Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

United States > Real estate > Land use/zoning > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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.

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

The Legal 500 United States - Events

GC Powerlist -
United States

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • EU and Malta Securitisation Market

    Following the US subprime crisis that began in 2007, the notion of securitisation has suffered from bad press that tainted its reputation. However, securitisation is still considered as an essential component to continued economic recovery and for well-functioning financial markets.

  • DOJ Makes the Pilot Program Permanent and Announces FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy

    The US Department of Justice ("DOJ") had announced a pilot program [1] ("Pilot Program") on April 5, 2016, which created new mitigation opportunities for companies that (i) voluntarily self-disclosed, (ii) cooperated fully, and (iii) took timely and appropriate remedial actions in FCPA matters that fell within the Fraud Section's mandate. The Pilot Program was to remain in effect for 1 year, starting from the day of its announcement. On March 10, 2017, the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Kenneth A. Blanco, announced in a speech that the Pilot Program would continue in full force until the DOJ reached a final decision on whether to extend it, and what revisions, if any, should be made to it. [2] The evaluation period of the Pilot Program ended on November 29, 2017, when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the new FCPA Enforcement Policy ("Policy"), which effectively makes the Pilot Program permanent with some revisions. According to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, the FCPA Unit received 30 voluntary disclosures during the time period that the Pilot Program was in force, as opposed to 18 voluntary disclosures that were received during the previous 18-month period. The Policy has been incorporated into the United States Attorneys' Manual in order to "be readily understood and easily applied by busy prosecutors" as opposed to being promulgated in memorandum format. [3]
  • Effects of State of Emergency Law in Turkey On Prison Sentences Under Criminal Execution Laws

    With the Statutory Decree No.671 dated August 17, 2016, and the recent changes with Regulations No.29987 and No.29824 on Regulation Regarding an Amendment on Placement to Open Punishment Execution Facilities effecting execution of the Law No.5275 on Punishment Execution Law has introduced significant changes.
  • [SOUTH KOREA] Supreme Court Affirms Lower Decision, Finding Invalid the Regulations on Foreign ...

    Supreme Court Affirms Lower Court Decision, Finding Invalid the Regulations on Foreign Exchange Report on Incorporation of Offshore Subsidiary by an Offshore Company
  • Disputes on Health-Related Commercial Advertisements under Consumer Law

  • [SOUTH KOREA] New Administration’s Key Environmental Policies

    To step forward as an environment-friendly government, the Moon Jae-in Administration has announced its key environmental policies, including improving safety in chemical substances and household chemical products, and reinforcing implementation measures of the Paris Agreement.  Under the “sustainable development” paradigm, the new administration will continually promote new regulations to protect the environment and strengthen its enforcement of environmental regulations.
  • [SOUTH KOREA] Lower Court Issues Favorable Decision for 27,000 KIA Motors Employees in an ...

    Lower Court Issues Favorable Decision for 27,000 KIA Motors Employees in an Ordinary Wage Case 
  • SyCipLaw TMT Bulletin: “More Philippine Data Privacy Act: Are you Ready for Phase II?”

    Controllers and processors who have completed Phase I registration with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) will now have to gear up for Phase II. Phase II involves providing the NPC certain information on the organization’s compliance with the Data Privacy Act (DPA).
  • Crowdfunding - The Path towards a regulatory Framework

      The importance and feasibility of crowdfunding platforms is increasing in stature and importance for current and future the entrepreneurs. Malta has recently acceded to the rising trend by creating its first crowdfunding platform, ZAAR, a reward-based crowdfunding platform who has recently been awarded with the first prize in its section at the National Enterprise Support Awards 2016 also as well as being one of the local projects that have represented Malta at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2016, held in Slovakia. Nonetheless start-ups based in Malta with global aspirations often rely on international platforms. An increase in interest has emerged amongst the art and culture community as well in social entrepreneurship projects. Crowdfunding in Malta is still at the early stages of development. Despite this, there are endless opportunities for local entrepreneurs and the local business community. Research has shown that through international crowdfunding platforms, monies have been raised for projects in the field of gaming consoles, apps and software as well as for artistic projects.  Testimony to this is a new game design studio in Malta, that launched its first game, Politicks, raised financing through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to