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Who Represents Who

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Infrastructure was the major talking point for the US construction industry in 2016. With years of cuts and ageing roads, rail systems and water pipelines, it has been estimated that $3.6tn is needed to renew the country’s infrastructure and, as a result, many states have already begun to invest in revitalizing the country. Funding has been a concern, as the US market was not quick to take up the public-private partnership (PPP or P3) model, however this attitude has shifted, and many law firms are seeing state authorities open up to this relationship, with numerous PPP infrastructure projects taking place throughout the country. The Golden Gate Bridge PPP is a key project, which is now in an arbitration phase. The new administration has promised major spend on infrastructure and this is keenly awaited by both developers and state authorities.

Closely linked to the ageing infrastructure, and driven by the growing US population, is the national need for affordable housing. This permeates across the country, as New York, Houston and the West Coast are seeing developers build mixed-use, multi-story housing, 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 thrive. In order meet these social demands, many states have also imposed affordable housing requirements on developers. The $20bn Hudson Yards development in New York is the largest real estate construction project in the US currently 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 and, as a further result of an increasing and ageing population, healthcare has seen an uptick; there are numerous medical and hospital facilities under construction, particularly in the northeastern and southern states, with many being funded through the PPP model.

Most lawyers report a downturn in the appetite for formal dispute resolution, as both owners and contractors are looking to lower the costs of litigation and arbitration. Mediation is fast becoming the preferred form of resolution, as it considerably lowers costs. Law firms are receptive to this and are typically shifting focus to suit the needs of clients. 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. The Panama Canal arbitration continues to be one of the largest ongoing disputes, with Mayer Brown and Vinson & Elkins LLP representing the canal authority and White & Case LLP acting for the consortium.

The practice of land use and zoning law is a regional, even local one, as laws, policies and regulations are all dictated by the state and city authorities. Accordingly, different states across the country have idiosyncrasies that can only be managed by lawyers who are well versed in the policies and procedures of the local authority. This is also a highly political area of the law, and as such requires political nous and strategic management in order to obtain the necessary approvals. The ranking table highlights firms which are able to manage the entire approvals process and includes practices with expertise across numerous jurisdictions as well as those with a focus on one or a few key jurisdictions. Land use practices are often small and typically based around the detailed knowledge of just a handful of individuals.

The major centers for real estate and infrastructure development, and therefore land use, are California and New York, but many states and cities across the country are in development phases, including Florida, Texas, New Jersey and Washington DC. The West Coast is renowned for its onerous and highly public planning processes; the California Environmental Quality Act 1970 (CEQA), which places strict environmental requirements on developers, continues to see amendments and updates, including in relation climate change and renewable energy constraints. The involvement of the public in planning approvals also places added obstacles for land use lawyers across the country. New York land use attorneys often have to deal with complex air rights and rezoning matters, but also have an ‘as of right’ system in place where developers do not need to go through such substantial approvals processes, making development a quicker process at times.

The need for affordable and multifamily housing in urban areas is a national trend and many states have placed a requirement on developers to produce a certain amount of affordable housing, often in some of the most expensive residential areas in the country. The volume of infrastructure projects is on the rise and with the new administration in place from January 2017, the country - including land use and real estate attorneys - is waiting to see if there will be a much-needed increase in infrastructure spend.

Despite getting off to a comparatively slow start after a bonanza 2015, the 2016 US real estate market remained highly active, with product types such as self-storage, multifamily and hospitality proving particularly popular with real estate acquirers. Furthermore, there was no let-up in foreign buyers - ranging from sovereign wealth funds to insurance groups - whose investments included more than $85bn in US commercial assets. Chinese investors continued to lead the charge, albeit with a change of strategy, moving focus from trophy office buildings in New York to real estate in secondary gateways such as Miami, Seattle and Boston. Notwithstanding, New York still enjoyed its fair share of the action, with one of the larger deals being the $1.65bn purchase of 1285 Sixth Avenue by RXR Realty.

Beneath the thriving exterior, however, a number of concern areas were noticeable. The CMBS market dropped sharply in 2016 and was further undermined by new regulatory changes, scheduled to take effect on December 24, requiring lenders to retain a 5% slice of each CMBS deal for five years. In addition, China announced in November a clampdown on foreign acquisitions, including halting foreign real estate purchases of more than $1bn by state-owned enterprises. The anticipated rise in US interest rates, which never arrived in 2016, coupled with the new Donald Trump presidency - heralding a more isolationist foreign policy - are additional factors that might make 2017 a trickier year for real estate lawyers.

In the REIT space in 2016, while law firms reported increased M&A activity, the capital markets sector (including public offerings and equity transactions) slowed. Due to high interest rates - a common threat for mortgage REITs - the majority of public REITs traded at disappointing levels and generated dividends below asset value, which is why companies relied more on strategic expansions or disposals of business units rather than securities offerings on public indexes. In addition, a new regulation from the IRS and Treasury Department put a halt to tax-free REIT spin-offs from corporate businesses, which presents a challenge for lawyers to structure around. While the spin-off restriction was included in the 2015 PATH Act, it reinstated a rule (that had been inactive since 2008) by which companies engaging in spin-offs cannot convert to or become part of a REIT for the following ten years without tax bill consequences.

On the non-traded front, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules changed the way brokers report the values of shares, thus enforcing a diversity of asset classes in a portfolio. The most successful ones currently lie in the hospitality, lodging, data center and single-family home sectors.

In September 2016, the Standard & Poor 500 instigated another major change in the market by introducing REITs as a separate sector - the first addition since 1999. For investors, this will mean necessary portfolio restructurings and the reallocation of assets to ensure they are weighted properly. It could also mean that the new division attracts even more capital than it did as part of the lower-performing financials group, whose dividend yield will now drop.

Construction (including construction litigation)

Index of tables

  1. Construction (including construction litigation)
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Alison Ashford - Seyfarth Shaw LLP
    • Heather Bartzi - Thompson Hine LLP
    • Jason Boffey - Moye, O’Brien, Pickert & Dillon, LLP
    • Jessica Singh - Duane Morris LLP
    • Gunjan Talati - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

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’s construction team has an excellent reputation in national and international construction matters. The firm’s client base covers both owners and contractors, including global developers, and the team handles transactional as well as disputes matters. In 2016, in what was an active year for major infrastructure and energy disputes, San Francisco-based Daniel McMilan acted for the joint venture between Kiewit Infrastructure and Flatiron West in a high-profile dispute surrounding the complex rebuilding of the Golden Gate Bridge through a public-private partnership (PPP) structure. On the owner side, Washington attorneys Andrew Ness and Kevin O’Brien and Atlanta-based Joseph Finley represented Georgia Power Company in a $1.5bn dispute surrounding the construction of a nuclear plant; this case was successfully closed in December 2015. Other important clients include Bechtel Power, Chevron and Sempra Energy. San Francisco-based Stephen O’Neal is another highly respected construction lawyer. In February 2017, David Buoncristiani moved to Hanson Bridgett LLP.

An ‘exceptional firm’, King & Spalding LLPgets results’, with its ‘technical knowledge proving an immense advantage’. The group is primarily based across various offices in Texas and accordingly focuses on energy and infrastructure projects, with the vast majority of the client base consisting of large multinational energy owners; these include Jordan Cove LNG, and major Middle Eastern and South American energy companies. Although centered in Texas, the team works on matters across the globe; the ‘trustworthy and results-orientated’ Angus McFadden is based in Houston and is currently leading the team in its advice to Chinese petrochemical group Yuhuang Chemical on the construction of a world-scale methanol plant in Louisiana. As a result of the commodities price drop, the team is also handling several large pieces of litigation. These include the successful representation of KBR in relation to the rescission of a major construction contract with Pemex, Mexico’s national oil company, concerning offshore oil platforms. Scott Greer and David Strickland are also highly regarded construction attorneys. David Kiefer joined the firm’s New York office in February 2016 from Dentons; other named lawyers are based in Houston.

Peckar & Abramson, P.C.’s outstanding reputation is founded on its ‘excellent response times, business acumen and highly capable team’. With over 100 construction lawyers, the specialist firm has one the largest practices in the country. Founding partner Robert Peckar has ‘superb industry knowledge’ and chairman Steven Charneyalways provides solid advice’. Recent work for the firm has focused on infrastructure projects, where the group primarily advises well-known global contractors on the construction of billion-dollar bridges, tunnels and roads. The geographical focus of the practice is in major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington DC. Other projects also include stadia, airport redevelopments and university campuses. On the disputes front, the group, led by Gregory Chertoff, represented one of the largest building contractors in the US in an arbitration surrounding the design and build of a university dormitory; the firm successfully secured a $6.8m award. On the West Coast, Los Angeles-based Joseph Sestay is acing for a national general contractor in a court litigation and AAA arbitration proceedings concerning a manufacturing facility for a multinational technology company. The group’s reputation also extends to international cases, including representing contractors in various claims in Australia, South America and Africa. Unless otherwise stated, named lawyers are based in New York. Other key offices for the firm include Miami, Washington DC and Houston.

Led by John Haug, Dentons is noted for its experience in real estate projects and, in more recent times, energy and infrastructure projects, which sees it working on multibillion-dollar developments across the country. The firm’s broad client base includes both owners and contractors, and encompasses litigation and the negotiating of contracts. US real estate developer McCormack Baron Salazar is a key client on the transactional side and, in 2016, the team represented it on numerous real estate developments. San Diego-based Mark Budwig is the main contact for construction litigation and government contracts, in which a standout piece of litigation has been the ongoing representation of San Diego Water Authority in a dispute surrounding delays on the San Vicente Dam raise project; claims are currently in excess of $50m. Other clients include Central Valley Gas Storage, LS Power Development and Granite Construction Company.

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.

Duane Morris LLP’s nationwide construction presence is headed from New York by the highly reputable Mark Canizio. The group acts for owners, including major real estate developers and universities, as well as design professionals and contractors. The team often works with clients from front-end work to resulting litigation. Kenneth Lazaruk, also in New York, is well known for his transactional abilities and has continued to lead the team in its advice to major real estate developer the Related Companies in their activities on the Hudson Yards project in New York. On the disputes side, Canizio and government contracts expert Oliver Holmes have acted in numerous multimillion-dollar disputes. Most notably, San Francisco-based Holmes represented architecture and design firm Perkins+Will in a dispute with UCLA surrounding the construction of a billion-dollar research and teaching hospital. Other notable clients include John Russo Industrial Sheetmetal, Columbia University and Macklowe Properties. Albert Bates left the firm for Pepper Hamilton LLP in April 2016.

The construction team at newly merged Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP has ‘first-rate knowledge and an ability to get to the bottom line with cost-effective solutions‘. Led by Atlanta attorney Jennifer Fletcher, the construction group chiefly operates out of the firm’s New York and Atlanta offices, but its work extends across the country and encompasses numerous projects in the Southeastern United States. The team acts for the full range of clients, including real estate developers, manufacturing companies and top US contractors, particularly dealing with projects in the real estate sector. Dispute resolution forms the bulk of the practice and, in a standout matter, the group represented a global leader in industrial and systems manufacturing in a multibillion-dollar dispute with a state authority concerning large-scale environmental systems. Another highlight was representing a real estate developer in a dispute with a general contractor and product manufacturer over the construction of a high-rise tower in Midtown Atlanta. Lawrence Dany in New York and Lee Davis, who splits his time between Atlanta and New York, are other key names to note.

The seven-partner construction team at Farella Braun + Martel LLP is best known for its expertise in energy and infrastructure projects and, in 2016, represented owners, developers, contractors and design professionals in a wide range of projects, from dams, power plants and renewable energy to high-speed rail. The group is headed from San Francisco by Richard Van Duzer but is active across the entire west of the country. A standout piece of work in 2016 was the firm’s continuing advice to the City of Los Angeles on the $15bn redevelopment of LAX; this was led by transactional construction attorney Jeffrey Sykes. On the litigation front, Deborah Ballati led the defense of $7bn worth of claims against Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems surrounding the closure and decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Station. Other clients include multinational architecture and engineering firm Kleinfelder and energy developers First Solar and NaturEner. All lawyers are based in San Francisco.

Led by Jeffrey Blease, who splits his time between Boston and San Francisco, the team at Foley & Lardner LLP provides ‘the highest-level service; its advice is consistently in line with company culture and strategic objectives’. The group, which is based across Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Boston, San Francisco and Jacksonville, concentrates on large commercial, infrastructure and power projects across the country. Well versed in representing both owners and developers, it advises on a broad range of projects, which in 2016 included nuclear plants, refineries, data centers and cathedrals. The team had a particularly busy year on the disputes front and a highlight was acting in multiparty arbitration concerning the construction of a data center. Other clients include electrical provider Westinghouse, energy company Du Pont and real estate developer Lennar Homes. The group was strengthened with the additions of Orlando partner Kimberly Ashby from Akerman LLP and Miami-based of counsel Ralf Rodriguez from Peckar & Abramson, P.C..

Greenberg Traurig LLP is ‘highly thought of for litigation as well as its transactional practice’. Practice co-heads Robert Epstein and David Jensen are ‘exceptional construction lawyers who are always looking for the best result’. Based largely out of New Jersey, but with a national practice, the team represents private and public owners in front-end negotiations, and acts for a range of clients in litigation, including Troy Construction and real estate investment trust American Realty Capital. Currently, Epstein and the team are advising Triple Five, a US development and finance company, in its $2.6bn redevelopment of the Xanadu site in New Jersey into an amusement, retail and recreation complex. Tetra Tech is a key client on the disputes front and Houston attorney Michael Burnett and others are representing the consultancy company in a dispute with the government concerning the Army Aviation Support Facility in Maryland; claims are currently standing at $1.2m. Washington DC-based Robert Brams leads on government construction contracts.

Holland & Knight LLP’s construction team is led by established practitioner Stephen Shapiro, who splits his time between Washington DC and New York. The team is well known for acting on PPPs, representing both public entities and contractors. Infrastructure projects are a notable area for the firm and, in 2016, standout projects included roads, tunnels and rail networks, as well as educational facilities. A major client has been an EPC joint venture, which has bought together three well-known industrial and infrastructure contractors for the construction of a multibillion-dollar energy plant in the south of the country. Other clients include Skanska, Kiewit and New York University. Key contacts in the group include Boston attorney Deborah Griffin and New York-based Frederick Rohn.

Jones Walker LLP focuses on representing some of the country’s largest owners and contractors in major infrastructure projects across the country, as well as internationally. The construction team is mainly based across the firm’s offices in the south and southeast, including in Atlanta, New Orleans and Houston, and in the past year has worked on the front-end negations for billion-dollar manufacturing plants, ports, rail and stadia projects. A particular highlight in 2016 was working with a multinational EPC contractor on contractual negotiations for the construction of a $2bn smelter in Southeast Asia, which also included extensions to the surrounding infrastructure; co-head Chad Theriot led the team and is based in Atlanta. Voestalpine Texas, an iron and steel forging manufacturer, was an important client in 2016; on behalf of Voestalpine, the team negotiated contracts for a new iron plant in Corpus Cristi. Although best known for its transactional infrastructure practice, the team also handles disputes, and has been advising a specialist ship constructor on multibillion-dollar litigation concerning delays and design changes in government contracts. New Orleans-based Richard Tyler also co-heads the practice. Other key partners are Atlanta’s Joseph Henner and Houston’s Stephen Miller, as well as recent addition Neal Sweeney, who joined in Atlanta from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s construction practice is ‘one of the best out there’. Atlanta-based Randall Hafer leads the 14-partner team, which is best known for its work on behalf of public owners on mega infrastructure projects and redevelopments, mainly acting in major disputes; clients in 2016 included quasi-public entity URS Corporation as well as state transportation departments. A recent highlight on the owner side involved representing a state authority in a dispute arising out of the construction of a highway, which involved both litigation and arbitration proceedings, with billion-dollar claims in dispute. The group also acts on an international basis, mostly frequently for US EPC contractors, recently litigating high-value and complex claims concerning South America, Eastern Europe and China. Other clients are mechanical contractor Welch and Rushe, and Granite Construction. Atlanta attorneys Brian Corgan and Lee Mann are also recommended. Neal Sweeney moved to Jones Walker LLP in January 2016.

Infrastructure and energy projects are a key focus for the team at Pepper Hamilton LLP, which is renowned for its litigation expertise. It is noted for its contractor client base, which includes the likes of Bechtel, Sciame Construction and Aecom. Philadelphia-based Michael Subak chairs the practice, which includes 14 other partners spread across the firm’s offices in New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Detroit. Bechtel retains the firm for a range of matters, and recently the group represented the client in the settlement of an eight-year dispute surrounding a multimillion-dollar coal-fired power plant, which was heard in the Supreme Court of Ohio. 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. Sean McNally joined in July 2016 from Kotz Sangster Wysocki P.C. and now leads the Detroit team. Albert Bates joined the firm in April 2016; formerly he chaired the construction group at Duane Morris LLP. Pittsburgh-based Ralph Finizio is also a notable figure in the team. Bruce Ficken and Raymond DeLuca were part of a team that joined Cozen O‘Connor.

The construction team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is led by Washington DC-based Jeffrey Gans and Melissa Lesmes as well as San Francisco-based John Heisse. Concentrating on dispute resolution in the infrastructure and energy spheres, the firm represents both owners and contractors; recent clients include the Walsh Austin joint venture, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and the University of Kansas. A highlight is the team’s ongoing representation of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in a $7bn ICC arbitration concerning alleged defects in steam generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in San Diego; energy and power disputes are key areas of expertise. In another notable dispute, Gans is leading the representation of New York University in claims against Turner Construction for breach of contract and negligence regarding the NYU Langone Medical Center; claims currently stand at $1.4bn. Other disputes center on the construction of hospitals, airports and residential projects.

Schiff Hardin LLP is home to ‘problem-solving lawyers and zealous advocates’. Led by Chicago attorney Kenneth Roberts, the 14-partner group acts primarily for owners within the energy sector, both private and public, representing them in contractual negotiations and in disputes. Although primarily based in Chicago, the group has a considerable presence in New York. An important client is public utility company Alliant Energy, which retains the firm for a range of construction matters; these include advising on the development and contract negotiations for a $3.5bn retrofit program, as well as gas plant construction and numerous other plant upgrades across several states. On the disputes front, the group represents the facilities construction and finance authority Dormitory Authority of the State of New York in defending claims made by subcontractor Skanska and two other subcontractors concerning the construction of the $600m Advanced Science Research Center for The City University of New York. Other clients include Kansas City Power & Light and Equity Residential. Frank Wagner retired from practice in February 2016 and New York-based Peter Kiernan took on a greater role in the department.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP is led by the highly reputable Bennett Greenberg and Sara Beiro Farabow, who are both based in Washington DC. From its Washington base, the group handles matters throughout the country, with 13 partners spread across offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. The team is best known for litigating on major public projects but also advises on front-end negotiations in private and public projects spanning energy, commercial real estate, airports and stadia. The group’s ongoing advice to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in the contractual negotiations for the construction of the $4.5bn San Francisco transit center is testament to its expertise. Other highlights included advising OCI NV on a $2.8bn natural gas projects and acting for real estate developer Center Place Holdings on a $1.25bn mixed-use development in Washington DC; David Blake led the advice. On the disputes front, the group continues to advise IMF on claims from design professionals concerning the construction of a new $400m headquarters in Washington DC.

Managing partner Robert Chambers leads the practice at Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP from Atlanta, which is active across the country and has offices in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco and Washington DC. The group’s primary expertise lies in representing contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in high-value disputes regarding energy, infrastructure and real estate projects, however it has seen a recent uptick in advising owners in PPP developments. Energy and infrastructure projects were particularly busy areas in 2016 and the team was retained to work on multimillion-dollar disputes surrounding the construction of nuclear power and waste water plants. Another standout piece of litigation was representing a Californian joint venture contractor in arbitration concerning delay and extra work claims amounting to $27m; Atlanta-based Eric Nelson led the advice. In January 2016, the firm merged with San Francisco’s McLennon Law Corporation, expanding the team by two new partners: Daniel McLennon and Craig Wallace.

The ‘flexible and innovativeThompson Hine LLP brings a ‘remarkably high level of skill, experience and performance’. ‘Excellent communicator’ and practice head Jeffrey Applebaum, who is primarily based in Cleveland, has a reputation for ‘working towards positive outcomes’. 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. In 2016, it continued in this vein, working on projects in San Francisco, St Louis and Cleveland. The focus historically has been contentious work, but the firm has recently been handling a increasing amount of transactional and front-end work; a standout example was representing the County of Cuyahoga, as project counsel, regarding the construction of the $741m Hilton Cleveland Downtown convention center. Another key client is the Golden State Warriors, which the group advises on the construction of its high-value sports and entertainment complex in Mission Bay, San Francisco. Other project advice in 2016 included chemical plants, manufacturing facilities and mixed-use developments. Alan Ritchie and Patrick Sweeney, both based in Cleveland, are also recommended.

Highly capable’ boutique construction firm Varela, Lee, Metz, & Guarino, LLP is hailed for its ‘business-minded, practical and experienced lawyers’ and its ‘successful litigators, who are very cost effective’. Known for handling ‘bet-the-company’ litigation, the firm also handles an increasing amount of transactional work. The group principally acts for large, general contractors in complex public energy projects, but has also represented owners; as an example, it represents the receiver managers for the $3.5bn Baha Mar project, which was placed into formal bankruptcy in June 2015; in this instance, the firm was negotiating new construction contracts and is now waiting for construction to begin in early 2018. On the contractor side, Metz led advice to prime contractors Hensel Phelps Construction in a dispute over the services provided by Truland Systems for the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington DC. Other clients include Kiewit Infrastructure, Aecom and Skanska. The founding partners are all construction specialists: those are Paul Varela, Todd Metz, Joseph Guarino in Tysons Corner and Bennett Lee, who heads the San Francisco office.

Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP has a longstanding reputation as one of the top specialist construction firms in the country. The group is headed by Lewis Baker from the office in McLean, Virginia, but the group also has offices in Las Vegas, Irvine, Seattle, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Principally working in the infrastructure and energy sectors, the bulk of the firm’s clients consist of large general contractors, such as Kiewit Construction, Fluor and Salini Impregilo. Highlights in 2016 included bringing an end to an eight-year false claims dispute between the government and an engineering and construction company; this was successfully closed in late 2016. Another standout piece of work was representing the Traylor-Shea contractor joint venture in a dispute surrounding site conditions on the construction of a $198m project to build a fresh water pipeline serving San Diego County. Other major disputes in 2016 concerned metro construction, power plants, roads and school reconstructions. Gregory Dukellis moved to an in-house position at Shimmick Construction in May 2016.

Akerman LLP has a broad practice covering the real estate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with recent matters including power plant, housing and transport system projects. The ten-partner team is headed by Jeffrey Gilmore in Washington DC and represents both owners and developers; however, there has been a shift in the practice towards owner representations, particularly in relation to multimillion-dollar public infrastructure and energy disputes. A standout case for the team was defending the developer of the New England biomass power generation project against claims in excess of $70m from the EPC contractor; the group secured the complete dismissal of the claims. The team also has an international client base and acted for Italian contractor Rizzani de Eccher in contractual and claims matters relating to the construction of the Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar, a project valued at $2bn. Other key clients include luxury hotel group the Faena Group; Stacy Bercun Bohm in Fort Lauderdale has been the lead partner in these matters.

The national construction practice at Baker & Hostetler LLP is headed from Denver by Laurin Quiat, but it also has a considerable presence in Houston and Orlando, as well as experts in Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington DC and Cleveland. The firm has historically been focused on dispute resolution, but Penny Pittman Cobey in Los Angeles has developed the transactional side of the group since joining in 2015. Social infrastructure projects have been a growing area and Cobey led the team’s representation of the City of Davis in the construction of a wastewater treatment plant worth over $100m. On the disputes front, the group advises on public projects such as hospitals and flood walls; Orlando lawyers Dennis Durkin and Michael Vitale led the advice to general contractor David Boland in its claims against the prime subcontractor for the delay of a flood wall construction in Louisiana. Other key names include Brian Blair and Barron Avery, who are based in Orlando and Washington DC respectively.

The highly reputable Cokinos, Bosien & Young is a Texas firm with offices in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. The group is best known for its disputes practice, which is headed by founding partner Gregory Cokinos, who is a nationally recognized construction expert. Acting in both the private and public sectors, the group represents owners, contractors and subcontractors in multibillion-dollar disputes, and has a focus on energy projects, including petrol pipelines, LNG storage and processing plants. John Grayson and Elizabeth Deballion are also adept at handling front-end work and have negotiated various EPC contracts, particularly in relation to energy projects. Other recommended lawyers include San Antonio-based Stephanie O’Rourke, who has a notable disputes practice. Named lawyers are based in Houston unless otherwise stated.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s construction practice is based mainly in Atlanta but has experts across the country, including in Baltimore and Chicago. The firm’s focus is on commercial and residential real estate, as well as infrastructure projects, with recent work in this area including stadia and large-scale mixed-use developments. The team fields experts in front-end negotiations as well as disputes and predominantly acts for owners, although not exclusively. A particularly noteworthy transaction is the ongoing representation of the baseball team Atlanta Braves regarding the billion-dollar mixed-use development in SanTrust Park; this is a major project in the area and will include offices, hotels and residential blocks, as well as retail and entertainment venues. The project has also involved negotiating the surrounding infrastructure developments, including roads and transportation links, and was led by Maxine Hicks. Robert Crewdson and Anthony Meagher co-chair the department from Atlanta and Baltimore respectively.

Richard Paciaroni leads the team at K&L Gates from the firm’s Pittsburgh office. Manufacturing and energy plants were prominent in 2016, and the team advised on several gas processing plants - mainly representing the owners but not exclusively. A highlight in infrastructure and natural resources was the successful representation of Alcoa in an ICC arbitration concerning an explosion of an aluminum smelter facility in Iceland; a $20m dispute. Although the group is best known for litigation, transactional work is a developing area, and Chicago attorney Gregory Andre currently represents bKL Architecture in the front-end negotiations for its 95-story Wanda Vista Towner in Chicago; the project is anticipated to be worth $1bn and began construction in mid-2016. Timothy Pierce in Los Angeles is another key name.

The Chicago-based construction team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP is best known for its litigation expertise and, in 2016, was involved in cases nationally and internationally, including in the Middle East and South America. The group primarily focuses on commercial and residential real estate, but infrastructure and energy projects are important aspects of the practice too; schools, company headquarters, fertilizer plants and renewable energy projects are some of the recent developments it has worked on. A highlight for the team is the ongoing representation of a major contractor in a multimillion-dollar dispute with a state owner regarding defects in the construction of a company headquarters. Other clients include BP Petroleum, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and the Academy for Global Citizenship. James Nowacki is a key name for the group and is based in Chicago.

Mayer Brown’s construction group is spread across the country, with experts based in Chicago, New York and Houston. The team is headed by Joanna Horsnail from Chicago and has considerable experience in high-value infrastructure projects, particularly negotiating government contracts and acting for public owners. A highlight in 2016 was the continued advice to longstanding client Texas Department of Transportation on the negotiations for the construction of ten PPP highways throughout the state; the aggregate value is in excess of $4bn. Another standout front-end matter was representing German firm Benteler International in the construction of a $975m hot rolling steel mill in Louisiana. Other clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, City Colleges of Chicago and The Carlyle Group.

An ‘outstanding’ specialist construction firm, Moye, O’Brien, Pickert & Dillon, LLP houses lawyers who are ‘most competent, professional, knowledgeable and client-committed’. Founding partner James Moye is praised for being ‘one of the best construction litigators; he is always prepared and has excellent business instincts’. Moye heads the group from the firm’s single office in Orlando, but the team is active in matters across the country, particularly in infrastructure-related disputes. With a solid contractor client base, the firm has historically represented some of the US’ top contractors in construction litigation. The firm is acting for the design-build contractor in $1bn worth of claims surrounding the widening of a 10-mile highway, the Sepulveda Pass. Other high-value disputes include million-dollar PPP rail projects, tunnels and brides. Brain Heald, Sean Dillon, Steven Pickert and Anthony Kovalcik are also key names.

The ‘top-notchReed Smith LLP provides a ‘high level of service, responsiveness and very solid guidance’. Michael Dingman is practice head and leads the team from the main office in Tysons Corner, Virginia. The firm is mainly retained for front-end negotiations in manufacturing and large-scale residential projects, with clients in 2016 including both owners and contractors; examples included Lincoln Property Group, JBG Construction and IMG Midstream. A recent highlight was representing Lincoln Property Company in various mixed-use projects in Virginia, North Carolina and Texas with an aggregate value of $500m. Thomas Folk, James Brennan and Pittsburgh-based Tarek Abdalla are other key names to note. Named lawyers are based in Tysons Corner unless otherwise stated.

The West Coast-based construction team at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is best known for dispute resolution, particularly regarding infrastructure and real estate projects. Candace Matson in Los Angeles chairs the team, which has been acting for owners and contractors such as Atkinson Contractors, Lend Lease and Samsung Engineering. Highly regarded for its international arbitration expertise, the group recently represented Samsung Engineering in a dispute with Alcoa regarding a $10bn joint venture in Saudi Arabia; Hwan Kim, who led the advice, is praised for being an ‘excellent and relentless litigator’. In a front-end piece of work, the team represented the Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors joint venture in the construction of a $2bn light rail transit system, linking LAX Airport to numerous surrounding cities. Former co-head Scott Hennigh and Mathew Troughton moved to Hanson Bridgett LLP in February 2017.

Stein Ray LLP’s construction group is based in Chicago, but works across the US and Canada. Name partner Steven Stein leads the seven-partner team from Chicago, with strong support from the firm’s other name partner, Stephen Ray. Representing EPC contractors in infrastructure and manufacturing disputes forms the bulk of the practice, with recent cases involving disputes over highway extensions, processing plants and refineries. The group also has expertise in international arbitration and acts in billion-dollar cases.

Houston-headquartered Vinson & Elkins LLP acts on some of the largest energy projects in the market. The practice is headed by London-based Nicholas Henchie and Houston partners Ferguson McNiel and Kaam Sahely, who specialize in commercial litigation and energy transactions respectively. Senior associate Mark Brasher is also a key name in the group and works primarily on the front end of contracts. Major energy and infrastructure clients in 2016 included Saddlehorn Pipeline Company, Texas Central Partners and Woodside Petroleum. A standout matter for the group, led by Sahely, was acting for Woodside Petroleum in the $10bn construction of the Port Arthur LNG project. The firm also has an international presence and worked on construction contracts in Oman and Israel in 2016.

Boutique construction firm Zetlin & De Chiara LLP is based in New York and led by managing partner Michael Vardaro and co-founders Michael Zetlin and Michael De Chiara. Traditionally the firm has represented architects and engineers in contracts and disputes, but more recently the client base has expanded to include major institutions, large developers and contractors, including power companies, schools and real estate developers. The ten-partner team works on PPP projects, both on the front end and in dispute resolution, and is currently acting for a real estate developer in arbitration concerning delay claims on a renovation project. Another standout matter was representing a global engineering firm in the contractual negotiations for the construction of a $550m state-of-the-art campus. Lina Telese left to practice in-house at engineering firm Jaros Baum & Bolles.

The Austin-based Allensworth & Porter is best known for representing engineers, architects and contractors in complex litigation, as well as, in more recent times, front-end negotiations. Managing partner and team lead Joe Basham and Matthew Cano have been representing IE2 Construction in an AAA arbitration concerning the owner’s allegations of lack of intention to perform, seeking $400m damages; the group successfully defended these claims. Another highlight is the ongoing representation of a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering group in a dispute against the local authority concerning $13m in claims regarding the construction of two schools. Amy Emerson is a key name in the team and has been acting on multimillion-dollar disputes.

Mark Bloom and Andrew Ross are the key names at Arent Fox LLP and have been representing real estate developers, architects and a diverse range of owners, primarily in front-end negations. The New York-based practice has represented clients such as the City of New York, the New York Yankees, and the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority. On the disputes side, the team represented the owners in a multimillion-dollar dispute concerning the design and construction of a luxury condominium building in lower Manhattan.

Baker Donelson merged with Baltimore-based Ober Kaler in January of 2017, a move which brought with it John Morkan and Joseph Kovars, who join as co-practice chairs alongside Mark Mercante, who is based in Mandeville, Louisiana. Morkan and Kovars are best known for handling construction litigation, acting for the full range of clients, including general contractors, public and private owners, and sureties. Mercante focuses on transactional matters relating to manufacturing and industrial facilities, as well as commercial real estate such as offices and retail developments.

Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.’s construction group is led from Fort Lauderdale by Steven Lesser, although the firm has capabilities across Florida. The team is best known for its work in commercial and residential real estate disputes, acting for both owners and contractors. Typical projects include multimillion-dollar condominiums and infrastructure for mixed-use developments. Lee Weintraub and William Strop are other key names to note.

Bracewell LLP’s construction group is based in Texas and focuses on representing owners and contractors in high-value litigation. Manufacturing, infrastructure and real estate projects were the primary areas of activity in 2016. A standout piece of litigation was acting for owner Graham Media Group in dispute arising out of a defective wall which led to water damage in the construction of a $19m broadcasting facility; Richard Whiteley led on this. Another key highlight was the group’s representation of the OST/Almeda corridors redevelopment authority in a dispute with prime contractors concerning the $33m public redevelopment of Emancipation Park for the City of Houston. M&G Resins and Core Logistics Services are also clients. Stephen Benesh is key name in the group.

Bricker & Eckler LLP works across the northeastern states and has offices in Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland and Cincinnati. The group has a reputation for representing public owners, such as Delaware School District, City of Canton and Miamisburg City School District, in a range of social infrastructure projects, both in front-end negotiations and subsequent disputes. Healthcare has been a growing area and the Columbus-based Jack Rosati has been acting for OhioHealth Corporation in all of its building projects, including a $300m neuroscience center in Columbus. Another standout project was acting for the City of Hamilton department of public utilities in a multimillion-dollar dispute involving delay claims; Cincinnati-based Benjamin Hyden, who was promoted to partner in January 2016, led the team in this matter.

The team at Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP is headed by James Wulfsberg from Oakland, California. Active across the state, the team handles construction disputes spanning every sector, including highways, power plants, highways, schools, libraries and sports facilities. Over the 2015-16 period, the group acted for owners and developers, including public owners, national developers and professional design firms.

The Texas-based Coats Rose, P.C. has an ‘excellent and knowledgeable’ construction team, with experts in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio as well as New Orleans. Houston-based Patrick Gaas leads the practice, which is well versed in litigation and contract negotiations and represents the full ambit of clients; private and public owners, real estate developers, contractors and designers. Energy and infrastructure is the focus for the group and it is currently acting for multinational engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler as EPC contractor in a dispute with Enterprise Products over the design, procurement and construction of a $2bn PDU facility; claims currently stand at $1bn. On the owner side, the team represents the City of Corpus Christi in delay and damages claims totaling $20m against a general contractor. Other clients include Sundt Construction, San Antonio River Authority and the Texas Facilities Commission. Stuart Richeson joined the New Orleans office in September 2016 as of counsel from Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer LLC Law Offices.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson’s construction practice spans front-end negotiations, risk management throughout projects, and litigation. The group is based in California, with the majority of construction attorneys in the Los Angeles office, and focuses on commercial real estate and infrastructure projects; these include highways, hotels and residential and mixed-use developments. The client base consists of private owners and real estate developers, as well as EPC contractors and engineers. In 2016, Jeffrey Masters and Kenneth Williams led advice to Regent Properties in the construction of two condominium developments, one in Utah and the other in Texas; the construction is ongoing and the value is currently standing at $100m. On the disputes front, the group is acting for a well-known global engineering firm in defending $70m worth of claims related to the expansion of 30 miles of highway in California; Robert Campbell and Jose Padilla are leading the advice. The firm also has considerable expertise in insurance coverage disputes, which Masters takes the lead on.

Jocelyn Knoll leads the construction group at Dorsey & Whitney LLP from the Minneapolis office. The 30-partner team focuses on dispute resolution and represents contractors, designers and owners, particularly in relation to infrastructure, energy and manufacturing projects. Recent projects include LAX Airport, The Minnesota Vikings Stadium and various other sporting facilities. The group has also handled commercial real estate matters, including office space, retail and hotel projects; clients include Franklin Street Properties and Retail Construction Services. A standout case over the past two years has been representing engineering and construction firm Aker Solutions and Kvaerner in a dispute surrounding the construction of a $220m coal-fired power plant in West Virginia. The group also has considerable expertise in insurance disputes.

Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, Senet & Wittbrodt’s construction practice is co-headed by managing partner Richard Wittbrodt and senior partner Glenn Turner, both of whom are based in Los Angeles. The group focuses on dispute resolution and has a varied client roster that includes public owners, such as the City of Glendale, and contractors, such as Layton Construction. Real estate and infrastructure projects form the bulk of the work and 2016 was a particularly busy year for matters relating to the construction of schools, hotels, mixed-use properties and stadia. In a standout project, Turner led the team’s representation of management firm Tetra Tech in its dispute over a toxic landfill site; this case is ongoing, with claims standing at $110m. Also based in Los Angeles is Barbara Gadbois, who led the representation of Rose Bowl Stadium in a dispute worth $180m concerning contract default amongst other issues.

Hanson Bridgett LLP has a broad client base representing owners and contractors in disputes and front-end negotiations. The construction offering is primarily based out of San Francisco, but from there the team works on matters across California and beyond, including New York and Michigan. In 2016, Howard Ashcraft and team advised Vestfold Hospital Trust on the construction of a hospital in Norway. The group has been particularly busy on hospital projects and Lisa Dal Gallo advised Lakeland Healthcare on the construction of the New West Clinical Tower in Michigan. On the disputes side, clients include universities, EPC contractors and energy companies; Joseph Moore is currently representing a major EPC contractor in multimillion-dollar arbitration regarding a biomass project. Dal Gallo became practice head in 2016, although former practice head Ashcraft is still actively practicing. The group was boosted in early 2017 with the addition of three partners; David Buoncristiani joined from Jones Day, and Scott Hennigh and Mathew Troughton both arrived from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

The ‘highly competentNixon Peabody LLP always provides a ‘high-quality service’. The team is headed by Jeffrey Brenner, who splits his time between Providence and Boston, and the firm also has construction attorneys in Rochester, San Francisco and Washington DC. The practice houses experts in litigation and contractual negotiations, and has a focus on infrastructure and real estate construction. Recent highlights include acting for China Oceanwide Holdings in the negotiations for the construction of two high-rise towers in Downtown San Francisco; the value currently stands at $1.6bn. San Francisco-based John Foust leads the team. On the disputes side, Jeffrey Brenner and the team represented Honeywell Building Solutions in a dispute with the United States Navy over the construction of a naval base at Newport, Rhode Island. Other key clients include The Regents of the University of California and Rochester Gas & Electric. Rochester attorney Darren Miller was promoted to partner in February 2017 and San Francisco-based Anthony Barron is also recommended.

Land use/zoning

Index of tables

  1. Land use/zoning
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation 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


DLA Piper LLP (US)’s land use practice is led from Chicago by Ted Novak, although the firm’s expertise in this area spans the country, with attorneys based in Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles, among other cities. The client base is broad and ranges from real estate developers and sporting teams to private equity firms and technology companies. As a result, the team is also well versed in handling varied projects, including residential and mixed-use developments, tourist destinations and stadia. A highlight for the team has been Atlanta-based Maxine Hicks’ advice to baseball team the Atlanta Braves on the development of a new 57-acre stadium known as ‘The Battery Atlanta’; the estimated value of the project stands at $1bn and includes gaining approvals for the surrounding infrastructure. Other important partners include Boston-based John Rattigan and Chicago-based Richard Klawiter and Paul Shadle.

The ‘excellent’ New York-based team at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is home to ‘some of the best land use attorneys in New York, who are also easy to work with’. The team is headed by Stephen Lefkowitz, who alongside Melanie Meyers continued to advice the Related Companies on various approvals for the $20bn Hudson Yards development; the group has been working on approvals for ground leases affecting various projects, including the retail podium and residential and office buildings. High-value commercial and residential developments are the mainstay of the practice, and other prominent projects include the development of 550 Madison Avenue by the Saudi conglomerate Olayan America; Carol Rosenthal led the advice. Zachary Bernstein and Tal Golomb are also key names in the team.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s land use team is based mainly out of the West Coast, where Amy Forbes and Mary Murphy jointly head the team from Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively. The department has worked on high-profile developments and has a particular reputation for historical preservation projects and sporting facilities. Highlights in 2016 included advising Madison Square Garden and Azoff MSG Entertainment in approvals for the $100m redevelopment of a concert arena in Las Vegas, The Forum. Murphy also continues to represent the Golden State Warriors in its approvals for a new home basketball court and event center in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco; the process has been a contentious one and Murphy was required to defend the approvals in court. Los Angeles-based Douglas Champion was promoted to partner in January 2017.

Holland & Knight LLP’s team is ‘well connected, quick and thorough; it is a leader in land use’. The firm has land use attorneys in various offices across the country, but is most highly regarded for its work in Florida, New York, California and Washington DC. Joseph Goldstein in Miami recently assisted the Graham Companies with a $1.5bn mixed-use development in Miami, which will include a large shopping mall and residential blocks. In San Francisco, Jennifer Hernandez has been advising Tejon Ranch on numerous residential projects, with an aggregate value of $1bn; this includes approvals for the master-planned community, Tejon Mountain Village, which is set in the Tehachapi Mountain range and has so far entailed numerous California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) challenges. In New York, Kenneth Lowenstein is key name, as is Steven Elrod, who is always able to ‘differentiate the needs and culture of his clients’.

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.

The ‘excellent and highly regardedKramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is ‘consistent, reliable, dependable and thoughtful’. A well-known New York practice, the team is headed by Paul Selver and Michael Sillerman, who act for major real estate developers and institutions. The practice is focused on handling major high-profile developments in New York and continues to advise real estate developer Extell Development Company on a range of projects; recently it handled the approvals for a super-tall residential tower in New York, Central Park Tower. Selver has also been handling the approvals process for HFZ Capital Group and the Collegiate Churches of New York in relation to a $400m mixed-use development. Gary Tarnoff and Elise Wagner are other key names in the department.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s land use team operates across the country, but is particularly strong on the West Coast, from where Los Angeles-based Lucinda Starrett heads the group. Other key names include Christopher Garrett in San Diego and Michael Carroll in Orange County. Major infrastructure and commercial real estate projects are the backbone of the practice and, in 2016, the group continued to advise on multimillion-and billion-dollar stadia, film studio, master-planned community and hospital projects. A highlight was resolving ongoing litigation concerning the expansion of a freeway in relation to NBCUniversal’s $1bn master plan for an entertainment site in Los Angeles. Other clients include Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles Football Club and Poseidon Water; for Poseidon, the firm is assisting with approvals for the Carlsbad water desalination plant in San Diego.

Perkins Coie LLP’s West Coast-based land use team is headed by Cecily Barclay from the San Francisco office. The team is experienced in the full range of approvals, including those applicable to renewable energy projects, universities and research facilities, hotels and residential developments. In a standout piece of work, Barclay has been leading the advice to BioMed Realty Trust regarding approvals for four life sciences campus redevelopments; this has involved considerable public opposition, complex permits for demolition and CEQA requirements. Other clients include Broadreach Capital, Stanford University and also Jordan Cove Energy, which Portland-based Steven Pfeiffer has been advising on the proposed development of a $7.2bn international LNG export terminal. Alan Murphy and Seth King were promoted to partner in January 2017 and are based in San Francisco and Portland respectively.

Orlando-based Cecelia Bonifay heads the Akerman LLP land use practice, which works on projects across the US but is most active in Florida, New York and California. The main focus is commercial real estate, including entertainment venues, retail space, sport stadia and residential developments. A highlight in 2016 was the team’s continued advice to Dacra Development on a large-scale luxury retail development in Miami; this highly complex and lengthy process is being led by Neisen Kasdin, also based in Miami. Other clients in 2016 included the Faena Group, numerous national homebuilders and Miami Beckham United. The team expanded with the addition of four land use partners; in Los Angeles, Ellen Berkowitz, Brady McShane and Lisa Kolieb joined from Gresham Savage, and in New York, Joshua Rinesmith joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

Philadelphia-based Matthew McClure heads Ballard Spahr LLP’s land use team, which also has boots on the ground in Baltimore, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. A busy 2016 for real estate developments included advising on residential and mixed-use projects, such as the Sagamore Development on the 240-acre mixed-use redevelopment site in Port Covington, Baltimore, which will include new office headquarters as well as retail and residential components; this project has involved considerable rezoning work. Other clients include universities and real estate developers. Industrial developments are another key area for the group, which continues to work on a FedEx distribution complex in Pennsylvania. Eban Hansel works out of the Baltimore office and was promoted to partner in July 2016.

Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP’s Miami-based practice is headed by the highly reputable Albert Dotson and Stanley Price. The group handled high-value and large-scale real estate developments throughout 2016, including representing the joint venture Oleta Partners in its $4bn master development plan known as SoLe Mia Miami; this will include over 4,000 residential units, retail and commercial mixed-used space, as well as hotels and parks.

Led by Judith Gallent from New York, Bryan Cave LLP’s land use practice is focused on New York commercial and residential real estate developments. The team handles the full range of approvals and related contentious matters, and recent highlights include advising the joint developers F&T Group and the Rockerfeller Group on the redevelopment of the Flushing Commons parking space into an open public space. Another highlight has been advising Empire State Development in relation to approvals for the $4.9bn Atlantic Yards Project, which includes residential and commercial units. Other clients include Silverstein Properties, New York University and Deutsche Bank.

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP is well respected for its work in the San Francisco Bay Area, with land use experts Pamela Duffy and Harry O’Brien taking the lead on numerous high-profile and high-value developments. In a standout matter, Duffy is leading the advice to California Pacific Medical Center on the $2.7bn Long Range Development Plan, which includes two hospitals and three medical buildings. Other projects include billion-dollar mixed-use developments and headquarters.

The California-based land use team at Cox, Castle & Nicholson operates across the state, with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County. Commercial, mixed-use and residential developments were the mainstay of the practice in 2016, and Los Angeles attorney David Waite led advice to Philena Properties on the $350m development at Martin Expo Town Center, which will include residential, office and retail units. Other clients include Republican Urban Properties and Rolling Hills Country Club.

Primarily based in Boston, Goodwin’s land use attorneys are experienced in handling approvals for multimillion - and billion-dollar residential and commercial real estate projects, and have numerous longstanding relationships with institutional clients. A highlight for the group has been representing Boston College in its plans for its $1.6bn Institutional Master Plan, which will develop the campus with new academic buildings, an athletics center and student housing. Martin Healy is the key contact. Other clients include New Balance Athletics, The Peebles Corporation and Boston Garden Development. Lawrence Kaplan is also recommended.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP has land use attorneys based in both New York and Florida, and works with some of the top developers, with recent clients including Swire Properties. A highlight for the team has been acting for a healthcare provider in a multimillion-dollar development of a healthcare facility. Jay Segal chairs the practice from New York, where the recommended Nick Hockens is also based.

The land use team at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP has experts stationed across California. Los Angeles-based Victor De la Cruz and Susan Hori jointly head the practice, which has a varied workload that spans residential and commercial developments and also infrastructure projects. Hori continues to advise Poseidon Water on the approvals for the billion-dollar seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach. Another standout piece of work was acting for SeaWorld in its planned tank expansion for its orca whales. San Francisco attorney Kristina Lawson is another name to note, and the firm also has experts in Orange County and Sacramento. Bryan Leroy moved to Nixon Peabody LLP in September 2016.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s land use group is best known for its work in the Bay Area. The group works on a variety of projects, from solar power and infrastructure to more conventional real estate developments. A highlight was representing Sand Hill Property Company regarding the $3bn development of a dilapidated shopping mall in Cupertino, involving office, residential and retail units; David Gold and Miles Imwalle led the advice. Global tech and energy companies are also part of the client roster, including the likes of Panoche Valley Solar, Genentech and Gilead Sciences. Corinne Quigley and Megan Jennings (both of counsel) are also recommended. Since publication, former practice head Christopher Carr has moved to Baker Botts L.L.P..

The advice from Paul Hastings LLP is ‘first rate’ and is given with a ‘deep understanding of how to mitigate risks and gain approvals’. A California-focused practice, the group operates across the state through its offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The primary focus is real estate development, where the team has been acting for the Related Companies in relation to a 9m-acre mixed-use development in Santa Clara. Other clients in 2016 included Townscape Partners, for which Los Angeles-based co-head Jeffrey Haber led advice on developments on Sunset Boulevard that will include multibillion-dollar hotels, condominiums and mixed-use developments. Los Angeles-based Mitchell Menzer is the other co-head of the team, and San Francisco-based Gordon Hart is also recommended.

The California land use team at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is noted for its expertise in relation to infrastructure as well as commercial and residential real estate developments. Working with various developers, recent projects have included schools, residential and mixed-use projects. The team also has considerable experience in litigation that can arise from the approvals process. The key names are Keith Garner in San Francisco and Nancy Scull in San Diego.

Vedder Price’s Chicago-based team is praised for being ‘excellent, with prompt service and depth of expertise’. The group is headed by Danielle Meltzer Cassel, who is ‘brilliant; she has great working relationships with multiple city departments’. The department has a diverse workload, which includes commercial and residential real estate, industrial and art campuses, and stadia. A highlight in 2016 was advising the REIT, GCP, on the approvals for one of the largest open-air malls in the US, Oakbrook Center, which is worth in excess of $500m. Other clients include Antheus Capital and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP land use team is based in California and is headed by David Blackwell from the San Francisco office. The practice advises developers and government entities in issues surrounding entitlement, initiatives and referenda. Recent projects include multifamily and affordable housing developments. Sandi Nichols is another key name in the San Francisco office.

The San Francisco-based practice at Arent Fox LLP was particularly busy with campus redevelopments in 2016. The team has been representing global tech firms in multimillion-dollar projects, including acting for Facebook in the development of its new headquarters in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley. This will include office space as well as hotel and public amenities. Other projects include various commercial developments, such as cinemas, retail and health facilities. Timothy Tosta is ‘very politically astute and has excellent ideas on how to get projects approved and how to garner public support’. Associate Frank Petrilli is always able to ‘find solutions to difficult projects’. Tosta and Petrilli, who are ‘easy and enjoyable to work with’, jointly head the practice.

Founding partner Jeffrey Bercow leads the Miami-based land use practice at Bercow Radell & Fernandez, which typically represents developers in commercial real estate matters. CG Miami River is a client of the firm, for which recent work has included advising on a PPP project for the construction of a multimillion-dollar mixed-use development in Miami River. Other projects include hospitals and parks. Melissa Tapanes Llahues is another key name in the department.

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s land use practice is based in Florida and has a focus on energy and infrastructure developments. The team is headed by Linda Loomis Shelley from the Tallahassee office; Shelley is known for her experience working with local, state and regional entities.

Ray Allen II leads the land use practice at Carlton Fields from the firm’s Tampa office. The practice advises on projects across Florida and represents private developers and governmental agencies in the approvals process and related litigation.

Cooley LLP is headed by Mark Looney from the Reston, Virginia office. The team’s primary focus is on residential real estate and infrastructure projects. Over the past two years, the firm has advised on rail and road development approvals and multifamily housing projects. The group has also extended its practice into retail and was advising Macerich on rezoning approvals for the Tysons Corner Center, which will include a shopping mall, metro station and residential and commercial units; Antonio Calabrese led the advice.

Earl, Curley & Lagarde, PC is an Arizona-based boutique focusing on land use, zoning and property development. Active clients include Pulte Homes, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Grand Canyon University, and recent work for such clients includes advising on residential, commercial and industrial projects. Founding partner Stephen Earl is the key contact.

Steven Vettel, who heads the land use team at Farella Braun + Martel LLP from its San Francisco base, focuses on gaining approvals for mixed-use and residential real estate developments, particularly those with associated environmental concerns. Currently, the group is advising joint venture F4 Transbay Partners on the development in San Francisco of two 750 ft high-rise towers into mixed-use properties with office, hotel and residential components. Other clients include Walden Mission Bay and real estate development firm Nick Podell Company.

Mitchell Korbey leads the Herrick, Feinstein LLP land use team, which is primarily a New York-focused practice. The group is well versed in residential developments and Korbey is currently leading the representation of Property Markets Group in the rezoning of a canal area in Gowanus, Brooklyn for a mixed-use and housing development. Other projects have involved office buildings and central New York retail and residential developments.

Florida-based Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. is noted for its experience working on multimillion-dollar mixed-use and residential real estate developments across the state. The group, led by co-practice head Miranda Fitzgerald in Orlando, is currently advising Beach Line South Residential on an $800m mixed-use development and surrounding infrastructure; the ‘Starwood’ development includes the construction of a road network. Other continuing projects include university campuses and highways. Aaron Gorovitz also co-chairs the department from the Orlando office.

Mayer Brown’s team is made up of ‘trusted attorneys who always act in the best interests of their clients’. Practice head Edgar Khalatian provides ‘strategic guidance and transparent communications’ and focuses on large-scale residential and commercial real estate projects in the Los Angeles area. In 2016, Khalatian continued to advise on the $1bn mixed-use project, The Reef, which contains hotel, residential, retail and fitness facilities. The group has also successfully gained approvals for the residential and commercial development 8150 Sunset Boulevard, designed by Frank Gehry. Associate Patricia Tubert is another key name.

Rachel Horsch and Robert Herr at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP are well versed in land use and governmental approvals. The practice is based in San Francisco and has advised on approvals for mixed-use and particularly infrastructure developments. Real estate firm Shorenstein is a longstanding client of the firm.

Reed Smith LLP is home to ‘very strong attorneys’, who always ‘keep up with relevant industry news’. Dusty Kirk leads the Pittsburgh-based team and concentrates on manufacturing, energy and commercial real estate. Highlights in 2016 included advising on wind power projects, car manufacturing plants and shopping malls. Clients include Terra-Gen.

The New York-focused team at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP represents real estate developers and private equity firms in various projects, from ice rinks and science campuses to mixed-use, commercial and residential developments, including affordable housing. Ross Moskowitz leads the team and has been retained by Sterling Equities and the Related Companies to work on approvals for the $3bn development of Willets Point, Queens, as well as a $1bn entertainment and retail facility at Citi Field.

Withey Morris PLC is a boutique real estate development firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. The firm is well versed in real estate developments, including master-planned communities, retail developments and hotels. Jason Morris and Adam Baugh are the key contacts.

Real estate

Index of tables

  1. Real estate
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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DLA Piper LLP (US)’s ‘knowledgeable, thorough and easy-to-work with attorneys’ are housed in offices all over the US, which reflects the fact that real estate is a core practice area for the firm. In Boston, well-regarded practice head John Sullivan represented Oxford Properties Group in its $1.29bn acquisition of two Class A office buildings from the Blackstone Group, while in Chicago Jesse Criz and David Sickle acted for Harrison Street Real Estate Capital in connection with its $1.9bn acquisition of Campus Crest Communities. The firm’s substantial overseas offering ensures the practice is involved in a high quantity of inbound international deals and, in one example, San Francisco-based Stephen Cowan and Lynn Cadwalader acted for Mirae Asset Global Investment in the $780m acquisition of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Hotel in Hawaii. In Washington DC, key players include global co-chair Jay Epstien and Frederick Klein, while in New York, Jason Goldstein is thought by one client to be ‘among the best in the area of representing mortgage lenders and mezzanine lenders’. The New York offering was further enhanced by the hire of Eugene Pinover from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Since publication, Scott Kapp has joined from Dentons and Scott Weinberg has moved to McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s ‘dominant’ New York offering is led by industry standout Jonathan Mechanic, who has a ‘powerful practice’ representing clients such as Citigroup and Coach. Mechanic, along with Tal Golomb, Melanie Meyers and Robert Sorin, continued to advise the Related Companies on many aspects of the development at Hudson Yards; the team also represented tenants in relation to the major redevelopment project and, in one example, counsel Stephen Lefkowitz acted for Time Warner in the $1.5bn development and purchase of a new headquarters at 30 Hudson Yards. Another name to note on the dirt side is Joshua Mermelstein, whose impressive caseload included acting for Brookfield Asset Management on the $1.03bn purchase of over 120 self-storage facilities in 16 states as well as Puerto Rico. The ‘incredibly strong’ debt finance group includes the ‘energetic and creativeMichael Barker, who handled a range of construction loan and mortgage loan financings for various investment fund lenders, including Children’s Investment Fund and Blackstone Group. In addition to the New York office, where all attorneys named thus far are based, the practice has a ‘small but strong’ office in Washington DC led by Franz Rassman. Rassman, along with Sorin and Golomb, assisted Tishman Speyer with the $270m redevelopment of Macy’s Downtown Brooklyn store.

Great all-rounderGibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is noted for having ‘very strong groups’ in both New York and Los Angeles, under the respective leaderships of practice co-chairs Eric Feuerstein and Jesse Sharf. Feuerstein led a team that included Andrew Dady, Harry Silvera and Joanne Franzel in various significant transactions for the Related Companies regarding Hudson Yards, including closing the construction financing of the office tower at 30 Hudson Yards. In another standout matter, Feuerstein and Silvera represented RXR in its $1.65bn acquisition of the UBS Building at 1285 Avenue of the Americas from JPMorgan and AXA Insurance. Also in New York, Noam Habermanimpresses with his representation of mortgage lenders and mezzanine lenders’. In Los Angeles, Sharf was active in a range of debt and equity deals, and in one example advised Next Century Partners on the $1bn debt financing for the development of the Century Plaza mixed-use project in Los Angeles. 2016 saw the practice’s involvement in a number of high-profile sporting arena jobs, including Los Angeles-based Stuart Graiwer advising the Golden State Warriors on the $1bn acquisition of 12 acres of land in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district, and New York-based Steven Klein acting for the Rockefeller Group in the relocation of Major League Baseball’s headquarters to 1271 Avenue of the Americas in New York. San Francisco-based former practice co-head Fred Pillion has retired. Since publication, Kahlil Yearwood has joined the San Francisco office from Dechert LLP.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s network of 29 offices takes in a ‘first-tier New York City’ practice, led by Robert Ivanhoe, who is widely regarded as being ‘among the top real estate lawyers in the US’. In one highlight, Ivanhoe represented a joint venture between the Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity in its $1.4bn sale of 550 Madison Avenue to the Olayan Group. Another name to note in New York is Stephen Rabinowitz, whose varied caseload included representing Qatari Diar Investment Company in a $700m joint venture with Tishman Speyer to construct a 1.1m sq ft mixed-use development on Long Island City, New York. The practice also thrives in Chicago, where practice co-chair Corey Light is based, and Miami, where Matthew Gorson is representing Swire Properties in the $2bn Brickell City Center urban development project. Other work in Miami further illustrates the firm’s strength in dirt mandates; for example, Ryan Bailine and Nancy Lash advised a joint venture between Adler Group and 13th Floor Investments on the negotiation of a long-term ground lease and development agreement for a mixed-use development at Douglas Station.

Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘strategic and diligent’ practice draws on its strong international presence to advise clients such as China Communications Construction Company and Takenaka Corporation on a range of equity and debt mandates. An industry strength is the hospitality sector, where Los Angeles-based Rick Kirkbride - who shows an ‘incredible mix of judgment, knowledge and follow-through’ - and Derek Roth represented Carey Watermark Investors in the acquisition of 12 hotels and resorts with a purchase price in excess of $1.5bn. The team is now led from New York by Eric Landau, who has taken over as chair from Los Angeles-based Philip Feder. Landau was active on various significant dirt mandates for clients such as the Lightstone Group, which he advised on the redevelopment of an existing historic structure in the Garment District. On the debt finance side, Feder represented a major sovereign wealth fund on the $500m financing of four major office buildings in California, and Chicago-based Brad Ritter advised Citibank on over $100m-worth of construction and construction to permanent loans. Other names to note include Atlanta-based Ted Smith, who handled various leasing transactions for Tishman Speyer, and campus development specialist Stephen Berkman, who is based in San Francisco.

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Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s longstanding relationship with key client the Blackstone Group continued to bear fruit on a substantial number of multibillion-dollar equity deals; highlights included Erik Quarfordt advising on the $2bn acquisition of 32 multifamily properties from Greystar Real Estate Partners, and Sasan Mehrara and Krista Miniutti advising on the $1.5bn sale of substantially all of the life science and medical real estate assets of Wexford Science & Technology to Ventas. The practice also services clients such as KKR and Carlyle, and acted for the latter in its joint venture and acquisition of a condominium development project at 2255 Broadway, New York. On the debt finance side, Scott Kobak represented Dillard’s in the refinancing of a shopping center at Coconut Point in Florida. Practice head Gregory Ressa’s ‘experience, commercial nature and effectiveness’ make him, for one client, ‘arguably the best real estate lawyer globally’. Ressa acted for the Blackstone Group on the $6bn acquisition of Strategic Hotels & Resorts. All named attorneys are based in New York.

From its offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP advises on US and cross-border transactions involving the purchase, sale, financing, development, management and operation of all classes of real estate. Global practice head Harvey Uris is well known in the market for debt finance work and regularly acts on substantial borrower mandates for clients such as SL Green Realty. Uris also advises on equity deals and acted for key client Deutsche Bank on the real estate aspects of its sale of Deutsche Bank SA (Argentina) to Banco Comafi. Other important players in New York include Neil Rock, who is representing Empire State Development and Moynihan Station Development in connection with the $3bn Empire Station Complex, and Evan Levy, who acted for Amherst Holdings in the $652m sale of a portfolio of single-family rental properties to an operating partnership controlled by Altisource Residential. In Chicago, Nancy Olson, who along with Levy is ‘in the upper echelon’, advised Abercrombie & Kent Group on the real estate aspects of the acquisition of a majority stake by Zhonghong Holding; and in Los Angeles, Meryl Chae was active on behalf of QIC. Benjamin Needell is now of counsel.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s practice delivers an ‘extremely high quality of service’ and the team continued to feature prominently in major corporate deals involving real estate entities. In one highlight, Joseph Shenker and ‘very effective negotiatorArthur Adler acted for Vornado Realty Trust in connection with the tax-free spin-off of its Washington DC business and the $8.4bn merger of that business with JBG Companies. In another key transaction, Robert Downes assisted NorthStar Asset Management Group in its merger with Colony Capital and NorthStar Realty Finance. The practice also handles a sizable volume of equity deals for clients such as Goldman Sachs; recent examples include Anthony Colletta acting for Broad Street Principal Investments in the acquisition of both the Santa Monica Proper Hotel and the Austin Proper Hotel, and Benjamin Weber advising Delaware Life Insurance Company on a proposed preferred equity investment in a high-rise residential development project in San Francisco. Practice head Robert Schlein advises across the full spectrum of real estate matters and acted for KKR in its leasing of office space at 30 Hudson Yards. All named attorneys are based in New York, although the practice also has presence in Los Angeles.

Spectacular lending shopCadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP was active across a range of sectors, including hospitality, healthcare, retail, multifamily and industrial. Practice head William McInerney and newly promoted partner Bonnie Neuman advised JPMorgan Chase Bank, Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company, Barclays Bank and Morgan Stanley Bank on a $1.27bn mortgage loan to Hilton Worldwide, in connection with the spin-off of Hilton’s property portfolio into a public REIT; and healthcare specialist Steven Herman represented Deutsche Bank Securities in a $710m mortgage loan and two mezzanine loans aggregating $340m for the refinancing of debt in Cammeby’s Equity Holdings skilled nursing facility portfolio. The team was also busy in the acquisition finance space, with Charlotte-based Holly Marcille Chamberlain handling the $1bn acquisition financing for Wells Fargo Bank relating to DRA Advisors’ acquisition of Inland Real Estate Corporation. Other names to note include Melissa Hinkle, ‘senior statesman’ Fredric Altschuler and Charlotte-based James Carroll, who advised a consortium of lenders on a major securitization. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s New York-based practice is ‘excellent on all counts’ and has ‘a real commitment to client service, with a good practical component’. Key players in the team include ‘excellent real estate finance lawyer’ Michael Weinberger, who once again enjoyed a busy year for lenders such as Goldman Sachs and Banco Inbursa; Weinberger represented Goldman Sachs in the origination of a $1bn mortgage loan to Lineage Logistics secured by 35 mortgages encumbering 43 cold storage warehouse and production facilities throughout the US. Another name to note is Kimberly Brown Blacklow, who acted for H2 Capital Partners in a $454m mortgage financing to Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts secured by a portfolio of luxury hotels. Aside from debt finance, the team was also active in the dirt space, with Steven Horowitz assisting Kindred Healthcare with the negotiation of amendments to its master lease agreements with Ventas. In another piece of work, Horowitz and Steven Wilner, who is noted for his ‘practical and thoughtful analysis’, acted for Genting group in the financing and development of various resort casinos in New York, Taunton and Las Vegas. Newly promoted partner Daniel Reynolds is ‘great on problem areas that help de-risk transactions.’

Dechert LLP’s prominence in the debt finance field is exemplified by its work for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, for which New York-based Laura Swihart acted on a plethora of matters, including the securitization of $1.18bn of mortgage loans secured by multifamily properties. Other significant lender clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo and Starwood Property Trust, and in another example of work, practice chair Richard Jones, who divides his time between New York and Philadelphia, advised Progress Residential on the origination and securitization of an $875m loan secured by over 8,000 single-family rental properties. Aside from residential, the team was active across a range of other product types and, in one highlight, Philadelphia-based David Forti and Justin Gdula acted for Citigroup Global Markets Realty regarding loans secured by a mix of life science campuses, offices and biomedical research and development facilities relating to Blackstone Group’s take private of BioMed Realty Trust. Forti also represented Rubin Schron in a multi-borrower, multi-property refinancing of three separate nursing home portfolios into a single $1.05bn mortgage/mezzanine financing. Other names to note among the ‘deep bench’ are Hartford-based Laura Ciabarra and Charlotte-based Stewart McQueen. Since publication, Kahlil Yearwood has joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Goodwin’s strength in the public REIT space was once again in evidence, with Gilbert Menna representing Mid-America Apartment Communities in a $3.9bn merger with Post Properties. The team also handled a volume of acquisition mandates on behalf of institutional clients, private investment companies and building contractors; recent highlights include Siobhan Murphy advising GreenOak Real Estate Advisors on the $94m joint venture sale of Boston’s Old South Building to Goldman Sachs and leasing chair Alexander Randall assisting Skanska USA Commercial Development with the $452m sale of an office tower in the Seaport District of Boston. All attorneys named thus far are based in Boston, but the practice also has numbers in New York (where counsel David Bernstein represented Lennar Corporation in a business restructuring transaction involving property in Irvine, Los Angeles and San Francisco) and Los Angeles (where Dean Pappas is the name to note). Boston-based Minta Kay, who is praised as ‘very experienced and not afraid to provide frank opinions’, has replaced Menna as head of the practice. Also in Boston, Patrick Hurley and Blake Liggio were promoted to the partnership. Since publication, Marc Lazar has joined from Ropes & Gray LLP.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is singled out for its ‘strong industry and business knowledge’ and the team is ‘particularly adept at not letting legal positions undermine commercial points’. The practice is deepest in Chicago, where key players include practice head David Bryant, ‘great strategistDavid Dlugie and Kenneth Jacobson, who is ‘very knowledgeable in complex real estate finance structures’. Bryant represented a joint venture of Callahan Capital Properties and Ivanhoé Cambridge in numerous matters, including its $895m purchase from Beacon Capital of its remaining interest in 1211 Avenue of the Americas. The New York office also wins praise for its ‘good attorneys’, which include Scott Vetri, who is ‘a strong and practical counsel for equity and debt transactions’, and Andrew Jagoda, who represented AIG in financing the purchase of 1285 Sixth Avenue in New York by RXR Realty. Elsewhere, Charlotte-based Daniel Huffenus has ‘experience, know-how and work ethic’, Los Angeles-based Christine Fitzgerald is ‘very smart and a good delegator’, and in Washington DC, Kenneth Lore is ‘timely and creative’. The practice enjoyed a number of major sports arena mandates in 2016, including Benzion Westreich representing the Golden State Warriors in connection with the construction of a new arena.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘incredibly responsive and knowledgeable’ practice principally operates from the firm’s offices in New York and Chicago, where it has a strong relationship with private equity clients such as Starwood Capital. The team acted for the aforementioned client in a number of major corporate deals, including New York-based Scott Berger and Jonathan Schechter advising on the roll-up sale of a $3.2bn portfolio of US select-service hotels, and Schechter and Chicago-based Edward Schneidman assisting with the $1.9bn take-private acquisition of Landmark Apartment Trust. On the investment side, examples of the team’s work included Berger and Schechter assisting GID Investment Advisers with its three-parcel land acquisition of Riverside Center on New York’s Upper West Side, and New York-based Christopher Hartmann and Chicago-based Daniel Perlman representing Aeroterm US in its $900m acquisition of more than 120 airport logistics assets located in the US and Canada. Other key players in Chicago are Andrew Small, who acted for Tucson Hotels in a $730m mortgage and mezzanine financing secured by 30 hotels, and newly promoted partner James Augustyn.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s strategic focus on product types continued to pay dividends in 2016, with the team enjoying a number of sizable deals in sectors such as self-storage and hospitality, gaming and destination resorts. In Orange County, David Meckler advised LifeStorage on its $1.3bn sale to Sovran Self Storage and, in Chicago, Gary Axelrod acted for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in the $1.5bn sale of Vistana Signature Experiences to Interval Leisure Group. In another hospitality deal, New York-based practice head James Hisiger represented Lago Resort & Casino in the development and financing of its Resort and Casino in Seneca County, New York. The practice is also noted for its foreign investment expertise and, in one example, New York-based Michelle Kelban advised Colony Capital on a joint venture with an institutional Korean investor to fund equity into a project joint venture formed for the purpose of acquiring and redeveloping the 208-unit Village Lake Apartments in Mountain View, California. On the debt finance side, Los Angeles-based Scott McPhee handled more than $1bn in debt origination for key client Acore Capital. The Chicago office was further developed by the promotion to the partnership of Rachel Bates.

For Proskauer Rose LLP, 2016 proved to be a strong year for corporate transactional mandates; examples included Jeffrey Horwitz and Steven Lichtenfeld advising Accor on its joint venture with the Qatar Investment Authority, Kingdom Holding Company of Saudi Arabia and Oxford Properties for the $2.9bn acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts; and Chicago-based Michael Choate representing Inland Real Estate in its $2.3bn acquisition by real estate funds managed by DRA Advisors. The practice’s expertise in REITs was also in evidence, with Lichtenfeld advising New York REIT on its aborted acquisition of JBG Companies. On the dirt side, co-chair Ronald Sernau acts for a number of leading developers, including Hines and Extell Development Company; Sernau represented Vornado Realty Trust in signing PricewaterhouseCoopers to a 17-year lease for 240,000 sq ft at 90 Park Avenue. Other key figures in the practice are David Weinberger, who leads on finance work and advised Société Générale in connection with the $450m mortgage financing of the retail condominium unit of the St Regis Hotel in New York, and Perry Cacace, who co-chairs the practice with Sernau. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Shearman & Sterling LLP continued to be highly active in the dirt space, where practice head Chris Smith is noted for his premier leasing practice. For key client SL Green Realty, Smith advised on a joint venture with Jeff Sutton affiliates with respect to an expansion of the leasehold at 650 Fifth Avenue in New York and a simultaneous lease transaction with Nike; and for the same client, Lisa Brill advised on the $2bn sale of 388-390 Greenwich Street to Citigroup. The firm’s strong international presence ensures a number of significant inbound deals for clients such as Norges Bank and, in one highlight, Smith represented Olayan America in its $1.4bn acquisition of the former Sony Building at 550 Madison Avenue. On the debt finance side, Malcolm Montgomery is well known for his work on complex lender mandates; Montgomery advised US Bank National Association, as administrative agent and joint lead arranger, in connection with a $1.4bn loan to General Growth Properties secured by 15 shopping malls located in 14 states. Another name to note is John Opar, who specializes in foreign investments in US real estate, often with a shari’ah component. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Sidley Austin LLP’s reputation for ‘getting great deals on the lender’s side’ was again manifest, with Chicago co-chair Charles Schrank and Los Angeles-based Brian Flavell acting for Deutsche Bank in a number of significant financings, including the $1.2bn mortgage loan for an office property located at 10 Hudson Yards, New York. In the practice’s ‘terrific’ New York office, co-chair Alan Weil was busy on behalf of clients such as Starwood Property Trust and Wells Fargo, while the ‘very knowledgeableRichard Fries assisted M&T Bank with in excess of $2bn in loan originations. On the investment side, Los Angeles-based Joel Rothstein handled a number of significant deals for Chinese investors, including advising China Orient Asset Management Company on the $712m joint venture acquisition of the Aon Center in Chicago, and representing a consortium of Chinese institutional investors in the $572m acquisition of a portfolio of seven hotel properties located in New York. The practice developed its offering in areas such as hospitality, private equity and affordable housing through a number of hires, including Los Angeles co-chair Peter Benudiz, who joined from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, as well as Steven Koppel, Adam Verstandig and Aviva Yakren, who all joined the New York office from Jones Day.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s practice is led from New York by Michael Bond and Philip Rosen, whose expertise extends well beyond the firm’s well-known capability in dealing with distressed assets. Bond has particular strength in advising on REITs and, in one standout transaction, advised MGM Resorts International on the $1.17bn sale of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City to MGM Growth Properties. Rosen acts for a range of private equity funds and institutional investors and assisted Brookfield Asset Management with its $2.8bn acquisition of the outstanding common shares of Rouse Properties. Rosen is also well known in the market for his experience in dealing with industrial property. Aside from New York, the team has boots on the ground in Miami, where Nellie Camerik and Beatriz Azcuy-Diaz handled the real estate aspects of a number of significant Chapter 11 bankruptcies, including advising Aéropostale on the $243m sale of its assets to a consortium of real estate and retail firms. In addition, Camerik represented Interval Leisure Group in its $1.5bn acquisition of Vistana Signature Experiences, following completion of the spin-off of Vistana from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

Arent Fox LLP enjoyed a busy year in 2016 in specialist areas that range from hospitality to senior living to not for profit. In Washington DC, the recommended Richard Newman, Eleanor Zappone and Jeremy Fox acted on numerous financing and leasing deals for clients such as the American Psychiatric Association; and in San Francisco, Richard Brand continued to advise key client the Buccini/Pollin Group, including advising on a joint venture with Federal Realty Investment Trust for the development of a Canopy hotel in Washington DC. In a separate matter, Kenneth Jacob, who heads the practice from Washington DC, and Thomas Castiello (also in Washington DC), advised DLC Management on a joint venture with DRA Advisors for the acquisition and financing of a shopping center portfolio of 16 properties. The team was also active in the debt finance space for a variety of lenders, including Fannie Mae, for which New York-based David Dubrow advised on a $1bn financing of a portfolio of 120 manufactured housing properties located in 13 states across the country. Other key players in the Washington DC office are chairman Mark Katz and finance specialist David Martin. The team also has strength in Los Angeles.

Arnold & Porter’s real estate offering involves the joinder of two rather different practices, following the merger of the legacy Arnold & Porter LLP and Kaye Scholer firms. In Washington DC, the very highly rated Michael Goodwin leads a team with a strong developer focus; Goodwin is representing PN Hoffman in all aspects of its acquisition and development of a site near the Navy Yard in Washington DC. In another example of Washington DC work, Amy Rifkind acted for LDP Holding in the negotiation of a 99-year ground lease from Howard University relating to 260, 116th Street in Washington DC. In New York, the practice is weighted towards debt finance and acts for an array of major lenders, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays Capital Real Estate and Société Générale. Key players in New York include Stephen Gliatta, who advised the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on a $526m construction loan for the development of a mixed-use development located in Bellevue, Washington; and Warren Bernstein, who assisted Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank with a loan to finance the acquisition and re-tenanting of a Class A office tower in San Francisco’s financial district. The practice also has an outlet in San Francisco, where Kenneth Neale is the main contact.

The quality of legal services fromDebevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘always top notch’ and the practice has a strong private equity and investment manager following that includes the likes of Beacon Capital partners and TPG Real Estate. The team was once again busy on behalf of key client JPMorgan Asset Management, with Peter Irwin advising on the joint venture acquisition and financing of Ink Block, a mixed-used project located in Boston, and Edward Rishty assisting with the acquisition and financing of 850 Lake Shore Drive, located in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. The team was also active on behalf of foreign investors, including sovereign wealth funds, and Nicole Levin Mesard continued to handle a number of transactions for Westfield Corporation; Levin represented Westfield in its $600m mortgage financing secured by Westfield San Francisco Centre and Westfield Emporium, both in San Francisco. In other work, Rishty represented Carmel Partners in connection with engaging Greystar Real Estate Partners as the property manager and leasing agent for substantially all of the properties in Carmel’s real estate portfolio. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Dentons’ ‘breadth and depth of talent across specialties’ makes it a favorite with clients such as Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Blackstone and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The team has particular expertise in debt finance and was once again active in this regard, with Atlanta-based co-chair William Timmons representing key client KeyBank National Association in a number of high-value loans, including a $1.2bn revolving credit and term loan facility to data center operator CyrusOne; and for foreign lender Helaba, New York-based Gary Goodman and St Louis-based Jennifer Marler and Danette Davis advised on a $169m loan to Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec relating to two Seattle office properties. On the equity side, Chicago-based Linda White acted for HPI Group in the $150m sale of a ten-building global student accommodation portfolio. Other names to note are New York-based co-chair David Hall, Chicago-based vice chair Robert Fernandez, and ‘dealmaker’ John Snyder, who is based in Kansas. The practice also has outlets in Dallas, Los Angeles and Phoenix. Since publication, Scott Kapp has joined DLA Piper LLP (US).

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s varied client base takes in foreign investors, REITs, private equity houses, developers and institutional investors. The practice significantly developed its New York offering with the hire of new head of practice Mark Eagan, who joined from Paul Hastings LLP. Eagan’s clients include Ivanhoé Cambridge and GreenOak Real Estate. In Washington DC, key players include Bruce Parmley and Lee Berner, and in a standout matter, Berner continued to advise General Electric on the $23bn sale of its real estate portfolio. Also in Washington DC, David Bonser acted for Parkway Properties in its merger with Cousins Properties and spin-off of Houston assets into a separate public company. The practice also has outlets in Los Angeles and Colorado Springs, with Albert Stemp and David Isbell the respective contacts. Stemp handled a number of important matters in 2016, including representing Hudson Pacific Properties in its $180m joint venture with CPPIB to acquire and finance a newly constructed office project in Seattle, and advising Colony Capital in connection with a $107m equity investment in a luxury apartment developer.

Holland & Knight LLP’s substantial middle-market practice operates nationwide and is particularly acclaimed for its expertise in the hospitality sector, where specialties include timeshare arrangements and food and beverage matters arising from the transfer of hotel brands. The team assisted SIR Chelsea with a $250m joint venture to redevelop the Chelsea Hotel in New York, and also represented Capbridge USA in the development of a 388-unit timeshare project located in Hawaii. Another strength is the retail development and leasing sector and the team was active in this regard on behalf of clients such as Lewis Management and the Meridian Group. Although the practice has a focus on developer work, it also services lender clients such as Wells Fargo and SunTrust Bank, and represented the latter in closing a $750m revolving credit facility for a national timeshare developer. Recommended attorneys include Atlanta-based John Decker, who is ‘very diligent and creative in problem solving’, and Chicago-based Michael Kuppersmith, who provides ‘prudent, thoughtful legal advice’. Also of note are Joseph Guay, who leads the practice from New York; New York-based condominium specialist Stuart Saft, who is advising HFZ Capital Group on the mixed-use development of a freight yard at Eleventh Avenue, New York; and vice chair Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz, who is based in Miami.

In April 2018, Hunton & Williams LLP merged with Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP, forming Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. The legacy Hunton & Williams LLP’s expertise in acting for REITs was once again in evidence, with the team handling a number of hospitality deals, including New York co-head Carl Schwartz representing Pebblebrook Hotel Trust in its dissolution of a partnership with Denihan Hospitality Group in the ownership of six Manhattan hotels; and Washington DC-based Rori Malech advising Hersha Hospitality Trust on the $571m sale of seven Manhattan limited-service hotels to a joint venture between Hersha and Cindat Capital Management. Other examples of work include Schwartz assisting DTH Capital with the $450m sale of 63 and 67 Wall Street to Rockpoint Group, and Dallas-based Mark Vowell acting for Baylor Scott & White Health in a joint venture with the Dallas Cowboys to develop a sports medicine, research and performance facility in Frisco. On the debt finance side, key players include Howard Schreiber, who co-heads the practice from Dallas, and Washington DC-based Marvin Ehrlich, who recently joined from Greenberg Traurig, LLP; the team has recently acted for lenders in the origination of various substantial mortgage loans. The practice also has boots on the ground in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Richmond and McLean. The legacy Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP group, based in Texas, is ‘very good for complex matters’ and handles a broad range of product types, from sports stadia to corporate headquarters and international hotel chains. Retail and office leasing is a particular strength and the team is also experienced in handling lettings for major energy projects; for example, practice co-chair Jack Fields assisted Enterprise Products with a ground lease to a third party covering a 40-acre tract of land to be used for the construction of a new methanol plant. Other highlights in 2016 included practice co-chair Michael Boyd advising Pacific Life Insurance on a construction-to-permanent loan for a new multifamily project in Atlanta, and David Runnels acting for CBRE Global Investors in the acquisition of a mixed-use development in Dallas. In another significant acquisition, Chanse McLeod acted for ArcLight Capital Partners in the $217m purchase of 230 gasoline station/convenience store properties around the US. All attorneys named thus far are based in Houston, but the practice also has a presence in Dallas, where Adrian Doxey advised a major institutional investor on several substantial investments. The group experienced a number of partner departures in 2016, including Darrell Thomas to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, and Chris Boehler to Concho Resources.

Jones Day’s practice underwent some reorganization at the top, with New York-based Michael Haas and Chicago-based Brian Sedlak (who is hailed as ‘a great client relationship partner’) taking over as co-heads from Robert Lee and David Lowery, who are based in Chicago and Dallas respectively. The team provides a ‘stellar level of service’ to private equity clients such as the Blackstone Group, for which Haas acted on the $1.3bn sale of 500 Boylston Street and 222 Berkeley Street in Boston’s Back Bay. In another private equity deal, Haas and Cleveland-based Andrew Bengtson advised Macquarie Capital on its joint venture to acquire, finance and manage mainly residential real estate in New York. The practice also acts for developer clients and, in one standout matter, Lowery and Susan Cox, who is also based in Dallas, acted for Greystar Real Estate Partners in the $2bn sale of a national portfolio of 32 multifamily apartment communities to Blackstone Real Estate. Other work streams included borrower-side debt finance and leasing work for corporates, and the team acted for Newell Brands in its headquarters relocation from Georgia to New Jersey. The practice also has boots on the ground in Atlanta, Boston, Columbus, Miami and San Francisco. Robert Grados joined the New York office from Allen & Overy LLP.

King & Spalding LLP’s ‘accessible’ team continued to handle a volume of investment mandates for REITs as well as funds and, in one example, New York-based Jennifer Morgan and Charlotte-based Mark Thigpen represented Douglas Emmett in the acquisition of four office buildings in West Los Angeles for $1.34bn. In Atlanta, names to note include Timothy Goodwin, who has the ‘business acumen to get through complex issues’, and Joshua Kamin; the latter was busy on a number of mandates for Jamestown, including advising on the acquisition and financing of 63 Madison Avenue and 200 Madison Avenue in New York. Kamin is also acting for Georgia State University Foundation in its efforts to acquire and redevelop Turner Field in Atlanta. The practice has seen a slight shift in geographical focus, with New York-based John Wilson taking over as head of practice from Sarah Borders, who remains in the firm’s Atlanta office. Wilson’s caseload included acting for key client Clarion Partners in a series of joint ventures with a Korean governmental pension agency, including the $470 acquisition of a Manhattan office building. New York-based Davis Powell, who is a ‘great transaction attorney’, and Charlotte-based Christopher McCoy made partner.

Mayer Brown’s strong institutional client base, which includes the likes of CBRE Global Investors and MetLife, ensured that the practice remained busy on a number of high-value investment deals. Examples included Chicago-based Paul Meyer and John Huff advising a foreign investment fund on its $452m acquisition of the office and garage unit of a mixed-use Boston office and retail condominium building; and David Malinger - also in Chicago - representing Prologis in its $5.9bn acquisition of the real estate assets and operating platform of KTR Capital Partners and its affiliates. While the practice is best known for its Chicago platform, which includes practice chair Jeffrey Usow, it also impresses in Washington DC through, among others, Nathan McMichael and Keith Willner, who assisted a major private equity player with a multibillion-dollar acquisition. Other avenues of work include borrower-side debt finance as well as EB-5 financing; Los Angeles-based Brian Aronson was particularly busy in the latter for the firm’s broad quota of inbound investors. The practice also has outlets in Houston, Palo Alto, New York and Charlotte. Houston-based Andres Romay made partner.

Customer service’ is Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘calling card’ and the practice is said by one client to be the ‘foremost expert in lender representation for large-scale construction loans’. In one example, the team represented HSBC as administrative agent in the closing and syndication of a $95m condominium construction loan for the Metropolis Project in Downtown Los Angeles. Besides construction loans, the team was also highly active in a range of other financing mandates, including EB-5, mortgage and acquisition financing. In Los Angeles, Tom Fileti advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on a $1.87bn loan secured by a portfolio of hotels and resorts in Hawaii and California; and in New York, Mark Edelstein and Tom McGovern acted for Forest City Ratner in connection with obtaining approximately $100m in EB-5 financing for the renovation of the Nassau Coliseum. Although the practice is best known for its debt work, it has started to increase its share of mandates on the equity side and secured Rouse Properties and Tishman Speyer as new clients; further, New York-based Jeffrey Temple continued to handle a notable volume of office property acquisitions for Unizo. Edelstein and Marc Young co-chair the practice from New York and Los Angeles respectively.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is recommended for ‘large, complex transactions’ and is regularly engaged by REITs and investment funds such as SL Green Realty and Oaktree Capital. Co-chair Harris Freidus as well as Peter Fisch, Mitchell Berg and Salvatore Gogliormella were all active on behalf of NorthStar Realty Finance, including advising said client on its joint venture with Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III and the ensuing $1.12bn acquisition of Trilogy Investors. In another significant piece of work, Freidus represented CIM Group in the equity and debt financing of Jack London Square, an office/retail development in Oakland. Other names to note in the team are newly appointed chair emeritus Steven Simkin, who is for one client, ‘the best real estate lawyer in New York’, and Meredith Kane, who co-chairs the practice with Freidus. Kane’s caseload extends to acting for health system operators, including Northwell Health, as well as public corporations such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which she is representing in a number of major New York projects, including One Vanderbilt and Hudson Yards. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP is doing an increasing amount of debt finance work following the move of its strong investment fund client base into traditional areas of bank lending. Bruce Cybul advised Column Financial on its funding of $370m in mortgage and mezzanine loans with respect to two hotels in Santa Monica owned by the Edward Thomas Companies; Julian Wise, who is ‘incredibly sharp and commercial for loan negotiations’, was also active in the debt space for clients such as Blackstone Real Estate Advisors and Fortress Investment Group. On the equity side, practice head Jeffrey Lenobel represented a joint venture that includes the Georgetown Company and Pershing Square Capital Management in its $255m purchase of a former Ford Motor dealership at 787 11th Avenue in New York. Lenobel also continued to represent Oxford Properties Group in relation to Hudson Yards and most recently advised on the financing of the office tower at 30 Hudson Yards. Other names to note in the group are leasing specialist Robert Nash, and Seth Henslovitz, who was promoted to the partnership in January 2017. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP is probably best known for its ‘sophisticated’ work in the loan origination and CMBS space, where it acts for a range of insurers and banks, including New York Life Insurance Company. Los Angeles-based Stacy Paek acted for said client in a number of financings, including a $223m loan to CBRE Global Investors for the purchase of Galleria Office Towers in Dallas. The substantial team also handles equity mandates and, in one example, New York-based John Napoli represented Workspace Property Trust in its acquisition of a $969m real estate portfolio from Liberty Property Trust. In 2016, the group further expanded its services by creating two new real estate-related practice groups in the areas of healthcare and distressed situations. Of the firm’s many recommended lawyers, names to note include Atlanta-based department chair Paul Mattingly; Washington DC-based Robert Bodansky, who is a ‘calm negotiator’; and Los Angeles-based Gregg Bernhard, who joined from Greenberg Traurig, LLP. In Boston, Catherine Burns is, according to one client, ‘in a class by herself’, Andrew Pearlstein has ‘excellent commercial sense’, and Allison Driscoll is a ‘first-class, real estate lending attorney’. In New York, healthcare specialist Cynthia Mitchell is ‘excellent in client service’ and Lester Bliwise is a ‘sound and practical adviser’.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s widely praised team is led by Brian Diamond and Jeffrey Keitelman, who co-head the practice from New York and Washington DC respectively. The team was particularly active in dirt mandates, with Diamond handling a number of matters for key client JP Morgan Asset Management, including the $413m auction and sale of two office buildings located in Playa Vista, California, as well as the acquisition and creation of a newly developed industrial park in Miami-Dade County. Also in New York, Karen Scanna continued to advise Delancey Street Associates in relation to the $1.1bn Essex Crossing development project on the Lower East Side. In Washington DC, Keitelman’s work included representing Verizon Communications in the $344m sale of its headquarters office buildings to Mesirow Realty Sale-Leaseback; and on the debt finance side, Keitelman and New York-based Steven Moskowitz acted for Carr Properties in the $525m syndicated construction loan for the redevelopment of the former Washington Post site in the center of Washington DC. The practice also has presences in Miami and Los Angeles, where key contacts are Ira Teicher and Loryn Arkow respectively.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s active REIT client base ensured that the practice was busy on a number of a major transactions. Practice chair Thomas Henry represented Colony Capital in the $17bn three-way merger of Colony Capital, NorthStar Asset Management Group and NorthStar Realty Finance, and also acted for key client Paramount Group in its $521m acquisition of One Front Street in San Francisco. David Drewes advised Washington Prime Group on the sale of seven of its open air properties to a joint venture with O’Connor Mall Partners. On the debt finance side, the team’s work encompassed a mix of loan acquisition work - such as advising Colony Capital on the acquisition of a $133m mortgage loan secured by an office campus in Purchase, New York - and borrower mandates. In an example of the latter, Drewes acted for the Generation Companies in its $215m recapitalization, which included a $146m mortgage loan from Blackstone. Other recommended attorneys in the practice’s ‘deep bench’ are newly appointed partner Carly Glover Saviano and counsel Daniel Backer. All named attorneys are based in New York. Eugene Pinover left for DLA Piper LLP (US).

Akerman LLP wins plaudits for its ‘business acumen and prompt attention to matters’ and the practice has expertise in a range of product types, including affordable and workforce housing, senior living and hotels and resorts. Orlando-based James McNeil leads on residential development projects and remained active on behalf of the firm’s strong housebuilder client base that includes the likes of Taylor Morrison. Another name to note is Miami-based Carol Schoffel Faber, who has a ‘very good depth of knowledge in the restructuring of commercial real estate loans’; Faber represented Colony Capital in numerous transactions involving distressed commercial real estate around the US. In Fort Lauderdale, Eric Rapkin’s strong caseload included acting for All Aboard Florida in public-private right-of-way agreements for the development of an intercity passenger rail project, and assisting Parmenter Realty Partners with various Class A office building joint ventures. The practice has particular depth in Florida, but also operates in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. In Los Angles, Susanne Zabloudil and Herman Enayati represented Northstar Commercial Partners in its $224m purchase of a 24-property industrial, office and retail portfolio from a California-based real estate development and management company. Miami-based Richard Bezold leads the team.

Baker Botts L.L.P. continued to represent key client Hines in a range of finance and dirt mandates across all commercial real estate product types. Paul Landen and Kimberly Epstein Schlanger in Houston and Dallas-based Stephen Marcus advised Hines on the financing and air rights grounds leases for the Parcel B West hotel and retail development at CityCenterDC in Washington DC; and the same team also acted on Hines’ joint venture with the Zimmerman family for a 285-unit luxury high-rise multifamily project adjoining the La Colombe d’Or in Houston. On the equity side, Houston-based Consuella Simmons Taylor acted for Hines REIT in the $210m sale of eight shopping centers; and for the same client, Simmons Taylor and Dallas-based Jonathan Dunlay advised on the $1.16bn sale of seven West Coast office assets to Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII. Other clients of the practice include Chevron, Clarion and Rida Development. Alongside its established offices in Houston and Dallas, the practice also has a presence in the firm’s newly opened San Francisco office, where head of practice Patricia Stanton is based.

Ballard Spahr LLP’s ‘outstanding’ practice fields ‘consistently strong practitioners’ in 11 offices across the US. In Philadelphia, key players include Alan Ritterband, who is advising Comcast on the $1.2bn development of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center in Philadelphia, practice chair Bart Mellits, transactional specialist Tina Makoulian, and David Pollack, who has ‘a particular focus on retail bankruptcies’. The team also wins praise for its Baltimore offering, where noteworthy individuals include Raymond Truitt, Jon Laria and Mark Pollak; Pollak represented Sagamore in the 260-acre Port Covington redevelopment. On the debt finance side, the team regularly acts for Keybank Real Estate Capital, and Washington DC-based Kelly Wrenn is acting for said client in the $182m permanent Freddie Mac financing for the Enlivant assisted living portfolio. Also in Washington DC is Roger Winston, who wins praise as being ‘the king of the condominium/mixed-use world’. Another name to note in the highly recommended team is New Jersey-based Jeffrey Beenstock, who has ‘exceptional knowledge and experience’. The practice was augmented by the hire of Washington DC-based Christopher Bell from Fannie Mae and the promotion of three to the partnership.

In 2016, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP continued to feature in major dirt mandates in New York, with examples being Douglas Heitner representing Benider in the negotiation of a $1bn ground lease to Crown Acquisitions relating to a property in Queens, and practice head Wallace Schwartz advising ERY Developer on the lease of a shopping center at Hudson Yards. In another example of New York work, Heitner acted for JDS Development Group on a $400m construction loan to finance the development of 626 First Avenue. On the equity side, Schwartz acted for Sidney Fetner Associates in the joint venture with Rockpoint Group to buy out the Durst Organization’s interest in the ownership of the 400-unit luxury residential property located at 125 West 31st Street. The team is also experienced in handling nationwide remits and Schwartz is acting for key client New Valley in the acquisition, $260m construction financing and development of a mixed-use project located on West Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Leasing specialist Adam Endick is another key New York partner. The practice developed its offering in Miami with the hire of Manuel Fernandez and Albert Delgado from Akerman LLP.

From its New York base, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s ‘exceptionally creative and resourceful team’ has an impressive developer following that includes the likes of Tishman Speyer and The Peebles Corporation. The practice is particularly noted for its residential expertise and in a standout year for condominium work, Jonathan Canter represented the Related Companies and Oxford Properties in condominium matters relating to Hudson Yards, and also assisted Extell Development Company with condominium advice relating to One Manhattan Square. On the debt finance side, the team was active in a range of borrower mandates, including practice head Jay Neveloff and Tzvi Rokeach assisting Gamma Real Estate with a $147m bridge financing package covering an Upper East Side assemblage located near Sutton Place; and James Godman acting for The Peebles Corporation in a senior and mezzanine construction financing totaling more than $400m for 108 Leonard Street in Manhattan. Neveloff was also active in the acquisition space, where together with Neil Tucker, he advised Westbrook Partners on its joint venture to purchase the ten-story Hall Street complex in Brooklyn for the sum of $161m.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a broad footprint across 12 US offices and the practice has expertise in a range of product types, including multifamily, self-storage and higher education. The team regularly acts for investors, in relation to both transactional work and development matters, and clients include REITs such as American Campus Communities and investment managers such as the JBG Companies and Berkshire Group. Key contacts include practice chairs Eric Stern and Richard Toelke, who are based in Philadelphia and Boston respectively, New York-based JJ Broderick and Silicon Valley-based Carol Dillon. Other names to note are New York-based Goodwin Bland, who specializes in affordable housing, and Los Angeles-based Marc Liverant, who has experience in handling developments relating to energy generation and transmission. On the educational side, the team handles a range of leasing and acquisition mandates for the likes of Stanford University, Butler University, and the University of Southern California.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP continued to be busy in investment mandates for the firm’s strong private equity and asset management client base. The practice is particularly recommended for its West Coast offering, where the team shows ‘great attention to detail’ under the leadership of Los Angeles-based practice head Michael McAndrews. In San Francisco, Michael Liever assisted USAA with its $1.1bn acquisition of five regional malls from Westfield Group, and also advised GLL Real Estate Partners on the $387m acquisition of Safeco Plaza, a 50-story skyscraper in Seattle from CommonWealth Partners; and in Los Angeles, Gerard Walsh represented an international opportunity fund in connection with the $34m acquisition of the Jessie Square garage from the Successor Agency. Walsh was also busy on a range of borrowing mandates for Westbrook Partners. The practice’s East Coast presence was bolstered by a number of significant hires in New York, including Marshall Brozost, who joined from Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP; Andrew Berman, who joined from Akerman LLP; and Michael Haworth, who relocated from the firm’s Tokyo office. Brozost represented a joint venture formed by Pacific Retail Capital Partners and its investment partner in its acquisition of a portfolio of three regional malls from Simon Properties. San Francisco-based Dustin Calkins and Los Angeles-based Nicole Walsh made partner.

At Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, San Francisco-based Robert Herr handled a number of matters for key client Spear Street Capital, including the $147m sale of an office campus in Santa Clara. In another significant campus deal, Los Angeles-based William Waller represented Higuera Office in its $108m acquisition of a tech campus in Culver City. Waller was also busy in the office space, where he and New York-based Caroline Harcourt acted for a subsidiary of Commonwealth Partners in the $2bn purchase of a Midtown Manhattan skyscraper from Axa Financial, together with a concurrent financing package of approximately $1bn. While the practice has a strong investment aspect, with related borrower financing, it is also active in the lender space; San Diego-based Steven Hamilton and Houston-based Laura Hannusch are names to note in this respect. Hannusch’s caseload extends to dirt work and she assisted the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District negotiate an option to lease and the related ground lease for a transit-oriented development project adjacent to the Coliseum Station in Oakland. San Francisco-based Rachel Horsch heads the practice and North Virginia-based David Miller is strongly recommended.

Polsinelli PC’s ‘white-shoe service at a lower price point makes it attractive to a range of lenders’, including Barclay Bank and Prime Finance Partners IV. For key client KeyBank National Association, New York-based practice chair Dan Flanigan - who has an ‘extremely smart legal mind’ - advised on various multimillion-dollar mortgage loans; and in Kansas City, Casandra Carpenter and Marla Bell represented Acore Capital in relation to a $53m construction loan to DLC Residential. The broad practice also takes in investment work for REITs and, in New York, Brooks Clark was busy on a number of matters for Colony Capital, including the $40m sale of a distribution warehouse located in Massachusetts to Gramercy Realty Trust. On the dirt side, the practice regularly acts for developers such as NorthPoint Development, and also handles development work for corporates and public institutions; in an example of the latter, Denver-based Joy Hays acted for Catholic Health Initiatives in the $740m sale and leaseback of a large portfolio of buildings and land in nine states. The practice was augmented by a number of hires in Chicago, Denver, Atlanta and Washington DC. Other recommended attorneys are finance practice chair John Duncan, who is based in Dallas, Washington DC-based Diane Shapiro Richer, and Kansas City-based Maribeth McMahon.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s practice is noted for its ‘strong team, with diversity of applicable expertise and good ability to centralize points of contact’. In New York, the team handles real estate-related loan financing for the likes of Blackstone Mortgage Trust and TPG Real Estate Trust, and also serves a range of foreign investors. In an example of the latter, David Djaha and Daniel Stanco represented Duwaliya Real Estate in the acquisition of an office property at 1575 Eye Street, Washington DC. Stanco was also busy in the acquisition space for private equity clients and advised First Atlantic Capital on the joint venture acquisition, financing and development of a $140m condominium development in the Nolita neighborhood of New York. In Boston, the practice was active in a range of investment and finance mandates for funds and investment managers, such as the Baupost Group and Pacific Investment Management Company, and in one highlight, Jack Creedon advised a co-lender on a $500m syndicated loan to Sears Holdings, secured by mortgages on over 20 Sears stores across the US. Other key players in Boston include the highly rated Richard Gordet, who has ‘tremendous experience across a wide variety of transactions, and a practical approach to problem solving’, and Walter McCabe. Since publication, Marc Lazar has joined Goodwin.

Venable LLP is best known in the public REIT M&A space, where it regularly acts as Maryland counsel on substantial deals. Examples in 2016 included advising Annaly Capital Management on its $6bn acquisition of Hatteras Financial Corp and acting for Strategic Hotels & Resorts in its $6bn acquisition by the Blackstone Group. Key players for this work include Baltimore-based Christopher Pate and Patricia McGowan. The practice also thrives in Washington DC, where Philip Horowitz represented Marriott International in all aspects of the company’s planned development of a new global corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. Another Washington DC name to note is Stefan Tucker, who focuses on the tax aspects of real estate transactions. Elsewhere, New York-based Peter Koffler and Susan Golden represented EmblemHealth in the $330m sale of its eight-story office building at 441 Ninth Avenue to Cove Property Group and Baupost Group; and in Tysons Corner, finance specialist Douglas McDonald was part of a team that assisted Ashford Hospitality Trust with a $415m mortgage loan refinancing secured by 18 hotels across seven states. Practice chair Thomas Millspaugh divides his time between Baltimore and Washington DC.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz stands outs for its expertise in REIT and real estate mergers and acquisitions, and the team was once again active in various multibillion-dollar deals. Practice co-head Adam Emmerich advised Regency Centers on its $15.6bn merger with Equity One and also acted for the special committee of Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust in its merger with Colony American Homes. In another significant transaction, Emmerich and Ronald Chen represented Javelin Mortgage Investment in its acquisition by Armour Residential REIT. The team’s sector expertise in hospitality and gaming was also in evidence, with practice co-head Robin Panovka advising Gaming and Leisure Properties on its acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment’s real estate assets. All named attorneys are named in New York.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s global network of offices ensures that the firm is regularly engaged on real estate-related mandates for a wide variety of foreign investors. Recent examples of work include practice head Michael Smith assisting Nord Anglia Education with the $167m sale and leaseback of a three-school portfolio located in Florida and Texas, and hotel specialist Richard Cremieux representing Binjiang Tower in the restructuring of a joint venture to develop a 41-story mixed-use project in Downtown Seattle. In another highlight, Matthew Alshouse acted for Mirae Asset Global Investment in its joint venture with Transwestern Investment Group to purchase State Farm’s Southwest headquarters in the Cityline development in Dallas. The practice’s caseload extends to work for domestic corporates, such as Walgreens and Sears, and Michael Rechtin, who has particular expertise in data centers, continued to advise Comcast on its data center portfolio. All attorneys named thus far are based in Chicago, but the practice also has boots on the ground in New York, where Gerard Hannon was busy on a multibillion-dollar development joint venture for a foreign investor. Chicago-based Kathryn Johnstone was promoted to the partnership.

Clifford Chance’s New York-based practice is now led by Ness Cohen, following Douglas Wisner’s move into the firm’s financial restructuring group. Cohen was busy on a range of debt finance matters, including advising Madison International Realty on the $1.28bn recapitalization of the company’s joint venture interest in a 15-property portfolio of retail assets in the New York City metropolitan area; and on the lender side, Cohen acted for Almanac Realty Investors in the origination of a $150m loan to CA Student Investors. Another name to note is counsel Victoria Manthas, who represented Waterfall Asset Management in connection with its acquisition from Barclays of a senior securitized mezzanine loan secured by equity interests in the owners of approximately 90 Red Roof Inns nationwide. The practice also regularly handles inbound investment and divestment work for the firm’s impressive international client base; in 2016, the team represented AVWL in connection with the $457m acquisition of an indirect interest in an office building complex in Washington DC, and also acted for JHSF Participacoes in the $128m sale of 16-18 West 57th Street, New York. Other active clients include Safra National Bank of New York and National Storage Affiliates Trust.

Real estate boutique Cox, Castle & Nicholson acts for a full spectrum of clients, including developers, lenders, investors, landlords and tenants. On the dirt side, the firm powers off its strong land use and zoning team to advise on a number of significant development projects, which include David Waite acting for Philena Properties and Martin Cadillac Property in relation to the mixed-use Martin Expo Town Center at Olympic and Bundy in Los Angeles, and Andrew Fogg advising Republic Urban Properties on the redevelopment of the existing Millbrae BART Station parking lots. Key players on the finance side include David Lari, whose busy caseload included assisting Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III with a $500m loan from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith. All attorneys named thus far are based in Los Angeles, but the firm also has a presence in San Francisco, where Gregory Caligari advised Broadcom on the $207m acquisition of an office complex in San Jose, California from Boston Properties. Another name to note in San Francisco is Mathew Wyman, who was highly active in the homebuilder space for key client Taylor Morrison. The firm also has a presence in Orange County.

According to one client, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP is ‘clearly a step above others due to the breadth of experience and quality of lawyers’, and the team continued to lead the way in sectors such as data centers, timber and public-private partnerships. In particular, Robinson Plowden is singled out for ‘any work related to data center leases specifically in the wholesale or colocation arena’. On the investment side, Clayton Howell advised Hines on a $70m joint venture for the acquisition, development and financing of an office tower over a retail podium in Atlanta; and Howell is also advising Pollack Shores on the development of the multifamily residential component of a mixed-use development in connection with the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium. Mezzanine finance is another area of strength, with John Benson handling a billion-dollar financing for a major institutional investor; Benson, along with Washington DC-based Lisa Rosen, was also active for lenders in the CMBS space. Other key figures are practice head Victor Haley and the ‘exceptional’ James Jordan. The firm’s recent tie-up with UK-headquartered Eversheds is expected to herald an increase in inbound institutional investment work. All named attorneys are based in Atlanta except where otherwise stated.

Herrick, Feinstein LLP’s New York-based practice remained busy on behalf of its strong developer client base, which includes XIN Development Group and Kushner Real Estate Group. For Extell Development Company, Sheldon Chanales advised on the purchase and financing of multiple properties owned by the Duell Family valued at $360m; and for Property Markets Group, Mitchell Korbey and Neil Shapiro are assisting with the development of various land parcels in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood. In another example of the practice’s strong dirt capability, Chanales acted for Cammeby’s International in the $161m sale of 9-47 Hall Street in Brooklyn, and the $195m sale of 24-02 49th Avenue in Long Island City. The team also regularly acts for commercial banks and investment banks, in relation to both mortgage and construction financings as well as acquisitions; Centennial Bank is an example client in this regard. Other names to note are practice chair Belinda Schwartz, leasing specialist Jonathan Adelsberg, and Andrew Gold, who focuses on investment work and represented Amity Education Group in the purchase of the St John’s University waterfront campus in Oakdale, Long Island. Michael Smith was promoted to the partnership, but Paul Shapses left for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP.

Loeb & Loeb LLP is singled out for its ‘extremely high legal acumen and depth of market knowledge’ in relation to commercial leasing. Practice head Raymond Sanseverino and Kenneth Sold - who, for one client, are ‘two of the best real estate attorneys that service the New York market’ - handled a number of substantial leases for clients such as Brookfield Property Partners and Mitsui. Sanseverino represented BNY Mellon, as tenant, in connection with a 15-year lease of approximately 250,000 sq ft of office and retail space in the building located at One Boston Place in Boston; and Sold assisted Bank Leumi USA with the $110m sale of its fee interest in 564 Fifth Avenue and its ground leasehold interest in 562 Fifth Avenue in New York. The team also has a strong debt finance capability and, in one standout transaction, Kenneth Freeman acted for Deutsche Bank as administrative agent and lender in connection with a $1.5bn construction financing for the retail component of the Hudson Yards project in New York. All attorneys named thus far are based in New York, but the practice is also present in Los Angeles, where key players include Thomas Hanley, who stands out for his ‘knowledge and practical advice in leasing matters’; and Allen Hubsch, who joined from Hogan Lovells US LLP.

With attorneys working out of San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP has one of the largest real estate groups across California. The team remained highly active on behalf of key client the Macerich Company, for which Los Angeles-based co-chair Tom Muller advised on the joint venture purchase of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri for $660m. Another important client is Jay Paul Company and San Francisco-based Clayton Gantz acted for said client in various borrower mandates, including the $907m financing of the development of a campus at Moffett Place in Silicon Valley. On the dirt side, the team is advising the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on the $600m development of its museum campus. Other key players in Los Angeles are Anita Sabine, who was busy on the real estate aspects of a number of PPP projects for clients such as Westfield; Keith Allen-Niesen, who has ‘exceptional knowledge of real estate and negotiating strategies’; and Jubin Meraj, who is able to ‘master the detail of a wide range of documents’. Palo Alto-based Michael Polentz co-chairs the practice. Bryan LeRoy left for Nixon Peabody LLP.

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP has a strong focus on real estate and the practice covers every aspect of real estate and development, including acquisitions, financing, construction, leasing and dispositions. The ‘very knowledgeable and experienced’ team includes Washington DC-based Carol Weld King, who co-chairs the practice following Wendelin White’s departure for Goulston & Storrs. King was active in a number of significant matters for key client Thayer Lodging Group, including advising on the $270m acquisition of the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower in Portland, and closing the $84m sale of Hotel 1000 in Downtown Seattle to Loews. Another key player in Washington DC is Elizabeth Karmin, who wins praise for her ‘terrific people skills’; Karmin handled a $150m property sale for McDonald’s in the Hudson Yards area of New York. The team’s expertise in the hospitality and leisure sector was also in evidence in Atlanta, where Thomas Gryboski represented the Noble Investment Group in the $142m acquisition of a five-hotel portfolio from Ashford Hospitality Trust. Other Atlanta names to note include Robert Reardon, who co-chairs the practice, and Matthew Sours, who was active in the multifamily space for clients such as Wood Partners.

From its Chicago base, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP fields a ‘highly sophisticated real estate group, with excellent business acumen and industry knowledge’. Practice head Douglas Lubelchek, who is highly recommended for his ‘outstanding knowledge of real estate and transactional issues’ finalized Equity Residential’s sale of 72 properties to Starwood Capital Group for $5.36bn, and Douglas Ellis acted for M & J Wilkow in a joint venture acquisition of East Gate Square Shopping Center in New Jersey for $190m. The third key player in the team is Darrin Forbes, who ‘gets deals done’, and together with Lubelchek, represented Equity Residential in sale and acquisition transactions involving multifamily properties throughout the US. Other important clients are O’Connor Mall Partners and DW Partners. Although the practice is best known for its investment work on behalf of REITs and investment management companies, it also handles dirt mandates for homebuilders, corporates and state entities, and in one example, Lubelchek is acting for a developer in the purchase of land parcels for the development of hotel and multifamily mixed-use towers in the South West.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP has expertise across a range of product types, including shopping centers, medical office buildings and hospital facilities, corporate headquarters, industrial, multifamily and mixed-use properties. Although the practice continues to be led from Texas, with practice head Jane Snoddy Smith based in Austin, it has seen increasing deal flow in locations such as New York and Los Angeles; for example, in New York, Mitchell Lubart was busy on a number of multimillion-dollar transactions for a major real estate investment company. Another feature of the practice is its foreign investment work and the team regularly handles inbound acquisitions for the likes of the Export-Import Bank of China and PSP Public Pension Fund. In Los Angeles, senior counsel Robert Barnes specializes in handling the real estate aspects of transactions involving energy production and storage facilities. Other active clients include Argent Ventures, BlackRock Realty Advisors and Balbec Capital.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s ‘extremely good’ team has seen some reorganization at the top, with Nancy Scull taking over from Domenic Drago in San Diego as co-chair of the practice. Scull focuses on dirt work for major developers and, as well as assisting Trammell Crow with its $59m acquisition of Adobe Systems’ 8.5 acres of land in Downtown San Jose, she is representing the developer of a major mixed-use hotel, office and retail project in Tempe Arizona. In San Francisco, key players include co-chair Keith Garner and Doug Van Gessel, who is advising Moffett Gateway on the $300m leasing of a corporate campus in Silicon Valley to Google. On the finance side, the team was boosted by the hire of Los Angeles-based Thomas Masenga, who joined from Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Masenga was active in a number of substantial lender mandates, including advising the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System on a $507m mortgage loan to a joint venture secured by 11 Times Square in New York. The practice also has strength in Orange County, where Scott Morehouse handled a number of acquisitions for KBS Strategic Opportunity REIT and KBS Strategic Opportunity REIT II, including the $170m acquisition of an office building in the central business district of San Francisco. San Francisco-based Katharine Allen made partner.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP is well known in the REIT space, where it acts for the likes of Senior Housing Properties Trust and Government Properties Income Trust. In 2016, John Steiner completed Hospitality Properties Trust’s $400m sale-leaseback of 20 travel centers to TravelCenters of America. Private equity is another strength, with co-chair John Balboni and Eric Lemont handling a series of real estate private equity joint venture transactions for Hartford Life Insurance Company. On the dirt side, Adam Weisenberg represented the Cronin Group in developing a proposed 125-unit waterfront condominium project in Boston; and Weisenberg also assisted Divco West with its $150m development of an office building and lab in Kendall Square in Cambridge. All attorneys named thus far are based in Boston, but the practice also has an outlet in New York, where counsel Oded Har-Even represented Ackerman Management and Development in acquisitions totaling $1bn, including the $700m purchase of the Dime Savings Bank Building and adjoining parcels at 340 Flatbush Avenue and 9 DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn. Additional contacts are Boston-based co-chair Ashley Brooks and Hugh Finnegan, who leads on real estate matters in New York.

Thompson & Knight LLP’s substantial Texas offering comprises offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. The team remained busy on a broad range of mandates, including lending, leasing, disposition and development. In the debt finance space, the firm’s impressive lender client base includes the likes of Wells Fargo Bank and Midland Loan Services, and in a highlight matter, Mark Sloan represented Regions Bank as agent for seven different lenders in relation to a $199m construction loan to USAA for development of Amazon’s new corporate offices in Seattle. The team also acts for borrowers, and practice head Andrew Ingrum advised Billingsley Company on a $72m construction loan provided by Bank of America and PNC. On the investment side, Bryan Garner assisted Capref Paseo with its acquisition of the retail portion of a mixed-use development in downtown Pasadena, California. The practice is also present in New York, where William O’Connor handled a number of distressed deals, including representing Olympic 1401 Elm Associates, as Chapter 11 debtor, in the sale of the First National Bank tower in Dallas to Drever Capital. In other developments, Ashley Anderson joined from Gardere Wynne Sewell and Dan Hopper and New York-based Vivian Arias were promoted to partner. Named attorneys are based in Dallas except where otherwise stated.

Thompson Hine LLP’s attorneys are lauded as being ‘courteous, professional and deep in their expertise’, and the team continued to be engaged on a number of substantial transactions. In a standout deal, James Aronoff acted for Brookfield Asset Management in its $2bn purchase of NorthStar Realty Finance’s manufactured housing communities portfolio. Aronoff was also busy in the REIT space, where his work included assisting Forest City Enterprises with the company’s conversion to a REIT, and advising DDR on various leasing transactions. Another key player in the team is Robyn Minter Smyers, who handled over $330m worth of acquisitions and dispositions throughout the US for DDR. The practice has a strong corporate following and regularly advises clients such AkzoNobel and United Technologies on leasing and dispositions. On the debt finance side, Linda Striefsky advised BMW FS on mortgage loans to BMW car dealers across the US; and the finance practice was expanded in New York by the hire of Jonathan Olick, who joined from Duane Morris LLP. Thomas Coyne heads the practice. Named attorneys are based in Cleveland except where otherwise stated.

Troutman Sanders has particular expertise in the financing of real estate projects and has a nationwide practice representing lenders in the multifamily space. In one major transaction, a Richmond-based team of practice co-head Mark Shiembob, Bernice Cilley, Ashanté Latanya Smith and newly promoted partner Nora Garcia Nickel acted for a consortium of lenders, including Wells Fargo and Berkeley Point Capital, in the $4.1bn financing of a portfolio of multifamily apartment units across six states being acquired by Starwood Capital Group from Equity Residential. The practice was also active in the senior living sector, with Shiembob and Jeremy McLean (also in Richmond) advising Walker & Dunlop on a $1.27bn refinancing for Holiday Retirement secured by a 78-property portfolio. On the equity side, highlights included Charlotte-based David Jones representing Crescent Communities in the sale of the Crescent Central Station luxury multifamily community in Orlando and the Crescent SouthPark and Crescent Dilworth luxury multifamily communities in Charlotte; and in Atlanta, Jefferson Greenway acted for Portman Holdings in connection with an equity investment in an InterContinental Hotel to be constructed in San Diego. Atlanta-based Mark Elliott co-heads the team. The practice also has boots on the ground in New York, Washington DC, San Diego, Virginia Beach and Raleigh.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s team of ‘thoughtful and hardworking dealmakers’ is led by Paul Martin, whose investment work included advising CBRE Global Investors on the purchase of a Class A office complex in Dallas and acting for Spear Street Capital in its sale of a multi-building office complex in Austin. Martin is also experienced in advising corporates on real estate issues and represented 7-Eleven in the relocation of its corporate headquarters to the new Cypress Waters Development in Irving. In other highlights, the team was busy in the REIT space, where Michael Boulden represented Milestone Apartments in the $1.9bn acquisition of Landmark Apartment Trust, including the acquisition of 15 multifamily apartment projects in Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida; and the team also continued to handle the real estate aspects of major energy projects, with Houston-based counsel Scot Dixon advising Riverstone Investment Group on its partnership with Kinder Morgan in relation to the $500m Utopia Pipeline Project. Other recommended attorneys are Randy Jurgensmeyer and Russell Oshman. Named attorneys are based in Dallas except where stated otherwise. The practice is also present in New York.

The Boston-based practice at WilmerHale remained busy on a number of major development projects, including Keith Barnett advising Carpenter and Company on the development of a Four Seasons Hotel and approximately 170 residential condominium units in Boston’s Back Bay; and for the same client, Douglas Burton is assisting with the acquisition, development and operation of a five-star hotel in Iceland. The practice is particularly known for its expertise in sectors such as senior living, retail and life sciences, where important clients include Benchmark Senior Living and Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research. Other recent examples of work include Burton and Sean Boulger advising AEW Capital Management on a joint venture to develop a portfolio of senior living communities throughout the US, and William O’Reilly representing Alexandria Real Estate Equities in the $725m acquisition of the seven-building office, lab and retail One Kendall Square complex from DivcoWest, together with its assumption of a $203m securitized loan. Practice head Paul Jakubowski specializes in headquarters lease transactions for tenants and, in one highlight, advised Kronos on its purchase of a lease for 435,000 sq ft at a three-tower campus in Lowell.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

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Clifford Chance’s New York-based REITs practice attracts clients through its ‘excellent subject matter expertise, responsiveness and business acumen’. Practice leaders Jay Bernstein and Richard Catalano advised Colony American Homes on its $7.7bn merger with Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust. The team also handles debt matters, such as the ‘valuedKathleen Werner’s advice to iStar regarding several multimillion-dollar credit facilities and senior note issuances. Having been promoted to partner in 2016, corporate lawyer Jake Farquharson assisted Retail Opportunity Investment Corporation with multiple equity offerings and shelf registrations of common stock. Bernstein and fellow capital markets lawyer Jason Myers are also involved in the recapitalization of Yes! Communities, which turned from a dual-track IPO into a joint venture transaction.

With 18 partners primarily focused on the REITs sector, Goodwin has one of the strongest practices nationally, and advises REITs owning residential, office, retail, gaming, industrial and healthcare assets. Practice head Gilbert Menna represented Mid-America Apartment Communities in its $4bn acquisition of Post Properties, while co-leader Ettore Santucci advised Macerich on its joint ventures with GIC and Heitman. Other clients include Equity One, Boston Properties and Ventas Realty, all of which have used the firm in relation to note offering programs. Patrick Hurley and Blake Liggio were made partner in October 2016. Named attorneys are based in Boston.

Following the retirement of CEO emeritus Warren Gorrell, capital markets partner David Bonser leads the REIT practice at Hogan Lovells US LLP. Matt Thomson, who was promoted to partner at the beginning of 2016, advised Parkway Properties on its merger with Cousins Properties and the simultaneous spin-off of its Houston-based properties into a new REIT called HoustonCo. Bonser is working on a merger transition between long-term client JBG Companies and Vornado Realty Trust. Another key client is GE, for which Paul Manca and Bruce Gilchrist are handling the separate disposals of its domestic restaurant franchise loan portfolio and hotel finance franchise loan portfolio to several regional banks. Named attorneys are based in Washington DC.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘very responsive and reliable’ global REIT practice elected federal taxation specialist Ana O’Brien as a third chair of the team, joining Michael Brody and Julian Kleindorfer; all are based in Los Angeles. O’Brien and Orange County-based William Cernius recently advised the special committee of Apollo Residential Mortgage on its $641m merger with Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance. The practice leaders also assisted Digital Realty Trust with its acquisition of telecoms and IT solution provider Telx. Kleindorfer and Lewis Kneib represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch during the IPO of MGM Growth Properties. Clients also recommend San Diego-based Michael Sullivan, who led a $250m at-the-market offering for American Assets Trust. Gregory Hannibal joined the New York office from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in March 2016.

During 2016, Sidley Austin LLP’s REIT practice added several new clients, including Colony Starwood Homes and Care Capital Partners. The former client came on board following Jason Friedhoff’s advice to the legacy Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust regarding its merger with Colony American Homes. The latter sought assistance from practice leads J Gerard Cummins and Christian Brause concerning an inaugural debt offering of $500m in senior notes. Edward Petrosky represented Simon Property Group in a $1.35bn public offering of notes. Other M&A clients include Sutherland Asset Management and Strategic Hotels & Resorts (on behalf of the latter, the firm advised on the $6bn sale to Blackstone Group), while Ventas and WP Carey sought advice on note offerings. Attorneys named thus far are based in New York, but hospitality specialist Peter Benudiz, who joined from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, is based in Century City.

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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s sizable REIT practice spans 52 partners alone across five domestic offices. Practice co-lead David Polster in Chicago advised InvenTrust on its $1.4bn sale of its student housing platform to UHC Acquisition Sub. Of counsel John Rayis and New York-based co-head David Goldschmidt supported Arbor Realty Trust in its $250m acquisition of Arbor Commercial Mortgage’s agency platform, while tax lawyer Brian Krause (also in New York) advised NorthStar Asset Management Group on its merger with Colony Capital and NorthStar Realty Finance Corporation. Goldschmidt also represented a number of international banking institutions (among them JP Morgan Securities and Merrill Lynch) as joint sales agents regarding an at-the-market offering by Getty Realty Corporation.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s practice delivers ‘excellent client service’ when it comes to ‘structuring and raising capital for funds as well as REIT law’. Clients recommend New York M&A partner Christopher Giordano and capital markets lawyer Jesse Criz in Chicago (who is ‘an expert at REIT law, funds and real estate transactions’), who together advised Harrison Street Real Estate Capital on its $1.9bn acquisition of Campus Crest Communities. Team lead Robert Bergdolt in New York worked on KBS Growth and Income REIT’s IPO worth $1.5bn, which was followed by a distribution reinvestment plan. Kerry Johnson in New York and Robert Le Duc (who splits his time between Chicago and Minneapolis) represented underwriters Morgan Stanley and UBS Securities regarding a preferred stock offering by Ashford Hospitality Trust.

Working with public and private REITs, the practice at Greenberg Traurig, LLP advises companies in their IPOs, corporate governance, spin-offs and M&A strategies. Head of team Judith Fryer in New York and non-traded REITs specialist Alice Connaughton in Washington DC are currently advising Hines Global REIT II on its $2.5bn IPO. New York lawyer Stephen Rabinowitz represented KBS in the sale of a leased property portfolio, while Washington DC-based Nelson Migdal supported Ryman Hospitality Properties with investing in and acquiring an equity ownership stake in the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center project.

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP’s practice heads are Atlanta-based Lauren Prevost and Heath Linsky, and alongside Seth Weiner the pair advised Steadfast Apartment REIT III on its IPO worth $1.3bn. Prevost also represented Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III in its partnership with NorthStar Healthcare Income to acquire Trilogy Investors and its Midwest senior healthcare facility portfolio, while Linsky served as issuer’s counsel to NexPoint Real Estate Strategies Fund (sponsored by Highland Capital Management) in a public offering. Washington DC-based Owen Pinkerton, who also worked on this matter, specializes in regulatory work and was recently promoted to partner. Wendy White joined Goulston & Storrs.

The REIT practice at Proskauer Rose LLP is headed by New York-based capital markets lawyers Peter Fass and Steven Lichtenfeld. Fass represented Preferred Apartment Communities in issuing Series A redeemable preferred stock worth $2bn, while Lichtenfeld advised on New York REIT’s proposed merger with The JBG Companies (terminated in May 2016). Michael Choate, a key partner in Chicago, advised Inland Real Estate on its acquisition by some of DRA Advisors’ managed real estate funds. Other clients include various trusts belonging to American Realty Capital and Global Net Lease.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York-based REITs team is one of the primary advisers to Blackstone, for which practice leaders Brian Stadler, Gregory Ressa and John Hart handled the $6bn acquisition of Strategic Hotels and its subsequent sale to Anbang. Another major highlight was the representation of Hilton Worldwide Holdings in a spin-off transaction of its real estate and timeshare businesses; this was handled by a group of lawyers including Hart, capital market attorneys Joshua Ford Bonnie and Edgar Lewandowski as well as M&A partner Eric Swedenburg. Other clients include JP Morgan Securities and Centerbridge Capital Partners II.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP advises public and private REITs regarding their M&A transactions, financings and stock offerings. Louis Monti and Ameek Ashok Ponda lead a team of 14 partners, all based in Boston. Ponda supported Equinix in its REIT conversion and subsequent global restructuring; the market capitalization of Equinix is $25.6bn. Alongside Nicole Rives, Susan Barnard and John Steiner, Ponda also advised new client Manulife Financial Corporation on its joint ventures with several offshore investors, as well as its IPO. Monti and Rives represented Senior Housing Properties Trust in a sale-leaseback transaction with Five Star Quality Care. Benjamin Armour and Eric Lemont were promoted to partner in January 2016.

Venable LLP’s REIT practice, headed by Sharon Kroupa and James Hanks, is located in Baltimore and primarily advises on matters connected with Maryland corporate legislation, including representing the majority of REITs formed under Maryland law. The partners acted as Maryland counsel during the IPO of publicly traded Global Medical REIT and also supported Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust in its initial offering as a non-traded REIT. Highlight transactions included the $8.9bn conversion of Forest City Enterprises from an Ohio to a Maryland corporation and the stock-for-stock merger between client Chambers Street Properties and Gramercy Properties Trust, resulting in an enterprise value of $5.8bn.

At Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York, the REIT team engages solely in M&A transactions, spin-offs and joint ventures. Practice leaders Adam Emmerich and Robin Panovka advised AMB Property Corporation on its $14bn merger with Prologis. Together with Ronald Chen, Emmerich also advised the special committee of Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust on the merger with Colony American Homes in a stock-for-stock transaction, while Panovka led the spin-off of a nursing facility portfolio from Ventas as well as the acquisition of American Realty Capital Healthcare by the same client.

In spring 2016, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP’s REIT practice lost four capital markets partners (including Daniel LeBey and tax partner Christopher Mangin) to Vinson & Elkins LLP, leaving practice heads David Wright and George Howell as well as capital markets partner Mark Wickersham and counsel James Davidson as the key lawyers in the Richmond-based team. Wright advised City Office REIT on its management internalization transaction, while Davidson and Howell represented Hersha Hospitality Trust as issuer’s counsel in a Series D preferred stock offering. Wickersham served as underwriters’ counsel regarding a common equity offering by Raymond James & Associates. Robert Smith joined from K&L Gates to bolster the team.

At Morrison & Foerster LLP, David Slotkin and Justin Salon lead a REIT practice consisting of 34 lawyers. The Washington DC-based team focuses on M&A and capital market transactions as well as equity and debt offerings. MedEquities Realty Trust received advice from Slotkin regarding its IPO - one of the few to happen in 2016. Together with Lauren Bellerjeau, Salon represented Farmland Partners in the acquisition of all outstanding common stock from American Farmland Company as well as the purchase of farmland, followed by the issuance of Class A units of limited partnership interest. Other clients include Armada Hoffler Properties, Education Realty Trust and GLP.

The REIT practice at Paul Hastings LLP provides a ‘very client-oriented service’, with ‘matters leanly staffed’ and ‘partners always intimately involved in matters’. The six-partner team is led from New York by Michael Zuppone and includes the ‘always responsive and extremely diligentYariv Katz. Katz advised Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as joint book-running managers for Sun Communities’ follow-on public offering of common stock. Other regular clients include Strategic Hotels & Resorts, BMO Capital Markets and JP Morgan.

In 2016, Vinson & Elkins LLP hired five lawyers from Hunton & Williams LLP, thus establishing its own competitive REIT practice (led by Daniel LeBey in Richmond and operating as part of the M&A/capital markets group). The lawyers advise clients on public and private securities offerings, restructurings, M&A transactions as well as partnership structures. LeBey, Houston-based Stephen Gill, New York lawyer David Freed, and Christopher Mangin in Richmond advised NorthStar Realty Finance Corporation on a $16bn merger with NorthStar Asset Management Group and Colony Capital, forming the company Colony NorthStar. Gregory Cope represented the underwriters to Healthcare Trust of America’s $173m public offering of common stock, while Christopher Green assisted New York Mortgage Trust with its acquisition of all outstanding equity interests in RiverBanc. Both attorneys are based in Washington DC.

Philip Rosen and Michael Bond lead the New York-based REIT practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, which advises on debt and equity offerings, M&A transactions and joint ventures. Alongside M&A lawyer Michael Aiello, Bond advised MGM Resorts International on the sale and leaseback of ten destination resort casino hotels in connection with the spin-off and formation of MGM Growth Properties and its $1.05bn IPO. Aiello also advised Iron Mountain on its proposed acquisition of Australian company Recall Holdings. Matthew Gilroy supported JP Morgan in its $276m acquisition of the national multifamily agency loan origination and servicing platform of Arbor Commercial Mortgage. Other recent clients include Blackstone and Tishman Speyer.

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