walsh recently retired.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP’s ‘very responsive’ team is known for its real estate transaction, litigation and bankruptcy expertise, focusing on development, acquisition, leasing, capital markets, financings and restructurings. It has niche expertise in the gaming and hospitality arena. Douglas Heitner led advice to The Witkoff Group on the purchase of the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel and the subsequent development project. Adam Endick advised Extell Development Company on the ground leasing of four buildings in the ‘Ring Portfolio’ in midtown New York to a joint venture between Kaufman Organization and Principal Life Insurance Company. The ‘brilliantWallace Schwartz acted for Penn National Gaming Inc in its joint venture with The Cordish Companies, regarding the acquisition of property and the financing and development of a casino, hotel, retail and entertainment center. The firm recently welcomed two associates and a counsel from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s real estate offering is led by Eric Stern in Philadelphia, and has recently expanded its already ‘very strong’ offering with the addition of several individuals from Bingham McCutchen LLP, including Michael Pickett in Washington DC and Carol Dillon in Silicon Valley. It recently advised Drexel University on a long-term ground lease development deal with American Campus Communities for a student housing facility on the Drexel campus in Philadelphia. Other clients include Gramercy Property Trust, Teach for America, Brandywine Realty Trust and Butler University. Marc Liverant in Los Angeles is also recommended.

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP handles a range of development, finance, capital markets and residential real estate matters. It recently advised Regent Partners on a joint venture transaction for the $88m development of a mixed-use project in Charlotte, and assisted South City Partners with the purchase of land for a downtown development project in Georgia, including a $38m mixed-use development. Other clients include Noble Investment Group, Sealy & Company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, SunTrust Bank and Regent Partners. In Atlanta, Thomas Gryboski heads the team which includes John Morris, who is ‘great on finance matters’, and Frank Bazzel, a ‘true talent’. Duncan Miller and Andrew Williams are also renowned individuals. In Washington DC, Recent arrivals include Elizabeth Karmin from DLA Piper, Wendelin White from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, and James Peck and Bonnie Hochman Rothell from Krooth & Altman LLP. Michael Rhim in Atlanta and Brad Lenox in Raleigh-Durham were promoted to partner. In June 2015, highly rated hospitality sector expert Carol Weld King joined the firm from Hogan Lovells US LLP.

Polsinelli PChas built a very strong team to back up a very strong leader’, and the sizeable group is noted for its ‘excellent response times’. It advised Extell Development Company on a variety of matters including One57, a, 90-story mixed use building overlooking Central Park in New York. It advised KeyBank National Association on several commercial real estate loans, including a $120m mortgage loan secured by a portfolio of four multifamily properties in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, and a related $19m mezzanine loan. It also acts for Bioscrip on real estate matters with respect to its office, location and retail holdings located across 29 states. Other clients include Catholic Health Initiatives, Prime Finance Partners, MC-Five Mile and Mainstreet. Dan Flanigan in Kansas City and New York is ‘first rate’, and heads the ‘growing’ team that welcomed Paul Cicchetti in New York and David Wilkinson in Washington DC from DLA Piper as well as Douglas Noren in Chicago from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. Former Chief Counsel to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Marc Lemon joined in Washington DC, and in Denver, Patricia Gruber joined from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP. In Kansas City, other key individuals include Kraig Kohring and the ‘experienced’ Maribeth McMahon who heads the real estate finance practice. Also in Kansas City, Evan Fitts and Susan Wylie were promoted to partner.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s small but ‘well-regarded’ New York-based group is led by Eugene Pinover (of counsel) and Thomas Henry. Typical mandates involve complex financings, acquisitions and sales, formation of joint ventures, and leasing and development transactions. Among its recent highlights, it advised Washington Prime Group on its $4.3bn merger with Glimcher Realty Trust, and assisted Simon Property Group with the acquisition of two shopping centers with a combined value of $1.09bn. It also advised Paramount Group on its $2.6bn IPO as well as the acquisition of 50 Beale Street, a Class A office building in San Francisco. Colony Financial instructed the firm in a $1.6bn acquisition of a light industrial portfolio.

Highly regarded in the market’, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP has a ‘strong team of professionals’ advising on transactional, regulatory and litigation matters. Highlights included advising Swift Real Estate Partners on the purchase of an office campus in Pleasanton, California and advising Kilroy Realty Corp on its $95m purchase of 3.1 acres in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district. Los Angeles-based Anton Natsis is the department chair, and Richard Stinehart in Orange County serves as director of the real estate group. Gary McKitterick, also in Orange County, is another name to note.

The ‘acclaimed’ team at Andrews Kurth LLP in Texas advises owners, lenders, equity investors, developers and landlords on various national and international real estate projects; it is particularly recommended for leasing matters. David Runnels led advice on the real estate aspects when instructed by an affiliate of NRG Energy regarding a carbon capture facility which includes a pipeline for enhanced oil recovery and a cogeneration facility to power the carbon capture plant. Mark Arnold advised Landry’s Gaming Inc on the acquisition of a $600m hotel and casino resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The firm was also instructed by Invesco, regarding the joint venture, acquisition and accompanying $235m loan financing of a class AA office tower in Houston. Jack Fields and Michael Boyd head the department, and Andrew Campbell is also recommended.

Arnold & Porter LLP’s 14-partner team spans New York, Washington DC and San Francisco. The department is headed is the ‘superbMichael Goodwin, who led work for Oxford Properties Group on its $330m acquisition of Gallery Place in Washington DC, and is also advising The John Akridge Companies on a site swap and lease back matter. Other clients of the group include Vornado Realty Trust, Penzance Properties LLC, Host Hotels & Resorts and Gould Property Company. Besides Goodwin, notable individuals include Alan Lawrence, the ‘experiencedJohn Busillo, senior counsel Thomas Larsen and Jennifer Perkins who is noted for her leasing expertise, and William Bosch, who joined from Steptoe & Johnson LLP in June 2014. James Richman left the firm in August 2014.

Bryan Cave LLP’s ‘vast’ department has expertise spanning a range of transactional matters. It is advising Williamsburg Edge LLC on the $500m sale of seven leased and operational retail condo units, and three mixed-use residential and commercial condo projects in Brooklyn. The team also continues to advise Och-Ziff on several matters, including the acquisition of a large hotel, and the acquisition and subsequent sale of a hotel management company. For Casco Development Corp, it is assisting with a joint venture to acquire 540-548 West 21st Street in Manhattan from The Atlantic Foundation. James Buell in St Louis heads the 44-partner group. Ronald Emanuel and Andrew Auerbach are recommended in New York, and Lars Lagerman in Phoenix is also ‘highly regarded’.

Cooley LLP’s seven-partner department assists owners, operators, developers, lenders, tenants and institutional investors. It often handles real estate-related capital markets transactions, and has carved out a niche in advising on data center-related real estate. Key highlights included advising Milestone Communications on the expansion of its portfolio of telecommunications tower sites, a matter led by Jack Lavoie. Lavoie is also leading work for PN Hoffman regarding a $1.5bn mixed-use development along the Washington Channel, known as The Wharf. It also acted for data center provider The Telx Group on its lease of 32 Avenue of the Americas in New York, as well as data center space in Seattle. In addition, the team is advising DuPont Fabros Technology on its ongoing data center expansion and acquisitions. The ‘fantastic’ Antonio Calabrese in Reston heads the group.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson’s ‘highly rated’ California-based group regularly acts for financial institutions, pension funds, REITs, and public agencies. It recently advised a developer on the leasing for a high-end lifestyle shopping center in North San Diego County, and acted for a developer on the acquisition of a neighborhood shopping center. Key individuals include Adam Weissburg,Phillip Nicholson, Randall Black and Adriana Vesci.

Faegre Baker Daniels advises on a broad range of work, including development, acquisition, leasing, sales, investment and distressed real estate. It is particularly noted for its expertise in the hospitality and retail sectors. Clients have included restaurant chain The Oceanaire and Target. Among the noteworthy names are Diane Davies in Denver, Joseph Scimia and Mary Lisher in Indianapolis, and Scott Anderegg in Minneapolis.

Based across the firm’s Arizona, Colorado and Nevada offices, the ‘outstanding’ department at Fennemore Craig has the ‘in-depth expertise’ required to handle a variety of acquisition, finance, development, leasing and sales matters. It attracts clients from various industries such as healthcare, sport and retail. It also has an active real estate litigation practice. Heidi Kimzey Short heads the real estate department as well as the litigation team, and Don Miner leads on transactions and financing. Jay Kramer is also recommended. In Nevada, Colleen Dolan, Jeffrey Zucker and Craig Etem joined from Lionel Sawyer & Collins in December 2014.

The 14-partner group at Gardere Wynne Sewell has been advising KDC on several matters, including the formation of a joint venture with JCPenney and two other developers to develop a site surrounding JCPenney’s headquarters into a mixed-use project, and advice regarding CityLine, a 186-acre, $1.5bn project in Richardson, Texas. The firm is also noted for its hospitality practice; it is advising Aimbridge Hospitality on the sale of a majority ownership position to Lee Equity Partners, and recently represented Ashford Hospitality Trust in the $500m refinancing of a 22-hotel portfolio. Based in Dallas and Houston, noted individuals include department head Kevin Kelley, as well as George Dunlap, Cynthia Nelson, and Clifford Risman. Wayne Yaffee joined Greenberg Traurig LLP in May 2014.

In New York, Herrick, Feinstein LLP’s 16-partner group has a ‘strong dirt practice’ It has been acting for Toll Brothers in several matters, including assisting with its joint venture development with Starwood Capital for the development of a hotel and a residential condominium inside Brooklyn Bridge Park. Rechler Equity Partners called upon the team for advice on its 40-year renewable ground lease to redevelop Suffolk County’s Gabreski Airport. Other noteworthy work includes advising the Republic of Turkey on the development of a new and expanded consulate. Department head Belinda Schwartz is ‘excellent’, Jonathan Adelsberg co-chairs the commercial leasing practice, and other recommended attorneys include Neil Shapiro, and Robert Rattet. Eric Stabler, Kevin Fullington and Christopher Greeley were promoted to partner.

With 45 partners, Holland & Hart LLP acts for buyers, sellers, developers, builders, lenders and investors as well as landlords, and tenants on real estate matters nationwide. Mona Burton in Salt Lake City heads the team, and Bradley Boodt in Las Vegas is also recommended. Sean Hanlon was promoted to partner in January 2015.

K&L Gates’ 50-strong department has expertise spanning acquisitions, development projects, financing and leasing transactions; it has particulary strong experience in the energy, technology and leisure sectors. It advised Brookstone on real estate aspects of its Chapter 11 reorganization, acted for Carnegie Mellon University in a range of real estate matters, and acted for Concord Hospitality Enterprise Company in the $336m sale of a branded hotel portfolio purchased by a sovereign wealth fund. It also advised RIU Hotels on the acquisition of The Westin Aruba Resort & Casino. Matthew Norton in Charleston heads the department, and David Ehrenwerth and William Bernfeld are also recommended. Four partners joined Troutman Sanders in May 2014, including former team head Walter Fisher and David Jones.

With 16 partners across New York and Los Angeles, Loeb & Loeb LLP’s team is ‘exceptional’, particularly for financing and leasing work. Department head Raymond Sanseverino, who is ‘extremely hardworking’, advised BNY Mellon on the lease of office space for its new headquarters at 225 Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan; he also advised the client on the $585m sale of its headquarters to a joint venture led by Macklowe Properties. Sanseverino also led work for Brookfield Office Properties regarding a $700m lease to Time Inc for its new headquarters in Lower Manhattan. For Aareal Capital Corporation, the group advised on $1bn worth of mortgage loan originations, restructurings and acquisitions. Other recommended individuals in the group include Kenneth Sold, Steven Kornblau (‘brilliant attorney’), David Kostman and Michael Kinney. Nichole Cortese was promoted to partner.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP’s California-based group is ‘excellent’ for real estate transactions. It recently handled work for Macerich involving the $1bn sale of a portfolio of shopping centers across the US. It is advising Castlelake on the acquisition of a significant equity interest in the master developer of The Hunters Point Shipyard and Candlestick Point in San Francisco. Addtitional names on its client roster are CREF, TPG Credit Management, Trader Joe’s, Wal-Mart Stores and The Westfield Group. The 30-strong team is co-chaired by Tom Muller in Los Angeles and Michael Polentz in Palo Alto. Steven Edwards and Clay Gantz are also noteworthy.

Nixon Peabody LLP’s ‘esteemed’ and ‘innovative’ 19-partner department advises on a range of real estate matters including distressed debt, finance, development projects and urban redevelopment. It is particularly noted for its niche specialisms, such as affordable housing, tax credit finance and syndication. The ‘pragmatic’ Denise Pursley in Long Island and New York chairs the real estate group, while Paul Bouton in Boston heads the real estate, energy and community development department. Also noted are Monica Sussman who is ‘strong on affordable housing’, and managing partner Andrew Glincher. The team was recently boosted by a number of hires at associate level.

Reed Smith LLP’s ‘highly rated’ practice is ‘always responsive’ and ‘very experienced in real estate’. It advised W P Carey on a range of matters, including a merger with its publicly held non-traded REIT affiliate Corporate Property Associates 16, advising it on all real estate finance aspects regarding the portfolio. It also advised MedEquities Realty Trust on its acquisition of a multi-tenant medical office building in Brownsville, Texas. Other clients include Toll Brothers, The Peterson Companies, Sunrise Senior Living and Kimco Realty Corporation. Dusty Elias Kirk in Pittsburgh heads the 55-partner team, where key individuals include Simon Adams in San Francisco, and Joseph Marger in New York. Ziad Hammodi, Ajay Raju and Edward Rogers recently left the firm.

Ropes & Gray LLP attracts praise for its ‘excellent work ethic’. The ‘dedicated’ group of attorneys advise on investments, financing matters, corporate real estate, and fund formation. It is advising Starwood Capital Group on the potential redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Massachusetts. Morgans Hotel Group is another example client. The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ David Djaha heads the team, and Peter Alpert and Marc Lazar are ‘excellent’. Richard Gordet, Jason Dunn and Walter McCabe are also noteworthy. Daniel Stanco was promoted to partner and Matt Posthuma joined in 2015 from Mayer Brown.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s ‘strong’ department includes Tony Toranto, who led work for the developers on several projects in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley including Octavia Gateway, 400 Grove Street and 450 Hayes Street. The group also advised AG Net Lease Acquisition Corp on several matters including its financing of a sports clothing and equipment retailer distribution facility in Jeffersonville, Georgia, a matter led by the ‘outstanding’ Michele Williams alongside Michael Gibson. Domenic Drago and Keith Garner co-chair the department, and Pamela Westhoff is noted for being ‘experienced on leasing matters’. Gregory Grigorian is a name for finance transactions, and Larry Eppley is also recommended. Jennifer Renk, Nancy Scull and David Hymer joined from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, and Scott Morehouse joined from Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s 11-partner team is ‘highly recommended’.At the helm of the group is Victor Haley, who is noted for his expertise in timberland transactions. R Robinson Plowden led work for Stonemont Real Estate on its acquisition of a 40-acre site in Shaumburg, Illinois, the former Motorola headquarters. James Jordan led on matters for Fuqua Development which included the development of retail and mixed-use projects including the sale of a newly completed retail shopping center in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. William Rothschild is singled out for his real estate finance expertise, and Michael Kerman is also noted.

Thompson Hine LLP’s 15-partner team achieves ‘consistent and credible results’, and ‘the team leadership and supporting subject matter experts work seamlessly’. It advised DDR Corp and Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII on the acquisition of a portfolio of 76 shopping centers from American Realty Capital Properties for $1.9bn; it also advises DDR Corp on dispositions, redevelopment and leasing matters. C-III Asset Management LLC instructed the team in the workout and restructuring of a $65m CMBS financing of a corporate office tower complex in Covington, Kentucky. Other clients include AkzoNobel, Cuyahoga County, United Technologies and Pratt & Whitney. The team is led by Thomas Coyne in Cleveland where the ‘brilliant’ James Aronoff and ‘knowledgeable’ Robyn Minter Smyers are also based. In January 2015 Stephen Schrock and Christine Schneider (senior counsel) joined in Atlanta from Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP and Bryan Cave LLP, respectively.

Based across Richmond, Atlanta, New York, Charlotte, Virginia Beach and San Diego, Troutman Sanders delivers ‘excellent service across the board’. It was recently boosted by the arrival of several partners, including former team head Walter Fisher (‘outstanding’), Patrick Ridinger, Paul Steffens and David Jones, from K&L Gates. Highlights for the ‘problem-solving’, and ‘responsive’ team included advising on two new medical office buildings and urgent care facilities for CHKD. Mark Elliott in Atlanta heads the department.

WilmerHale’s ‘fantastic real estate team’ is based in Boston, where the ‘brilliant’ Paul Jakubowski serves as chair and Sean Boulger as vice-chair. The firm houses ‘an extremely high level of expertise despite its smaller size’. It advised Carpenter & Company and its co-developer, an affiliate of Chicago-based Pritzker Realty Company, on the $1bn development of two buildings in Boston’s Back Bay, namely a 58-story tower and a 27-story luxury apartment building; the matter was led by Keith Barnett. It acted for AEW Capital Management on a range of work, including the formation of joint ventures and acquisition, development, financing and disposition of all real estate across the US. The team is also advising Trinity Financial on several urban redevelopment projects. Clients include Safeway, Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Bank of America.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

Index of tables

  1. Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
  2. Leading lawyers

Clifford Chance’s ‘exceptional’ REIT team combines ‘subject matter expertise, excellent business acumen and timely advice’, whether representing issuers or underwriters. The six-partner team, which is based in New York, is frequently involved in the market’s most prominent mandates. In 2014, very well-regarded practice head Jay Bernstein and counsel Jake Farquharson advised on the IPO of Polar Star Realty Trust, a US REIT which was formed to invest in office and industrial property in Norway and Sweden and filed with the SEC to raise up to $100m; the matter was another industry first for the longstanding practice, as it was the first time that a US REIT was formed to focus on European real estate assets. In other work, Andrew Epstein acted as issuer’s counsel to Reverse Mortgage Investment Trust regarding the acquisition of Reverse Mortgage Funding. The ‘simply terrific and extremely knowledgeable’ Kathleen Werner is ‘a trusted counselor on legal and business issues’, and Alan Gosule and tax expert Richard Catalano are also recommended.

Clearly a leader in the REIT industry’, Goodwin Procter LLP’s real estate capital markets group has a nationwide footprint and longstanding experience in assisting blue-chip public and private REITs and real estate investment managers with their needs, including the raising and deployment of capital, joint venture formation and the structuring and restructuring of debt. The ‘creative, responsive and very strong’ team, which has its core presence in Boston and New York, recently advised Essex Property Trust on the $4.3m merger with BRE Properties, which contributed to the creation of a $16.2bn portfolio of apartment buildings from Seattle to southern California. Co-chair Gil Menna has ‘great people skills in addition to his strong legal advice’, tax expert Edward Glazer’s ‘leading knowledge of the REIT industry goes beyond just tax issues’ and both Dan Adams and Scott Chase are recommended for their corporate expertise; co-chair Ettore Santucci is also well regarded. Boston-based David Roberts was promoted to the partnership together with New York-based Mandee Gruen.

Among the best for REIT advice’, Hogan Lovells’ 13-partner practice actively covers all aspects of the industry. Although 2014 was a generally quieter year on the IPO front, the firm still acted on several high-profile matters: a seven-partner team, including new partner Lauren Bellerjeau*, represented longstanding client Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley as underwriter’s counsel in the $2bn IPO by Paramount Group, which was the largest REIT IPO to date. Paul Manca and practice co-head David Bonser advised Kite Realty Group on its merger with Diversified Real Estate Group and a multidisciplinary team, led by Stuart Barr, represented dissident shareholders who waged a proxy statement battle for control of Commonwealth REIT; having unseated the incumbent management and board, the firm now advises the REIT on all corporate and security matters. Practice co-head J Warren Gorrell is well regarded and Prentiss Feagles stands out for his tax skills. *Since publication, Lauren Bellerjeau has moved to Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Latham & Watkins LLP boasts a highly diversified and experienced REIT practice: in close cooperation, the securities and M&A, finance and real estate as well as the tax, benefits and compensations groups continue to act for industry heavyweights both on the issuer and underwriter side. Recent M&A work in the REIT space saw the three-partner team of William Cernius, John Newell and the highly regarded Michael Brody advise BRE Properties on its merger with Essex Property Trust, resulting in the creation of a $16.2bn West Coast multifamily REIT. Conversion and restructuring work included assisting Senior Resource Group with a complex restructuring of the ownership and the financing of the client’s portfolio of senior housing communities in three states. The practice also frequently represents clients in at-the-market (ATM) offerings: the well-regarded Julian Kleindorfer led the advice to Bank of America Merrill Lynch on its $150m ATM offering to Parkway Properties. Lewis Kneib was promoted to the partnership and M&A expert David Wheeler was made counsel.

Sidley Austin LLP is a well-established player in the REIT sector with a sizeable team. The firm has a particularly impressive underwriter-side track record: renowned practice heads Edward Petrosky and J Gerard Cummins recently acted as underwriter’s counsel to longstanding client Simon Property Group regarding an issuance of $1.3bn fixed-rate notes as well as advising on its $500m global unsecured commercial paper program. Other clients include Camden Property Trust, Kimco Realty and Goldman Sachs. The team also has increasingly strong credentials for its advice on the issuer side. Cummins represented Rouse Properties in its underwritten $157m public stock offering and acted for Starwood Property Trust in its $500m ATM stock offering. Tax expert Christian Brause and capital market attorney Jason Friedhoff were both promoted to the partnership.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s 40-partner REIT practice covers the entire industry and assists equity, mortgage, special purpose, hybrid, public and private REITs as well as funds investing in the sector. The firm has over 40 years’ experience in the sector and is well known for its advice on innovative matters, such as introducing the first cell tower prepaid lease as well as the first telecoms network REIT. More recently, Chicago-based David Polster, John Rayis and Sarah Ralph, as well as Gregg Noel in Palo Alto, represented Westfield America as tax counsel in a $1.6bn transaction through which it sold seven shopping malls to its joint venture partner, Starwood Capital; the client maintained a 10% common equity interest in the malls. Other work included advising Colony Capital during Colony Financial’s $650m acquisition of virtually all of the client’s real estate and investment management businesses and operations. It also advised healthcare REIT HCP on various matters such as several offerings of senior unsecured notes. David Goldschmidt in New York, Chicago-based David Levy and Meryl Chae in Los Angeles are other names to note.

DLA Piper provides ‘top-notch service and always appropriate and relevant advice’; according to some clients, there is ‘none better than’ in the non-traded REITs sector. The 11-partner practice, which is mainly based in Raleigh, frequently attracts instructions from industry REITs such as KBS Real Estate Investment Trust, Equity Residential or new clients Corporate Capital Trust and Crossroads Capital Group. Practice head Robert Bergdolt - whom clients appreciate for ‘his thoroughness on subjects, willingness and creativity to consider clients’ ideas, even if they are wacky’ - advised Dividend Capital Diversified Property Fund on numerous matters, including assistance with the client’s ongoing public net asset value (NAV) offering. Traded REITs work included representing W.P. Carey, a publicly traded REIT, in the $4bn merger with CPA: 16m, its publicly held, non-traded REIT affiliate; New York-based Chris Giordano led the advice.

Hunton & Williams LLP’s ‘exceptional’, multidisciplinary REITs team is ‘knowledgeable, timely and responsive’. The group has represented a total of 180 different REITs and other real estate companies through the years and its range of advice includes capital markets transactions. In 2014, it advised Barclays Capital on the $145m follow-on stock offering by CubeSmart, a self-administered and self-managed real estate company focused on self-storage facilities, as well as representing Deutsche Bank Securities on the $828m follow-on public offering of common stock by NorthStar Realty Finance. Issuer-side mandates included representing Chatham Lodging Trust in a $151m follow-on stock offering. The team has particular strength and expertise in the mortgage and hotel REIT area: the client roster includes New York Mortgage Trust, Hersha Hospitality Trust and LaSalle Hotel Properties. Practice co-heads David Wright, George Howell and Daniel LeBey are all recommended.

A market-leading practice in the area of non-listed REITs’, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP fields ‘a consistent team of well-trained, knowledgeable and highly experienced professionals’. Since 2009, the real estate capital markets group has acted on nearly $25bn in publicly registered best-efforts offerings and advised REITs on public mergers and acquisitions totaling approximately $16bn. Atlanta-based Lauren Prevost, who is singled out for her ‘strong corporate capabilities and excellent business skills’, continues to handle several matters for key client Cole Real Estate. In the same office, Heath Linsky acted on the creation, structuring and funding of the $2.35bn Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT II, as well as registration with the SEC. The ‘terrific’ team was reinforced by the recruitment of Washington DC-based Wendelin White, who joined from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP. Brad Lenox in Raleigh and Michael Rhim in Atlanta were promoted to the partnership.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s 12-partner practice has longstanding experience in advising issuers, underwriters and investors on traded and non-traded REITs and stands out for its ‘strong corporate, securities, tax and REIT capabilities’. Perry Cacace and practice co-chair Steven Lichtenfeld represented American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP) in its agreement to sell a $1.98bn retail portfolio to a joint venture between affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII and DDR Corporation; the portfolio consists of 76 shopping centers across the US. In other work, co-chair Peter Fass and Chicago-based Michael Choate advised AR Capital on the listing of its New York REIT shares of common stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Other clients include The Lightstone Group and Fortress Investment Group. Tax specialist Leslie Loffman in New York is recommended.

Sullivan & Worcester has a multidisciplinary REIT practice underpinned by very strong tax capabilities. The Boston-based group almost entirely acts on the issuer site and is highly active in REIT structuring and conversions. The 14 partners in the team include key figure Ameek Ashok Ponda, who acted as tax counsel to American Tower Corporation in a $525m public offering of convertible shares, and practice head Louis Monti, who represented Senior Housing Properties Trust in its $1.125bn acquisition of two biomedical office buildings in Boston. Other clients include Select Income REIT, Hospitality Properties Trust and Iron Mountain Inc.

With a strong reputation for its expertise in M&A and buyout transactions, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz attracts a consistent flow of high-profile instructions in the REIT industry. Key partner Adam Emmerich is currently advising on several multibillion-dollar acquisitions: these include assisting Washington Prime Group with its $4.3bn acquisition of Glimcher Realty, which will result in a combined portfolio of 119 properties and 68m sq ft of gross leasable area. The well-regarded Robin Panovka and Ronold Chen advised Ventas on its $2.6bn acquisition of American Capital Realty Healthcare Trust and Panovka also advised Chatham Lodging Trust on the restructuring of its $1.3bn joint venture with NorthStar Realty Finance and Cerberus Capital Management, in which it holds a 10.3% stake.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s energetic, ‘very skilled’ team was involved in multiple big-ticket M&A transactions. Highlights for the ten-partner practice included representing AmREIT during its $763m acquisition by Edens Investment Trust and advising Hentschel & Co in its role as financial adviser to Cole Corporate Income Trust during the $3.1bn acquisition by Select Income REIT. On the IPO front, Justin Salon and practice co-chair John Good assisted Farmland Partners with its $53m IPO and follow-on offering. Co-chair David Slotkin is singled out as being a corporate finance expert. All attorneys are based in Washington DC. Since publication, Lauren Bellerjeau has joined from Hogan Lovells US LLP.

According to clients, Paul Hastings LLP maintains a ‘performance on par with its large New York City peers’. The group now numbers six partners and strengthened its capital markets and banking and finance capabilities by recruiting John Cobb from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Practice head Michal Zuppone recently represented private equity company GI Partners in its bid block trade exit from REIT STAG Industrial. Zuppone and Yariv Katz advised Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc on its $435m follow-on public stock offering. The practice also continues to handle a steady stream of transactions stemming from the Latin American REITs market.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s highly established REIT practice has significant expertise and experience in DownREIT matters. The 15-strong team has been particularly active on the M&A front, where it advised on several multimillion-dollar acquisitions, but also increasingly acted on a number of start-ups. Clients include Boston Properties, Federal Realty Investment Trust and Washington Real Estate Investment Trust. Washington DC-based Robert Robbins and Jeffrey Grill are the practice co-heads. Wendelin White joined Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is highly recommended for its capital markets practice and is frequently involved in high-profile REIT matters for issuers and underwriters. Recent highlights include advising FIBRA Prologis on its $539m IPO of real estate trust certificates and representing Sunrise Senior Living in conjunction with its recapitalization by Health Care REIT and its sale to Revera; Health Care REIT increased its ownership to a 24% interest in Sunrise while Revera owns the remainder. The group continues to act for Brixmor Property Group and Blackstone Property Trust. Gregory Ressa, Brian Stadler and John Hart are the key partners.

Clearly the leader in Maryland’, Venable LLP is the ‘go-to firm for REIT matters’, where its ‘knowledgeable practitioners are on the pulse of developments’. The seven-partner practice mainly acts for publicly traded REITs, handling IPOs, stock and debt offerings, M&A and other transactions. With the IPO market slowdown in 2014, the practice shifted towards working on follow-on equity offerings and senior debt offerings. Among other mandates, the firm advised Blackstone Mortgage Trust, ARCP and Healthcare Trust of America on respective ATM offerings. The practice also advised seven high-profile REITs on follow-on common equity offerings and assisted with eight IPOs for traded and non-traded REITs. Sharon Kroupa is ‘outstanding, responsive and knowledgeable’, and James Hanks is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Client Intelligence Report

The Legal 500 United States - Events

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Summer 2015

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United States

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