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United States > Real estate and construction > Real estate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Real estate
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is particularly well known for its dirt practice and continued to be involved in many of New York’s most high-profile real estate deals. The ‘terrificJonathan Mechanic, who heads the practice, and Janice Mac Avoy advised CW Capital Asset Management and Fortress Investment Group on the $5.4bn sale of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village to Blackstone Group, while Tal Golomb assisted Related Companies with numerous matters relating to Hudson Yards, including leases with L’Oréal USA and SAP. The firm’s corporate transactional lawyers were also busy, with Lee Parks and Joshua Mermelstein advising RXR Realty on its agreement to sell a stake in a portfolio of New York City office buildings to Blackstone Property Partners. On the debt finance side, the practice has been further strengthened by the hire of Julian Chung from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, and the team’s weighting towards borrower work has been evened out thanks to the acquisition of a number of new lender clients. Michael Barker has ‘tremendous real estate finance knowledge, particularly on construction loans’. All named partners are based in New York.

Increasingly, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s ‘great presence in California’ is being matched by its offering in New York, a trend which continued through the hire of Victoria Shusterman from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. As well as handling a large number of debt finance matters for key client Deutsche Bank, the New York team also acted for the bank on the sale of a 75% interest in a $2.5bn real estate portfolio to TPG Real Estate. Another key piece of work for the New York team was advising Related Companies on KKR’s relocation to 30 Hudson Yards. In Los Angeles, Jonathan Layne assisted The Ryland Group with its transformational $5.2bn merger of equals with Standard Pacific Group, while Stuart Graiwer advised Prime Residential on the $900m refinancing of the Park La Brea housing development. The 'exceptional' Jesse Sharf in Los Angeles and New York-based Eric Feuerstein are global practice heads, and Fred Pillon is a key individual in San Franciso.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP stands out for its ‘tremendous footprint’, drawing on a network of 29 US offices to handle work across the full range of sectors, including office, mixed use, retail, affordable housing and hospitality. In New York, the highly regarded Robert Ivanhoe is co-chair of the global practice and led a team that acted for Anbang Insurance Group in the $1.9bn purchase of the Waldorf Astoria New York hotel. While Ivanhoe’s team was particularly active on significant dirt deals, his fellow co-chair, Chicago-based Corey Light, was involved in a number of high-value corporate transactions, including representing Albertsons in the $9bn acquisition of Safeway and advising Kimco Realty on the $925m acquisition of the remaining interest in the 39-property Kimstone portfolio from Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII. The practice also has significant numbers in Miami, where Richard Giusto acted for long-time client Invesco Real Estate in its $1.2bn sale of 230 Park Avenue building in New York to RxR Capital Holdings.

Paul Hastings LLP is best known for its presence in California, but also has considerable strength in New York, Chicago and Atlanta. Areas of expertise range from dirt work through to acquisitions, dispositions and finance. On the finance side, the practice has a stellar list of lender clients that includes the likes of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Prudential. In Los Angeles, practice chair Philip Feder’s team includes Rick Kirkbride, who is handling a $750m redevelopment project for Related Companies, and James Han, who represented IMI in the $1.2bn refinancing of the Houston Galleria. The practice wins particular praise for its hospitality sector expertise, and in addition to advising on a number of hotel acquisitions by significant private equity clients, it represented Hotel Lotte in the acquisition of the New York Palace Hotel for $805m. Gregory Spitzer and Steve Berkman, in Chicago and San Francisco respectively, have been handling data center acquisitions and dispositions for clients such as Facebook and SoftLayer Technologies.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York-based team handles a significant volume of ‘gold standard’ transactions for its largely private equity client base. For instance, it advised key client Blackstone on the joint acquisition with Wells Fargo of $23bn of GE Capital Real Estate assets, and assisted Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI and VII with the $8.1bn sale of IndCor Properties to affiliates of GIC. Another major client is The Carlyle Group, and Scott Kobak assisted affiliates of Carlyle Real Estate with the $700m sale of three development parcels at the Riverside Center, Manhattan. The team was also active in the debt finance space, with Krista Miniutti representing affiliates of Motel 6 Operating in connection with a $2bn mortgage and mezzanine loan refinancing of over 500 properties across the US and Canada. The ‘remarkably impressive’ Gregory Ressa heads the practice.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP broad client base includes developers, lenders, REITs, private equity funds and major corporations. The team handles the full complement of real estate work and is singled out as being ‘very strong on the M&A side’; recent examples include representing Select Income REIT in its $3bn acquisition of Cole Corporate Income Trust, and advising Lone Star Funds on its definitive agreement to acquire Home Properties. Practice head Harvey Uris was active in debt finance mandates, advising SL Green Realty on the $1.4bn mortgage financing of 388-390 Greenwich Street, New York, while the ‘excellent’ Audrey Sokoloff acted for key client Deutsche Bank on $1.2bn of financing to General Growth Properties for its acquisition of the Crown Building in New York. Other key players in the team are Benjamin Needell, who is considered by some to be ‘the best real estate lawyer in New York’, and Evan Levy, who heads the real estate capital markets practice. All named partners are based in New York, but the team also has practitioners in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s ‘blue-chip’ practice, which services key clients such as Goldman Sachs and Vornado Realty Trust, is hailed for being ‘outstanding for corporate transactional deals’. In one highlight, the team advised Christopher Cole and other executives on the $11.2bn acquisition of Cole Real Estate Investments by American Realty Capital Properties. The team was also active on numerous dirt and debt finance matters, including advising Lexington Building Co. on its $1.7bn sale of the Crown Building to General Growth Properties, and assisting Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds with the $1bn mortgage and mezzanine refinancing of its Equity Inns portfolio. A particular specialty of the practice is sports real estate and the team was busy in this respect on behalf of clients such as ATL Investco, the New York Giants and the New York Jets. Key players include practice head Robert Schlein, the ‘terrificArthur Adler and Anthony Colletta, all based in New York, and Los Angeles-based Alison Ressler. The team also draws on the experience of New York-based chairman Joseph Shenker.

Thought by some to have ‘the best debt finance practice in the country’, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s six-partner team operates out of New York and Charlotte, handling work for a roster of leading financial institutions, such as JPMorgan, HSBC and Bank of America. Examples of recent transactions include advising Deutsche Bank Securities, JPMorgan Chase and Barclays as lenders in relation to Blackstone’s $1.2bn acquisition of three hotels from Paulson & Co, and acting for Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank as lenders in a $1.4bn securitized mortgage loan to Tishman Speyer secured by the MetLife Building in New York. The practice has been enhanced by the hire of special counsel Joshua Dill from American Realty Capital and the promotion to partner of Bonnie Neuman. Other key partners are Steven Herman, who has significant healthcare sector expertise, Melissa Hinkle, who specializes in the hotel and hospitality industry, and department chair William McInerney. All mentioned attorneys are based in New York.

Best known for its work in the debt finance space, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s New York-based practice also handles a mix of development and corporate transactional work. Recent examples include acting for Empire Resorts and Kien Huat Realty in connection with the development of Montreign Resort and Casino, and advising Brookfield on a $2.5bn REIT acquisition. Debt finance remains at the heart of the practice, with Michael Weinberger (‘one of the top US debt lawyers’), Kimberly Brown Blacklow and John Harrison continuing to handle loan origination transactions totaling more than $8bn for key client Goldman Sachs. Blacklow was also active on behalf of H/2 Capital Partners and JPMorgan, advising on $1.3bn of mortgage and mezzanine financing related to the transfer of 200 Sears stores to a REIT. Other key players in the team are Steven Wilner and associate Daniel Reynolds, who acted for a number of the firm’s sovereign wealth fund clients on real estate acquisitions and related financings.

In addition to Washington DC and Boston - where department chair Jay Epstien and newly appointed co-chair John Sullivan are based respectively - DLA Piper LLP (US) has substantial teams in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Indeed, the practice remains one of the largest in the country despite the loss of eight attorneys to Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, including Jeffrey Keitelman and Kim Pagotto in Washington DC, and Marc Hurel in New York. Highlights in 2015 included representing Ventas in its $2.3bn acquisition of American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust, and advising New York Life Insurance Company as lead lender, along with Northwestern Mutual and NYSTRS, on a $507m loan for the refinancing of 11 Times Square. Key client Harrison Street Real Estate Capital also kept the team busy, with Chicago-based Jesse Criz and David Sickle advising on its $1.9bn acquisition of Campus Crest Communities. The practice benefits from the firm’s international profile and handles a stream of work for international investors such as Ping An Real Estate, for which it acted in relation to an investment in Tishman Speyer’s $500m Pier 4 project in Boston’s seaport district.

Praised as ‘better than all the other large firms in the CMBS space’, Dechert LLP’s ‘deep bench’ of attorneys includes head of practice Richard Jones, who divides his time between New York and Philadelphia, and Philadelphia-based David Forti and Jason Rozes. The team continued to be very active in high-value loan origination and securitization mandates for key clients such as Bank of America and Citigroup, and also advised Wells Fargo in relation to its agreement to purchase commercial real estate loans valued at $9bn from GE Capital Real Estate. In New York, Laura Swihart advised Freddie Mac in multiple securitizations totaling more than $120bn, and, in San Francisco, the ‘extremely goodKahlil Yearwood, who has ‘developed a strong, young and diverse team’, represented Prudential in multiple mortgage loan origination transactions. The practice has outlets in Charlotte, Boston and Hartford and was further developed in Philadelphia by the promotions to partner of Justin Gdula and Matthew Ginsburg.

Goodwin Procter LLP’s 44-partner practice is ‘top notch for transactions of significant size and has an intimate familiarity with multiple classes of real estate, as well as the nuances related to each class’. The team’s strength in REITs was demonstrated when Boston-based Samuel Richardson advised American Realty Capital Hospitality Trust on its $1.8bn acquisition of the Equity Inns lodging portfolio from affiliates of Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds. Investment and private equity funds also form a substantial part of the firm’s client base, and the team was engaged in a number of high-value acquisitions, dispositions and financings for such clients, often in relation to the hospitality sector. On the dirt side, Los Angeles-based Dean Pappas advised Hearst on its joint venture with the Georgetown Company to restore and redevelop the Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. The practice is particularly strong in Boston, where key practitioners such as capital markets chair Gilbert Menna, hospitality chair Christopher Barker and investment management and finance co-chair James Broderick are based, but it also has increasingly significant presence in both New York and Los Angeles. The Los-Angeles team was boosted by the hire of Chauncey Swalwell from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP had a busy year representing a range of private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, major pension organizations and other institutional investors on substantial acquisitions. New York-based Scott Berger advised key client Starwood Capital on a number of significant matters, including its agreement to acquire a portfolio of apartment units in 72 communities across the US from Equity Residential. Berger also led a team that represented GID Investment Advisers in its $3.2bn bid for Gables Residential. Also in New York, Stephen Tomlinson represented Al Faisal Holding and its subsidiary in the $500m acquisition of The Times Square Hotel. In Chicago, Daniel Perlman handled a mix of equity and debt transactions, acting for Ventas in connection with its agreement to acquire privately owned Ardent Health Services for $1.75bn, and assisting Equity Commonwealth with a $1.1bn credit agreement involving 19 financial institutions. The Chicago office was further enhanced by the promotions to partner of Krystle Lamprecht and Jessica Schultz, however the New York office lost Jennifer Morgan to King & Spalding LLP.

Latham & Watkins LLP sizeable practice covers a wide range of real estate asset classes, including hospitality, gaming and destination resorts, and healthcare and life sciences facilities. Recent highlights include Los Angeles-based David Meckler advising Lineage Logistics on the financing and acquisition of a portfolio of cold storage facilities, and, in Chicago, Gary Axelrod representing GEM Realty Capital in the acquisition of a large resort property. In the debt finance space, the team’s impressive client roster includes ACORE Capital, Barclays and Deutsche Bank; New York-based practice head James Hisiger was busy in this regard, representing Citigroup Global Realty Markets in financing the $423m acquisition of five properties in California and a non-performing loan. Los Angeles-based Scott McPhee has ‘great knowledge of mezzanine lending and excellent negotiation skills’. The firm’s strong international offering ensures a reliable stream of inbound investment matters, as demonstrated by New York-based Michelle Kelban advising a foreign investor on the development joint venture, acquisition and pre-development financing of One Wall Street.

From its offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Sidley Austin LLP fields a substantial team that has a strong focus on all types of debt finance, including CMBS, acquisition loans, construction and development loans, term loans, bridge financings and mezzanine loans. As well as advising Deutsche Bank and other lenders in connection with multibillion-dollar financings for a number of trophy office buildings in New York, the team also represented M&T Bank in more than 50 separate commercial real estate loan originations to major developers. The team also handles corporate transactional work for clients such as Canyon Capital and Fortress Investment Group, and in 2014 it acted for the latter in relation to the $450m acquisition of United El Segundo, Rapid Gas and Apro. Key players in New York include practice co-chair Alan Weil, who has ‘vast and unparalleled experience in construction loans’, and ‘excellent real estate litigatorRichard Fries, while in Chicago, co-chair Charles Schrank is the main contact. In Los Angeles, co-chair Marc Hayutin’s team was boosted by the arrival of Joel Rothstein from Paul Hastings LLP. Matthew Fernand left the firm to work in-house.

Although best known for advising corporate clients in relation to distressed properties, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is also extremely active on the transactional side. Co-chair Philip Rosen has particular experience in the industrial real estate sector and advised KTR Capital Partners on its $5.9bn sale to Prologis; Rosen also assisted IDI Gazeley with the $302m sale of its entire Mexican industrial portfolio to FINSA. In another notable transaction, David Herman acted for Herald Square Properties in the sale of two REITS for $118m. The well-regarded Michael Bond, who co-chairs the practice with Rosen, was also busy, advising Macquarie Capital as lead lender on mezzanine and bridge loans relating to the American Dream development in New Jersey, and acting for Silverpeak in the $3.2bn sale of Gables Residential to a consortium led by Clarion Partners. All attorneys mentioned thus far are based in New York, but the practice also has a solid base in Miami, where key players include Beatriz Azcuy-Diaz and Nellie Camerik.

Talented negotiator’ Kenneth Jacob leads the team at Arent Fox LLP, which thrives in sectors such as nonprofit, hospitality, senior living and sports. Kimberly Wachen and Steven Cohen acted for Marriott International and Capstone Development in relation to hotel development projects nationwide, while in New York Mark Fawer and Carolyn Austin advised TIAA-CREF on its acquisition of a 16-story office building at 21 Penn Plaza, Manhattan. In the debt finance space, the team increased its work on behalf high-profile lenders, with one highlight being New York-based David Dubrow representing investors in a $1.6bn municipal bond financing deal that will enable the World Trade Center to add a fourth tower. The firm’s San Francisco office was boosted considerably by the relocation from Washington DC of ‘expert strategist’ Richard Brand, and the hire of land use specialist Timothy Tosta and his team from McKenna Long & Aldridge. All named attorneys are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s team is made up of the New York-based legacy practice of Kaye Scholer, which is ‘very goal-oriented and pragmatic in resolving issues and negotiating documents’, and the 14-partner practice of Arnold & Porter, led from Washington DC. The New York group focuses on advising lenders on real estate finance and, as well as continuing to serve bank clients such as Deutsche Bank and Jefferies LoanCore, it has also grown its representation of non-bank lenders; for example, Stephen Gliatta, Michael Damast and Aaron Lehrfield have been advising new client Silverpeak Real Estate Finance on various mortgage and mezzanine financings. On the corporate transactional side, the practice serves a number of private equity firms, and recently it has been particularly active in the hospitality sector; Jeffrey Kapner, who wins praise for his ‘great judgment and great ability to negotiate’, assisted Magna Hospitality Group with the $62m acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn in Washington DC, while Kapner and Gliatta advised Greenfield Partners on the $103m sale of Los Angeles’ Ace Hotel and Theater to Chesapeake Lodging Trust. Also in the hospitality sector, Warren Bernstein advised Aareal Bank on the $104m acquisition and renovation financing of Lake Buena Vista Hotel & Spa in Orlando, Florida. The legacy Arnold & Porter practice includes the ‘extremely strong’ Michael Goodwin in Washington DC and Gerald Shepherd in New York, and Kenneth Neale and Thomas Larsen in San Francisco.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘top-notch’ practice wins praise for its ‘smart lawyers with great people skills, who understand the business imperatives that underlie the legal issues’. As well as acting for key client Westfield Corporation on a number of high-value mandates, including the $1.1bn divestiture of five shopping centers to an investor group led by Centennial Real Estate Company, the team was also busy on behalf of the firm’s large private equity client base. The ‘outstandingPeter Irwin advised JPMorgan Asset Management on the sale of 7 Bryant Park in New York to an affiliate of Bank of China, and Nicole Levin Mesard assisted Rockwood Capital in providing two separate mezzanine financings secured, indirectly, by two hotels located in New York. Edward Rishty was also active, representing Oaktree Capital Management, as part of its joint venture with the Kushner Companies, in a refinancing of Northern Liberties, a mixed-use development in Philadelphia. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Hogan Lovells US LLP is noted for its ‘very strong REIT practice’ and was involved in a number of major corporate transactions in this space. Lee Berner advised Home Properties on an agreement to be acquired by Lone Star Funds in a cash transaction valued at approximately $7.6bn, and also acted for Industrial Income Trust in its $4.5bn acquisition by an affiliate of Global Logistic Properties. In another major deal, Berner assisted General Electric with the $23bn sale of its real estate portfolio. Head of practice Bruce Parmley has particular expertise in the hotel sector and advised on the structuring and negotiation of agreements for a new hotel development in Todos Santos, Mexico. Parmley also represented GTIS Partners and its subsidiary Palácio Tangará Desenvolvimento Imobiliário on the formation and structuring of agreements relating to the ownership and management of a hotel in São Paulo. All above named attorneys are based in Washington DC, but the practice also has a presence in New York and Los Angeles, where Lee Samuelson and Albert Stemp are the key contacts respectively.

Holland & Knight LLP’s substantial practice is headed from New York by Joseph Guay who, with Martin Miner and Fort Lauderdale-based Allison McCarthy, represented Sunshine Insurance Group in its $230m purchase of the Baccarat Hotel in Manhattan from Starwood Capital Group. In another example of the firm’s strength in the hotel and hospitality sector, San Francisco-based Stacie Goeddel assisted key client Marriott International with a residential condominium project in California. Other important work for the team included Goeddel and Los Angeles-based Susan Booth representing Digital Realty Trust in the real estate component of its $1.89bn acquisition of Telx Group from ABRY Partners and Berkshire Partners, and Atlanta-based Matthew Joe assisting Corvias Group with the $565m privatization of a student campus in Georgia. The firm is also known for its debt finance expertise, and as well as acting for Colony Capital in connection with the origination and securitization of mortgage loans throughout the country, it has been representing lenders in EB-5 loans for real estate projects.

At Hunton & Williams LLP, ‘knowledge of the deals and overall business acumen is tremendous’, and recently the team has been busy on a number of high-value debt and equity deals. Dallas-based Howard Schreiber co-chairs the practice and was part of a team that advised a private equity firm on a $7.6bn merger with a public REIT. Also in Dallas, Daryl Robertson and counsel James England assisted LStar Management with the $1bn acquisition of all the membership interests in LNR South Shore. In New York, where practice co-chair Carl Schwartz is based, Laurie Grasso and newly promoted partner Matthew Scoville represented Chatham Lodging Trust in the $1.1bn acquisition of a 52-hotel portfolio from Inland American. In another piece of work, Grasso acted for World Wide Group in the $300m sale of six buildings on 60th Street in Manhattan to Kuafu Properties. On the debt finance side, the team was active on behalf of lenders in various billion-dollar loan originations.

From its nationwide platform, Jones Day handles a mix of real estate work for clients such as Mill Creek Residential Trust, Goldman Sachs and the Blackstone Group. Highlights in 2015 included advising Associated Estates Realty on its $2.5bn sale of a public REIT to an affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management, and acting for Goodyear Tire in the acquisition of land in an industrial park in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. In the debt finance space, the team represented a subsidiary of Blackstone in relation to mortgage and mezzanine syndicated financing required to acquire an office portfolio with over 113 assets, and also acted for key client Wells Fargo on more than a 100 real estate financings. One particular specialty of the practice is affordable housing, and in New York Steven Koppel and Aviva Yakren assisted Goldman Sachs with the negotiation of a three-phase joint venture for the development of land, including 2,000 housing units, in and around the Seward Park area, Manhattan. Chicago-based Robert Lee and Dallas-based David Lowery head the practice. The Chicago office was enhanced by the addition of John Rafkin and David Woods from Sidley Austin LLP.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s ‘responsive, timely and insightful’ team has boots on the ground in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Irving, Texas, Charlotte and Washington DC. The practice is particularly noted for handling debt finance mandates for key clients such as Wells Fargo, AIG and iStar, however it is also well established on the equity side. Practice head David Bryant advised Ivanhoé Cambridge and Callahan Capital Properties on the $2.2bn acquisition of Three Bryant Park, Manhattan from the Blackstone Group, and also assisted Blackstone with the acquisition of various hotel and resort properties. Other key players in the team are David Dlugie, who represented General Electric Capital Corporation and its affiliates in relation to the sale of a $1.5bn mortgage loan pool to Deutsche Bank and German American Capital Corporation, and New York-based Kenneth Lore, who advised TF Cornerstone on financing a construction loan for the development of a 25-story building at 33 Bond Street, New York. Alvin Katz is singled out for his ‘vast knowledgebase on joint ventures’, Charlotte managing partner Daniel Huffenus has the ‘highest level of business acumen’, and in Washington DC, Jeffrey Scharff is a ‘leader in the field of transactional law’. All named attorneys are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

At King & Spalding LLP, Atlanta-based Sarah Borders leads the team, which wins praise for being ‘extremely knowledgeable, business savvy, quick to respond and possessing a broad team of professionals who can respond to different facets of an issue’. The practice is noted for its strong fund and REIT client base and, in Atlanta, Timothy Goodwin, who has a ‘wide variety of deal experience’, and ‘detail-oriented’ Davis Powell represented Columbia Property Trust on a number of financing transactions, including a $300m bridge loan and an $800m syndicated revolving credit and term loan facility. Powell also advised Mitsui Fudosan America on its joint venture with Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group to develop an office tower at 55 Hudson Yards. In another deal, Charlotte-based Mark Thigpen and New York-based Sheryl Kass acted for EDENS in connection with its $763m acquisition of AmREIT. The team was enhanced in New York and Washington DC by the respective hires of Jennifer Morgan and Christopher Hoffman, both from Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Mayer Brown’s team, which spans the firm’s offices in Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Palo Alto and Houston, continued to serve its broad client base on a large number of multimillion-dollar transactions. In addition to expertise in financings, transactions and joint ventures, the team leverages the firm’s international reach to handle cross-border matters for foreign investors. Key mandates included assisting HFZ Capital Group with $1bn in debt and equity financing for the purchase of a development site in New York, and advising a leading real estate investment company on a joint venture with CA Student Housing for the acquisition of three portfolios of student housing campuses. In Washington DC, Nathan McMichael was promoted to partner, while in New York, the team was boosted by the arrival of Kwon Lee from Lee International IP & Law Group. Lee and Chicago-based Brian Davis represented a Korean investor in the $314m acquisition of a bank headquarters complex in Chicago. Other key players are Jeffrey Usow, who leads the practice from Chicago, and Washington DC-based Keith Willner.

Morrison & Foerster LLP 44-partner practice advises a full range of clients, including lenders, developers, equity investors and equity REITs. In New York, practice co-chair Mark Edelstein specializes in debt finance work, and recently advised Wells Fargo and Bank of America on a $640m loan to finance the construction of three large multifamily, mixed-use buildings in Long Island City. In another piece of work, Edelstein and Jeffrey Temple acted for the New York Wheel Company in connection with investment financing related to the construction of the New York Wheel. In Los Angeles, key players include practice co-chair Marc Young and Tom Fileti. Fileti in particular has been active on a number of significant matters, including advising UDR on a series of development joint ventures with MetLife relating to apartment projects in California. The practice also handles corporate transactional work and in one standout deal advised Global Logistic Properties on the acquisition of a $4.5bn US logistics portfolio from Industrial Income Trust. Thomas McGovern and two other lawyers relocated from the New York office to the firm’s newly opened office in Boston.

Recently appointed co-chairs Meredith Kane and Harris Freidus lead the practice at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, which remained busy in key sectors such as gaming, hospitality and healthcare. Freidus represented Las Vegas Sands in connection with the $5bn refinancing of its Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas resorts, and together with Salvatore Gogliormella acted for HCP in its $849m acquisition of 35 private-pay senior housing communities from Chartwell Retirement Residence. In other highlights, Kane continued to advise Metropolitan Transportation Authority on all of its significant real estate development transactions, including Hudson Yards, One Vanderbilt and 341-347 Madison Avenue, while Peter Fisch and Steven Simkin assisted SL Green Realty with a $360m mortgage loan provided by a syndicate of banks secured by a 36-story office building in Manhattan. Simon Property Group, NorthStar Realty Finance Corp and CIM Group are also active clients of the firm. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s strength in representing REITs was once again in evidence, with the team handling a number of significant matters for American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust, including its $2.6bn merger with Ventas. In the hospitality sector, where the practice is also well established, the team represented American Realty Capital Hospitality Trust in the acquisition of the Equity Inns lodging portfolio from affiliates of the Whitehall Real Estate Funds for $1.8bn. Leading individuals in the team include Steven Lichtenfeld and Peter Fass, who worked on the above mentioned deals, and practice co-heads Ronald Sernau and Perry Cacace, who advised Hines Interests Limited Partnership and JPMorgan on the $600m sale of 7 Bryant Park to Bank of China. On the debt finance side, David Weinberger advised on various high-value construction loan financings. The practice is deepest in New York, but it also has a presence in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boca Raton; in Los Angeles, Eric Remensperger assisted Grifols Diagnostic Solutions with the $250m acquisition of a biotech campus in Emeryville. All named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Private equity powerhouseSchulte Roth & Zabel LLP was involved in a stream of multibillion-dollar projects, including advising Albertsons and an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management on the $9.2bn merger with Safeway, and assisting Invesco Real Estate and Monday Properties Investments with the $1.2bn sale of the Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue to RXR Realty. The ‘responsive and thoroughJeffrey Lenobel leads the team and continues to represent Oxford Properties Group in connection with all aspects of its interest in the joint venture with Related Companies to lease and develop Hudson Yards. Lenobel also acted for the Museum of Modern Art in connection with the expansion of its existing museum facility and the sale of air rights to an affiliate of Hines Interests. Bruce Cybul represented Credit Suisse Group in the $525m financing of the Four Seasons Resort Maui, the sale of several mezzanine portions thereof and the securitization of the senior mortgage loan. The ‘very user-friendlyJulian Wiseknows how to build consensus’. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s practice handles transactions in all 50 states and has grown further (now 76 partners) through the hires of Los Angeles-based Dana Treister from Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Atlanta-based Timothy Sullivan from Beazer Homes USA, as well as the promotions to partner of Arren Goldman and Melissa Vandewater, who are based in New York and Chicago respectively. As well as being singled out for its ‘superior skill and expertise in real estate lending, CMBS and securitization matters’, the practice also enjoys a good reputation on the dirt side; Los Angeles-based Richard Mendelson and Stacy Paek represented LBA Realty in a number of acquisitions and dispositions, including the $240m sale of an office building in downtown Los Angeles, while Chicago-based Gregg Dorman assisted Los Angeles FC with the $280m redevelopment of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Other names to note are Andrew Pearlstein, who is ‘top for business acumen and industry knowledge’, and ‘skillful professionalCatherine Burns, both in Boston; Washington DC-based Robert Bodansky, who is ‘a good draftsman and a reasonable and thoughtful adviser’; and, in Chicago, the ‘very perceptiveJay Gitles and the ‘trustworthyAlvin Kruse. Head of practice Paul Mattingly leads the team from Atlanta. In May 2016, Thomas Masenga joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

Chris Smith, who leads the practice at Shearman & Sterling LLP, was busy on a number of high-profile leases, including assisting SportsNet New York with a 15-year headquarters lease at 4 World Trade Center. On the corporate transactional side, Smith advised AIG Global Real Estate on the sale of 100% of its interests in the joint venture management company formerly known as AIG/Lincoln to White Star Real Estate. The well-regarded Malcolm Montgomery handles debt finance matters and, as well as undertaking key mandates for Deutsche Bank and Citibank, also represented Citigroup Global Markets as lead arranger and administrative agent in connection with the $1.19bn bridge financing for Washington Prime Group’s acquisition of Glimcher Realty Trust. John Opar specializes in shari’ah-compliant investment structures and is recommended in relation to his work for sovereign wealth funds. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP significantly strengthened its real estate practice with the hire of eight attorneys from DLA Piper LLP (US), including new co-head of the practice Jeffrey Keitelman and Kim Pagotto in Washington DC, and Marc Hurel in New York. The firm’s newly established presence in DC was underlined by Keitelman acting on a number of significant mandates, including representing Columbia Property Trust in the sale of 22 buildings to affiliates of Griffin Capital for $521m; and advising Verizon on the $650m sale and leaseback of its corporate headquarters. In New York, practice co-head Brian Diamond and Steven Moskowitz continued to act for key client JPMorgan Investment Management on numerous high-value matters, including the $2.5bn recapitalization of Century Plaza Towers in Los Angeles and the $1bn acquisition/joint venture/financing of the Market Square office project in San Francisco. The practice also has numbers in Miami, from where Ira Teicher advised JPMorgan Asset Management on the redevelopment of an office park in downtown Doral, Florida. In Los Angeles, Chauncey Swalwell joined Goodwin Procter LLP.

New York ‘titanWachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is well known for its expertise in real estate M&A and the team continued to be busy in this area. In 2015, highlights included advising Sears Holdings on its $2.5bn sale and leaseback of 254 stores to a newly formed REIT, acting for the special committee of Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust in relation to its merger with Colony American Homes, and assisting Gaming and Leisure Properties with its $5bn proposal to acquire Pinnacle Entertainment’s real estate assets. Robin Panovka heads the team.

Akerman LLP’s 61-partner practice continued to be at the forefront of large-scale development projects, particularly in Florida and New York, where the team acted for multiple national homebuilders and developers in land use and transactional matters and also finalized Bottega Veneta’s lease with the Wildenstein Organization for its flagship location in Manhattan. The practice also handles corporate transactions and debt finance mandates for clients such as Northstar Commercial Partners and Rialto Mortgage Finance. Further experience was added in areas such as multifamily and mixed-use projects, the environmental aspects of real estate development and private equity and M&A via the introduction of a number of lateral hires, including Denver-based Howard Gelt, who joined from Polsinelli PC, New York-based Richard Leland, who joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, and Miami-based Andres Mendoza, who joined from Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP. Richard Bezold in Miami heads the team.

The ‘professional and very efficient’ practice at Baker McKenzie LLP handles a range of real estate matters for its global corporate clients. Recent highlights include advising Hewlett-Packard on the planned spin off of its Enterprise business and representing Sears in connection with global lease portfolio management. Key players in the firm’s strong Chicago office are practice head Michael Smith, hotel specialist Richard Cremieux and Michael Rechtin, who joined from Quarles & Brady LLP and has expertise in data centers and retail leasing. Also in Chicago is newly promoted partner Mona Dajani, who represented Mohammed I. Alsubeaei & Sons Investment Company as mezzanine lender in relation to the acquisition and construction of a multi-use high rise at 45 Park Place, Manhattan. In New York, Gerard Hannon has significant experience in cross-border real estate transactions, and assisted Benetton Group with the $161m sale of 100% of the shares in Benetton USA to Ramsbury Property.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s practice has particular strength in complex development projects. It continued to benefit from the firm’s longstanding relationship with Hines, acting for the client on numerous matters, including in relation to a joint venture with a Chinese public company for the $900m development of a mixed-use, multi-phase project to be built above Boston’s South Station. In another piece of work, Houston-based Paul Landen and Kimberly Schlanger and Dallas-based Stephen Marcus represented Hines in a joint venture with Urban Atlantic to redevelop the existing Walter Reed US Army medical base in Washington DC. On the debt finance side, Dallas-based Jonathan Dunlay, who is ‘practical on the probability of risks’, represented Clarion Partners affiliates in connection with a $660m mortgage refinancing secured by 65 Marriott-managed hotels located in 29 states. ‘Very fine lawyer’ Patricia Stanton, who heads the practice, is relocating from Dallas to the firm’s new San Francisco office.

Ballard Spahr LLP’s ‘preeminent’ practice has been particularly busy in Philadelphia, where the team has been active on behalf of a range of developer clients. Recent work includes advising Comcast on a joint venture with Liberty Property Trust regarding the building of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center and the long-term lease of the building. In another highlight, practice head Bart Mellits advised Wexford Science & Technology on the expansion of the University City Science Center campus in West Philadelphia. In Baltimore, Thomas Hauser and newly promoted partner Anna Mahaney handled a variety of lending mandates, including representing PNC, Wells Fargo, Grandbridge, Walker & Dunlop and Red Mortgage Capital in relation to the financing of Sun Communities’ $1.3bn acquisition of the American Land Lease Manufactured Housing Portfolio from Green Courte Partners. The practice has a presence in 13 states and was enhanced further by the hires of Christopher Bell in Washington DC from Fannie Mae and Laura Seidel in Atlanta from Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and the promotion to partner of Washington DC-based Erica Leatham.

Dentons’ recent merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge saw the addition of 18 real estate partners. One of these was Atlanta-based co-chair William Timmons, who advised KeyBank National Association on the amendment and restatement of Kite Realty Group’s syndicated corporate liquidity facility and a parallel term loan. The team’s expertise in acting for lenders on finance transactions was also on show in Chicago, where co-chair Robert Fernandez advised MetLife on the $350m financing of a shopping center in San Antonio, Texas. On the dirt side, San Diego-based Robert Bell is acting for Navarra Properties regarding the development of a site in downtown San Diego, while Atlanta-based Jess Pinkerton has been busy on a variety of developments for student housing developer Landmark Properties. Other key players in the practice are co-chair David Hall, who is based in New York, and hotel and leisure specialist Richard Ross, who is based in Phoenix.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP’s three-partner practice is singled out as being ‘creative in finding solutions to some extremely complex issues’. From its New York base, the team continued to handle a significant amount of joint venture development work, including financing and leasing of residential, office, hotel, retail and mixed-use projects both in New York and around the country. ‘Deal-makerWallace Schwartz heads the practice and represented Blackstone in the development aspects of its $680m acquisition of the SkyView Center in Queens. Schwartz is also acting for Related Companies and Oxford Properties in the leasing of a multi-level shopping center being built at Hudson Yards. On the debt finance side, Douglas Heitner advised JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group on a $725m loan for the construction of a 90-story tower at 57th Street, New York. Adam Endick specializes in leasing and assisted Extell Development Company with the ground leasing of 23rd Street, New York to a joint venture between Kaufman Organization and Goldman Sachs. The practice was further developed by a number of new hires, including special counsel Sander Ash from Moses & Singer.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s seven-partner practice is especially known for its dirt expertise and wins praise as being ‘top tier for large lease matters’. The practice continued its involvement in a number of New York’s foremost development projects, such as practice head Jay Neveloff advising Forest City Ratner Companies on the $4bn Pacific Park redevelopment project in Brooklyn, and Jonathan Canter assisting Related Companies with the $20bn Hudson Yards project in Manhattan. Other significant work included James Godman advising Deloitte on the lease for its new headquarters at the Gas Company Tower in Los Angeles, and Neil Tucker acting for The Continuum Company and its founder Bruce Eichner in connection with the development of a $100m residential tower at 41 East 22nd Street, New York. The team was boosted by the hire from King & Spalding LLP of ‘great negotiator and deal-maker’ Andrew Charles, who focuses on joint ventures and related financing. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP practice is headed out of Philadelphia and Boston by Eric Stern and Richard Toelke respectively. Acting for developers and owners of real estate across the US, the team has particular expertise in multifamily apartment complex projects and, increasingly, higher education projects. One example of the latter was Stern assisting American Campus Communities with the development of new student residences in Boston, California and Virginia. Other highlights in 2015 included representing Brookwood Financial Partners in the purchase of a portfolio of 29 office buildings in the Greater Philadelphia suburbs for approximately $183m, and acting for the Berkshire Group in the acquisition and financing of a $400m multifamily portfolio in Georgia and North Carolina. On behalf of key client JBG Companies, Washington DC-based Michael Pickett advised on a $245m loan from Bank of America to finance the construction of a 31-story office building and parking garage in Rosslyn, Virginia, while Thomas Klanderman assisted in two joint ventures with Brandywine Realty Trust related to a multi-phase development in the heart of NoMa, Washington DC. The practice also has boots on the ground in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Real estate remains the largest and most significant practice area at Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP, where clients range from developers and banks to private equity firms. In Atlanta, practice co-chair Robert Reardon’s team includes Christina Graham and Frank Bazzel, who continued to act for key client Wood Partners on various matters, including the $200m sale of a luxury high-rise apartment building in Los Angeles. The ‘growing finance practice’ includes Frederick Boyd, who was active on commercial finance transactions for banks such as Wells Fargo and Regions Bank. On the corporate transactional side, Lauren Prevost assisted Cole Corporate Income Trust with its $3.1bn merger with Select Income REIT, while hospitality specialist Thomas Gryboski was busy with a number of acquisitions, including representing Noble Investment Group in the $300m sale of a 13-hotel portfolio to American Realty Capital Hospitality Trust. In Washington DC, where practice co-chair Wendelin White is based, new hire from Hogan Lovells US LLP, Carol Weld King, acted for Starr Companies in forming a joint venture with AWH Partners to acquire the Marriott Burbank Airport hotel in Los Angeles. All named attorneys are based in Atlanta unless otherwise stated. Rusty Fleming left for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s practice has strong presence in Texas where it acts for a diverse range of clients, including insurance companies, REITs, real estate developers, financial institutions and retail and manufacturing companies. Jane Snoddy Smith heads the practice from Austin and has particular expertise in transactions involving shopping centers; Smith acted for BlackRock Realty Advisors in four joint ventures to acquire, finance, develop and operate mixed-use, multifamily projects and shopping centers in numerous states. In Dallas, Winston Walp advised Beck Ventures on the $2bn acquisition of Valley View Mall and also assisted Capital Senior Living Corporation with the acquisition and financing of a number of senior housing properties. In San Antonio, James Summers is representing Cirque du Soleil in connection with the development of a $500m theme park in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. The team also has practitioners in New York, where Douglas Danzig has been active on behalf of foreign investors.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s ‘high- quality’ practice was busy on behalf of its sizeable private equity client base, which includes the likes of Walton Street Capital, Colony Capital and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management. In one piece of work, Los Angeles-based Gerard Walsh assisted Westbrook Partners with the $365m mortgage and mezzanine finance for its purchase of a stake in the St. John’s Center in Manhattan. Walsh was also active in the hospitality sector, advising in connection with the mezzanine financing of the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. In San Francisco, practice head Michael Liever handled a number of significant matters, including advising USAA on the $1.1bn purchase of stakes in five Westfield malls across the country, and assisting Heitman America Real Estate Trust with its $342m acquisition of a shopping mall complex in Maui, Hawaii. The team also advises inbound investors and lending institutions on cross-border real estate investments. For example, New York-based Michael Haworth and San Francisco-based Dennis Martin acted for a subsidiary of Tokyu Land Corporation on its equity investment in the 425 Park Avenue development project in Manhattan.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP wins praise for its ‘knowledgeable attorneys who show great business judgment’. In San Francisco, the ‘excellent’ Robert Herr heads the practice and advised Spear Street Capital on the $147m sale of an office campus in Santa Clara to Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, and Rachel Horsch continued to serve key client Shorenstein Properties on a variety of acquisitions, dispositions and financings. In Los Angeles, office managing partner William Waller and James Rishwain (who divides his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco) were active on behalf of investor clients such as Fifth Street Properties and NIMES Investments. Other key players in the team are San Diego-based Steven Hamilton, who specializes in advising banks on loan modifications and originations, and Caroline Harcourt, who joined the New York office from Kaye Scholer LLP. Brant Maller left for Winston & Strawn LLP.

Polsinelli PC offers ‘great value for money’ and handles an increasing number of debt finance mandates for lender clients such as KeyBank and Prime Finance. Practice head Dan Flanigan has a ‘wide skill set and breadth of knowledge’ and acted for Prime Finance on the $600m securitization and sale of commercial mortgages. On the borrower side, Lonnie Shalton, Lisa Haines and Robert Adams advised Extell Development Company on the $337m loan financing with Deutsche Bank for a 90-story mixed-use building in Manhattan. In other highlights, Irwin Blond and New York-based Brooks Clark assisted Colony Capital Acquisitions with the $170m acquisition and leaseback of two international culinary and hospitality schools, while Flanigan and Adams advised Abraham Kamber & Company on various acquisitions and dispositions, including the $330m sale of a leasehold interest in 1407 Broadway, New York. Aside from its strong offering in Kansas, the practice also has a solid presence in Chicago, where it played a key role in the development aspects of a $3bn REIT transaction. All named attoneys are based in Kansas unless otherwise stated.

Venable LLP’s practice was busy on behalf of its strong REIT client base, with Baltimore-based Christopher Pate representing Chambers Street Properties in its $5.8bn merger with Gramercy Properties Trust, and advising Inland Real Estate Corporation on its $2.3bn acquisition by DRA Advisors. Washington DC-based Lawrence Gesner continued to act for key client Fannie Mae on debt finance mandates and has a particular focus on multifamily projects. In Los Angeles, office managing partner Mitchell Evall and Andrew Schmerzler assist a range of major motion picture studios, theatre chains, investment banks, real property developers and retailers with acquisitions and dispositions, leasing and financing matters. Thomas Millspaugh heads the practice and divides his time between Baltimore and Washington DC. The team was weakened in New York by the loss of Michael Peskowitz and two counsels to Thompson & Knight LLP.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s New York-based team, lauded as ‘second to none when negotiating and executing complex equity and debt real estate transactions’, is led by Thomas Henry and senior counsel Eugene Pinover. The practice handles a good balance of corporate transactional and finance work and, in a recent highlight, advised Hudson’s Bay Company on its $1.8bn real estate-focused joint venture with Simon Property Group and the subsequent $846m of debt finance required for the joint venture’s acquisition of 41 GALERIA properties. In addition to a strong private equity client base, the practice is active on behalf of REITs and, as well as advising WP Glimcher on its loan arrangements following a major acquisition, it also assisted Paramount Group with the $230m buyout of its joint venture partner’s interest in an office building on 52nd Street, Manhattan. The other name to note in the team is David Drewes, who represented B&L Management Company in connection with the $690m sale of 24 apartment buildings to a joint venture led by Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII and Fairstead Capital.

Allen & Overy LLP’s New York-based practice handles a mix of debt finance and acquisition work for its global investor and developer clients. The well-regarded Kevin O’Shea heads the practice and acted for Ivanhoé Cambridge, a cornerstone investor in TPG RE Finance Trust, in relation to the Trust’s purchase of an interest in a portfolio of high-yield commercial real estate loans originated by Deutsche Bank. Another key name in the team is Erwin Dweck, who, with O’Shea, assisted Oxford Properties Group and OMERS with their purchase of mezzanine loans made to affiliates of General Growth Properties and Jeff Sutton. The team also has expertise in advising on inbound equity and debt transactions by Asian, European, Canadian and Middle Eastern real estate investors.

Real estate is a strong feature of the work at California-based Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP, where the team advises on a full range of assets, including office, industrial, multifamily, shopping center, mixed-use and hospitality. Key players include Los Angeles-based practice chair Anton Natsis, San Francisco-based Stephen Lieske, who acts for a variety of banks, life insurance companies and securitization lenders on debt finance matters, and Richard Stinehart, who is based in Orange County and is a director of the real estate group. Equity Office Properties, Hines and Tishman Speyer are all clients of the practice.

Jack Fields and Michael Boyd lead the practice at Andrews Kurth LLP, which has a particular strength in retail and office leasing. In one example, the team acted for Stage Stores in the negotiation and execution of an office lease relating to the client’s consolidation of multiple offices into a single corporate headquarters. The team was also active in a range of equity and debt mandates, with hotel specialist Daniel McCormick assisting BW RRI with the $600m purchase and financing of 90 hotels in 22 states, and David Runnels and Callie Parker acting for MetroNational on the $140m construction financing of the Air Liquide Campus in Houston, Texas. All named above attorneys are based in Houston, but the practice also has a presence in Dallas, where Andrew Campbell handled various joint venture formations, loan assumptions and acquisitions relating to residential and office developments.

Bryan Cave LLP’s 45-partner practice operates across the US and continues to be active on behalf of its strong private equity and REIT client base. In New York, Sandor Green represented Aimco in connection with the acquisition, disposition, new development and rehabilitation of multifamily residential apartment complexes, while in Denver, Robert Bach advised Dividend Capital on various multimillion-dollar loans as well as the $36m acquisition of a retail facility in Cape Cod. Other active clients are Och-Ziff Real Estate and Arbor Realty Trust. The team is also known for its leasing expertise and handled over $300m worth of new leases for Regus Group. Key contacts are St. Louis-based practice head James Buell and Andrew Auerbach, who is based in New York.

Clifford Chance’s 17-partner practice advises funds, private investors and lenders on a full range of real estate issues, and benefits from the firm’s broad international network in obtaining a steady stream of inbound work on behalf of major foreign investors. Highlights in 2015 included advising key client Madison International Realty on structuring and purchasing a $300m interest in two joint ventures relating to a portfolio of 42 US retail assets, and representing Bank J. Safra Sarasin (Luxembourg) and Safra National Bank in connection with a first priority mortgage loan encumbering the sub-ground leasehold interest in Union Station in Washington DC. Names to note in the New York-based team are practice head Douglas Wisner and Ness Cohen.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson is one of the largest full-service law firms focusing on real estate in the US, and continued to be active on behalf of clients that include public and private businesses, major financial institutions, pension funds, industry entrepreneurs, REITs and public agencies. In Los Angeles, the recommended Ira Waldman and Adam Weissburg handle debt finance for both borrowers and lenders, while in San Francisco, Mathew Wyman advises on joint ventures and corporate transactions for a range of developers and investors. The practice also has boots on the ground in Orange County, where Randall Black is the name to note.

Davis & Gilbert LLP’s New York-based practice is well known for its leasing expertise, particularly in the retail sector, where it acts for clients such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Fast Retailing. On the landlord side, the practice has a longstanding relationship with Tishman Speyer and acted for the client in relation to a lease with MetLife for 550,000 sq ft of office space at the MetLife Building at 200 Park Avenue. Key players in the team include ‘leasing supremoGerald Uram and Robert Karin, with the latter active on behalf of the Feil Organization on various asset purchases, refinancings and dispositions, including the sale of a shopping center in Bloomington, Illinois. Mark Maltz and Donald Sonnenborn co-chair the practice.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s busy practice has a presence in California, Florida, Wisconsin and the Northeast. Head of the practice Fred Ridley is based in Tampa and handles a mix of work for developers, with one recent example being his representation of Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach Resort in its negotiation with Bank of America for a $108m construction loan relating to the Wyndham Hotel/Timeshare resort. On the lender side, the team increased its work for Regions Bank, with Tampa-based Thomas Little advising the bank as administrative agent in relation to syndicated loans for a $137m mixed-use project. In Jacksonville, David Cook works frequently for private equity clients and represented an affiliate of Starwood Capital in relation to the $149m sale of the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale to DiamondRock Hospitality. Other key contacts are Orlando-based Pamela Brown, who assisted Hall Equities Group with the $225m purchase of a portfolio of 29 hotels across the US, and Los Angeles-based Jason Barglow.

Gardere Wynne Sewell’s Texas-based practice focuses on advising owners, landlords and developers on development projects and has particular expertise in the hospitality sector. In one highlight, Cynthia Nelson acted for Ashford Hospitality Trust in the $63m acquisition and financing of Le Pavillon Hotel in Louisiana. Key client KDC once again kept the team busy - George Dunlap advising it on a number of matters, including the $1.5bn mixed-use CityLine development in Richardson and the $300m development of Toyota’s new US headquarters in Plano, Texas. Kevin Kelley chairs the practice and is representing American Airlines in the $550m development of its new headquarters. All named attorneys are based in Dallas, although the practice also has presence in Houston.

New York-based Walter Schleimer, who heads the practice at Haynes and Boone, L.L.P., focuses on finance transactions. Schleimer continued to be active on behalf of Natixis Real Estate Capital, advising the client on financing related to Newmark Holdings’ affiliate’s $115m purchase of 40 Exchange Place, Manhattan. Also in New York is ‘rising star’ Aaron Beim, who represents a variety of institutional real estate investors (as lenders and borrowers) in the origination, workout, restructuring, sale and purchase of structured financings. In Dallas, key players include managing partner Timothy Powers, who has been busy assisting foreign investors with a large number of US real estate investments, and Matthew Schindel, who focuses on private equity transactions for clients such as Woods Capital.

Herrick, Feinstein LLP’s New York-based practice was enhanced by the hire of Ellen Shapiro from Squire Patton Boggs and the promotions to partner of Michael Smith and Christina Ying. The practice has particular strength on the dirt side and handled a number of leases of blue-ribbon properties in New York. Leading individuals in the team include the recommended head of practice Belinda Schwartz, Sheldon Chanales, who advised a borrower on a significant refinancing, and Jonathan Adelsberg, who was active in the acquisition of multifamily properties.

K&L Gates’ ‘very responsive and user-friendly team’ benefits from its international platform in receiving a notable volume of inbound investment work for clients such as Mirae Asset Global Investments. The team is acting for Mirae Asset in the acquisition and financing of a class A office building on 1750 K Street, Washington DC. Another area of strength is the resort, hospitality and leisure sector, with the firm’s offices in Charleston, Raleigh and Seattle particularly active in this regard; in one example, Raleigh-based Anthony Barwick advised Concord Hospitality Enterprises on a series of hotel portfolio sales totaling approximately $350m to a sovereign wealth fund. The practice was boosted by a number of hires, including Benay Lizarazu in Charlotte, who joined from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, and Marisa Bocci in Seattle, who was previously in an in-house role. Charleston-based Matthew Norton leads the team.

Loeb & Loeb LLP’s New York offering has particular expertise in leasing for both landlords and tenants, and was again active on behalf of key clients such as RFR Realty and Brookfield Properties. Head of the practice Raymond Sanseverino advised BNY Mellon on a 20-year lease for its new world headquarters at 225 Liberty Street, Manhattan, while Scott Schneider acted for JPMorgan Chase on a number of matters, including the lease of office space at 33rd Street, Manhattan. The practice also shows strength in debt finance work, with one example being Steven Kornblau’s advice to Aareal Capital Corporation as senior lender on a $275m loan for the construction of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and the refinancing of the renowned Beverly Hilton. All above named lawyers are based in New York, but the practice also has a presence in Los Angeles, where key contacts include Thomas Hanley and senior counsel Adam Knowlton.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP’s California-based practice continued to handle big-ticket matters for major clients. In Los Angeles, co-chair Tom Muller and Anita Sabine assisted Macerich with various acquisitions and dispositions, including the sale of minority stakes in eight retail properties across the country for $2.3bn. In San Francisco, Clayton Gantz represented Jay Paul Company in a $610m senior secured non-revolving loan to finance the first phase construction of a new office campus for Google. Also in San Francisco, James Eastman continued to advise the Prudential Insurance Company of America as the lender on debt finance mandates. Palo Alto-based practice co-chair Michael Polentz was active on leasing portfolios and development projects.

Entering the rankings this year is Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, which stands out for its strong REIT practice. A major highlight was the team’s representation of key client Equity Residential in its agreement to sell 72 properties to Starwood Capital for $5.3bn. In another sizeable transaction, Avram Feldman and Douglas Ellis advised O’Connor Capital Partners and its joint venture partner on the $800m acquisition of a 49% indirect ownership interest in five malls from WP Glimcher. The practice wins praise for its ‘extremely efficient and top-notch service’ and is led by Douglas Lubelchek, who has a ‘depth of real estate and legal knowledge combined with practicality and a very calm demeanor’; Darrin Forbes is also recommended. All named partners are based in Chicago.

Ropes & Gray LLP drew on its strong private equity client base to advise on a number of significant mandates in the debt finance and acquisition space. For Blackstone Mortgage Trust, New York-based David Djaha and Daniel Stanco advised on a $4bn credit facility from Wells Fargo to finance its acquisition of a portfolio of commercial mortgage loans from General Electric; and for TPG Capital, Djaha and Jack Creedon handled the acquisition of a majority interest in a high-yield real estate loan portfolio from Deutsche Bank. In other highlights, practice head Marc Lazar advised a joint venture on the $145m sale of two master-planned communities in Texas and Colorado, while Walter McCabe had a key role in the $200m acquisition and financing of a mixed-use office tower and data center in Houston. Richard Gordet is ‘very client friendly’ and has ‘solid technical and market knowledge’. All named partners are based in Boston unless otherwise stated.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s 43-partner team has a presence in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. San Francisco-based Doug Van Gessel has been particularly active, advising Moffett Place on a number of significant transactions, including a $610m loan for the construction of an office campus, and the $1.1bn lease to Google of a corporate campus development in California. In Los Angeles, Pamela Westhoff advised on various dispositions for SteelWave, including the $195m sale of 160 Spear Street in San Francisco, while in Chicago Terrence Budny and Larry Eppley remained active on the debt finance side for lender and borrower clients such as The PrivateBank, Sapir Group and Oxford Capital Group. Domenic Drago co-chairs the practice from San Diego and, as well as assisting San Diego Ballpark Hotel Company with its $140m refinancing of the Omni Hotel, also represented the Irvine Company in multifamily acquisitions and ground lease transactions in Silicon Valley. San Francisco-based co-chair Keith Garner is the other name to note. In May 2016, Thomas Masenga joined from Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and thorough attorneys invoke trust and assurance’ and the firm enters the rankings on the back of its busy REIT practice. For key client Senior Housing Properties Trust, the team handled the $790m acquisition of 38 senior living properties in 16 states, and also the $539m acquisition of 23 medical office buildings in 12 states. John Steiner was particularly busy, representing Hospitality Properties Trust in a $397m sale-leaseback transaction with TravelCenters of America relating to 19 travel centers, and also advising Select Income REIT on its $153m acquisition of an office building in Kansas City. Adam Weisenberg and Eric Lemont are ‘good to work with’ and acted for DivcoWest and Synergy Investments in the $56m sale of a parking garage in Boston’s Fort Point Channel area to NewTower Trust. John Balboni heads the Boston-based practice.

Praised as a ‘hidden gem’, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s Atlanta-focused practice was further enhanced by the hire of institutional investor specialist Clayton Howell from King & Spalding LLP. Other key players in the 12-partner team are practice chair Victor Haley, whose expertise ranges from timber transactions to hotel and resort projects; Robinson Plowden, who is particularly proficient in data center developments; and James Jordan, who is singled out for his ‘knowledge, attention to detail and timeliness’. On the debt finance side, John Benson ‘meets deadlines without ever missing details’, and Washington DC-based Lisa Rosen ‘provides practical and sound advice’; Benson and Rosen represented a range of prominent lenders on various billion-dollar CMBS securitizations and defaulted loan transactions. New client wins include Citizens Bank, Hines, and Pollack Shores Real Estate Group. All named partners are based in Atlanta unless otherwise stated.

Thompson & Knight LLP’s practice has a strong focus on acting for lenders, such as BBVA Compass Bank and Midland Loan Services, on debt finance matters. Recent examples include advising a leading real estate investment company on a $120m loan sale and acting for Wells Fargo in a $180m loan to Simon Property Group regarding the construction of the Smith Haven Mall in New York. The team also handles a variety of leasing work in areas such as commercial office, retail, healthcare and hospitality. Fort Worth-based Susan Coleman represented Tempe Campus Lot 8 in the negotiation of a lease to Northern Trust Company for a $95m office complex to be constructed in Tempe, Arizona. While the team has a particular presence in Texas, it also has practitioners in New York, where recent additions include commercial lending specialist Michael Peskowitz and two counsels from Venable LLP. Andrew Ingrum heads the practice from the firm’s Dallas office.

Thompson Hine LLP’s practice was again busy on behalf its strong REIT client base, with James Aronoff advising Brookfield Asset Management on its $2.5bn takeover of Associated Estate Realty Corporation. For key client DDR, Robyn Minter Smyers was active in various acquisitions and dispositions, including the purchase of Willowbrook Mall in Houston; for the same client, Jared Oakes handled numerous leasing transactions. The team also works regularly for domestic and international corporates; in recent examples, Smyers acted for AkzoNobel in the sale of its Zeta Fraction business to Ashland Specialty Ingredients, and practice leader Thomas Coyne assisted Pratt & Whitney with the $180m development of its corporate headquarters in Connecticut. All attorneys named so far are based in Cleveland, but the practice also has numbers in Atlanta, Dayton and New York. Atlanta-based Stephen Schrock joined from Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP.

Troutman Sanders’ practice is particularly well known for representing lenders in multifamily financing. It acted for Berkadia Commercial Mortgage in securing $1.36bn in Freddie Mac debt financing for a portfolio of 56 multifamily properties across eight states. The team was also busy on the corporate transactional side and advised Trinity Capital Advisors on a joint venture with Starwood Capital and Vanderbilt Office Properties to acquire a $1.12bn portfolio of suburban office buildings located in four states. In another deal, the team assisted Crescent Communities with the $700m portfolio sale of nine newly constructed luxury multifamily projects located in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. The practice was strengthened in Charlotte and New York by the respective hires of Michael Tomlinson and Jeffrey Weitzman from K&L Gates. Atlanta-based Mark Elliott and Richmond-based Mark Shiembob lead the team.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s Texas-based practice represents clients in all facets of the real estate industry, including banks, insurance companies, developers, consultants and governmental entities. Head of practice Paul Martin advised 7-Eleven on the $130m relocation of its corporate headquarters from the Dallas Arts District to the Cypress Waters Development in Irving, Texas, while Michael Boulden handled a number of dirt transactions for GE Capital, including the sale of a 162-unit apartment complex in West Covina, California. Joel Ross and newly made-up partner Russell Oshman advised a major real estate investment management company on a number of significant REIT acquisitions. Other key players in the team are Houston-based ‘dean of real estate’ Sanford Weiner and Randy Jurgensmeyer. All named partners are based in Dallas unless otherwise stated.

Miami-based Steven Vainder leads the team at White & Case LLP and advises on the full range of real estate assets, including shopping malls, hotel and hospitality, and office and industrial parks, with one particular specialty being projects involving green or sustainable building practices. Vainder recently advised Codina Partners on obtaining $200m worth of construction loans for various developments in Florida. In New York, the newly promoted Steven Lutt was busy on behalf of foreign investors on a number of substantial inbound investments, including the purchase of hotels and commercial office buildings in New York and Washington DC.

WilmerHale’s Boston-based practice has strength across a range of asset classes, including senior living, retail and life sciences. In 2015, highlights included Sean Boulger advising Benchmark Senior Living on the $360m recapitalization of a nine-property portfolio of senior living communities with a healthcare REIT, and Keith Barnett representing key client Carpenter and Company in relation to the $360m conversion of the World Trade Center in New Orleans into a Four Seasons hotel and condominium. Head of the practice Paul Jakubowski has particular expertise in tenants’ headquarters lease transactions and assisted various clients in this respect, including SharkNinja. In another piece of work, Jakubowski and Katharine Bachman advised Murphy & McManus on the $350m acquisition, leasing and development of a proton therapy center in New York. The practice was further developed by a number of junior hires.

From its offices in New York and Chicago, Winston & Strawn LLP assists purchasers, sellers, developers, borrowers and lenders with the development, financing, acquisition and sale of commercial, industrial and multifamily properties. In New York, Christine Spletzer handles commercial mortgage-backed securitization, while practice head Corey Tessler and Michael Moser focus on commercial real estate finance transactions for lending institutions such as Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland. Christopher Murtaugh is the key contact in Chicago.

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Legal Developments worldwide

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  • Bulgaria: Opening the gas market for foreign traders!

    Most recently, the Bulgarian Energy Regulator has taken significant steps towards the full liberalisation of the natural gas market: In December 2016, the Bulgarian Energy Regulator adopted legislative amendments to the Rules for Trading of Natural Gas ( Правила за търговия с природен газ , " Trading Rules ") and the Rules for Access to the Gas Transmission and/or Gas Distribution Networks and the Natural Gas Storage Facilities ( Правила за предоставяне на достъп до газопреносните и/или газоразпределителните мрежи и за достъп до съоръженията за съхранение на природен газ , " Access Rules "). Moreover, it adopted new Rules for Balancing of the Natural Gas Market ( Правила за балансиране на пазара за природен газ , " Balancing Rules "). read more...
  • When Arbitration Meets Insolvency in Montenegro - Can They Coexist?

    Even at first blush, it is apparent that arbitration and insolvency make strange bedfellows.
  • Hungary: Registration Fees for Company Establishment Abolished

    In an aim to simplify state administration and support economic growth, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new law abolishing the registration fee and the publication cost for incorporating limited liability companies (" LLC ") ( korlátolt felelősségű társaság ), limited partnerships ( betéti társaság ), general partnerships ( közkereseti társaság ), and sole entrepreneurships ( egyéni cég ). The new law becomes effective on 16 March 2017. read more...
  • SyCipLaw TMT Bulletin: Philippine Central Bank Issues New FinTech Rules

    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) (the Philippine Central Bank) has issued two new circulars that will be of interest to companies engaged in remittance services, e-money, digital currency, and other fintech businesses. Both circulars amend portions of the BSP Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial Institutions.
  • IFLR: “Philippines: Foreign equity ownership decision”

    The March issue of the International Financial Law Review ( IFLR ) includes an international briefing article by SyCipLaw partner  Jose Florante M. Pamfilo  entitled “Philippines: Foreign equity ownership decision”. The article discusses the Philippine Supreme Court decision on the case of Roy v. Herbosa (GR no. 207246) to invalidate the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Memorandum Circular no. 8-2013 (MC 8-2013) on the guidelines on compliance with the Filipino-foreign ownership requirements prescribed in the Philippine Constitution and/or existing laws by corporations engaged in nationalized and partly nationalized activities.
  • New regulation on unit-linked life insurance in Hungary

    Policyholders of unit-linked life insurance products pay an agreed sum for the unit-linked insurance to the insurance company, as a regular premium, or in one lump sum. These payments cover the life insurance component as well as the investment, administrative costs, contracting fee and the commissions. The "total cost charged" ("TCC") is an indicator – calculated in line with the rules of Hungarian insurance regulations – showing all costs charged on life insurance policies having a savings element, reflected as a percentage value. The regulation of the TCC in Hungary has been amended effective 1 January 2017. read more...
  • Hungary: Increase of Minimum Sale Price May Affect Retail NPL Transactions?

    On 7 March 2017, the Hungarian parliament adopted a law that increases the minimum sale price of a residential property in the enforcement procedure from the current 70% of its market value to 100% (market value to be understood as the price set by the appraisal of the bailiff), provided that (i) the claim to be enforced stems from a consumer contract; (ii) the real property is the debtor's only real property; and (iii) the debtor resided in that real property for at least six months prior to the initiation of the enforcement procedure.   read more...
  • European Court of Justice rules for the first time on discrimination based on belief

    The Court of Justice confirms a policy of neutrality can justify discrimination based on belief.
  • RECENT COURT ORDER ON GOOGLE RELATED TO PROTECTING INFORMATION RIGHTS

    Korean appeals court orders Google to disclose to Korean users what personal information Google passed to U.S. government.
  • ECJ CASE C-28/26 - RECOVERABILITY OF INPUT VAT OF A HOLDING COMPANY

    Case C-28/26 - Examines the right of a holding company to deduct input VAT on services acquired in the interest of its subsidiaries where those services are offered to its subsidiaries with no consideration.

Press Releases worldwide

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