Firms To Watch: Land use/zoning

Vinson & Elkins LLP ‘s specialist condemnation and eminent domain team chiefly handles complex condemnation disputes, with vast experience in the space. The team is based out of Houston, Texas.

Land use/zoning in United States

Akerman LLP

The multidisciplinary land use and zoning practice at Akerman LLP features a team of experts that are well-versed in handling the full life-cycle of projects, advising a client roster consisting of real estate developers, investors, landowners and lenders on the entire suite of land use and development matters. Acquisitions, project and public finance, development incentives, land use entitlements and zoning issues are among the group’s core competencies in the space, alongside a track record for urban development and redevelopment projects throughout the country. Three partners jointly head the practice: Florida’s Eric Rapkin , Miami’s Spencer Crowley  and New York-based practitioner Joshua Rinesmith, while managing partner of the Florida office, Neisen Kasdin , is extensively experienced in civic work, alongside urban revitalization and complex, large scale multi-use developments. Chicago’s Meg George focuses her practice on real estate and municipal law matters, including acquisitions, land use and zoning, licensing, permitting and subdivision. In Florida, James McNeil is well-versed on the transactional aspects of complex real estate deals, in conjunction with due diligence and procurement of land use approvals and entitlements.


Practice head(s):

Eric Rapkin; Spencer Crowley; Joshua Rinesmith

Other key lawyers:

Neisen Kasdin; Meg George; James McNeil; Ben Hedrick


Akerman’s real estate team are Miami’s go to when you require problems solved and transactions to be timely and smooth.

Neisen Kasdin is the guru of real estate entitlements, his connections in the community are second to none. Ben Hedrick is a wordsmith and real estate practitioner who has an unrivaled understanding of South Florida myriad of complicated codes.

Key clients

Ryan Companies

Maronda Homes

Lex 47th Property Owner

JCAL Development Group

Bally’s Corporation


ESJ Holdings

Village of Key Biscayne


Space Coast Town Centre I

Work highlights

  • Representing Walmart in the zoning and development of the Walmart Academy outside the South Side store in Chatham, Illinois.
  • Representing the Village of Key Biscayne in in connection with its beach renourishment plan in order to address the erosional shoreline, and inclusion in a federal nourishment project for Miami-Dade County.
  • Representing Bally’s Corporation, a global gaming, hospitality and entertainment company with a portfolio of casinos and resorts and online gaming businesses, in handling the acquisition of the existing industrial Tribune Publishing Center property.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

Praised for its ‘unparalleled in-market experience, expertise and knowledge of key decision makers’, DLA Piper LLP (US) has extensive know-how appearing before before local governments, state and federal agencies and both administrative and judicial tribunals. With real estate and land use a core pillar of the firm’s work, the team acts as legal counsel on large-scale residential, commercial, office, retail, sports and entertainment, and industrial projects across the country. Operating out of the Chicago office, practice leader Richard Klawiter  has a strong track record for handling some of the most significant local land use matters. Katherine Jahnke Dale is another key name in Chicago, notable for obtaining zoning and public financing approvals for large-scale projects in the region. Los Angeles-based Kyndra Joy Casper  remains a pre-eminent practitioner in the space, with extensive experienced in CEQA compliance. Jerold Neuman , head of the California-based practice, is notable for both his affordable housing work and extensive acumen regarding regulatory and legislative issues. Northern Virginia-based co-head Antonio Calabrese  is consistently singled out by clients for his ‘unparalleled knowledge of the zoning process’, also receiving praise for ‘background, expertise and skill’ in the land use and zoning space.

Practice head(s):

Richard Klawiter; Jerold Neuman; Antonio Calabrese

Other key lawyers:

Katherine Jahnke Dale; Kyndra Joy Casper; Brian Winterhalter; Rocky Delgadillo


‘Unparalleled in-market experience, expertise and knowledge of key decision makers.’

‘Tony Calabrese is a true go getter who works tirelessly to resolve critical problems.

‘Brian Winterhalter – excellent thinker and strategist. Articulate.’

‘Powerful, in-depth knowledge of the people and processes involved with zoning in Fairfax County.’

‘Tony Calabrese has an unparalleled knowledge of the zoning process in Fairfax County. His guidance and insight is invaluable.’

‘Jerry Neuman not only is an excellent attorney but is integrated into the legal, real estate, and political communities. He navigates a complex web of stakeholders to gain approval for large, complicated, mixed use projects. His personal interests mesh well with these interactions. Charities, professional associations, and civic organizations benefit from his tireless energy in making Los Angeles a better place. Also worth mentioning Kyndra Joy Casper and Rocky Delgadillo, partners who support Jerry’s efforts. Their collective experience with CEQA, public agencies, and unions for large-scale development is unsurpassed in Los Angeles County and beyond.’

‘This team is the best! The DLA land use group has historical knowledge, connections in the local community and is well-equipped to assist clients to succeed. The team helpfully guides clients to strategize and navigate the local zoning process resulting in a more efficient process and successful outcomes.’

‘Tony Calabrese has been the premier land use attorney in the Northern Virginia market for decades. His background, expertise and skill have repeatedly helped clients execute complicated zoning matters. Tony’s insight and ability to think steps ahead is invaluable to clients navigating the local entitlement processes.

Key clients

GRIT Chicago

Harridge Development Group


Atlas Capital

601W Companies

The Taubman Company

Origami Capital Partners & Timberline Real Estate Partners

The HYM Investment Group

Tysons Development

Related Midwest

Work highlights

  • Represented developer client 1HWY1 in navigating one of the biggest projects in port history through multiple agencies to obtain approvals.
  • Represented The Lego Group in the site selection process and negotiations of incentives agreements to finalize a deal to invest over $1 billion to build the first American manufacturing facility in Virginia projected to create over 1,700 skilled jobs.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP‘s active New York City-based land use practice remains eminent for providing counsel to high-end clients on zoning regulations and approval process that underpin developments within the city and is praised for its ‘extensive knowledge of land use, public approvals and zoning.’ The team places great emphasis on strong relationships with top industry players to governmental agencies to aid its clients through the full life-cycle of the development process. Melanie Meyers  focuses her practice on structuring complex projects, alongside environmental review, both private and public partnerships, and public approvals. She jointly leads the team in conjunction with chairman of the wider real estate department, Jonathan Mechanic. Zachary Bernstein specializes in real estate development, with a focus on land use and represents some of firm’s largest clients in the space. David Karnovsky  is a key name for large-scale project work, while Carol Rosenthal provides regular counsel to developers, businesses and non-profit institutions. The group was bolstered by the elevation of Wesley O’Brien  to partner level in March 2022- he is praised as a ‘very knowledgeable attorney with a deep understanding of land use, zoning and public approvals’. At associate level, Ellen Lehman is singled out as ‘talented, smart, extremely diligent.’

Practice head(s):

Melanie Meyers; Jonathan Mechanic

Other key lawyers:

Zachary Bernstein; David Karnovsky; Carol Rosenthal; Wesley O’Brien; Ellen Lehman


‘Extensive knowledge of land use, public approvals, zoning in New York City. They have a terrific, talented team which deals with each matter in a highly professional, thoughtful, intelligent and efficient manner. They have an outstanding, resourceful team and are unquestionably a leader in land use, zoning and public approvals.’

‘David Karnovsky is an outstanding, extremely knowledgeable, insightful attorney. Without a doubt one of the premier land use attorneys in New York City who is involved with some of the city’s largest, most complex developments.’

‘Wesley O’Brien is a smart, thoughtful, very knowledgeable attorney with a deep understanding of land use, zoning and public approvals.’

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is renowned for its capabilities when it comes to large-scale and complex developments, handling the full-suite of associated land use and property development issues in the process, and particularly noted for its work on major stadium and arena work, advising on flagship projects for elite-level sports teams. Entitlements, permitting, development agreements, environmental compliance reviews and public/private partnerships represent the team’s key specialisms in the space. Two senior attorneys co-chair the department: Los Angeles-based Amy Forbes, who focuses on work at the administrative level, and San Francisco’s public private partnerships and historic rehabilitation expert, Mary Murphy. The latter is supported in San Francisco by Allison Kidd, whose sophisticated commercial real estate financing practice includes frequent complex land use work. Of counsels Neil Sekhri  and Sara Ghalandari are other key names in San Francisco. Douglas Champion departed the group in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

Amy Forbes; Mary Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Allison Kidd; Neil Sekhri; Sara Ghalandari

Key clients

Oakland A’s Major League Baseball team

Saks/Hudson Bay

Intuit Dome/Murphy’s Bowl

JP Morgan

The Kroenke Group


Strada Investment Group

Brookfield Properties Development

Berggruen Institute Project

Golden State Warriors

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP‘s nationwide group handles comprehensive land use, planning and zoning matters across major markets in the US, with particular emphasis on its extensive presence in Florida, handling the full-suite of land use and zoning issues on behalf of top-end real estate clients in the region. New York’s Joe Guay and Miami’s Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz head up the wider real estate team and are are important names to note, while the Miami-based land use and zoning team is headed up by experienced attorney Joseph Goldstein, who focuses his practice on planning, zoning, permitting and development agreements. Also working out of the Miami office, Juan Mayol acts on behalf of builders and developers through the entire life-cycle of development processes. Of the New York team, Kenneth Lowenstein is sought after for his affordable housing work and frequently provides counsel to the Real Estate Board of New York. In Washington DC, Norman Glasgow is adept on building code and historic preservation law matters whilst Christine Shiker is frequently engaged on large, mixed-use and multi-phased projects. On the west coast, San Francisco-based environmental law expert Jennifer Hernandez leads the land use practice, notable for her work under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Chelsea MacLean is also a key contact here, known for her pro-housing advocacy work alongside maintaining an impressive land use and entitlement practice.


Practice head(s):

Joe Guay; Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Goldstein; Juan Mayol; Kenneth Lowenstein; Norman Glasgow; Christine Shiker; Jennifer Hernandez; Chelsea MacLean; Dan Golub; David Preiss


‘Our organization works with the Holland and Knight Land Use Practice Group in Washington routinely, they are uniquely situated amongst their peers in the area for their expertise and engagement in the District’s myriad and growing regulatory environment. The people in the Land Use Practice Group have deep knowledge of land use matters related to zoning, transportation and building permitting, but they also work with us on topics related to environmental, energy and utilities. We value their broad understanding of all things related to Land Use and believe that being a part of a national practice gives them added insight into how we should consider building in the future.’

‘Our work with Holland & Knight has proven incredibly valuable due to their current working knowledge of the evolving legislative climate in California. They have helped us through numerous project entitlement related issues that appeared to be complete, but in fact had gaping holes and deficiencies that were missed at the local level.’

‘Dan Golub and David Preiss have been highly engaged, respectful of time and politics and deeply resourceful and savvy.’

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has a robust track record in representing major developers and institutions in landmark and transformative New York City development projects, advising on a full-suite of complex, sophisticated and sensitive land use and zoning matters in the process. The group draws on its deep bench of experienced practitioners, many of whom have worked previously for the City’s relevant bodies that determine land use policy, in appearing before the Department of City Planning, the City Planning Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Devoting much of his practice to environmental, zoning and historic preservation issues, co-chair Paul Selver jointly leads the department in co-operation with zoning, land use, landmarks and NYC administrative law expert Gary Tarnoff. Elise Wagner remains a notable practitioner, adept in all facets of land use and frequently advises some of the firm’s top clients on issues faced in planning and development of new buildings, alongside during rehabilitation and repositioning of existing buildings in the city. Other important figures include James Power and Valerie Campbell.


Practice head(s):

Paul Selver; Gary Tarnoff

Other key lawyers:

Elise Wagner; James Power; Valerie Campbell

Key clients

GDSNY Development

Weil Cornell Medical College

Extell Development

Howard Hughes Corporation

The Gotham Organization

Mount Sinai Health System

RFR Holding

Madison Realty

Midwood Investment and Development

New York University and NYU Langone Medical Center

Work highlights

  • Representing the New York Blood Center on land use and environmental matters in its application for a zoning map change, an amendment to the text of the Zoning Resolution, and a special permit under the Zoning Resolution to enable the construction of a 450,000 zoning square foot (596,000 gross square foot) life sciences hub in the East 60’s.
  • Filed a highly controversial application to demolish the individually landmarked West Park Church located at 165 West 86th Street under the “hardship” provisions of the New York City Landmarks Law.
  • Obtained approval of an application for a zoning change and related approvals that expanded the permitted uses within the 1.2 million square foot Terminal Warehouse building, located on the full block between West 27th and West 28th Streets and 11th and 12th Avenues, just south of Hudson Yards, in Manhattan.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP focuses its practice on complex, innovative and long-term project work. A fully integrated part of the firm’s wider real estate practice group, the team advises on the entire life-cycle of real estate projects and associated land use issues including planning, permitting, litigation, financing, architecture and environmental issues. Jeffrey Haber  chairs the group out of Century City, known for his work on the development of landmark, large-scale projects. Gordon Hart  focuses his practice on preparing CEQA and project approval documentation, alongside defending approvals in associated litigation, notably representing MLB team Oakland Athletics in pursuing a new stadium and surrounding mixed-use development worth more than $12bn. Former co-chair Mitchell Menzer left the group in early 2022.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Haber

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Hart

Key clients

A Community of Friends

AG-SCH 8150 Sunset Boulevard Owner

Associate Capital

Beverly Blvd Associates

Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Five Point Holdings

Lennar Corporation and its partners


Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Mack Urban Development

Marina Del Rey Hospital

Oakland Athletics

Related Santa Clara

Work highlights

  • Represented the Oakland Athletics (the A’s) since 2019 in their pursuit of a new Major League Baseball stadium and surrounding mixed use development at a maritime terminal along the Oakland estuary.
  • Assisted Associate Capital and its subsidiary California Barrel Company in all aspects of its Potrero Power Station project.
  • Advising Cedars-Sinai, the largest private hospital in the Western United States, on the entitlement and development of a new 405,000-square-foot hospital addition with 203 patient beds.

Ballard Spahr LLP

Ballard Spahr LLP combines the wider real estate department’s multi-disciplinary capabilities to undertake a broad range of mandates in the space, with emphasis on strong performance across zoning and land use, leasing, complex development, finance and construction. Highlights for the group include strong work in historic preservation and environmental issues, on behalf of leading business, civic leaders, community and governmental clients. Baltimore’s Amy McClain is a key point of contact as chair of the firm’s real estate department, while Matthew McClure  heads up the land use and zoning team and emphasizes his practice on development, zoning and historic preservation issues. The office was also bolstered by the elevation of Ashley De Luca to partner in 2022. David Gest  has left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Amy McClain; Matthew McClure

Other key lawyers:

Ashley De Luca

Key clients

Midwood Investment & Development

Exeter Property Group

Wexford Science & Technology

The Rodin Group

Callahan Ward Companies

Mural Arts Philadelphia

Pearl Properties


Brevet Capital Management

Temple University

Landmark Properties

Metropolitan Council


Padre Canyon Resort

Hilco Redevelopment Partners

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner handles the full range of matters relating to land use law, with particular emphasis on advisory services regarding development enhancement strategies. The New York-based group is well-versed in specific land use issues of the region, obtaining various forms of both municipal and state approvals related to zoning, construction, building codes and historic preservation, alongside financing-related zoning due diligence. Seasoned practitioner Judith Gallent chairs the practice, with vast experience in all aspects of the process for clients, including zoning analysis, air rights transfers and obtaining discretionary land use approvals, among others. James Colgate leverages his unique perspective as both a qualified lawyer and architect to guide clients through complex land use issues, specifically special permits, zoning variances, and navigating onerous bureaucratic and political processes.


Practice head(s):

Judith Gallent

Other key lawyers:

James Colgate


‘The practice us unique for the personal commitment to understanding the very nuanced and complicated issues related to New York City zoning and Code-related issues and explaining/presenting the various, often conflicting, components of getting to the “right” answer. BryanCave’s strength is in the combination of their long-term experience, the esteem and trust they’re held in by various government agencies so that they can have side conversations with their leadership without prejudicing the ultimate outcome and capabilities, the extraordinary expertise they bring to any matter and most critically, that they sweat the details in order to best represent their client in searching for the optimal solution.’

‘I don’t see another firm that brings the same expertise to NYC Building Code issues as they do Zoning Code issues under one roof.’

‘I work most closely with are Judy Gallent and James Colgate. I work with Judy primarily on zoning and landmark issues and James primarily on Building Department and Code issues. They are both smart, dedicated and impeccably responsive partners. They are also both normal people and a pleasure to work and are committed to seeing me succeed. Both of them have long-standing relationships in their areas of expertise and know the history of successful and unsuccessful projects as guiderails to our projects. They are both highly-regarded inside of their firm and easily bring in other partners from other areas of expertise for me to engage and rely on when appropriate.’

‘Extensive experience, contacts and relationships with key people at critical agencies, professional and prompt service.’

Key clients

Silverstein Properties

Empire State Development Corporation

United American Land

Success Academy Charter Schools

New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Silverstein Capital Partners

The Hudson Companies

St. Nicks Alliance

Janus Property Company

Nightingale Properties

Breaking Ground

The Rockefeller Group

The Archdiocese of New York


Consolidated Edison of New York

Success Academy

Joseph Safra Real Estate

Silverstein Capital Partners

Arbor Realty Trust

International Code Council

Educational Housing Services

AGDP Holding

Work highlights

  • Assisting the Archdiocese of New York in land use matters related to its extensive real estate portfolio, including performing zoning and building code analyses for adaptive re-use, redevelopment, and/or disposition.
  • Representing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in land use aspects of development of the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway.
  • Representing The Hudson Companies, developer of affordable and supportive housing project in New York City, in obtaining a rezoning, zoning text amendments and special permits to facilitate development of a mixed-use project containing 112 dwelling units, retail and expansion space for an existing transit facility.

Cooley LLP

Land-use and zoning is a dedicated area of focus for the ‘best in class’ team fielded by Cooley LLP , lead by ‘outstanding land use & zoning attorney’ Mark Looney  and Colleen Gillis , an expert on advising clients through the entire life-cycle of a project, are the key names to note here. Both residents of the firm’s Reston office, the pair spearhead the team’s diverse workload here, assisting owners, developers and investors through development and operation, alongside providing expertise on zoning, entitlement and permitting processes throughout Virginia and neighboring states. Obtaining approvals from public bodies and agencies, including comprehensive plan amendments, special exceptions, variances, special use permits, bond approvals and wetlands permits, among others, round out the group’s offering in the space. John Lavoie chairs the group’s wider real estate department.

Practice head(s):

John Lavoie

Other key lawyers:

Mark Looney; Colleen Gillis; Molly Novatny


‘Colleen Gillis and her team are best in class at zoning entitlements! They know the ordinances and processes extremely well and, very importantly, maintaining excellent working relationships with staff, planning commissioners and elected supervisors!’

‘Colleen Gillis and Molly Novatny are extremely bright, knowledgeable and hard working. They understand the urgency of accomplishing the mission expeditiously.’

‘We were accepted as a pro bono client. The attorney, his assistants and the firm treated us as if we were a regular client. Their availability and persistence with our project was outstanding. Our project should have been simple; however, a number of issues beyond our control arose. What could have been a 6 month process stretched out to years. Cooley dedicated much more time, strategic effort and thought work than they originally thought would be necessary. They carried the project to the end with professionalism and good humor.’

‘Mark Looney is clearly an outstanding land use/zoning attorney and everyone in Fairfax County knows this. One of the things that stands out about him is his relationships. He knows and respects the County staff and negotiates with them well. He clearly is known and respected by the BZA and the Board of Supervisors because of his clarity and professional expertise.’

Key clients

Peterson Companies

Boston Properties

Compass Datacenters

Pulte Home Company

Brookfield Properties

Kite Realty

Brambleton Group

IDI Group Companies


Vantage Data Centers

Work highlights

  • Retained by The Peterson Companies for over 15 years on its Loudoun County residential, office, entertainment and retail projects.
  • Represented Boston Properties, a public REIT, on development applications to extend the existing Reston Town Center south to the new Metrorail station that will open in 2022.
  • Representing Compass Datacenters, LLC in connection with zoning approvals for two different data center projects in Northern Virginia.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson

Cox, Castle & Nicholson remains notable for its standout track record on a vast array of different projects, and expertise across the entire spectrum of associated land use issues on the west coast, with frequent work helping clients traverse the permitting process for major development projects, including mixed-use, in-fill, master planned communities and new towns, major infrastructure projects, residential and commercial buildings, and both renewable and traditional energy generation facilities. San Francisco’s Anne Mudge co-leads the practice alongside Los Angeles-based practitioner Andrew Fogg. Issues of environmental impact and conservation are another cornerstone of the group’s practice in the space – Linda Klein is a key name here – and its client list counts developers, investors and owners, alongside government and quasi-government agencies. Margo Bradish is best-known for her know-how in structuring entitlement strategies, whilst David Waite has extensive experience in land use and environmental law. The pair are residents of the firm’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, respectively. The arrival of Mitchell Menzer from Paul Hastings in February 2022 fortified the team’s deep bench at partner level.

Practice head(s):

Anne Mudge; Andrew Fogg

Other key lawyers:

Linda Klein; Margo Bradish; David Waite; Stanley Lamport; Alex DeGood; Mitchell Menzer

Key clients

Dana Reserve

Moreno Valley Mall Holding

City of Glendale, Glendale Water & Power

County of Ventura

Related California

Burnham Ward Properties and Sares-Regis Group

Imperial Irrigation District

Host Hotels & Resorts

Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District

Beechwood Owners Group

Mack Real Estate Group

Goal Hayward MF

Work highlights

  • Representing Dana Reserve LLC, the master developer of an over 288-acre master planned community in the unincorporated area of Nipomo in San Luis Obispo County, on all aspects of land use entitlements, compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and issues related to sensitive species and related environmental impacts.
  • Representing the owner of the Moreno Valley Mall in obtaining entitlements for a major redevelopment of a 1980s era, fully enclosed regional mall.
  • Representing Imperial Irrigation District in a complex transaction involving the sale of IID’s surface land rights and leasing of IID’s geothermal and mineral rights over a seven square mile resource area.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP offers a strong focus and in-depth of knowledge on local, state and federal land use law. Praised for a ‘high degree of practical intelligence’, the team handles large-scale and complex mandates emanating out of California, with offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco and Sacramento cementing the team’s reach across the entire region. Los Angeles-based attorney Victor De La Cruz leads the group, notable in the space for handling complex college and universities, waste haulers, signage companies and real estate development matters. Orange County’s Susan Hori counts challenging CEQA and entitlement processes to obtain approvals for clients among her core specialisms. In the firm’s San Francisco office, Sigrid Waggener has experience across all project and asset classes, focusing on both large-scale project and infrastructure development alongside CEQA and NEPA compliance. David Smith is another key contact in San Francisco.

Practice head(s):

Victor De la Cruz

Other key lawyers:

Susan Hori; David Smith; Sigrid Waggener; Jennifer Lynch


‘High degree of practical intelligence. Familiarity with current City politics and staffing issues. Inclusion of a planner (non-lawyer) in the team.’

‘As a lawyer myself, with long experience in land use and zoning, it is easy for me to evaluate the competence of others in the field. These people are at the top of the game.’


Key clients

Aera Energy

Athens Services


Mount Saint Mary’s University

Brookfield Properties Dev.

CapRock Partners

Cargill, Inc.

Jay Paul Company

Lyon Living/Synergy Oil & Gas

Poseidon Water LLC

Trumark Homes

The American Musical and Dramatic Academy

California Quartet, a real estate subsidiary of Madison Marquette

Cottonwood Cajon ES

New Urban West

Simon Property Group, Inc.

Toll Brothers

Work highlights

  • Representing Athens Services in relation to operations, permitting and franchising efforts throughout Southern California.
  • Representing Mount Saint Mary’s in securing approvals from the City of Los Angeles for Mount Saint Mary’s University in its first Brentwood campus development project in more than three decades.
  • Representing CapRock in obtaining entitlements for industrial developments in the Inland Empire area of Southern California, San Diego County, the California Central Valley and Arizona.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown advises on complex and high-profile matters across the West Coast, leveraging the firm’s expertise across its global real estate practice and public policy, regulatory and political law practice, to provide a comprehensive service to its client base that counts major real estate development companies and private equity houses, among others. Edgar Khalatian  is praised as ‘simply the best in the city’ and serves as head the practice group. Philip Recht is a key partner in the same office- as co-leader of the firm’s public policy, regulatory & political law practice, he is frequently engaged on obtaining grants, approvals and permits from governmental agencies. At associate level, Nedda Mahrou represents commercial and residential developers in transactional land use matters and related litigation. Arteen Mnayan is a fellow key contact. All named lawyers are in California, primarily Los Angeles.

Practice head(s):

Edgar Khalatian

Other key lawyers:

Phil Recht; Daniel Queen; Jennifer Chang; Arteen Mnayan; Nedda Mahrou


‘The key strength provided is the cultivated relationships this firm and staff have developed and continue to keep current with the planning department and key political influences on land use development. They have been strategic in providing key consultants that work well together. Secondly, they keep the team tasks moving forward and timely requiring product from each discipline to reach the goal of and smooth CEQA and Entitlement process.’

‘Edgar Khalatian is simply the best in the city and very influential and respected in land use development. His guidance from the firm’s expertise team presents a strong defendable position when necessary to push back on opposition to development. Edgar knows how to put the opponent in the corner with no room to dodge the facts.’

Key clients

8150 Sunset

Abode Communities

AvalonBay Communities

Bank OZK

Community Builders Group

Continuum Partners

Crown Realty and Cypress Equities

Encore Capital Management and Cal Coast


Five Points LLC

Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

Jamison Properties

Legendary Group

Maxxam Enterprises

Millennium Partners

Mitsui Fudosan USA



The Post Group

Watt Companies

Work highlights

  • Representing The Star project, a MAD-designed office 500,000 square foot office building, in Hollywood.
  • Representing AvalonBay Communities with entitlements for a mixed-use 475 residential unit, 61,200 square feet of commercial space development in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District.
  • Representing Millennium Partners in the $1 billion redevelopment of the famed Capital Records property with the Hollywood Center mixed-use project.

Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes

Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes is a boutique land use, zoning and environmental law firm operating out of Miami. Complex and legislative quasi-judicial matters, often also politically sensitive, form a core pillar of the group’s work in the space, including the full-life cycle of projects from initial due diligence, through to construction, re-zoning, site planning and permitting matters, among others. Four attorneys jointly chair the department – esteemed practitioner and co-founding partner Jeffrey Bercow is vastly experienced on federal real estate permitting and licensing matters, including zoning and approvals, developments of regional impacts and environmental matters, among many others. He is joined by Ben Fernandez , who focuses his practice on representing landowners, institutional clients and developers on the full-suite land use and zoning matter. Melissa Tapanes Llahues seeks licensing and regulatory approvals from governmental bodies and agencies on behalf of landowners, institutional clients and developers. Michael Larkin  rounds out the management team, and is a key name in Miami-Dade county, where he regularly appears before governmental departments and commissions. Graham Penn  is also a key figure, offering broad land use and zoning experience and handling appellate litigation matters.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Bercow; Ben Fernandez; Michael Larkin; Melissa Tapanes Llahues

Other key lawyers:

Graham Penn


BRFLT is a team of highly-qualified, savvy and experienced attorneys with a proven track record of success ranging from relatively small matters to complex matters of impact and significance.

Melissa Tapanes Llahues is outstanding! She offers a unique blend of energy, tenacity and knowledge. She gets things done, at a very high level, not only as an advocate for her clients but also for the community as a whole.

Key clients

Aligned Real Estate Holdings LLC

Location Acquisitions

Adler Development Group and 13th Floor Investments

Lennar Homes

Westview Plaza

Panattoni Development Company

KTC SW 88 Street LLC

JDS Development Group – 1 Southside Park

JDS Development Group – 888 Brickell

Downtown Retail Associates

Block 55 Owner

Minor Street LP – Prescott Mansion

SPV Realty LC – Sabal Palm Village

Mana Common, Sharing Space and Sharing Sense

The Witkoff Group

D.R. Horton

Leeward Subdivision Phase III

411 Michigan SOFI Owner, LLC


Biscayne Boulevard Investments

Belen Jesuit Preparatory School

27th and Coral Way

RFR Holdings

Work highlights

  • Represented Aligned Real Estate Holdings LLC, the contract purchaser of approximately 174 acres at the northwest corner of SW 107 Avenue and SW 268 Street in unincorporated Miami-Dade County.
  • Advising on the development of Miami-Dade County’s first agriculture neighborhood, or “Agrihood.”
  • Representing JDS Development Group in a public private partnership with the City of Miami to redevelop 3.4 acres of land, known as Block 85, located within the City’s West Brickell.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

The long-established practice at Greenberg Traurig LLP operates across active real estate markets with presence in Miami, New York and Orlando, and advises landowners, developers, entrepreneurs and joint venture partners at every stage of the land development process. Key aspects of the group’s practice include due diligence for acquisition and finance matters, alongside acquiring development rights and obtaining zoning and other miscellaneous land use entitlements. Miami-based attorney Iris Escarra  jointly leads the department in conjunction with New York’s Jay Segal, with New York-based Deirdre Carson and Nick Hockens  also key contacts within the group.

Practice head(s):

Iris Escarra; Jay Segal

Other key lawyers:

Deirdre Carson; Nick Hockens

Herrick, Feinstein LLP

The team at Herrick, Feinstein LLP is fully integrated into the firm’s long-established wider real estate department, leveraging the firm’s full-service capabilities to advise across a broad range of matters within the space, encompassing contentious and non-contentious issues. Mitchell Korbey chairs the department, with deep experience experience on land use and private planning matters. At associate level, Robert Huberman has extensive experience advising developers, property owners, architects and engineers, among others, across all aspects of land use and zoning in the city.

Practice head(s):

Mitchell Korbey

Other key lawyers:

Robert Huberman


‘Mitch Korbey is extremely knowledgeable about land use law.’

Key clients


G4 Capital Partners

Goldman Sachs

Mitsui Fudosan and SJP Properties

MRP Realty

Pilot Real Estate Group

Property Markets Group (PMG)

Rabsky Group

Realterm Logistics

Restoration Hardware

Slate Property Group

Work highlights

  • Advised the Halletts Point Astoria Rezoning on securing approval of the Halletts Point rezoning and waterfront development plan.
  • Advising Property Markets Group on the City’s proposed rezoning of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal neighborhood.
  • Advising Realterm Logistics, owners of a multi-acre site in Morris Park, the Bronx, on a community-wide rezoning of the area.

Nossaman LLP

Nossaman LLP  utilizes its extensive land use and environmental law experience, alongside comprehensive regulatory and political know-how to represent private and public infrastructure on complex residential, mixed-use and public facility projects throughout California. Orange County-based practitioner Brad Kuhn chairs the department and frequently advises on complex real estate department and infrastructure projects, dedicating a significant portion of his practice to eminent domain and inverse condemnation, land use and zoning, and environmental issues. David Graeler is based in the Los Angeles office, chiefly focusing on real estate, eminent domain and construction issues in the space, on behalf of both public and private clients.

Practice head(s):

Brad Kuhn

Other key lawyers:

David Graeler

Key clients

Southern California Edison (SCE)

Southern California Gas Company

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)

Crystal Geyser


Jackson Family Wines

Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

California Water Service Company

City of Alameda

County of Sonoma

Bayside Village Marina

Brookfield Development

Theodore Crack

Los Angeles World Airport

Work highlights

  • Advising on all real estate-related issues for the Sites Reservoir project, along with creating benefits and obligations agreements and other agreements with the numerous investors and project partners.
  • Representing City of Alameda in litigation concerning the acquisition of a railroad corridor from Union Pacific. Also advising client on other real estate-related disputes.
  • Representing Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority in precondemnation planning and property acquisitions for segment 2B of project.

Sullivan & Worcester

Life science and laboratory, office, mixed-use, market rate housing, student housing and affordable housing projects, among others, comprise much of the deal flow seen by the rapidly expanding practice group at Sullivan & Worcester LLP, co-led by Jennifer Schultz, who specializes on permitting for mixed-use development projects. The group represents a client portfolio that includes some of the most active developers in the greater Boston area on complex permitting, land-use, and environmental law mandates. Ashley Brooks serves as practice co-leader, whilst Victor Baltera  counsels clients on regulatory compliance and permitting matters. Counsel Jordan Smith is another key contact in the team. All attorneys mentioned are in Boston.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Schultz; Ashley Brooks

Other key lawyers:

Victor Baltera; Jordan Smith

Key clients

Skanska Commercial Development USA


Beacon Capital Partners

Columbia Property Trust

FoxRock Properties

Wentworth Institute of Technology

CenterCourt Partners

The Flatley Company

Highland Properties

Work highlights

  • Representing the Flatley Company in the redevelopment of a 25+ acre site in Charlestown, MA.
  • Representing CenterCourt Partners in the redevelopment of 35-75 Morrissey Boulevard, master planning a new mixed-use life science, housing, office campus.
  • Representing Skanska in the redevelopment of the six-acre Simmons Residential Campus in the Fenway/LMA neighborhood of Boston.