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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United States, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for six consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.

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



Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Overview clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


In the construction space, all eyes in early 2018 were on Congress, amid plans to legislate for investment in the country’s infrastructure worth around $1.7tn over the next ten years, as detailed in the President’s State of the Union address. Following years of cuts, and ageing bridges, roads, rail systems and water pipelines, it has been estimated that $3.6tn is needed to renew the country’s infrastructure. Whilst uncertainty remains about the means to address the funding shortfall, the demand and appetite for infrastructure is evident, with increases in public construction projects throughout the country. Law firms such as Peckar & Abramson, P.C. and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP have been working with state authorities, as complex design-build and public-private partnership (PPP or P3) infrastructure models become increasingly popular. It is hoped that new models, including PPP, can partially address the difficulty in financing new infrastructure projects by maximizing value for constituents and shifting some of the incidental risks of construction defects and delays to the private sector.

Closely linked to the ageing infrastructure, and driven by the growing US population, is the need for affordable housing. This permeates across the country, as New York, Houston and the West Coast are seeing developers build mixed-use, multistory housing developments, many with thousands of residential units built in with commercial, retail and green spaces. These developments echo the demand for urban living that is affordable and that focuses on helping communities to thrive. In order to meet these social demands, many states have imposed affordable housing options on developers.

The $20bn Hudson Yards development remains the largest real estate construction project in the US and is paving the way for mixed-use, high-rise developments, with several residential buildings combined with business, retail and entertainment venues. Social infrastructure is also a major growth area - especially healthcare - and as a result of an increasing and ageing population numerous medical and hospital facilities are being built, particularly in the north eastern and southern states, with many funded through the PPP model.

As a number of large public infrastructure projects come to their conclusion, it is anticipated that heavy civil infrastructure lawsuits are likely. Firms are increasingly participating in front-end negotiations seeking to provide for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms within construction contracts, with mediation becoming increasingly popular. Nevertheless, the market for construction litigation remains strong, with a growing number of claims partly attributable to previously low profit margins resulting in precarious projects being entered into and lawsuits arising. Texas, and particularly Houston, remains the center for energy disputes, and with the drop in oil prices many Texas-based firms are working with energy owners on high-value disputes.

Despite increasing political and economic uncertainty at the beginning of 2017, the thriving real estate market remained highly active throughout the year, with lawyers commenting on the strong pipeline of work across all sectors. Financing work in particular has been on the rise, with both borrowers and lenders seeking to enter transactions for property sales, acquisitions and major development projects. Portfolio deals are increasingly prevalent, with single-asset transactions becoming less so, and firms noted a significant number of portfolio deals in the hotels and hospitality space.

Key regions of focus for real estate firms include New York, which is the location of numerous large-scale office, residential, retail and mixed-use development projects; this includes Hudson Yards, which has produced an abundance of work for law firms across the board. California, Texas and Florida are also active markets in the development context. Sector activity remains strong across the board, however lawyers note that the retail sector has slowed noticeably within the last year given the rise in online shopping platforms such as Amazon and eBay, though work remains active in the form of redevelopment projects involving large shopping malls.

The US real estate market has seen renewed foreign investor interest after a period of uncertainty - though inbound work from Chinese investors has become less prevalent in anticipation of impending tax reforms. Nonetheless, domestic investment activity remains at an all-time high despite the sharp rise in property asset prices.

Land use and zoning is a highly regional practice with rules and regulations differing from state to state, and therefore requires highly specialized lawyers that are cognizant of the political environment and very familiar with the local context. The legal work focuses on land use approvals, entitlements and zoning matters for real estate and infrastructure projects, with the most prestigious being sports stadiums, major hospitals, university campuses, as well as corporate headquarters and tech campuses. There has been a noticeable increase in mixed-use projects in recent years; the combination of residential and commercial buildings, often with an entertainment component, leads to the creation of new quarters and eases the need for living space in densely populated major cities. On the contentious side, the workload includes appealing negative decisions of administrative authorities and defending projects against oppositions launched by neighboring landowners and environmentalist groups.

Despite being a volatile year for global financial markets, the US REIT industry still managed to generate total returns of around 9.3% during 2017, with certain technology-related asset classes (particularly the data center, cell tower and industrial sectors) performing well. In addition, the investor consensus is that REITs remain undervalued compared to traditional stocks, particularly with the latter maintaining their upward trend; this perceived value should combine with the 6.5% increase in US house prices during 2017 to push US REITs to more robust activity levels in 2018.

Already, opportunistic institutional investors are piling in to snap up cheap assets in the most underperforming real estate sectors, with the challenging retail environment ensuring that REITs linked to shopping malls are currently being seen as the best long-term bet. This acquisitive activity has led to a significant upsurge in REIT M&A.

Although concern over the impact of the much-heralded tax reform created a choppy REIT environment before its implementation at the end of the year, the actual changes to the tax code look set to benefit the REIT market. Most notably, the new 20% deduction on income from pass-through entities (which is a standard REIT corporate structure) will be a boon to REIT investors. In a further advantage, REITs will be permitted to opt out of new rules restricting taxpayers from deducting business interest expenses beyond 30% of earnings.

The main players in this space are Clifford Chance, Goodwin, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

It should also be noted that Maryland has a special regime for REITs, which makes it a popular jurisdiction for forming REITs - in fact, most publicly held REITs are organized in Maryland. Venable LLP and Ballard Spahr LLP dominate on Maryland law-related REIT issues.

Construction (including construction litigation)

Index of tables

  1. Construction (including construction litigation)
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Construction (including construction litigation) clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Jones Day provides a ‘very good, responsive and cost-effective’ service and is well known for its expertise in arbitration for large-scale construction disputes and for transactional assistance with some of the largest and most prominent infrastructure projects in the world. The team was active in the oil and gas sector in 2017, with San Francisco-based Stephen O’Neal notably representing the Chevron group in an UNCITRAL arbitration in Perth, Australia in a $1bn dispute regarding the construction of a jetty on Barrow Island, Australia. O’Neal also successfully defended a multinational oil and gas client against claims of over $200m in connection with a pipeline project off the coast of Africa. Andrew Ness splits his time between Saudi Arabia and Washington DC and has assisted Saudi Aramco with a variety of construction issues, including construction contracts and disputes. The firm works for owners and contractors, including global developers, and has a client list that includes AECOM, Yokohama and Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

The ‘relaxed, friendly’ team at Jones Walker LLP is a ‘national leader in the field’. The construction practice is jointly led by Chad Theriot and Richard Tyler, who are based in Atlanta and New Orleans respectively. The firm has seen a recent uptick in work in the energy sector, with the ‘very knowledgeable, ethical and always-availableNeal Sweeney (Atlanta) advising an international EPC contractor on a $60m wind farm project in the US. ‘Practical, business-minded and efficient’, Joseph Henner is currently advising a US company with worldwide assets on the planned expansion of an asset in South America, with the project valued at $4bn, and is representing the prime contractor building the $1.4bn Mercedes-Benz stadium - the new home of the Atlanta Falcons. Other key partners are Houston-based Stephen Miller as well as ‘incredibly responsive, devoted and loyal’ Jennifer Lowndes and ‘rising star’ Tyler Scarbrough, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’ (both are based in Atlanta).

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Excellent in every way’, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton possess a ‘proven group of litigators with one of the best reputations in the country’. The team specializes in handling complex contracts in connection with energy infrastructure projects and is strong in major disputes arising from large infrastructure projects and redevelopments. The firm expanded in 2017, opening an office in Houston and taking a team of attorneys from Coats Rose, P.C., including office managing partner and construction and infrastructure specialist Patrick Gaas. Practice head Randall Hafer currently acts for Liberation Capital in an arbitration with an EPC contractor relating to claims of over $14m regarding defective design and construction of equipment for a renewable energy project. Lawrence Prosen is a key figure, with a ‘good sense of construction standards and implementations’ and a strong contact base amongst contractors. Prosen recently represented Welch and Rushe (W&R) in a dispute arising from W&R and another contractor’s modernization and renovation of the National Museum of American History in Washington DC. Atlanta attorneys Brian Corgan and Lee Mann are also recommended.

The ‘Pre-eminent construction law practice’ at King & Spalding LLP is known for its strength in energy industry construction matters and has a ‘tremendous level of background knowledge in the oil and gas industry’. The group is based across numerous cities in Texas and does a substantial amount of work for large multinational energy owners, including Cheniere Energy, Freeport LNG and Tallgrass Energy. ‘Exceptional lawyerCraig Ledet and ‘excellent strategist’ Michael Stenglein (Austin) work on major construction disputes in the US and across the world, arising from disruption, inefficiency, defects and even major industrial casualty events such as explosions, fires and equipment failures. Scott Greer and Angus McFadden are both highly regarded industry experts for transactional matters. Greer advised LNG Canada, a joint venture comprising Shell, KOGAS, Mitsubishi and PetroChina, on a four-train LNG facility, including a 650km pipeline; and McFadden advised the Atlanta Falcons on agreements relating to the construction of the club’s new stadium. Austin-based Adam Gray is a ‘rising star in the construction world’. Unless indicated otherwise, named lawyers are based in Houston.

Peckar & Abramson, P.C. has 11 offices across the US with more than 100 attorneys practicing almost exclusively in the field of construction law. Founding partner Robert Peckar has ‘superb industry knowledge’ and chairman Steven Charney ‘always provides solid advice’. The firm stands out for having a dedicated PPP practice, with specialist expertise in addressing the specific regulatory, contractual, transactional, financial and political issues that arise. Paul Monte leads the team, which is acting as lead counsel to major construction joint ventures in relation to, respectively, the new Tappan Zee Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge and LaGuardia Airport. Gregory Chertoff heads the construction disputes practice, key matters for which include defending contractors against, respectively, multimillion-dollar claims arising from construction of a microchip manufacturing plant, an aquarium building, and the curtain wall of the tallest building in New Jersey. The firm also assists clients in cross-border construction matters and recent highlights include representing one client in the arbitration of a $100m claim under a contract for the supply and erection of LNG and condensate storage tanks in Australia, and representing a Chinese-owned US contractor in claims arising from the development and construction of a mega-hotel in the Bahamas. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Akerman LLP advises on many types of public and private construction projects and is recognized for its experience in transportation, energy, public infrastructure, housing, government facilities and healthcare projects. Practice head Jeffrey Gilmore, who splits his time between Tysons Corner and Washington DC, represented Engineered Systems Alliance in litigation related to a $200m contract for the design, construction and installation of gas combustion turbine generators and ancillary machinery for the Food and Drug Administration’s Agriculture Research Center. Fort Lauderdale-based Stacy Bercun Bohm is currently advising Faena Group on a project worth in excess of $750m to develop a three-block long mixed-use project in Miami Beach, including site plan approval, zoning and land use amendments, and related development approvals and design and construction contracts. The team also acts on international matters, with Gilmore representing Rizzani de Eccher as a prime contractor for a $2bn facility improvement project for Al Udeid Airbase in Doha, Qatar.

Dentons’ construction practice supports clients across a variety of industry sectors, including real estate, hotels and leisure, oil and gas, power and public sector construction. The firm acts for contractors and owners in the full range of transactional and contentious matters. Practice head John Haug and David Fedder advised the owner on the EPC contract for an estimated $1.5bn chemical facility, and Haug also advised McCormack Baron Salazar on the development of residential units with estimated value of around $750m. On the litigation side, Charlie Vantine represented Central Valley Gas Storage in litigation relating to engineering defects and delays to a $200m natural gas compression and storage facility. Other clients include Granite Construction, LS Power Development, and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management. Named attorneys are based in St Louis.

Duane Morris LLP provides a ‘very good level of overall service’. The group is led by New York-based Mark Canizio and regularly represents public and private owners and developers, contractors and subcontractors, architects, engineers and other professionals. Infrastructure construction is a growing area of work for the practice, with Canizio acting for Tutor Perini in a $50m claim against the State of New York arising out of a $150m project for the construction of the interchange between the Long Island Expressway and the Cross Island Parkway. Canizio also defended the Trustees of Columbia University against a $16m claim brought by Sciame Construction alleging breach of a construction management agreement. Kenneth Lazaruk, also in New York, is well known for his transactional abilities. Lazaruk recently assisted the developer of Hudson Yards with the drafting and negotiation of agreements for the project, which includes the construction of a mixed-use commercial, residential, hotel, retail and open space development. Philadelphia-based Richard Lowe helped settle a dispute between client HOK Architects and Bucks County, Pennsylvania regarding the design of the new Criminal Justice Center. The team strengthened in 2017 with the hires of special counsels William Marchant and Owen Newman in the San Francisco and Chicago offices respectively.

The ‘outstanding’ construction team at Eversheds Sutherland has ‘first-rate knowledge and an ability to get to the bottom line with cost-effective solutions’. Atlanta-based Lee Davis heads the practice, which works on projects across the country from its bases in Atlanta and New York. The construction team primarily represents owners and manufacturers, including major clients within the energy, power and infrastructure sectors, and focuses largely on contentious construction work; recent highlights include representing a major electrical goods manufacturer in claims for major cost overruns arising from a construction project in New York City and defending a firm of contractors against claims arising from the design and construction of a sports arena. ‘Conscientious and proficient’ Henry Parkman (Atlanta) is recommended for ‘his integrity, honesty and judgment’. In March 2018, Jennifer Fletcher re-joined the firm, closing her sole practice.

Foley & Lardner LLP assists public and private owners, contractors and subcontractors, and engineers with complex construction problems, handling a mixture of contentious and non-contentious work. The 10-partner team, led by Jeffrey Blease in Boston, works on large commercial, infrastructure and power projects across the country. New York-based Peter Wang and Douglas Heffer are acting for Westinghouse as plaintiff against Chicago Bridge & Iron in a contentious matter worth $2bn relating to cost overruns at a large nuclear power facility, and Orlando-based Edmund Baxa is advising Syracuse University on matters pertaining to its athletics stadium, the Carrier Dome. Transaction specialist Lisa Glahn joined the Boston office in May 2017 from Akerman LLP and is advising Suffolk Construction on a number of prospective projects. Other notable clients include Mayo Clinic, DuPont and Lennar Homes.

Greenberg Traurig LLP assists clients with contentious and transactional matters. Practice heads Robert Epstein and David Jensen, who operate out of the firm’s offices in New York and Florham Park, New Jersey, are ‘exceptional construction lawyers who are always looking for the best result’, representing public and private owners, contractors, subcontractors, designers, sureties, lenders and other parties in a wide variety of projects across the US. On the transactional side, the firm advises clients on negotiating and drafting agreements across all phases of construction projects, and Epstein and Jensen are currently acting for Triple Five regarding the $5bn American Dream tourism, retail and entertainment complex in New Jersey, set to open in March 2019. Litigator Michael Burnett (Houston) advised F.E. Moran on a multimillion-dollar arbitration against Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals arising from F.E. Moran’s installation of the fire and gas systems on the Sabine Pass liquefaction project. Robert Brams (Washington DC) leads on the government construction contracts.

Holland & Knight LLP acts for major construction companies, developers and contractors, as well as public and private owners, and has a client list that includes Skanska, Lendlease and Battery Park City Authority. The firm’s work covers urban and institutional developments, resort developments, mixed-use projects and significant industrial and infrastructure facilities. The firm’s New York office services a number of major hospitals and museums, the Florida team is strong for power and infrastructure projects, and the Washington DC office has extensive government contracts and compliance experience. Practice head Stephen Shapiro splits his time between New York and Washington DC and his recent work includes advising an EPC joint venture on contractual issues relating to the construction of an LNG export facility in Texas and advising a consortium of infrastructure contractors on a PPP project to upgrade a state highway. Key contacts in the group include Boston attorney Deborah Griffin and New York-based Frederick Rohn.

Outstanding’ specialist construction firm Moye, O’Brien, Pickert & Dillon, LLP is described as ‘most competent, professional, knowledgeable and client-committed’, representing clients throughout the US, the Caribbean Basin, Central American and Canada from the firm’s sole office in Maitland, Florida. The firm’s clients include Baker Concrete Construction, Odebrecht and Johnson Bros. The firm has recently advised on water treatment plants, airport expansions, high-speed rail projects, residential and commercial high-rises, and parking structures. Managing partner James Moye, together with Mark Masterson, Bryan Capps and Jason Boffey, represented the prime contractor of the Sepulveda Pass widening project - which is to add a 10-mile, high-vehicle occupancy lane to the existing infrastructure and widen lanes from the Santa Monica Freeway to the Venture Freeway - in claims involving changed/extra work and disruption. Sean Dillon acted for a national contractor in claims in excess of $20m incurred by the client in constructing four 53-story towers in Miami with a combined value of over $600m. Brian Heald, Steven Pickert and Anthony Kovalcik are also key names.

Washington DC-based Jeffrey Gans heads the construction team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, which has strong experience in construction dispute resolution work advising owners and contractors. Michael McNamara (Washington DC) advised Duke Energy in a dispute with Westinghouse Electric over refunds and termination costs related to the termination of an EPC agreement with the Levy County nuclear power project. The firm also assists with transactional matters; John Heisse and Clark Thiel (both San Francisco) advised Golden Link Concessionaire on the Presidio Parkway PPP linking San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge. In another notable matter, the firm advised Pacific Hospitality Group on its dispute with an insurance carrier regarding construction defects arising during the renovation of a historic New Orleans hotel.

Schiff Hardin LLP assists clients with construction matters across the US from its offices in Chicago, New York and Washington DC. Practice head Kenneth Roberts is retained by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York to assist with procurement issues, including reviewing contracts and mediating disputes. Roberts also serves as chair of the dispute avoidance panel as it relates to the contractor and owner regarding Fort Lauderdale airport’s $762m runway project - part of a $2.3bn capital improvement project. Kevin Kolton and Heidi Rowe have advised real estate investment trust Equity Residential on contract negotiation, claims management and dispute resolution. The energy sector remains important for the firm, and it is assisting public utility company Alliant Energy with various projects, including its $3.5bn pollution retrofit program and the development of two 650MW combined-cycle gas plants. Brian Lustbader (New York) is also noted. Named attorneys are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable’ team has ‘a wide breadth of experience in the local and national industry’ and provides ‘excellent service’. Bennett Greenberg and Sara Farabow head the construction practice out of Washington DC, but the team also has partners stationed in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. The hotel and leisure sector has been a source of work, and Farabow and Alison Ashford (New York) assisted Diamond Resorts International with the development of a luxury timeshare resort in Hawaii as well as helped the client overhaul its suite of construction and commercial contracts for forthcoming projects. The team has also received work relating to major infrastructure projects, with Greenberg and San Francisco-based Michael McKeeman (San Francisco) representing the Transbay Joint Powers Authority on all construction law considerations surrounding the development of a $4.5bn transit center in the heart of San Francisco. On the contentious side, Greenberg represented the Municipality of Anchorage in litigation valued at $340m filed against participants in the design and construction of the Port of Anchorage Intermodal Expansion Project.

Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP has handled construction law and government contracts work for over 50 years. Atlanta-based Robert Chambers heads the team, which spans Charlotte, Raleigh, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco and Washington DC. The team’s industry expertise includes energy, healthcare and infrastructure, and it primarily represents contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in high-value disputes. Recent work includes representing clients in multimillion-dollar disputes pertaining to railways, mixed-use development projects and nuclear power plants. The firm recently promoted a number of team members to the partnership, including Stephen Reams and Scott Walters in Atlanta and Brian Wood in Washington DC. George Wenick (Atlanta) is recommended for his expertise in advising on public and private construction contracts.

The ‘excellentThompson Hine LLP has a ‘very knowledgeable, very responsive, top-notch’ construction practice, with ‘unmatched expertise with respect to sports facility construction matters and wrap-up insurance programs’. ‘Extremely knowledgeable and practical’ practice head Jeffrey Appelbaum, based in Cleveland, is currently serving as Broward County’s lead negotiator for its $550m convention center expansion and headquarter hotel project, and is assisting the Texas Rangers as a legal and risk management consultant regarding its new 41,000-seat stadium, Globe Life Field. In recent years, the team has also advised on major community development projects in downtown Cincinnati, including Erin Luke (Cleveland) advising on a $90m mixed-use project. The firm has a track record in public projects in social infrastructure and real estate, including PPPs, and has worked on major stadium, university and research center constructions. The practice has enhanced its ability to handle government contracts matters by hiring Tom Mason, Raymond McCann and Francis Purcell from Cooley LLP into the firm’s Washington DC office.

The ‘smart, thorough, responsive, strategic and service-oriented’ team at Varela, Lee, Metz, & Guarino, LLP is noted for its ‘knowledge of the construction industry, specifically in the complex areas of scheduling and delay damages and technical construction specification and design issues’. The founding partners are all construction specialists, namely Paul Varela, Todd Metz, Joseph Guarino and Bennett Lee, with ‘each bringing a different approach and style to litigating complex construction cases as well as an impressive command of industry knowledge’. Areas of specialty include the industrial, power and transport sectors. Varela represented a joint venture formed by three of the most prominent general contractors in arbitration relating to a $1.5bn classified US government facility in Utah and issues surrounding its electrical equipment as well as complex programming and quantum issues. Lee is advising Chicago Bridge & Iron Company in an ongoing dispute with Sinclair Oil surrounding an explosion in 2013 at Sinclair’s hydrocracker complex at a Wyoming refinery. Other notable clients include Chevron, Clark Construction and Kiewit. Named attorneys are based in the firm’s office in Tysons Corner, Virginia, save Bennett Lee who is based in its San Francisco office.

The ‘responsive, knowledgeable and practical’ team at construction boutique Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP has ‘the best mix of expertise and rates’, according to one client. McLean-based Lewis Baker heads the practice, which spans offices in Las Vegas, Irvine, Seattle, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The firm saw a number of new arrivals in 2017: Jane Kearl in Irvine, Thomas Windus in Seattle and Jennifer Kneeland in McLean from CB Jackson Law, Livengood Alskog and Linowes and Blocker respectively. A substantial proportion of the firm’s work is received from large general contractors, including Kiewit Construction, Hensel Phelps and DPR Construction, and the power and infrastructure sectors are particularly busy areas. Shelly Ewald (McLean) represented Kiewit in connection with an action arising from Los Angeles Water and Power Department’s Scattergood Unit 3 Repowering project.

Laurin Quiat heads Baker & Hostetler LLP’s construction practice from the Denver office. The other key offices for the team are Houston, Orlando, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington DC. Student housing is a key area of focus for the practice and it represents one of the largest national developers of student housing in drafting and negotiating design, construction and related contracts. Dispute resolution is the firm’s main strength and highlights in 2017 included Quiat representing 700 Dexter in a lawsuit brought by the client against BioMed under the terms of a contract for the purchase of an $18m property in Seattle, and Quiat defending longstanding client Oatey against a laborer’s claim alleging that he developed lung cancer as a result of substances in the client’s cement. The team also has a number of transaction specialists spread across the country, including Penny Pittman Cobey in Los Angeles, Eben Clark in Denver and Dean Hunt in Houston.

Bricker & Eckler LLP operates mainly across the northeastern states and has offices in Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Practice head Jack Rosati Jr is based in the Columbus office, which houses the majority of the construction practice. Healthcare has been a critical industry area for the firm over the past decade and continued to be so in 2017. Rosati Jr continued to assist private nonprofit OhioHealth, advising on the development of its Neuroscience Center, and Sylvia Gillis (Columbus) acted as construction counsel to public hospital system MetroHealth in a $400m multiple-project transformation, which included building an off-campus health center, an ambulatory and health center and expansion of an existing on-campus facility. Other recent highlights included Doug Shevelow (Columbus) prosecuting a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the City of Canton against the manufacturer of a key piece of underperforming water treatment equipment and Mark Evans defending the City of Hamilton against various claims and pursuing counterclaims relating to an interceptor improvement construction project. Of counsel Robert Lally joined the Cleveland office, having previously served as the City of Cleveland’s assistant director of law.

Cozen O'Connor works for a number of leading companies in the construction industry, including Pepper Construction, Allan Myers and Macerich, and has particular expertise in litigation pertaining to large infrastructure projects. The firm’s construction practice was strengthened in 2017 with the hires of Bruce Ficken, Raymond DeLuca, James Kwartnik and Jeffery Mullen in Philadelphia from Pepper Hamilton LLP, as well as Philip Seybold and Jason Domark from WilmerHale in Washington DC and White & Case LLP in Miami respectively. DeLuca represented Toll Brothers in construction defect litigation in Pennsylvania and Delaware and advised the client on addressing a national epidemic relating to water infiltration and other building envelope deficiencies with an estimated liability of $324m. Ficken acted for Flaherty & Collins Properties in its development of a mixed-use development project in Indianapolis worth around $89m; he was engaged by the client to advise on a dispute with a national construction manager relating to delays and disruptions on the project, alleged design defects and alleged defective construction.

Robert Crewdson and Anthony Meagher chair the construction group at DLA Piper LLP (US) from Atlanta and Baltimore respectively; other keys offices for the practice are Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The firm continues to be a major player in the commercial and residential real estate market, with Credwson representing Federal Realty Investment Trust in connection with the preparation of various design and construction agreements for the ongoing development of the $600m Santana Row project in San Jose, California. The firm is also noted for its work on infrastructure projects, which includes advising on stadia and large-scale mixed-use developments. Brian Fielden (Atlanta) has been handling the construction law considerations for AS Roma’s new stadium, the Stadio della Roma, and has advised Rangers Baseball Express on the development, design and construction of the Rangers’ new ballpark and integrated mixed-use development in Arlington, Texas. The firm has other longstanding client relationships with the Atlanta Braves, AIG Global Real Estate and Cityline Partners.

Farella Braun + Martel LLP has assisted clients with construction projects throughout the US and overseas, including power plants, renewable energy projects, hospitals, waste facilities, airports and university housing. Richard Van Duzer heads the seven-partner construction team, which operates out of the firm’s office in San Francisco. In 2017, Van Duzer represented STG Hospitality Group in construction cost and delay claims arising out of the remodel and build-out of Single Thread Farm’s facilities in Healdsburg, California, and advised CIM Group on its ongoing development and construction of a 375-unit mixed-use project located near AT&T Park in San Francisco. Deborah Ballati represented a subsidiary of CH2M HILL in litigation arising out of the investigation and remediation of a former naval shipyard. Other clients including Kleinfelder, Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems and First Solar.

The hub of California firm Hanson Bridgett LLP’s construction practice is in San Francisco, which is where co-chair of the group Lisa Dal Gallo and former chair Howard Ashcraft are based. Other key offices include Sacramento, Walnut Creek, San Rafael and Los Angeles. The practice strengthened significantly this year with the hires of new co-chair Scott Hennigh and Mathew Troughton in San Francisco from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, David Buoncristiani in San Francisco from Jones Day, and Garrett Mott in Los Angeles from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. The team operates in an array of public and private markets, including highway and light rail, tunnels and pipelines, healthcare, coastal and marine, high-rise residential and mixed use, and utilities. Hennigh is currently handling major litigation on behalf of a joint venture arrangement controlled by two major contractors pertaining to the California Route 91 highway PPP, and acted for InterContinental Hotel San Francisco in litigation over the construction of aspects of the hotel. David Buoncristiani (San Francisco) is currently representing a joint venture of Flatiron and Kiewit in claims against the owner and subcontractor totaling around $60m regarding a transport sector project. Managing partner Andrew Giacomini and Joseph Moore (both San Francisco) are other key attorneys in the construction team.

K&L Gates services clients from a diverse range of industries, including energy and power as well as transportation, heavy industrial, commercial, residential, manufacturing and petrochemicals. Pittsburgh-based Jason Richey heads the team and notably represented MarkWest Energy Partners in a construction dispute involving a natural gas processing facility in Pennsylvania, filing an action against the contractor and engineering firm for, among other things, breach of contract and professional negligence. On the transactional side, John Allison (Charlotte) acted for Duke Energy in a project for a 400MW natural gas fired power plant in North Carolina, utilizing innovative technology not yet in commercial operation. Gregory Andre (Chicago) and Timothy Pierce (Los Angeles) are noted.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP advises on high-stakes construction and engineering disputes as part of its impressive nationwide litigation practice. Areas of particular activity in 2017 include airport construction and chemical engineering. Chicago-based Jeffrey Willian continues to represent CF Industries in claims against contractors and designers for cost overruns regarding a number of projects (worth over $1bn). The firm also advises clients on issues arising under construction and engineering contracts, with James Nowacki (also Chicago) advising the Academy for Global Citizenship on construction matters associated with the design and construction of a new charter school in South Chicago. Nowacki is also advising the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on development of a theatre on Navy Pier.

Mayer Brown’s construction group is spread across the country, with experts based in Chicago, New York and Houston. Joanna Horsnail heads the team, which advises a plethora of public and private entities, including Benteler International, California High Speed Rail Authority and the University of Notre Dame. Recent work includes Horsnail representing Garver Engineering on the procurement and negotiation of a design-build contract for a large road and bridge infrastructure project, and John Schmidt and David Narefsky advising Chicago Transit Authority on the proposed $4bn design, reconstruction, financing and maintenance of the Red Line. Senior associate Sara Hess is noted for advice on complex government transactions and construction projects, especially PPPs and alternative project delivery methods in infrastructure. Named attorneys are based in Chicago.

Pepper Hamilton LLP advises on a range of transactional and contentious construction issues, particularly those relating to infrastructure and energy projects. The team is headed by Michael Subak in Philadelphia, with 14 other partners spread across the firm’s offices in New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Detroit. Albert Bates and Ralph Finizio are noted. The practice stands out for its contractor client base, which includes the likes of Bechtel, Sciame Construction and AECOM. Other clients include specialty infrastructure contractors MasTec and Midasco, on behalf of which the team has been advising on billion-dollar highway and rail disputes respectively.

The ‘excellentReed Smith LLP provides a ‘high level of service, responsiveness and very solid guidance’. Michael Dingman heads the construction team from Tysons Corner, Virginia, with other notable practitioners based in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Houston, Philadelphia and other offices. Construction attorneys at the firm handle litigation, mediation, arbitration and other dispute resolution mechanisms for large international construction companies, major real estate developers and well-known corporations. Dingman led the negotiation of design and construction agreements for a $500m mixed-use project in Tysons Corner on behalf of a national multifamily housing developer. Pittsburgh-based Tarek Abdalla assisted the joint owners of a nuclear station with ongoing design and construction work on the facility in spite of the bankruptcy of the EPC contractor, Westinghouse Electric, and with negotiating a $2.2bn settlement with Toshiba, Westinghouse’s parent company. Tysons Corner-based Thomas Folk and James Brennan are noted as other key figures.

The West Coast-based construction team at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is best known for disputes. The team acts for owners, developers, contractors and other design professionals, with clients including Atkinson Contractors, San Diego Gas & Electric Company and Therma Corporation. Practice chairs Hal Hamersmith and Candace Matson defended Jacobs Engineering against an $18m professional negligence claim brought by the County of San Bernardino arising from the expansion of the Adelanto Detention Center, and Hamersmith represented Samsung Engineering in arbitration arising from a multibillion-dollar modernization project for the Sohar Refinery in Oman. Other key attorneys on the team are Hwan Kim and Neil Popović.

Chicago-based Stein Ray LLP focuses on the resolution of disputes arising from complex infrastructure and manufacturing disputes. Name partner Steven Stein heads the seven-partner team, with other name partner Stephen Ray a key figure. Recent highlights include representing an international EPC firm in defense of a $1bn claim arising from a mining and process plant constructed in Newfoundland, Canada, and defending an EPC contractor against a $30m claim regarding a mining reclamation project in Australia.

Houston-headquartered Vinson & Elkins LLP acts on complex energy and infrastructure projects as well as public and private building contracts, with a client list that includes Noble Energy, Occidental Petroleum and Investec. The international practice is led by London-based Nick Henchie and Houston partners Ferguson McNiel and Kaam Sahely, who specialize in commercial litigation and energy transactions respectively. Mark Brasher and Doug Bland acted for subsidiaries of Tellurian in connection with the project development arrangements for a LNG export project worth approximately $15bn, including the construction of a multi-train LNG liquefaction and export terminal and EPC arrangements for a long-haul natural gas pipeline. Brasher and Sahely also advised Gulf Coast Ammonia (a joint venture between Agrifos and Borealis) on the development, construction, operation, maintenance and project financing of a hydrogen-based ammonia production facility in Texas worth around $800m. Attorneys are based in Houston, save where otherwise mentioned.

Boutique construction practice Zetlin & De Chiara LLP represents architects, engineers, real estate owners, developers and contractors. The New York-based team, which is led by managing partner Michael Vardaro, expanded in 2017 with the hire of three new associates. The firm advises some of the big names in the industry, including Handel Architects, Jensen Hughes and WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff. The firm handles ‘bet-the-company’ litigation as well as alternative dispute resolution, and advised on project labor agreements as well as front-end contract negotiation. Highlights included Vardaro defending Jensen Hughes against claims brought in relation to an atypical high-end residential project, and co-founding partner Michael De Chiara defending Handel Architects and DeSimone Consulting Engineers in a case involving numerous parties for hundreds of millions of dollars in alleged damages. Another key figure in the practice is co-founding partner and qualified engineer Michael Zetlin.

Austin-based Allensworth & Porter assists industry participants with construction litigation and arbitration, contract drafting and negotiation, professional liability and responsibility, and defense for design professionals. Amy Emerson represented Innovative Process Design & Controls in a payment and construction defect dispute over a wood pellet plant in Paige, Texas, while managing partner and team lead Joe Basham advised Waller Creek Conservancy on the preparation and negotiation of the construction contracts for the project to create and maintain extraordinary urban parks in downtown Austin.

Baker Botts L.L.P. has extensive expertise in energy and infrastructure projects, including upstream and downstream oil and gas, electric power generation, LNG liquefaction and regasification facilities. New York-based Stuart Solsky, a key figure, is currently acting as project counsel to the $850m ITC Lake Eric Connector Project, drafting and negotiating EPC contracts with subsidiaries of Siemens and Prysmian, and is performing a similar role in relation to the $550m Tema LNG Project in Ghana. Houston-based Joseph Colagiovanni is representing a US and Middle East joint venture in connection with the development of a $1.5bn ethylene glycol manufacturing facility in Texas and is advising Hines in connection with construction and design agreements for a commercial office tower in Boston.

Baker Donelson merged with Baltimore-based Ober Kaler in January 2017, a move which brought with it John Morkan and Joseph Kovars, who join as practice co-chairs alongside Mark Mercante, who is based in Mandeville, Louisiana. The firm handles a wide range of transactional and contentious construction work, with representative matters including performing a risk and condition assessment of a $241m project involving the design and supply of ‘boiler islands’ for a coal-fired thermal power plant in Indonesia, and providing construction counsel in connection with $80m in delay and overhead claims associated with the alleged defective design of a nuclear materials facility.

Bracewell LLP’s Texas-based practice has been particularly active in front-end contract negotiation, with the real estate, petrochemicals, energy and infrastructure sectors among its busiest areas in 2017. Dallas-based Brian Mitchell represented the owner and developer of the Fairmont Convention Hotel in Austin in claims worth approximately $45m brought against the general contractor. Houston-based construction litigation co-chair Richard Whiteley represented NBC’s Houston affiliate in a construction dispute relating to water damage caused by a defective retaining wall as part of a $19m project for the design and build of a next generation broadcast facility. Group co-chair Phillip Sampson Jr, Aaron Roffwarg and Austin-based Stephen Benesh are the other key figures in the team. Attorneys are based in Houston, Texas, save where mentioned otherwise.

From its Oakland, California base, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP handles a wide variety of construction law work, including advising on power plant and water treatment developments as well as PPP projects. Head of the practice James Wulfsberg is currently handling significant disputes for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, while Stephen Cali represented a community college district as a public in construction disputes and claims with the contractor, surety and major subcontractor. The firm acts for owners and developers, national developers and professional design firms.

Texas firm Cokinos, Bosien & Young has offices in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. The team advises on front-end contract drafting and negotiation, construction defect claims, delays and liquidated damage issues, and other matters, and has a focus on energy projects such as pipelines, LNG storage and processing plants. Founding partner Gregory Cokinos is regarded as one of the preeminent lawyers in the field and has previously advised on commercial and industrial construction projects spanning office buildings, power plants, highways, schools and offshore production and drilling platforms.

California-based Cox, Castle & Nicholson advises on design and construction agreements, risk management programs, project employment considerations, construction claims and contractor licensing. It has a particular focus on commercial real estate and infrastructure projects, including highways, hotels, and residential and mixed-use developments. Edward Quigley and Jose Padilla are currently advising the Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego, on a $100m construction defect claim. Robert Campbell is another key figure for construction litigation. On the transactional side, Jeffrey Masters and Kenneth Williams advised Next Century Associates as owner of a $2.5bn mixed-use residential and commercial project, with the firm negotiating and documenting the design, professional and consultant contracts and owner-general contractor agreements and serving as risk management and insurance coverage counsel for the client. The firm has considerable expertise in insurance coverage disputes, which Masters typically leads on.

Dickinson Wright PLLC possesses strength in energy, municipal, hospital, residential and school construction. Phoenix-based Stephen Richman heads the practice, which also draws on significant strength in Detroit and Nashville. Detroit-based Ryan Mitchell acted for Invenergy on the development of a 70-turbine wind energy project in Hardin County, Ohio, and a 65-turbine project across Isabella and Gratiot counties in Michigan. On the contentious side, Troy-based Peter Webster defended the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, the County of Oakland and the George W. Kuhn Drainage District against ten class actions alleging negligent drainage system design, maintenance and operation and alleging that the defects caused widespread basement flooding in Oakland County, Michigan.

The ‘highly competentNixon Peabody LLP provides a ‘high-quality service’. The construction team is experienced in a variety of areas, including mixed-use, energy, hospitality, residential, infrastructure and higher education developments, and provides expertise in both litigation and contractual negotiation. Practice head Jeffrey Brenner splits his time between Boston and Providence; notably he resolved a three-way mediation on behalf of an owner client arising out of a multi-year renovation and expansion project. John Foust (San Francisco) led a team which acted for China Oceanwide Holdings in the negotiations for the construction of two high-rise towers in downtown San Francisco, and Anthony Barron (San Francisco) is defending 5th Rock, the developer of the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, in a suit brought by the current owner claiming around $80m in damages in connection with the potential temporary closure of the hotel. Rochester and New York-based Darren Miller was promoted to partner in February 2017.

Land use/zoning

Index of tables

  1. Land use/zoning
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Land use/zoning clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Urban redevelopment projects throughout Florida and nationally are a cornerstone of Akerman LLP’s practice. The team, led by Cecelia Bonifay and Robyn Neely, is well versed in all land use matters, including water rights, entitlements and environmental due diligence. Recent key mandates include assisting Miami Beckham United with the site acquisition, entitlement and development of a new Major League Soccer stadium in Miami and advising Ridgewood Real Estate Partners on the site plan approval process for a 1,136-home neighbourhood development before the Orange County Commission. Another stand-out piece of work was advising Magellan Development Group on the development of the $4bn Lakeshore East project. The practice expanded its bench strength in its Chicago office with the hire of four partners: Jack George, Chris Leach and Kathleen Duncan joined from Schuyler, Roche & Crisham and Meg George joined from Neal & Leroy. Ellen Berkowitz and Brady McShane are now with Greenberg Traurig LLP.

The team at DLA Piper LLP (US) serves a broad client base that includes real estate developers, investors, institutions, technology companies and sporting teams. Its impressive client list includes Related Companies, Sterling Bay and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Recent engagements saw Theodore Novak, who jointly heads the practice alongside Richard Klawiter, assist Crescent Heights Group with zoning and land use matters concerning a redevelopment project in Chicago’s Central Station. Paul Shadle advised Motorola Solutions on the relocation of its corporate headquarters from a suburb to downtown Chicago. On the contentious side, Mariah DiGrino represented PADS Lake County in a zoning approval dispute related to a housing facility for the chronically homeless; the objections of nearby property owners were rejected in an appellate court proceeding in October 2017. The team has been augmented by the hires of Jerold Neuman, Ryan Leaderman and Kyndra Joy Casper from Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif LLP, and in May 2018, Antonio Calabrese joined the Northern Virginia office from Cooley LLP.

The top notch New York-based practice at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is praised for its ‘deep knowledge of land use issues and partners with long experience in the private and public sector’. ‘Strategic and tactical’ co-practice head Melanie Meyers advises, alongside of counsel Stephen Lefkowitz and Tal Golomb (who handles the transactional side), Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust on the $1.6bn redevelopment of the James A. Farley post office building into a new train hall as part of the redevelopment of Penn Station. In another highlight, the team advised Maefield Development on the purchase of a leasehold stake in 1568 Broadway, a hotel in the middle of Times Square; the team is handling the zoning approvals for the historic site that will be part of a $1.8bn hotel-retail-signage and food and beverage redevelopment. Carol Rosenthal and Zachary Bernstein are other names to note.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is highly experienced in the full range of land use matters, including entitlements and permits, ground leases, development agreements and waterfront development and historic preservation. A particular area of expertise is sporting facilities; Amy Forbes advises The Kroenke Group on the development of a sports and entertainment complex in the City of Inglewood, while Mary Murphy continues to assist the Golden State Warriors with the development of their new basketball arena. Another highlight is the advice provided to the entities responsible for the development of Heritage Fields in Irvine, CA; Forbes and Douglas Champion are handling the approval process for 5000 housing units, a 688-acre park, a freeway interchange, and a 125-acre veteran’s cemetery. Other notable clients are Delta Airlines, Tesoro, J.P. Morgan and Fortress Investment Group.

The ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team at Holland & Knight LLP provides ‘on point’ advice to clients such as home construction company Lennar, ProLogis, Verizon Communications and Douglas Development. With eight offices, the firm spans key markets, including California, New York and Washington D.C. Highlights included Steven Elrod’s advice to the City of Chicago on the modernization of the city’s Red Line and Purple Line public transport network, and New York-based Kenneth Lowenstein’s assistance to GID Urban Development Company with land use matters regarding the construction of three buildings along the Hudson River on the West Side of Manhattan. Other engagements saw Lowenstein advising SV Managers, an L&M Development Partners and Jonathan Rose Companies joint venture, on the approval process pertaining to a 700,000 square foot mixed-use development. Joseph Goldstein is also recommended.

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One of the leading land use practices in New York, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP counts major real estate developers and institutions among its clients. Elise Wagner, who specializes in environmental and historic preservation law, advises Plaxall on the rezoning of a 12-acre site on the waterfront at Anable Basin in Long Island City, which is intended for development as a mixed-use area. Gary Tarnoff advised The CIM Group on the development of an 84-story building; work included advising on zoning lot assemblage and documentation as well as assisting with the application for a special permit for a physical culture establishment. A key client for the group is Extell Development Company, which Paul Selver advises on various land use and zoning matters, including due diligence for site and development rights acquisitions and entitlement processes.

Latham & Watkins LLP fields a nationwide practice that is particularly strong in California and the western states. Areas of expertise include the development of generation and transmission facilities, infrastructure projects, as well as commercial, office, educational and mixed-use sites. Leveraging its experience in environmental law matters, the team reached a settlement on behalf of Newhall Land & Farming, the developers of master-planned community Newhall Ranch; the case included negotiations with environmental groups and the development of an unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions plan. The group, jointly led by Lucinda Starrett, Christopher Garrett and Michael Carroll, welcomed Janice Schneider, formerly Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the US Department of the Interior, as the global vice chair of the firm’s environment, land and resources department. Winston Stromberg was promoted to the partnership.

Under the leadership of San Francisco-based Cecily Barclay, Perkins Coie LLP fields a nationwide land use practice that is most highly regarded for its work on the West Coast. The group handles the full range of permitting and approvals, ballot box land use planning and environmental clearances. The varied workload spans commercial and residential developments, including universities and hospitals, as well as renewable energy, transportation and water supply projects. Seth King is experienced in disputes before the Land Use Board of Appeals and regularly handles cases before Oregon appellate courts. Dana Krawczuk, who works out of the Portland office, was promoted to partner in January 2018.

Ballard Spahr LLP’s team is ‘tremendously knowledgeable and responsive’. Led by Philadelphia-based Matthew McClure, it handles complex land use and zoning issues for real estate developments such as the 260-acre Port Covington redevelopment project in downtown Baltimore. ‘Knowledgeable, articulate, caring and experienced’ Neil Sklaroff advises the National Center for the American Revolution on the development of a $150m museum located in Philadelphia. Other recent work includes representing the Philadelphia Housing Authority in obtaining zoning and land use approvals for its new headquarters and handling the land use approval for a 26-story luxury apartment complex for The Goldenberg Group.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is predominantly active in New York and handles commercial and residential real estate developments for a broad client base that includes the Rockefeller Group. Department lead Judith Gallent advises Silverstein Properties on all land use and zoning aspects concerning the development of a parcel of land in Hudson Yards. Recent work for James Colgate includes advising the Archdiocese of New York on multiple redevelopment, lease and sale projects in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island and acting for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in a land use transaction involving the ground lease of property to a private developer and the transfer of development rights.

Based in San Francisco, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP focuses its land use practice on the Bay Area and California. Pamela Duffy serves as lead counsel for 5M, a $1bn mixed-use project realized by a joint venture between Forest City Development and the Hearst Corporation. Another highlight is advising Uber Technologies on the development of its corporate headquarters campuses in the Bay Area; Tay Via leads the advice. The firm’s wine country practice was bolstered by the hire of Scott Greenwood-Meinert from Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty and the opening of new offices in downtown Napa and St. Helena, California. The group is led by Matthew Bove and also includes Harry O’Brien. Since publication, David Gold has joined from Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Clients value Cox, Castle & Nicholson for its ‘ability to help find creative solutions within existing laws and regulations’. Core areas of focus include commercial, residential and mixed-use developments throughout California. In a high-profile matter, Clark Morrison obtained authorizations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the construction of a master-planned community in Placer County, California. Stanley Lamport is acting for five property owners in the authorization process for the construction of five houses in the mountains above the City of Malibu; the case is currently on appeal after The Sierra Club challenged the approval, which was granted by the Coastal Commission in 2015.

Massachusetts heavyweight Goodwin serves a broad client portfolio that includes Boston Garden Development, Boston Properties, Rockwood Capital and the Massachusetts Port Authority, among others. A cornerstone for the practice is advice to institutional clients; the ‘experienced’ Lawrence Kaplan advises the Wentworth Institute of Technology on the permitting and development of a new multi-purpose academic building on its Boston campus. In another highlight, practice head Martin Healy assists citizenM, a joint venture between Boston Properties and Delaware North, with the leasing of an air rights space on the site of the Boston Garden to build a 10-story hotel tower.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP has a noticeable presence in New York and Florida and counts property developers, landowners, joint venture partners and investors among its clients. A sweet spot for the department is the health sector where it has extensive experience in advising on the development of healthcare facilities. Key points of contact are practice chair Jay Segal and Nick Hockens, who are based in New York. The group welcomed Ellen Berkowitz and Brady McShane from Akerman LLP in its Los Angeles and Denver offices, respectively.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLPexceeds the expectations’ of its clients and is well versed in commercial, residential, mixed-use and infrastructure developments. Los Angeles-based Victor De la Cruz successfully acted for Kilroy Realty Corporation in the entitlements and environmental review of its Academy Square project in Hollywood, while Susan Hori assists Newport Banning Ranch with the entitlement process to redevelop a 400-acre oil field in the city of Newport Beach into a mixed-use site. Other highlights include advising key client CapRock Partners on obtaining entitlements for five industrial developments in the Inland Empire area of southern California.

Morrison & Foerster LLP fields a nationwide land use practice that is particularly active in California. The ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ group regularly advises energy and technology companies on land use and zoning matters. In one recent highlight the team handled litigation and subsequent settlement negotiations for Panoche Valley Solar pertaining to its utility-scale solar project in San Benito County; the case included an environmental review. Another area of expertise is the healthcare sector and the firm assisted Kaiser Foundation Health Plan with the land use aspects of a planned 1.2 million square-foot medical center campus in downtown Sacramento. Other notable clients are, Genentech and Sand Hill Property. Since publication, David Gold has joined Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP.

Paul Hastings LLP’s land use team is ‘very capable’ in planning, permitting and environmental matters and works closely with the firm’s real estate practice. Mitchell Menzer, who is lauded for his ‘technical expertise’, assisted Centinela Development Partners with obtaining land use entitlements for an office building adjacent to the Playa Vista master-planned community. On the contentious side, ‘excellent’ practice head Jeffrey Haber reached a settlement for Beverly Blvd Associates following a challenge launched by a neighboring community association to the approval for the redevelopment of the former International Creative Management Agency headquarters building in West Hollywood. Another name to note is Gordon Hart.

Led by the ‘outstanding’ Danielle Meltzer Cassel, Chicago-based Vedder Price serves a variety of clients, including developers, lenders, equity investors and institutions. A recent highlight was obtaining multiple land use approvals for key client Oakbrook Center, an open-air mall. Other engagements saw the team assisting Antheus Capital with municipal land use and development approvals for several redevelopment projects and advising Red Seal Development on the land use approval process for a luxury residential development in Cook County. The group has numerous longstanding relationships with clients including Target Corporation, General Growth Properties, La Casa Norte and BMO Harris Bank. William Lewis is now with Reed Smith LLP.

Arent Fox LLP is best known for advising on the development of major corporate campuses. The team obtained land use approvals for the Frank Gehry buildings and a hotel on the historic TE Campus in Menlo Park in 2016, and is assisting Facebook with approval processes for its expansion. Headline 2017 work includes advising on the development of the Willow Campus, a mixed-use village that provides community services, housing and transit solutions, as well as office space. Key advisers are practice head Timothy Tosta and senior associate Frank Petrilli.

Land use and environmental law boutique Bercow Radell Fernandez & Larkin has wide-ranging expertise in representing developers in commercial real estate matters. Recent mandates include counselling Aligned Bayshore Marina on the redevelopment of the upland portion of the marina, including obtaining City of Miami zoning approvals, and assisting Rosal Westview with the rezoning and site plan approval for a 100,000 square foot community shopping center in the Miami-Dade County area. Founding partner Jeffrey Bercow and Melissa Tapanes Llahues are the names to note.

Miami-based Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP handles planning and zoning applications and development agreements, as well as environmental and land use permitting. The group is also highly experienced in contentious land use matters. Its client base includes landowners, developers and investors across Florida. Albert Dotson specializes in public-private partnerships, while Stanley Price is highly knowledgeable in the historic preservation space.

Combining environmental expertise and extensive experience in land use matters, Cooley LLP regularly handles commercial, residential and infrastructure developments. The team handled the approval process for a 470 ft tall headquarters building in the Washington DC region for Capital One, while Mark Looney assisted Comstock Partners with two development applications to expand the Reston Station site. The group continues to work for Miller & Smith / One Loudoun, Boston Properties, Mitre Corporation and Renovate America. John Lavoie heads the practice. In May 2018, Antonio Calabrese moved to DLA Piper LLP (US).

Farella Braun + Martel LLP is retained by a variety of clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the American Conservatory Theater, Hines, First Solar and Pacific Eagle. The group specializes in residential, commercial and institutional developments. Steven Vettel advises The Related Companies on obtaining environmental clearance, rezoning and land use entitlements for rental housing and office mixed-use projects and assists Hanover Company with land use entitlements for the construction of a large scale residential development in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. Another area of expertise is the California wine industry; Katherine Philippakis acts for wineries in land use matters and real estate transactions.

With a focus on the New York real estate market, Herrick, Feinstein LLP is experienced in residential developments and mixed-use projects. Highlights included Barbaros Karaahmet and Jonathan Adelsberg assisting the Republic of Turkey with the development of a new consulate in New York; the work includes advice on land use and zoning, government relations, leasing, and real estate development and construction. The group is led by Mitchell Korbey.

Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. services a broad range of clients in Florida and is recommended for residential and mixed-use developments. The group is advising Atlantic Housing Partners and Banc of America Community Development on all land use aspects related to the development of a 256-unit mixed-income apartment complex in the Orlando Creative Village. Co-head Rebecca Wilson serves as land use counsel for the rezoning of the Modera Central, a downtown Orlando high-rise project. Co-head Miranda Fitzgerald is highly rated.

Jointly led by the ‘politically savvyEdgar Khalatian and Patricia Tubert, Mayer Brown is one of the ‘best in class in LA’ and provides land use and entitlement advice to national and local developers. The group is particularly experienced in mixed-use projects; it advised the property owner/developer of 8150 Sunset on all land use aspects of the mixed-use site on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights in the City of Los Angeles and counselled The GPI Company on the development of a 28-story mixed-use project that includes the redevelopment of the Amoeba Music site in Hollywood to a residential tower.

In close cooperation with its real estate practice, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP handles land use, zoning and permitting proceedings for a variety of clients such as Spear Street Capital, Shorenstein and Golden Link Concessionaire. Areas of expertise include mixed-use and infrastructure projects. San Francisco-based Rachel Horsch and Robert Herr are names to note.

Public-private partnerships and infrastructure projects are the mainstay of Reed Smith LLP’s land use practice. The Pittsburgh-based group is led by Dusty Kirk, who specializes in land use and zoning appellate proceedings. William Lewis, previously with Vedder Price, and former in-house counsel Paul Mohun joined the firm. Jeffrey Mills left for Cozen O'Connor. Cynthia Jared has retired.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has carved out a solid California practice representing developers, builders, major landowners, lenders and local agencies. Key adviser Nancy Scull is assisting Greystar with the financing, acquisition and development of Ballpark Village in downtown San Diego and is advising the developer of mixed-use site Totem Lake in Kirkland Washington on the sale of a land parcel to a residential developer. Anna Dorros was promoted to the partnership.

Ross Moskowitz leads the New York-based practice at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, which is well versed in obtaining zoning permits and land use approvals for developers, landowners and financial service companies. Moskowitz, alongside Karen Scanna, is advising Alexandria Real Estate Equities on the acquisition and land use approval process for the development of the $700m Alexandria Center for Science and Technology at the East River Science Park in New York City. The group welcomed Seamus Curley from DLA Piper LLP (US).

Arizona-based real estate development boutique Withey Morris PLC is experienced in commercial and residential developments, hotels and master-planned communities. Recent engagements saw the team filing rezoning applications for two multi-family projects in Downtown Scottsdale’s Entertainment District and obtaining zoning approvals for Life Storage, a self-storage facility for commercial and residential use. The client roster includes McDonald’s, Banner Health, LGE and Shea Homes. Jason Morris and Adam Baugh are key contacts.

Real estate

Index of tables

  1. Real estate
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Real estate clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


DLA Piper LLP (US) is ‘among the best in the business’, with a team of ‘exceptional communicators’ praised for its ability to ‘understand all relevant legal concepts and risks and assess how they fit into the client’s business objectives’. The team regularly advises on portfolio, joint venture and cross-border transactions, and also has a strong track record in mixed-use development projects, representing a range of real estate owners, lenders, developers and institutional investors. The firm is also noted for its finance and leasing expertise, and has been particularly active within the hospitality and technology sectors. Recent highlights included representing Mirae Asset Global Investments, a Korea-based investment management firm, on its $780m acquisition of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu from Blackstone, and advising Starwood Waypoint Homes on its $815m acquisition of a portfolio of 3,000 residential properties across five states from Waypoint/GI Venture. Washington DC-based Jay Epstien represents owners and developers across the full range of real estate transactions, and is a key practitioner along with Boston-based John Sullivan, who specializes in advising public and private pension plans, opportunity funds and non-US investors in financing transactions. Other names to note include development expert Maxine Hicks and Cara Nelson; Nelson recently represented an affiliate of The Berkshire Group in its joint venture with an affiliate of JBG Smith, a real estate investment fund, for the development of a multifamily residential project in Maryland. Harvard University, Hines and InterContinental Hotels Group are also key clients.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s ‘heavyweight’ practice has recently advised on numerous acquisitions and disposals of assets, mortgage and construction financings, joint ventures and leasing matters in the New York area. The team also has a strong national reach and, with the support of its Washington DC office, regularly handles single-asset and portfolio transactions across the US. Notable recent work included representing The Related Companies and BlackRock in various matters related to the development of Hudson Yards, a $20bn development project in New York City; acting for Brookfield Property Partners regarding its various leases in the Manhattan West development to the National Hockey League, McKool Smith and Accenture; and advising Paramount Group on its joint venture with Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC. Leading figures include Jonathan Mechanic, a ‘go-to lawyer in the New York-based development space’, who advises a range of developers, investors and lenders on commercial real estate transactions, and counsel Stephen Lefkowitz, who focuses on land use, zoning and large-scale project structuring. Tal Golomb and Robert Sorin are also names to note, and recently acted for The Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust in the $1.6bn redevelopment of Penn Station. Recently-promoted partner Valerie Kelly is a key figure in Washington DC, handling large commercial leases on behalf of landlords and tenants. Matthew Parrott joined in 2017 is a co-chair of the firm’s real estate litigation practice.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s ‘high-class’ practice primarily acts for lenders, operators and investment firms, advising on the full gamut of real estate matters including sales, acquisitions and financings. The firm has been notably active within the hospitality and leisure sectors, and regularly advises clients on cross-border deals spanning Europe, Asia and the Americas. In a recent highlight, Eric Feuerstein and Harry Silvera acted for The Related Companies regarding a $1.5bn loan for the development of 50 Hudson Yards, a flagship tower in the Hudson Yards development in New York City. Jesse Sharf is the key figure in Los Angeles and recently advised Next Century Partners on the $1bn debt financing for the development of Century Plaza, a mixed-use project in Los Angeles including two residential towers, retail and restaurant space and the Century Plaza Hotel. The firm also assisted Deutsche Bank Mortgage Capital with a series of financing transactions; among these was the $220m bridge loan provided to Cove Property for its acquisition of an office building in New York, and the $213m financing of a multifamily residential building in Long Island City. The Deutsche Bank matters were handled by Feuerstein, Victoria Shusterman and Noam Haberman. In the San Francisco office, names to note include Erin Rothfuss as well as Kahlil Yearwood, who joined from Dechert LLP in May 2018. Steven Klein in a key name in New York.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP provides ‘a very high level of service’, and the team is praised for its ‘quick response times, strong business acumen and solid industry knowledge’. The firm handles domestic and inbound investment matters along with all aspects of real estate law, with key areas of focus including acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures and capital markets transactions. The group also has significant environmental assessment capabilities and regularly advises on projects in the residential, hospitality and affordable housing sectors. In the New York office, key partners Robert Ivanhoe, Kristen Lonergan and Farah Ahmed represented RFR Holding and Kushner Companies in their $600m buyout of four properties in Dumbo Heights, Brooklyn from Invesco. Los Angeles-based Gregory Fishman and others recently advised Kayne Anderson Real Estate Investors on the real estate aspects of a merger agreement with Sentio Healthcare Properties. The firm also maintains a strong financing practice; notable examples include representing Golub & Company in a $206m construction loan for the development of Flager Drive, Palm Beach County, and acting for Extell Development regarding a $460m financing provided by RXR Realty for three development projects in New York City. Nancy Lash and Richard Giusto are the main practitioners in Miami, where they advise on all aspects of commercial real estate. Corey Light jointly chairs the practice in Chicago.

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Paul Hastings LLP provides ‘an exceptional level of service’ and the team’s ‘knowledge, professionalism and responsiveness is always above and beyond’, allowing clients to ‘be confident that they will be well represented’. The firm’s client roster includes a mix of lenders, investors, developers and borrowers, and the cross-sector practice advises on the full range of real estate issues, from land use entitlements to leases to corporate and finance transactions. Key practitioners include Chicago-based Gregory Spitzer, who ‘combines a great blend of business practicality with a deep level of legal expertise’, and ‘strikes a strong balance between taking a strong negotiating position and seeing the bigger picture’. Spitzer and Stephen Berkman recently advised SoftLayer Technologies on a number of leases for data center facilities worldwide, and on several expansion projects following its acquisition by IBM. In the New York office, Bruce DePaola acted for Nordstrom on its $1bn acquisition of retail space in Central Park Tower, and Peter Olsen advised an affiliate of China Communications Construction on a ground lease for a 1.6m sq ft development project done in partnership with The Related Companies. Other names to note include Philip Feder, who has notable expertise in the hotels and hospitality sector; practice head Eric Landau, who advises on large-scale project development; and Brad Ritter, who is ‘very calm in his approach’ and ‘does an outstanding job of coming up with practical solutions to complex issues’.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s ‘strong’ practice handles a broad range of corporate matters in the real estate space, with particular expertise in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets funding, private funds and banking and restructuring matters. The firm has been especially active in the hotels, retail and residential sectors, advising on various high-value transactions. Practice head Gregory Ressa has significant expertise in real estate opportunity funds and private equity deals, and recently advised Invitation Homes on its $20bn merger with Starwood Waypoint Homes. Krista Miniutti is the other key figure; her recent work includes advising key client Blackstone on its $2.5bn refinancing of a portfolio of 147 properties across 27 states, and acting for the affiliates of Motel 6 Operating in the refinancing of its various hotels. The team also advised Blackstone Property Partners on its acquisition of an interest in Burbank Media District’s office portfolio, and acted for Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII in its mortgage and mezzanine loan refinancing of The Cosmopolitan, a luxury hotel in Las Vegas. Scott Kobak is recommended for domestic and cross-border financing matters, and Sasan Mehrara is also a key name to note. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s team is primarily split between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and advises on domestic and cross-border transactions, financing, development, and project management and operation. The firm also handles public and private offerings and investments into industrial, retail and residential projects, and represents clients across the full spectrum of real estate litigation. In a recent highlight, New York practice head Neil Rock and Vered Rabia advised Empire State Development and its subsidiary Moynihan Station Development on the $3bn redevelopment of the James A. Farley post office, which is primed to become a transportation and mixed-use commercial facility. Global head Harvey Uris is representing SL Green Realty in several matters, including its $1.7bn acquisition of a stake in One Worldwide Plaza, and its $525m sale of an interest in One Vanderbilt Avenue to South Korea’s National Pension Service and Hines. Meryl Chae heads the Los Angeles practice and is currently advising QIC on its acquisition of Forest City Realty Trust’s ownership interest in ten regional malls, a matter encompassing Australia and the US. Other leading figures include Chicago practice head Nancy Olson, Evan Levy, who heads the team’s capital markets department, and Audrey Sokoloff, who has notable hospitality, retail and construction expertise.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP provides ‘an exceptional level of expertise’ and the team is ‘highly responsive and always accurate in its advice’. The firm has significant expertise in financings, restructurings and public and private market joint ventures across a range of sectors, and also continues to develop its private equity capabilities, advising on fund formation and structuring in relation to investment into real estate assets. Key individuals include Anthony Colletta, who ‘knows the business inside and out’ and is praised for his ‘promptness and his thorough approach to complicated financings, partnership agreements and other real estate matters’. Also recommended are Joseph Shenker, who has substantial expertise in M&A transactions and joint ventures; commercial real estate expert Arthur Adler; and Benjamin Weber, who advises on private and public securities transactions, among other matters. In a recent highlight, the team represented Colombian company Cementos Argos in its agreement with Heidelberg Cement to acquire a West Virginia cement plant and eight related terminals, a transaction totaling $660m in value. Other notable work included acting for Clipper Realty on its IPO of shares on the New York Stock Exchange, and advising Crown Acquisitions on its joint venture with Wynn Resorts to own and operate a luxury retail space in Las Vegas. Delaware Life Insurance, Forest City Realty Trust and GCT Bayonne are also key clients. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Arent Fox LLP is praised for its ‘remarkable focus on client service’ and the team is ‘always readily available’ and ‘puts the relevant information and expertise at the client’s fingertips as soon as it is needed’. The national practice comprises groups in Washington DC, New York and California, and regularly handles domestic and international matters on behalf of lenders, developers, borrowers and investors engaged in transactional and project-related activity. Over the last year, the firm has been especially active in the hospitality, senior living and not-for-profit sectors, acting for clients such as Sunrise Senior Living, Marriott, and Choice Hotels. Notable work included the team’s representation of Fannie Mae in a $1bn financing of a portfolio of 120 housing properties across 13 states, and its advice to the same client on a number of leasing matters, dispositions and acquisitions of property throughout the US. The firm also advised Greenland Forest City Partners on the $4.9bn redevelopment of Pacific Park, a 22-acre site in downtown Brooklyn, and regularly handles a number of loans, mezzanine financing transactions and equity investments on behalf of Terra Capital Partners. San Francisco-based Richard Brand heads the team and is ‘masterful at adding value in transactions and deal structuring’, and the ‘highly knowledgeable and politically astute’ Timothy Tosta is also a leading figure. Kenneth Jacob and Thomas Castiello are the names to note in Washington DC, providing ‘practical and effective advice from both a legal and a business perspective’.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s real estate practice is noted for its extensive financing expertise and the team advises a range of high-profile lender clients on the full spectrum of financing transactions, including mortgage and mezzanine loans, syndicated loans and single-asset and borrower loans, among others. The practice is also noted for its strength in the CMBS space and recently advised JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank as co-lenders in a $2.3bn mortgage and mezzanine loan to refinance a portfolio of 460 Motel 6- and Studio 6-owned hotels across Canada and the US. Other notable work included acting for a group of co-lenders including Morgan Stanley, ING Capital and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg on a $850m syndicated mortgage loan provided to an affiliate of Brookfield Property Partners, and advising JP Morgan, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs on a $1.5bn financing to Centerbridge Capital Partners for the retirement of its debt. The team is also highly active in the REIT space and recently represented a New York REIT in its $514m sale of three office buildings in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. William McInerney heads the practice and is noted for his expertise in all types of loan facilities as well as in the sale of performing and non-performing loans in the secondary market. Other key figures include Bonnie Neuman, who advises on the full gamut of domestic and cross-border transactions, and Holly Chamberlain, who has extensive experience in loans secured by commercial office buildings, hotels and high-value retail properties.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provides ‘an excellent service in terms of responsiveness, service coverage and industry knowledge’. Key practitioners include Michael Weinberger, who regularly represents lenders, borrowers and issuers in mortgage and mezzanine loan transactions involving office buildings, shopping centers, multifamily residences and other real estate assets; Steven Horowitz, who handles domestic and international investment transactions, joint ventures and capital markets issuances; and Steven Wilner, who ‘has a good all-round knowledge of real estate transactions’ and regularly advises wealth funds and investment trusts on development projects and financing matters. The team also has notable expertise in PPP projects, advising a mix of project sponsors, lenders and infrastructure funds on a variety of infrastructure projects. In a recent highlight, the firm advised Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan on a $582m mortgage and mezzanine loan provided to the affiliates of Lone Star Real Estate Fund III for the refinancing of its portfolio of Hyatt-branded hotels, and the team also acted as counsel to Banco Inbursa in a number of financings, including a $170m construction loan to Miami Worldcenter Associates for the development of a residential condominium project. Brookfield Asset Management, Hospitality Investors Trust, KSL Capital Partners and Genting Group are other active clients. Daniel Reynolds is also a key name to note in the New York office.

Dechert LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is particularly strong in the field of commercial real estate finance and regularly handles the purchase and sale of real estate debt products, along with the origination, disposition and securitization of commercial real estate loans. The firm also has extensive expertise in capital markets transactions and frequently advises on debt and equity offerings. Richard Jones heads the practice and recently advised real estate lender Silverpeak on a CMBS investment and purchaser risk retention transaction valued at $938m. Other key figures include Laura Swihart, who along with finance partner Devin Swaney advised Freddie Mac on approximately 50 deals over the course of 12 months, the majority of these being securitizations of mortgage loans secured by multifamily properties; and Philadelphia-based Jason Rozes, whose client roster includes a mix of commercial and investment banks, institutional lenders and REITs. The firm has a solid West Coast presence; out of the San Francisco office, the firm acted for RBC Capital Markets on a $798m mortgage loan provided to the affiliates of Blackstone Group as financing for its $1.8bn acquisition of Alecta Pension’s US real estate portfolio. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Starwood Property Trust are also key active clients. Kahlil Yearwood moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Goodwin’s impressive team ‘always provides outstanding legal representation in every transaction, negotiation and business deal’ and wins plaudits for its ‘responsiveness, professionalism and high level of knowledge’. Key areas of expertise include real estate fund formation, debt and equity transactions and real estate public markets, including REITs; the firm’s investment practice regularly advises funds, along with their sponsors and managers on fund structuring and formation, and the joint ventures team acts for fund sponsors, pension plans and other institutional investors on matters involving the deployment of capital. In the Boston office, Diane McCabe recently advised Forest City Realty Trust on its $3.2bn sale of a stake in ten shopping malls to QIC, an Australian investment manager, and Samuel Richardson represented a subsidiary of Brookfield Financial Properties in the $2.2bn sale of 245 Park Avenue, a 45-story office tower in Midtown Manhattan. Gilbert Menna is also a key individual and recently acted for Monogram Residential Trust on its proposed $3bn acquisition by Greystar Growth and Income Fund, a matter involving the restructuring of the client’s joint venture with PGGM. Other names to note include Andrew Sucoff, who ‘consistently provides an outstanding service and skilled guidance’ and ‘possesses the business acumen and common sense to make sure the client asks the right questions, looks at all options and arrives at the best outcome’.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s ‘top-notch, commercially minded attorneys’ are ‘true business partners who maintain a laser focus on the needs of the company’, and the firm is ‘a valuable asset in terms of expertise, industry knowledge and overall value’. The practice has been active in cross-border investment and transactional matters, and is also recognized for its expertise in affordable housing transactions, CMBS issuances and finance and equity deals. The team is currently representing The Barack Obama Foundation in connection with its proposed high-value development of the Obama Presidential Centre, a library and archive containing records of the Obama presidency. Other notable highlights included acting for Callahan Capital Properties on the $650m purchase of 85 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan from a joint venture of MetLife and Capital Partners, obtaining a loan of $359m from Naxis Real Estate as part of the purchase funding, and advising AIG on approximately 30 transactions over the course of 12 months, including several construction and non-construction financing matters. National practice head Timothy Little is the key name to note, and ‘great attorneyDavid Dlugie heads the team in Chicago and is praised for his ‘extensive experience’ and ‘ability to get the right result for each client’. Daniel Huffenus, Bruce Kosub and Andrew Jagoda are the key contacts in Charlotte, Irving and New York, respectively.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘excellent’ team provides ‘great value for money’, acting for a mix of sovereign wealth funds, major pension organizations and other institutional investors in their real estate private equity matters. The group maintains a strong presence across New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and regularly draws on the strengths of its tax, restructuring and M&A practices to support its nationwide real estate capabilities. Key active clients include TPG Real Estate, Gramercy Property Trust and Starwood Capital Group; the team recently acted for Starwood on a number of matters, including its $2.85bn acquisition of Milestone Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust, a US REIT listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange which owns a number of multifamily residential properties, and its launch of Starwood Global Opportunity Fund XI, a flagship investment vehicle targeting approximately $6bn in commitments. Other recent work included acting for Caesar’s Entertainment on its $2.1bn restructuring and advising Oak Street Real Estate Capital on the sale of a portfolio of assets to an entity sponsored by Stonemont Financial in a transaction valued at $1.3bn. Scott Berger, Jonathan Schechter and Christopher Hartmann are the key individuals in New York, advising on the full scope of commercial real estate transactions, and Rachel Brown and Joshua Hanna are the main contacts in Chicago. Kevin Ehrhart recently joined the Los Angeles office from Latham & Watkins LLP and brings significant transactional expertise.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘exceptional and responsive’ group of ‘real problem solvers’ has ‘the bench strength to get through a transaction quickly and meet tight deadlines, especially when it comes to large portfolio deals’. According to clients, the team ‘knows the hot-button issues in the market and is good at finding common ground to set a strong position between the lender and the borrower’. The firm’s key areas of expertise include M&A and capital markets transactions, private equity fund formations, mezzanine and subordinate loans and post- and pre-bankruptcy activity, and the team has recently expanded its presence in the hospitality and gaming sectors, advising on numerous transactions and joint ventures. Gary Axelrod jointly chairs the hospitality, gaming and leisure practice, and regularly represents owners and operators in the sale, acquisition and development of resort and gaming properties. Rachel Bates is also a key contact in the hospitality space, and James Hisiger and the ‘fantastically commercialMichelle Kelban are the leading figures in New York, advising a mix of lenders and borrowers on M&A and financing transactions. Notable highlights included advising ACORE Capital on the organization of approximately $1bn-worth of construction and mortgage mezzanine loans secured by various real estate assets; acting for Al Mirqab Holding on the refinancing of a construction loan for a hotel property in New York; and acting for Colony Northstar on a number of mortgage and mezzanine loans for the $1bn refinancing of its real estate portfolio. Goldman Sachs and CenterPoint Properties Trust are also active clients. In April 2018, the former co-head of Jones Day’s team Michael Haas joined in New York.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘strong team’ provides ‘excellent business acumen, in-depth industry knowledge and great response times’ and is ‘highly recommended for complex loan transactions’. Global practice chair Mark Edelstein ‘gives his full attention to all of his transactions’ and has notable expertise in real estate finance, private equity, and bankruptcy and restructuring issues. Edelstein and Christopher Delson recently advised JP Morgan and another major bank as joint lead arrangers in their $1.5bn construction loan for 1 Vanderbilt, a new office tower adjacent to Grand Central Station in New York. The team also represented Wells Fargo as administrative agent and lead arranger on its $1.5bn construction loan for an office and retail tower in Hudson Yards, and acted for Unizo Holdings in $1bn-worth of office building acquisitions across New York City and Washington DC. Other notable individuals include Lawrence Ceriello, who acts for a mix of commercial lenders, investment banks and hedge funds; Thomas Fileti, who heads the team’s Los Angeles group; and Philip Levine, who advises on a range of debt and equity transactions in Northern California. Thomas McGovern is recommended for restructuring issues and splits his time between Boston and New York.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s wide-ranging real estate practice encompasses private equity investments, financing, leasing and all stages of the development process, including land acquisition, construction financing and contract negotiation. Practice co-head Ronald Sernau has significant experience in the New York market, where he advises on high-value transactions involving trophy properties; Sernau recently acted for Extell Development Company on the recapitalization of its marquee Central Park Tower project and, along with Steven Lichtenfeld and Perry Cacace, advised New York REIT on its acquisition of an equity interest in an existing joint venture which owns Worldwide Plaza in Manhattan. On the lender side, private equity specialist Jeffrey Horwitz and M&A lawyer Daniel Ganitsky acted for Morgan Stanley as financial adviser to Starwood Waypoint on its $20bn merger with Invitation Home. Notable cross-border matters for the team included Horwitz and Lichtenfeld advising Accor on its $2.9bn acquisition of FRHI Hotels and Resorts from the Qatar Investment Authority and Oxford Properties. Inland Real Estate and IO Data Centers are also key active clients.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has expertise across the full spectrum of transactional work, advising on a range of joint ventures, acquisitions and disposals. The team also represents landlord and tenants in leasing transactions, particularly headquarters office leases and ground leases. Malcolm Montgomery heads the practice from New York, where he advises on domestic and cross-border investment matters and the full range of financing transactions on the lender side. Lisa Brill heads the firm’s hospitality, leisure and gaming sector group, and has notable expertise in mezzanine loans, construction loans and hotel financings; other key partners include corporate and M&A specialist Kris Ferranti, and John Opar, who regularly handles matters involving foreign investment into US real estate and has been involved in projects spanning the US, China, Europe and the Middle East. Work highlights for the team included advising SL Green Realty and affiliates of Jeff Sutton on their leasehold of a property in New York City and a simultaneous lease transaction with Nike; acting for Metropolitan Life Insurance in connection with a $325m mortgage loan to Carnegie Hall Tower II; and advising KeyBank National Association on a $300m credit facility provided to the affiliates of Independence Realty Trust.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP provides ‘an excellent overall level of service’ and ‘the assigned attorneys are always responsive and understand the complexities of each matter’. Primary areas of expertise include REITs, restructurings and joint ventures, as well as matters involving private real estate funds across the US, Europe and Asia. The team also advises on capital markets offerings in the debt and equity space, and has extensive experience in leasing matters and financings for project development and property acquisition. Notable highlights included advising Brookfield Asset Management on its $2.8bn acquisition of shares in Rouse Properties, a REIT which owns a number of regional shopping malls; acting for TPG Global on its merger with Playa Hotels & Resorts; and advising the special committee of the board of directors of Sears on its plan to monetize over $1bn of real estate, including approximately 90 retail and industrial assets across the US. On the financing side, the team also advised co-lenders Fortress Investment Group and The Baupost Group in a $235m land loan to a major developer of properties in Manhattan, a loan provided for the purposes of refinancing the development of a residential and retail project overlooking Central Park. Michael Bond and the ‘knowledgeable and experiencedPhilip Rosen head the practice from the New York office, where David Herman and Samuel Zylberberg are also key figures.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘extremely knowledgeable about industry trends and market standards’ and ‘very aware of the nuances of each client’s platform’, and the firm is ‘very well informed about transactional activity across the industry, thus giving it the ability to provide unique and valuable insights’. The group handles a range of property acquisitions and dispositions as well as joint ventures, leasing transactions, financings and major development projects, and the firm’s clients include a mix of private equity funds, financial institutions and publically traded corporations, among others. On the lender side, the practice recently acted for JP Morgan Asset Management as adviser to a domestic pension fund on its establishment of a joint venture with L&L Holding, established for the purpose of investment into New York-based real estate. The team also represented Third Point in its joint venture with Normandy Real Estate Partners to develop a property at Dumbo Heights, Brooklyn, and advised Westfield on its acquisition of three department stores across the US. Key partner Edward Rishty is ‘extremely responsive’ and provides ‘sound and well-informed recommendations in a timely and efficient manner’, and is ‘especially recommended for complicated and time-sensitive financings, where he always delivers exceptional results’. Corporate partners Nicole Levin Mesard and Peter Irwin are also recommended.

The ‘quick and responsive’ team at Dentons has ‘a good sense of what is customary in the industry’ and ‘is able to use its extensive geographic and subject matter knowledge to the client’s advantage whilst remaining conscious of costs’. The firm primarily handles a mix of corporate matters and real estate finance, including investment transactions, property development and structured, securitized and mezzanine loans. Regulatory matters are also a key area of expertise and the firm regularly advises on planning and zoning policy, debt restructuring and the application of environmental initiatives to new developments and existing buildings. Notable highlights for the last year included the firm’s representation of Blackstone in its $550m-plus renovation of Willis Tower, which included major upgrades to tenant amenities and the Skydeck Chicago viewing platform, and its representation of Riverside Investment & Development in a redevelopment agreement with Amtrak for the redevelopment of four blocks around Chicago’s Union Station. Robert Fernandez chairs the firm’s real estate practice and recently acted for Shire Pharmaceuticals in the negotiation of its lease of a 343,000 sq ft building in Cambridge. Other key practitioners include Linda White, who has notable experience in the telecoms sector, and finance expert Scott Kapp.

Hogan Lovells US LLPcompares favorably with its competitors in this space’. The wide-ranging real estate practice acts for investors, developers, financers and property occupiers across the full gamut of real estate matters, including acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, financing, and property development, and the team also has a strong real estate litigation practice. The firm has been notably active in the retail, residential and hotels and hospitality sectors; notable highlights include advising General Electric on the sale of its $32bn global real estate debt and equity portfolio to Blackstone and Wells Fargo, and acting as underwriters’ counsel in the $2.3bn IPO of Paramount Group, which owns a number of premier office buildings across the US. In the funds space, the firm has advised JBG Companies on its $600m formation of a private real estate investment fund (Fund VI), and has also acted for Hermes Investment Management on the launch of its $300m real estate income fund, which focuses on US East Coast properties. Mark Eagan heads the practice from New York and has significant expertise representing foreign and domestic banks as well as sovereign wealth funds and other lenders and investors. Bruce Parmley and David Bonser are the key figures in Washington DC; Parmley has extensive experience in the hotels and resorts sector, and Bonser heads the firm’s equity and debt capital markets group.

Holland & Knight LLP’s ‘responsive, knowledgeable and dependable’ group ‘always understands the client’s needs and responds accordingly’, and the firm is ‘a valuable and significant part of any decision-making process’. Key areas of practice include retail development projects, leasing matters and real estate finance, where the team advises on financing transactions for major sales and acquisitions, primarily in the hospitality, leisure and timeshare sectors. The firm also has notable labor and employment expertise, advising on compliance with labor regulations across various projects. In a recent highlight, the team acted for Victor Group and Lendlease in the development, formation and sale of 130 residential condominium units, a matter involving negotiation between existing lenders, extension of debt and subsequent refinancing. The team is led by New York-based Joseph Guay, who has notable hospitality and resorts sector expertise, and Miami-based Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz, who represents a mix of public and private clients in commercial lending transactions. Douglas Praw, Melissa Turra and Christopher Camarra are the key figures in Los Angeles, Jacksonville and Washington DC respectively.

In April 2018, Hunton & Williams LLP and Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP merged to form Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, a move which combines two notable real estate practices. The group handles the full gamut of development and financing transactions across the industrial, retail, multifamily and mixed-use sectors, advising on a range of development and construction loans, commercial lending, and restructuring and troubled debt remedies. Recent work for the legacy Hunton & Williams team included representing Beal Banks in a $400m-plus financing provided to a development group led by Dreien Opportunity Partners for the acquisition of the corporate headquarters of JC Penney in Texas; and acting for the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority in the sale of Turner Field. Key names include Howard Schreiber in Dallas, Carl Schwartz in New York, and Washington DC-based Marvin Ehrlich. The team from the legacy Andrews Kurth Kenyon firm includes Mark Arnold, who advises on all aspects of commercial real estate and construction and has notable expertise in the development, construction, leasing and financing of public projects; Michael Boyd, who advises institutional investors, pension funds and developers on commercial and financing transactions; and of counsel Robert Collins, who advises on developer incentive issues, land use regulation, planning and permitting matters, and governmental regulations. Jack Flanagan is the main practitioner in the New York office, where he represents a mix of financial institutions, private equity funds and developers across all aspects of commercial real estate nationwide.

Jones Day’s full-service real estate practice covers lending and other finance matters, corporate and M&A, and real estate-related dispute resolution. Clients include a mix of funds in private equity investments, fund sponsors, Fortune 500 companies and high-profile lenders, and the team has been particularly active in the affordable housing and infrastructure sectors. In Chicago, practice co-head Brian Sedlak advised The Ohio State University on its energy management program, a scheme provided by Ohio State Energy Partners involving the lease and concession agreement for the university’s existing utility system. Other highlights for the team included acting for DDR Corp and an affiliate of Madison International Realty on the recapitalization of a joint venture with 52 shopping centers, and advising Digital Bridge Holdings on its acquisition and related financing of Vantage Data Centers, a data center solutions provider. Chicago-based Robert Lee is the other practice co-head, and the firm also has strong showings in Boston and Dallas, where the key figures are, respectively, Jeffrey Gaulin and Michelle Brown.

At Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, the ‘efficient and productive’ team ‘applies keen business instincts and an exacting knowledge of the law to every matter’ and is praised for being ‘smart and effective’. The real estate practice is best known for its financing, leasing and joint venture development work, and has advised on a range of projects in the residential, office, retail and mixed-use sectors. The Related Companies and Oxford Properties are two key clients, and the firm recently acted for ERY Developer, a joint venture between the two companies, on the leasing of a multi-level shopping center at Hudson Yards in New York. In another highlight, the group represented New Valley and The Witkoff Group in their $1bn joint venture for the acquisition and financing of Times Square Gateway Center, a proposed mixed-use retail, entertainment, hotel and signage project. The team is split primarily between Miami and New York; practice head Wallace Schwartz is based in New York along with commercial leasing expert Adam Endick, transactional lawyer Douglas Heitner and ‘rising star’ Julia Sanabria. In Miami, Albert Delgado is a key figure, as is Manuel Fernandez, who is ‘adept at digesting disparate facts to arrive at sound, well-reasoned conclusions’.

King & Spalding LLP’s ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ team provides ‘an excellent quality of service’ and brings ‘a strong level of experience and expertise, particularly in the corporate financing space’. The practice focuses on private equity, restructuring, M&A and tax matters, and regularly advises on the deployment of equity and debt capital to the public and private markets. Key individuals include Timothy Goodwin, who handles the structuring and formation of investment funds and has notable expertise acting for REITs and tax-exempt pension fund investors; Joshua Kamin, who advises on real estate transactions in the office, multifamily, retail and healthcare sectors, among others; and Jennifer Morgan, who handles private equity and transactional matters from the New York office. Davis Powell is also a name to note and recently represented Hansainvest in its formation of a multifamily residential joint venture platform with Bell Partners. Other highlights included advising Black Creek Capital on multiple fund formations, including a new investment platform through portfolio company MIRA Group and a new open-end real estate fund, the Black Creek Industrial Open End Fund, which seeks to build a diverse portfolio of buildings across the US. Douglas Emmett and Clarion Partners are also key clients.

Mayer Brown is ‘a trusted partner in complex negotiations, particularly in acquisition transactions and joint ventures’. The firm’s client base consists of public and private companies, private equity firms and institutional investors, and the team regularly handles the full range of real estate matters, including transactions, joint ventures, financings and restructurings. The firm is also noted for its strong cross-border practice, representing a mix of overseas investors in inbound transactions from Asia, Europe and the Americas. Chicago-based Jeffrey Usow heads the practice, which recently acted for Principal Financial Group in its exchange of tenancy in common interests in approximately 100 industrial warehouse buildings in Los Angeles, and also advised Isle of Capri Casino on the $1.7m sale of its portfolio to Eldorado Resorts. The firm is also representing HFZ Capital Group in the $1.7bn debt and equity financing of its ground-up construction of a mixed-use project in New York City, a development consisting of 240 residential condos, the five-star Six Senses Hotel and a significant retail component. Heather Adkerson and Brian Davis are key figures in the Chicago office, and in Houston, Gerami Granello advises on cross-border transactions with Latin America.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s ‘extremely responsive’ team ‘has a very good knowledge of the industry’ and ‘balances its technical legal advice with solid, practical business advice’. The firm’s client roster includes a range of developers, institutional fund managers and domestic and overseas investors, as well as government entities and major institutional owners, and the team assists with the full range of transactions. Notable highlights included representing CIM Group in a number of acquisitions, joint ventures and loan transactions for development properties across Manhattan, Chicago and San Francisco, among other cities; these included the $685m acquisitions of the Jehovah Witnesses’ ‘Watchtower’ building, and the equity and debt financing of Sunset La Cienega, a multi-use project including residential units, hotels and retail space. In another highlight, the group acted for HCP in a number of healthcare REIT transactions, including the $1.1bn sale of 64 senior housing communities to affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. The practice is jointly chaired by the ‘pragmaticMeredith Kane, who acts for developers, equity investors and government agencies on funding and transactional matters, and Harris Freidus, who has notable gaming and hospitality expertise. Salvatore Gogliormella is also recommended. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s ‘competent real estate team’ provides ‘an excellent service on all fronts’ and is ‘a go-to practice for complex matters’. Key areas of expertise include acquisitions, joint ventures, lending transactions and restructurings, and the firm also regularly acts for landlords of New York properties along with office and retail tenants, advising on lease negotiations and investment management. Recent work included representing Oxford Property Group in all aspects of its joint venture with The Related Companies to lease and develop Hudson Yards, a matter involving $5bn in financing for a flagship office tower, and advising Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies on a $305m loan to The Lightstone Group for the construction of a luxury condominium in Manhattan. The team also acts for the Museum of Modern Art on an ongoing basis, advising on its expansion of an existing museum facility on the former American Folk Art Museum site. Jeffrey Lenobel heads the New York-based team, which also includes Bruce Cybul, Julian Wise and transactional lawyer Seth Henslovitz.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP is ‘an outstanding firm in its field’ and the team is ‘extremely well versed in real estate law and new developments’ and has ‘an excellent level of knowledge and skill in construction financing’. The firm has substantial expertise across all areas of real estate and has been notably active in acquisitions and dispositions, development projects and fund formation, and regularly advises on environmental issues associated with land development. In the Los Angeles office, ‘efficient organizerRichard Mendelson advised LBA Realty on its $1.5bn sale of a portfolio of 46 industrial properties to Blackstone, and in Washington DC, Thomas Galli represented DataCore in a number of loan and purchase transactions including its $338m acquisition of a medical research facility in Maryland. The firm also has an active presence in New York, where ‘trusted real estate attorneysCynthia Mitchell, Peter Korda and John Napoli are the key individuals.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s ‘excellent’ and ‘highly responsive’ team ‘knows when to raise issues and has the business acumen to get deals done’. The group spans both the East and West coasts, handling the full mix of real estate-related work for both lender and borrower clients, including investment managers, financial institutions and wealth management firms. The firm has been particularly active in the retail, office and hotel sectors, handling numerous high-value acquisitions, commercial loan transactions and development projects. Brian Diamond jointly heads the practice with Washington DC-based Jeffrey Keitelman, who recently advised Pfizer on various real estate activities, including the sale of its worldwide headquarters in New York and the renegotiation of an office lease in San Francisco. In another highlight, Diana Brummer acted for Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies in a $318m financing of the construction and recapitalization of Via Mizner, a luxury mixed-use development in Florida containing residential units, a golf club and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel & Resort. Other notable individuals include Ross Moskowitz, who advises on land use, zoning and public private partnerships along with environmental and tax issues, and Karen Scanna, who focuses primarily on transactional matters.

At Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, key areas of expertise include M&A transactions, major financing and refinancing matters, and large-scale development projects, and the team also advises on the financial, tax and environment-related aspects of real estate projects. The New York-based group recently advised Colony Capital on the $17bn three-way merger of Colony Capital, NorthStar Asset Management and NorthStar Realty Finance, a transaction involving $58bn-worth of assets under management. Other notable work included advising HBC on a series of transactions between WeWork and Rhône Capital (including a $500m equity investment by Rhône and the $850m sale of the Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue building to WeWork Property Advisors) and acting for Paramount in several financings, including its $975m joint venture with Blackstone to refinance One Market Plaza in San Francisco. The team is led by Thomas Henry, who represents domestic and international real estate companies, funds and institutional lenders across the full range of commercial and financing transactions. Other key figures include David Drewes, who has notable hospitality and senior housing expertise, Carly Glover Saviano and counsel Daniel Backer. Janice Levine is recommended for residential matters, financings and leases.

Akerman LLP’s ‘highly skilled’ team regularly advises on urban redevelopment, financing matters and construction projects along with distressed real estate and loan origination. The firm’s nationwide practice covers the Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Miami areas, and has been notably active in the retail, transportation and healthcare sectors, among others. In a recent highlight, William Ellis advised borrower Lion Vail on the $115m refinancing of The Lion, a luxury condominium project in Colorado. The group also regularly handles the full range of transactional matters; notable recent examples include acting for Host Hotels and Resorts on its $215m acquisition of Loews Don CeSar Hotel and the Beach House Suites in Florida, and advising Israeli real estate investor Altshuler Shaham Provident Funds and Pension on the mezzanine loan funded acquisition of Standard Hotel as well as its acquisition of the mortgage loan on W Hotel in Florida. The practice is chaired by Miami-based Richard Bezold, who has strong transactional and litigation expertise across the US and Latin America. Other names to note include Steven Polivy, who leads the firm’s economic development and incentives practice; Eric Rapkin, who is the key figure in Fort Lauderdale; and Andrew Robins, who focuses on hospitality-sector matters.

Arnold & Porter’s 65-lawyer team has extensive experience in acquisitions and dispositions, real estate finance and development projects, and also represents a mix of lenders, borrowers and investors in real estate-related litigation. The group also has a strong leasing practice and has been active in the leasing of office, retail, biotech and agricultural space. Recent transactional highlights include advising American Real Estate Partners on a joint venture with Siguler Guff & Company for the $29m acquisition of an office campus in New Jersey, and acting for Qatar-based investment company The First Investor on its $620m equity investment into CityCenterDC. Key figures include Warren Bernstein, who advises real estate owners on construction and financing issues across various sectors; Stephen Gliatta, who has notable fund origination, securitization and mezzanine loan expertise; and Washington DC-based Michael Goodwin, who focuses on development projects, public private partnerships and ground leases.

Baker Botts L.L.P. leverages strong transactional capabilities in advising a cross-section of clients on a range of real estate issues. The firm recently strengthened its West Coast presence with the relocation of practice head Patricia Stanton to San Francisco, and has substantially increased its volume of California-based transactions over the last year. Other key areas of focus include advising real estate funds and other fund sponsors on fund formation, and assisting with construction projects spanning utility systems, bridges, roads and water treatment centers. The team recently advised on the liquidation and dissolution of Hines Real Estate Investment Trust, a matter involving the sale of seven West Coast office assets for $1.16bn to an affiliate of Blackstone, and acted for Dakota Pacific Real Estate Partners in its $40m acquisition of the membership interests of Cottonwood Partners, Och-Ziff and EsNet in order to purchase a portfolio of Utah-based properties. The Delta Pacific matters were handled by Kimberly Schlanger, Brayton Dresser and Stephen Marcus, who are based in Houston, New York and Dallas respectively; Houston-based Paul Landen is involved in much of the work done for key client Hines.

Ballard Spahr LLP delivers ‘a fantastic overall level of service’ and the team is ‘very knowledgeable in terms of its advice’, providing ‘an in-depth coverage of all issues’. Clients of the firm include a mix of national developers, REITs and financial institutions, and the team has been especially active in hospitality and residential sector deals across the country. In Philadelphia, Alan Ritterband recently advised Comcast on the $1.2bn development of The Comcast Innovation & Technology Center, a project which will have direct access to SEPTA’s Suburban Station and is expected to generate significant economic activity. Tina Makoulian is also a key partner and recently represented DuPont spin-off The Chemours Company on the sale-leaseback of the DuPont building in Wilmington. The firm also has strength in Baltimore, where Mark Pollak advised Sagamore on the high-value Port Covington redevelopment project. Additionally, the firm has worked on projects in Atlanta, Salt Lake City and Washington DC. Philadelphia-based Bart Mellits heads the practice and regularly advises on joint ventures, acquisitions and real estate workouts.

Clifford Chance is ‘excellent in all respects’ and the ‘service-oriented and responsive team’ takes ‘real ownership over each matter, thinking several steps ahead in a way that allows the client to achieve excellent results in negotiations’. The firm is particularly noted for the strength of its cross-border transactional practice and regularly acts for non-US entities in their real estate activities including joint ventures, sales and acquisitions. In a recent highlight, the team advised YES! Communities on several matters, including the consolidation of its three portfolios, the formation of a new joint venture and the establishment of four credit facilities totaling $1.3bn. The group also acted for Madison International Realty in its $1.3bn purchase of a portfolio of 14 retail properties in New York, and advised Almanac on its $380m investment into a joint venture with Westcore Properties to acquire and develop a portfolio of industrial and office properties across the US. The practice is chaired by New York-based Ness Cohen, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable and talented’ and ‘has an excellent grasp of the law in all relevant areas’.

At New York-based Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, key areas of expertise include development projects in the office, hotel and retail sectors, high-value property acquisitions, ground leases and structured finance. Jonathan Canter has a particular focus on condominium developments and shared-ownership projects, and recently acted for The Related Companies and Oxford Properties on the development of several buildings at Hudson Yards, a matter involving a $1.2bn loan for a mixed-use tower which will feature an Equinox-branded luxury hotel, along with office, retail and residential space. Other recent work includes advising Nederlander Organization on the $2bn acquisition of The Broadway Palace Theatre at Times Square; acting for The Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust on the redevelopment of the James A Farley Post Office at New York’s Penn Station; and advising Gamma Real Estate on a number of financings, including the $147m bridge financing package for a condominium tower at Sutton Place. Jay Neveloff heads the practice and is noted for his transactional expertise. James Godman and Neil Tucker are also names to note.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP provides ‘a terrific level of service’ and the ‘diligent and courteous team’ is ‘always very reachable and has a lot of experience to bring to the table’. The group regularly collaborates with the firm’s private equity, tax and litigation practices to advise across the full spectrum of real estate issues, including acquisitions, financing, and site acquisition and development. In Philadelphia, Kathleen Keyser and practice co-head Eric Stern advised American Campus Communities on a number of ground leases for development projects, including a housing project in Northeastern University and a student housing facility at the University of California, and Stern also acted for funds managed by Ares EIF Management on the development and financing of the Birdsboro Power Project, a gas-fired electric generation facility. In Washington DC, key figure Michael Pickett and Thomas Klanderman have recently advised JBG Smith on various matters, including the refinancing of the Notch8 project. Richard Toelke heads the practice from Boston.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s ‘very reachable’ team is ‘always able to mobilize quickly to review and negotiate documents, especially at minimal notice and in matters where deadlines are tight’. The firm also has ‘an excellent understanding of market standards’ and is ‘efficient at identifying business risks, effectively advising the client with a view to achieving a favorable outcome’. The practice group is noted for its strengths in the hospitality and technology sectors, having closed a number of debt and equity transactions involving landmark hotels, tech offices and other units within the last year. Notable work included advising Alecta on its $1.7bn sale of a portfolio of assets to Blackstone, a transaction completed as part of Alecta’s strategic exit from the US market, and acting for Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital on the $500m refinancing of the development of St John’s Terminal in New York. Michael McAndrews heads the practice in Los Angeles, where Gerard Walsh is also a key figure. Michael Liever and Marshall Brozost are the names to note in San Francisco and New York respectively.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s national practice covers both coasts and has strong expertise in real state litigation, multi-jurisdictional portfolio transactions and single-asset deals, while also advising on financing, development and environment-related issues. The team is headed by San Francisco-based Rachel Horsch, who handles the full scope of transactional matters, including joint ventures, acquisitions and leasing within the office, industrial, retail and multifamily residential sectors, among others; Horsch recently assisted a client with the $1bn recapitalization of the Bank of America building, and advised several buyers on their acquisition of a luxury San Francisco hotel. Other names to note include Brian Blum, who advises on the tax aspects of transactions and joint ventures, and Thomas Allen, who handles contentious matters in the real estate space; both are based in Washington DC.

Polsinelli PC has ‘an incredible balance of client service and expert knowledge’ and ‘consistently delivers excellent-quality products and great value for money’. The firm is noted for its expertise in the healthcare sector, advising a mix of lenders, borrowers and developers on M&A, finance provision and development projects; it also has an active client base across a range of other industries. In a recent highlight, the team acted for Kindred Healthcare in the $700m sale of its skilled nursing division to a private equity buyer, a transaction involving 97 facilities across 15 states along with multiple operators and REITs, to whom the deal was syndicated. The group also regularly acts for KeyBank National Association and recently advised it on several multimillion-dollar loans to various borrowers with an aggregate value of approximately $1bn. Key practitioners include Kraig Kohring in Kansas City, who has a strong financial services background and is ‘able to interpret extremely complex legal documents, breaking them down into the primary issues’; Chase Simmons (also Kansas City), who chairs the group’s equity practice; and Overland Park-based John Petersen, who advises on real estate development and finance.

The ‘excellent attorneys’ at Ropes & Gray LLP have ‘a strong work ethic’, ‘are highly knowledgeable in their fields and are able to take on complex transactions in a practical and business-oriented way’. The team handles the full range of investment-related issues, advising on tax structuring, ground leases, and debt and equity financing structures for various projects. It also advises on environmental issues associated with project development, such as permitting, regulatory compliance and the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites. Recent work includes representing Blackstone Mortgage Trust as borrower, securing $12bn in repurchase and secured credit facilities to finance a mortgage loan portfolio; advising TPG Capital on its $1.8bn sale of portfolio company IASIS Healthcare to Steward Health Care System; and acting for American Industrial Partners in its acquisition and disposition of enterprises with significant environmental footprints. London-based Iain Morpeth leads the global real estate team and David Djaha is the key figure in New York, advising on global investments and transactions. Richard Gordet and Walter McCabe are the names to note in Boston, and ‘rising starDaniel Stanco is based in New York.

Troutman Sanders acts for a mix of domestic and international clients on the full range of real estate transactions and regularly liaises with its financing and multifamily housing practices to advise on the development, acquisition, sale and management of both individual properties and real estate portfolios. In Richmond, Ashanté Latanya Smith and Mark Shiembob served as lender’s counsel to Berkeley Point Capital, which provided $2.2bn in financing to Starwood Capital Group for the purchase of the Dallas-based Milestone Apartments REIT, an investment trust listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The team also recently advised The Bissell Companies on its $1.2bn sale of Ballantyne Corporate Park in Charlotte to Northwood Investors, the highest-value real estate transaction in the city’s history. Shiembob heads the practice with Atlanta-based Mark Elliott, while the rest of the team is spread across New York, Washington DC and San Diego. Wells Fargo, Holliday, Fenoglio, Fowler LP and Virginia Beach Dome Site are also active clients.

Venable LLP has notable expertise in public REIT transactions and the Maryland-based team advises a range of local, national and international clients on the full spectrum of real estate transactional issues. Clients of the firm include pension funds, investors, lenders and corporates across various sectors, and the team has been especially active in the telecoms and utility sectors in recent years. In one highlight, the firm represented a national pension fund adviser on the acquisition, financing and disposition of multifamily properties valued at $210m across states including Maryland, Arizona and New Mexico. Other work included advising Intelsat on the relocation of its US headquarters to Tysons Tower in Fairfax County; representing the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in connection with its lease of an office building in Washington DC; and acting for Maryland’s second-largest city in a $350m redevelopment of its mixed-use town center. Practice head Thomas Millspaugh splits his time between Washington DC and Baltimore; other key individuals include Michael Phillipou, and Susan Golden, both of whom are based in New York. In October 2018, Peter Koffler moved to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

At Baker & Hostetler LLP, key sectors of focus include healthcare, hospitality, energy and student housing, and the firm has also advised a number of sports team ownership groups on matters related to their sports venues. The group has longstanding expertise in corporate, environmental, taxation and construction law, and regularly advises on regulatory compliance in relation to high-scale development projects. In a recent highlight, the group advised Big River Steel on the construction and operation of its $1.7bn steel mill manufacturing facility in Arkansas, a project site of approximately 2,000 acres. The firm also acted for Hyatt Hotels regarding the management, branding and operation of its Park Hyatt Los Angeles Project, one of the largest mixed-use hotel projects in California, and advised The Millennia Companies on a number of acquisitions, developments and restructurings of affordable housing projects. The practice is headed by Amy Kellogg in Cleveland and Robert Gebaide in Orlando, with other key figures in Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Centennial Commercial Finance and Hard Rock Café are also active clients.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s client roster includes a mix of lending institutions, public and private investment funds, developers and retail corporations across a multitude of sectors. The team has been increasingly active in global transactions and international construction projects, while also maintaining a strong domestic practice in M&A, development and leasing matters, as well as inbound investment. The team currently acts for key client Comcast on the administration of its data center portfolio comprising 45-plus locations, advising on various documentation issues on a continuous basis. Other active clients include Hewlett Packard, USB Realty, Dow and Jones Lang LaSalle, a property and investment consultancy company. Michael Smith heads the practice and focuses on finance and infrastructure matters, particularly social and transportation infrastructure projects. Recent arrival Daniel Cullen is recommended for tax planning issues, and Kathryn Johnstone handles real estate-related transactions. The team is based in Chicago.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson’s team advises developers, lenders, investors and high-net-worth individuals on the full range of real estate issues, and has recently handled particularly noteworthy work involving environmental impact, redevelopment and conservation. In the Los Angeles office, Jonathan Sears and Adriana Vesci acted for Douglas Emmett on the acquisition and financing of three commercial office buildings in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, and also advised on its refinancing of a number of office and multifamily portfolios. San Francisco-based Gregory Caligari has significant transactional expertise and recently represented Broadcom in the $443m sale of its campus to an affiliate of Five Point Holdings. The group’s environmental expertise is exemplified by its representation of the San Diego Association of Governments before the California Supreme Court, successfully defending the analyses of greenhouse gas emissions of its transportation planning requirements.

Eversheds Sutherland provides ‘a terrific level of service’ and the ‘efficient, thorough and intelligent team’ delivers ‘wise business judgment and strong guidance’. The firm continues to receive a broad mix of national and international mandates in the real estate space, advising on a number of retail, commercial and residential projects along with acquisitions, dispositions and joint ventures. James Jordan has extensive transactional expertise, regularly acting for corporates, limited liability companies and REITs on the full range of commercial real estate projects. Other key individuals include Robinson Plowden and Clayton Howell, who together advised the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on a $400m development in Midtown Atlanta consisting of the ‘Coda’ office building and a high-performance computing center. In another highlight, Howell represented Hines in a number of projects, including its development of two office buildings at the mixed-use Atlantic Station. Named attorneys are based in Atlanta.

Fennemore Craig’s team is based across Arizona and Nevada and has notable expertise in the healthcare, retail and resort sectors, advising a mix of clients on the full range of development issues and transactional activity. In a recent highlight, the team advised 7-Eleven on its $3.3bn acquisition of 1,100 convenience store and motor fuel facilities from various Sunoco entities across the Southeast, handling title review and surveying and zoning issues. The group also acted for Christian Care on the acquisition, financing and development of gated senior living facilities located in Surprise, Arizona, and advised Tuscon Medical Centre on the design and construction of its $12.5m East Side Women’s Center facility. Key practitioners include practice head Joseph Chandler; Jay Kramer, who handles commercial transactions in the real estate space; and Cortland Silver, who has significant retail expertise. The team is based in Phoenix.

Herrick, Feinstein LLP is noted for its strengths in New York and New Jersey, where it advises a stable of high-profile real estate owners, developers and investors on the full spectrum of transactional activity as well as land zoning, tax and litigation matters. The group is also recognized for its work on the Affordable New York Housing Program and its predecessor program, 421-a, which includes advising on a number of financing and acquisition transactions and guiding clients through application and compliance processes associated with the program. Development and construction is also a key area of expertise and the team regularly handles due diligence, air and development rights transfers, and land use issues on behalf of its developer clients. Leading practitioners include Jonathan Adelsberg and commercial real estate lawyer Richard Brown, both of whom focus on transactional matters, and Dena Cohen, who has significant leasing expertise.

Husch Blackwell LLP is ‘a well-rounded firm that is very up to date on market issues’ and provides ‘a great and timely service’. The team has notable experience advising on PPP infrastructure projects, and its client base includes a range of concessionaires, developers, contractors and public sector owners. The firm also regularly advises on rail corridor projects, financings secured by real property and the creation of planned communities across urban, suburban and resort settings. Key figures include Denver-based Kevin Kelley, who recently advised the public owner of Safeco Field on the negotiation of the Seattle Mariners' new 25-year lease, and Kansas-based Charles Renner, who acted for City of Kansas City in its plans to build a $1bn airport terminal. The team is headed by Caroline Hermeling in St Louis.

Loeb & Loeb LLP’s areas of expertise include commercial leasing, real estate finance and land use issues, and the team also advises on property acquisitions, dispositions and joint venture transactions, both single-asset and those involving multi-jurisdictional portfolios. In a recent highlight, the team advised Ivanhoé Cambridge and its partner, Callahan Capital Properties, in two separate leases to 21st Century Fox and News Corp, with the transactions involving a combined total of 1.2m sq ft of Manhattan office space. The group also represented JPMorgan Chase as tenant in connection with a lease for its financial technology arm, and acted for Regal Cinemas in the negotiation and execution of a lease amendment for an existing motion picture theatre in Manhattan, which allows for the re-positioning of the theatre as a state-of-the-art facility containing 10 auditoriums. On the landlord side, the team acted for TIAA-CREF on the amendment of a lease by tenant Palantir Technologies, a national security-oriented software firm. Raymond Sanseverino heads the team in New York, where other key figures include Nichole Cortese, Joseph De Vesta and Kenneth Freeman.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP has ‘a deep bench of astute business professionals’, and the ‘skilled lawyers’ are ‘extremely responsive’ and ‘highly recommended for high-value real estate transactions’. The team also handles financing matters, leasing issues and asset roll-ups, and regularly collaborates with its land use and zoning practice, advising clients on projects from inception to completion. Michael Polentz is the key figure in Palo Alto; Polentz recently advised the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on its redevelopment and construction plans for its existing museum campus, a project involving four building demolitions and the construction of a new design, and also acted for PlumpJack Fund on the formation of a joint venture with Meriwether Co to redevelop the Squaw Valley Inn in North Lake Tahoe. In Orange County, Steve Edwards advises on the purchase, sale and joint venturing of various real estate assets, and Tom Muller is recommended for retail, office and hotel-sector matters.

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP’s practice advises on the tax, environmental and construction aspects of various projects and handles the full range of transactional activity. Clients include a mix of corporations, investors and developers across various sectors, and the team has been notably active in retail, hospitality and resort development matters. In a recent highlight, the group advised Portman Holdings on the $400m development of the Coda project in Midtown Atlanta, a development including office and retail space, research labs and a data center. The group also represented Noble Investment Group in the $142m acquisition of a portfolio of Marriott-branded hotels, a transaction involving financing of $106m provided by Wells Fargo. The group is jointly led by Robert Reardon in Atlanta and Elizabeth Karmin in Washington DC, and other key figures include hospitality practice chair Thomas Gryboski and financing expert Duncan Miller, who advises on debt management and loan workouts, among other issues.

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP’s Chicago-based practice is ‘outstanding in the field of commercial real estate’ and ‘has a solid reputation in the property space’. The firm continues to handle large-scale transactional matters, advising owners of various property assets on acquisitions, dispositions and financing transactions, most frequently those involving retail shopping centers, hotels and media facilities. Notable recent work includes advising O’Conner Capital Partners on a $600m joint venture with a publically traded REIT to take ownership of nine shopping centers in Austin; acting for Equity Residential in several sale and acquisition transactions involving multifamily properties across the US; and advising M & J Wilkow on the $78m acquisition of a shopping center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Avram Feldman is ‘good at handling large, complex real estate transactions and sophisticated joint venture agreements’. Douglas Lubelchek chairs the practice, in which Douglas Ellis and Darrin Forbes are also names to note.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP is best known for its expertise in development and joint venture transactions across the US involving domestic and foreign partners, and the team regularly acts for corporations acquiring, developing and leasing corporate headquarters. The firm is also noted for its work in relation to shopping centers, medical office buildings and hospitals along with industrial, multifamily and mixed-use properties. Austin-based practice head Jane Snoddy Smith recently acted for Charles Schwab in a $100m deal to establish a new regional corporate campus near Dallas. In another highlight, New York-based Mitchell Lubart advised Parkway on its contribution of 4.5m sq ft of commercial office properties to a new venture, and on its sale of 40% of the new venture to an entity owned by TIAA. The team also recently represented Blackrock Realty in a number of matters, including its investment into a new venture with Butters Realty & Management and its multifamily joint venture with Trammel Crow in Denver.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is ‘able to handle large transactions efficiently and in a cost-effective manner’ and the ‘responsive, creative and intelligent team’ is ‘not only familiar with the relevant legal issues, but is also helpful in assisting with business matters, always seeing the bigger picture and thinking outside of the box’. The group is noted for the strength of its California practice, but also handles matters in the New York, Washington DC and Chicago areas. Key individuals include Thomas Masenga, who recently advised New York State Teachers’ Retirement System on its provision of a loan increase of $175m on the City National Plaza; San Diego-based Nancy Scull, who acted for Greystar in its acquisition, development and financing of Ballpark Village in San Diego; and Pamela Westhoff, who advised Tribune Real Estate on its sale of the Los Angeles Times Headquarters buildings. Orange County-based Scott Morehouse has significant land use and environmental expertise. Named attorneys are based in Los Angeles except where otherwise indicated. In October, Peter Koffler joined in New York from Venable LLP.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s ‘highly responsive’ team has ‘an in-depth knowledge of the real estate industry’ and ‘always understands the client’s business objectives’, and the firm is ‘competitively priced for the services it provides in the Boston market’. Key areas of expertise include sales and acquisitions, financing, leasing, and zoning and land use, and the firm is also noted for its capabilities in the private equity space. John Balboni jointly heads the practice and is currently advising Beacon Communities on its $250m acquisition of the Pittsburgh-based National Development Corporation (NDC). Other recent highlights include acting for Government Properties Income Trust, a REIT primarily invested in commercial properties leased to government tenants, on its $1.4bn acquisition of First Potomac Realty Trust, and advising Canadian insurer Manulife Financial on a number of joint ventures with offshore investors to acquire commercial office properties in the US. Practice co-head Ashley Brooks focuses on transactional matters, including single-lender and syndicated financings, acquisitions and investments.

Thompson & Knight LLP is ‘always quick to respond to requests’ and ‘always aware of current and proposed to changes to real estate law and how they could affect ongoing deals’. The firm has expertise across the full range of lending transactions and also advises on leasing matters, acquisitions, development projects and real estate-related capital markets offerings. Notable work included representing Wells Fargo Bank in connection with a $150m loan for Wells Fargo and Clarion Partners secured by eight properties across seven states, and advising Trigild as liquidating trustee in a number of sales of retail, multifamily and student housing properties. Other key active clients include Barclays, BBVA Compass Bank and North American Properties. Gregg Davis leads the practice from the Dallas office and has significant expertise in commercial real estate issues such as conservation easements, transfer fees, zoning, and contracts with governmental entities. Vivian Arias and William O’Connor are the key figures in New York.

Thompson Hine LLP has a strong base of nationwide developer clients and handles a broad range of issues including development, financing, leasing and dispute resolution, and the team also maintains a significant pipeline of sales and acquisitions. The group has particular expertise advising companies on corporate expansion and has handled a number of construction and development projects involving new headquarters and power plants. In a recent highlight, the team advised Forest City Realty Trust on a transformative $8bn transaction involving hundreds of properties and joint ventures, ultimately qualifying the company as a REIT. Key figures include Linda Striefsky, who acted for BMW Financial Services on several mortgage loans provided to BMW car dealers across the US, and Robyn Minter Smyers, who advised Group Plan Commission on the $50m redevelopment of Cleveland’s public square, a matter involving negotiations with 14 utility companies, leasing issues and a bridge loan. James Aronoff heads the practice and regularly advises REITs and equity funds on transactional matters and internal structure evaluations. Named attorneys are based in Cleveland.

Vinson & Elkins LLP provides ‘an excellent level of service’ and is ‘consistently responsive, offering thoughtful advice and a deep understanding of the substance of the issue at hand’. The team is best known for its transactional practice and advises a mix of banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions on the full spread of real estate business deals. The group has particular expertise in the energy and oil and gas sectors; highlights included advising Sunoco Logistics on its strategic oil pipeline-related joint venture with ExxonMobil, which resulted in the formation of Permian Express Partners; acting for Magellan Holdings on its acquisition of land in the Apache Mountain Pasture; and assisting Milestone Apartments REIT with its $2.9bn acquisition by Starwood Group. The team also acted for SemGroup in its $2.1bn acquisition of Houston Fuel Oil Terminal, one of the largest oil terminals in the US. The practice is headed by Paul Martin in Dallas, where Russell Oshman is the other key figure.

New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz handles a mix of domestic and cross-border transactions in the real estate space and has notable expertise in REIT M&A. The team is jointly chaired by corporate lawyer Adam Emmerich, who focuses primarily on M&A and capital markets transactions across a range of sectors, including healthcare and telecoms. The other key figure is Robin Panovka, who focuses on strategic transactions across the hospitality, gaming and retail sectors, and has recently been involved in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Other highlights for the team included advising Cousins Properties on its merger with Parkway Properties, and the resulting creation of two publically traded REITs with a combined value of $7bn; acting for Gaming and Leisure Properties i its $500m acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment’s real estate assets; and advising Morgan Stanley on a number of gaming and hotel restructurings and dispositions.

WilmerHale’s team is ‘always available, even when working on multiple tasks’; it is ‘always willing to take on additional matters and the level of service does not diminish’. The real estate group is supported by the firm’s tax, environmental, regulatory and bankruptcy practices, and has particular expertise in the senior living, retail and life sciences sectors, where it regularly advises on large-scale development projects. The firm recently advised Alexandria Real Estate Equities on a number of matters, including its $725m investment sale of One Kendall Square, its formation of a $500m joint venture with TIAA-CREF to acquire and develop a three-building campus in San Diego, and its joint venture with NYSTRS and National Development to sell a medical office building to Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The group also acted for Benchmark Senior Living and Blue Moon Capital in a joint venture to acquire a care retirement community in Massachusetts, a transaction valued at $400m. The practice is led by the ‘intelligent, creative and experienced’ Paul Jakubowski in Boston. Sean Boulger is ‘highly adept at negotiating joint ventures’.

Winston & Strawn LLPalways provides an extremely high level of service, no matter the subject matter or the project’ and ‘the skilled attorneys work seamlessly across different offices throughout the US, providing excellent advice and taking the client’s circumstances into account’. The Texas-based team advises national developers, lenders, private equity groups and REITs on high-value transactions across the country and overseas. The firm recently saw a number of partner arrivals from Locke Lord LLP; these include private equity expert Billie Ellis in Dallas and transactional lawyer Jeffrey Smith and energy sector expert Douglas Yeager in Houston. In a recent highlight, the team acted for Stonelake Capital Partners in the $200m acquisition, leasing and financing of several industrial warehouse facilities across Texas, with the client looking to build a portfolio of approximately 35 buildings. The firm also advised Strategic Office Partners on its assembly of a portfolio of single-tenant office buildings throughout the US, and represented Long Cove in the development of a high-end lakefront residential community and marina on Cedar Creek Lake, which will include a number of cottages, porch homes and custom homes spanning more than 1,000 acres.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

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REITs are a sweet spot for Clifford Chance’s US arm and its broad expertise encompasses equity and debt, and listed and non-listed REITs. Led jointly by US corporate finance lead Jay Bernstein and tax specialist Richard Catalano, the New York-based group is particularly sought after for its experience in mortgage and specialty finance REIT offerings. Among the firm’s recent work, it acted in two of the four completed REIT IPOs in 2017, including advising Safety, Income and Growth on its IPO and concurrent private placement worth a combined $250m - Kathleen Werner and Catalano led that work. In another headline, Andrew Epstein and Bernstein assisted the underwriters with KKR Real Estate Finance Trust’s $241.6m IPO. Larry Medvinsky, Jason Myers and ‘future starJake Farquharson are also names to note.

A ‘star in the field’, Goodwin’s REIT practice spans the full spread of equity and debt offerings, IPOs, M&A deals and joint venture transactions - it also packs a punch in regulatory matters. Group co-chair Gilbert Menna is ‘a great operator, with unrivaled knowledge of the industry’ and is regarded by many as a pioneer in the REIT arena. Menna recently advised Mid-America Apartment Communities on its acquisition of Post Properties, which created a public multi-family REIT with a combined value of $17bn. He also assisted Monogram Residential Trust with its $3bn acquisition by a new fund led by Greystar Real Estate Partners. Other key contacts include Boston-based group co-head Ettore Santucci and New York partner Yoel Kranz. In 2017, Marc Lazar joined the Boston office from Ropes & Gray LLP.

Hogan Lovells US LLP finds favor for its ‘deep and experienced bench’ and its ‘broad knowledge in all aspects of the REIT market’. Particularly admired for its strong experience in IPOs - it has acted as either issuer’s or underwriters’ counsel on four of the five largest REIT IPOs in history - it also shines in M&A, joint ventures and corporate governance matters. The sizeable Washington DC-centered team counts several market leaders among its ranks, including group head David Bonser (‘strong industry knowledge combined with a great worth ethic’) and tax specialist Prentiss Feagles. Highlights included Bonser advising JBG Companies on its merger with Vornado Realty Trust, to create the largest public real estate company in Washington DC. Stuart Barr acted for Hilton Worldwide on corporate and tax matters concerning the spin-off of its global real estate portfolio into a new REIT, Park Hotels & Resorts. Other respected senior names are Cameron Cosby, Michael McTiernan and Bruce Gilchrist. The team also fields an impressive line of younger partners, which includes Matt Thomson and newly promoted partners Stacey McEvoy and Leslie Reese.

The ‘responsive, creative and efficient’ practice at Latham & Watkins LLPknows how to get a deal across the line’. The group routinely acts across the full life cycle of REIT matters, including initial organization, partnership roll-up transactions, corporate spin-offs, public offerings, M&A and compliance issues. The global group is co-chaired by Michael Brody, held up by some as ‘the best tax expert in this space’, Julian Kleindorfer and Ana O’Brien - they teamed up with Orange County-based counsel David Wheeler to advise Digital Realty on its $7.6bn acquisition of DuPont Fabros Technology. Brody and Kleindorfer also advised Global Logistics Properties on its $1.1bn acquisition of the US logistics portfolio of Hillwood Development Company. Lewis Kneib and San Diego-based Michael Sullivan are also recommended. Named lawyers are based in Los Angeles, unless otherwise stated.

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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s group, which clients highlight as ‘a top choice for complex or innovative transactions’, routinely acts for every type of REIT, including equity, mortgage, hybrid, special purpose, public and private REITs. New York-based group co-chair David Goldschmidt is ‘extremely creative’ and advised American Capital on the $3.4bn sale (excluding American Capital Mortgage Management) to Ares Capital Corporation and also on the sale of American Capital Mortgage Management to American Capital Agency. David Polster, who co-leads the group from Chicago, assisted GIC with its $1bn joint venture with Paramount Group to acquire 60 Wall Street. The group is also co-led by Los Angeles-based Meryl Chae, Palo Alto’s Gregg Noel and New York-based Harvey Uris. Sought after tax specialist John Rayis, who works out of Chicago and Los Angeles, is now of counsel.

A ‘first port of call for sophisticated or "first of a kind" transactions’, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s ‘cutting-edge’ practice is led jointly by noted sector specialist Robin Panovka and Adam Emmerich. REIT M&A provides the bulk of the work and the New York-based group is regularly involved in headline transactions, such as its recent advice to Regency Centers on its combination with Equity One to form a $15.6bn REIT. The team also acted for Cousins Properties in its merger with Parkway Properties and the simultaneous spin-off of the Houston-based assets of both companies, which created two publicly-traded REITs with a combined asset value of $7bn.

Efficient, business savvy and knowledgeable’, DLA Piper LLP (US)’s REIT practice is composed of ‘specialists in their fields’. Most notably, Raleigh-based Robert Bergdolt is ‘a nationally recognized expert in private REITs’ and heads a team that is particularly well known for its experience in the formation of public non-traded REITs. Bergdolt acted for an impressive raft of high-profile clients over the past year including Blackstone REIT. New York-based rising star Kerry Johnson had a banner year and led on several significant deals, such as handling Highwoods Properties’ $300m senior notes offering. REIT tax lead Robert Le Duc, who splits his time between Minneapolis and Chicago, is ‘a prominent name’.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s ‘extremely deep’ team scores high marks for its ‘very strong industry knowledge and service levels’ under the leadership of New York-based practice lead Judith Fryer. Among Fryer’s recent work, she advised public non-traded REIT, NorthStar Real Estate Income II, on its combination with NorthStar Real Estate Income Trust and a select portfolio of Colony NorthStar’s assets and liabilities to create a REIT with approximately $5.5bn in assets. Fryer, together with ‘preeminent specialist’ Alice Connaughton, who is based in Washington DC, assisted Industrial Property Trust with its $1.7bn IPO. Other highlights include New York’s Joseph Herz advice to Rodin Global Property Trust on its $1.2bn offering. Real estate chair Robert Ivanhoe, who also operates from New York, is another key figure in the group.

In 2017, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP bolstered its practice by hiring tax counsel Aresh Homayoun in its Washington DC office - he was formerly associate general counsel at Fannie May. The firm handles a significant share of work in this area and is well known for representing private and public REITs, and other real estate funds, in a wide range of corporate and finance transactions. Group co-lead Lauren Prevost has a strong profile and, with Seth Weiner, advised Cole Credit Property Trust V on a $1.5bn follow-on offering; the duo are based in Atlanta. Co-head Heath Linsky, who is also based in Atlanta, had an active year, which included supporting Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT on the $750m sale of a data center portfolio and advising Steadfast Income REIT on a $460.8m joint venture with Blackstone REIT.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s practice, which handles the full range of corporate and finance transactions, has a strong record in advising non-traded REITs. It is also noted for its supplementary expertise in tax and private equity. Seasoned specialist Peter Fass jointly leads the real estate capital markets group with Steven Lichtenfeld - both are based in New York. Lichtenfeld recently acted for New York REIT in the sale of a 48.7% stake in One Worldwide Plaza to SL Green Realty and RXR Realty, in a deal that valued the property at $1.7bn. Michael Choate is a senior name in Chicago and advised Global Net Lease on its $3.1bn merger with American Realty Capital Global Trust II. New York’s Leslie Loffman is highly regarded for tax matters.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP advises on a wide range of M&A, capital markets and finance matters for a broad client base, which includes REITs, private equity funds and financial institutions. Blackstone is a trophy client and a multidisciplinary team recently advised Blackstone-owned Invitation Homes on its $1.8bn IPO - which was the second-largest IPO by a REIT in history - and also on its $20bn merger-of-equals with Starwood Waypoint Homes. In another headline transaction, the firm handled Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII’s $1.1bn acquisition of a portfolio of 64 senior living properties from HCP and its joint venture with Brookdale Senior Living to own and operate the portfolio. Real estate head Gregory Ressa, corporate partner Brian Stadler and tax specialist John Hart are the key contacts - all are based in New York.

Acclaimed as ‘the best in Boston for REIT work’, Sullivan & Worcester LLP finds favor for its ‘in-depth knowledge of the industry’ and its ‘strong tax team, which is an invaluable resource’. The firm, which has strong experience in the public REIT market, advised on a string of debt and equity offerings over the past year - it is also active in M&A and corporate governance matters. Group co-chair Ameek Ashok Ponda is ‘exceptional for tax issues’ and advised Equinix on its $3.6bn acquisition of 29 data center buildings from Verizon Communications. Ponda also teamed up with the ‘excellentNicole Rives and newly promoted partner Lindsey Getz to advise Government Properties Income Trust on its $1.4bn acquisition of First Potomac Realty Trust and its $516.5m equity offering and $300m debt offering. Louis Monti ¬¬¬- a ‘go-to person for real estate work’ - co-leads the Boston-based practice.

Venable LLP is widely lauded as ‘the best on Maryland law’, with many sources asserting ‘no other firm comes close’. Indeed, the Baltimore-centered team’s specialist expertise in Maryland corporate legislation translates into an impressive market share of both publicly traded and publicly registered, non-traded REITs formed under Maryland law, with major Wall Street firms quick to highlight the practice as ‘a first choice for referrals in this area’. The group is co-chaired by James Hanks (‘dean of the Maryland bar’ and ‘extremely steeped in the law and issues’), Sharon Kroupa (‘combines good technical skills with good commercial judgment’) and Patricia McGowan. It also benefits from the expertise of the ‘solution-orientedChristopher Pate. Clients include Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Hudson Pacific Properties and Vornado Realty Trust.

Responsive and practicalBallard Spahr LLP scores highly for its ability to ‘dig in on Maryland law issues’. Baltimore-based Charles Moran and Douglas Fox are ‘true experts on Maryland law’ and co-lead the team alongside Craig Ganz in Phoenix. Highlights included advising Silver Bay Realty Trust on the Maryland law aspects of its $1.4bn acquisition by an affiliate of Tricon Capital Group. City Office REIT, HCP and Mack-Cali Realty are also clients.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP’s group has a strong emphasis on capital markets matters under the joint leadership of eminent tax expert George Howell and transactional specialist David Wright - both are based in Richmond. Washington DC-based Robert Smith is another key contact and recently advised Annaly Capital Management on two capital raises worth a combined $1.5bn. In another highlight, Richmond’s Mark Wickersham advised Summit Hotel Properties on a $170.8m follow-on offering. Richmond-based counsel James Davidson is also recommended.

In 2017, King & Spalding LLP boosted the Houston arm of its REIT practice with the hires of transactional real estate partners David Runnels, Darren Inoff and Jason Peters from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. The practice has a diverse focus, which encompasses M&A, corporate finance transactions and structuring matters - for public and private REITs. Atlanta’s Spencer Johnson co-heads the group and, together with ‘very strong’ Atlanta-based tax partner Peter Genz, acted as special REIT counsel to Deltic Timber on its merger with Potlatch. Anthony Rothermel, who splits his time between New York and Atlanta, and New York-based John Wilson co-lead the practice alongside Johnson.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s impressive recent record in REIT M&A is supported by strong skill sets in capital markets, corporate governance and tax matters. The firm routinely acts for major REITs, including CareTrust REIT and Ventas, and it also advises investors. Among its highlights, REIT M&A specialists Sarkis Jebejian and Michael Brueck teamed up with corporate heavyweight David Fox to advise Equity One on its $15.6bn stock-for-stock merger with Regency Centers. Real estate partner Jonathan Schechter is also a key contact and assisted Starwood Property Trust with its $767m acquisition and financing of a medical office portfolio.

Technically accurate, extremely responsive and business-savvy’, Morrison & Foerster LLP stands out for providing ‘great legal and business advice, which helps to make a deal happen’. David Slotkin, who co-leads the Washington DC-based group, is ‘a creative problem solver and true subject matter expert’; he recently advised Jernigan Capital on multiple equity offerings totaling $267.5m. The ‘knowledgeable and business-minded’ Justin Salon co-heads the department and advised Education Realty Trust on its $500m at-the-market offering. Lauren Bellerjeau is also recommended.

Capital markets work is a mainstay at Paul Hastings LLP, but the New York-based practice also has robust expertise in REIT M&A and corporate governance issues. The team’s broad client base is composed of REITs, underwriters and investors including Citigroup, Carey Watermark Investors and Lexington Realty Trust. Highlights included Yariv Katz advising Altair Commercial Real Estate Lending Fund, as the largest stockholder of TPG RE Finance Trust, on TPG REIT’s IPO. Securities and capital markets chair Michael Zuppone heads the group.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s ‘highly responsive and accurate group’ stands out for its ‘exceptional service’. The team regularly advises REITs and underwriters on public and private offerings, and also excels in REIT formation and tax issues. Transactional specialist and firm chairman Joseph Shenker is ‘a cut above’; he and capital markets specialist Robert Downes advised Clipper Realty on its $68.1m IPO. Arthur Adler is ‘very experienced’ and acted for Alexander’s on the $500m CMBS refinancing of an office condominium unit in New York. Other notable clients include Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Forest City Enterprises and Vornado Realty Trust.

Vinson & Elkins LLP continues to raise its profile in the REIT area and acted on a significant volume of debt and equity offerings, M&A transactions and restructurings over the past year. Richmond office managing partner Daniel LeBey is a key name and advised NorthStar Realty Finance on a three-way merger with NorthStar Asset Management Group and Colony Capital. In New York, David Freed assisted TPG RE Finance Trust with its $233m IPO. The national practice also benefits from the expertise of Washington DC-based partners Gregory Cope and Christopher Green.

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