Firms To Watch: Land use/zoning

Vinson & Elkins LLP  fields a specialist condemnation and eminent domain department based in Houston that particularly excels in condemnation disputes.

Land use/zoning in United States

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP has land use and development experts in several jurisdictions across the US that frequently counsel clients involved in some of the most complex prospective developments. The group has significant experience in urban development and redevelopment projects, including major projects in Chicago, New York, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Los Angeles, and attorneys’ workloads have reflected market trends in build-to-rent and cannabis industry real estate, among others. Head of the national practice group Cecelia Bonifay is based in Orlando, helping developers navigate the governmental approval process for commercial, residential, and industrial projects. Meg George is managing partner of the Chicago office and has broad real estate and municipal law experience, while Joshua Rinesmith leads the New York land use and entitlements team, focusing on real estate development, with a concentration in land use and zoning law and related transactional matters. In Miami, Neisen Kasdin  has extensive civic experience as a former mayor of Miami Beach, and Ian Bachiekov stands out among the group’s up-and-coming attorneys. James McNeil is another key name in Florida, with he and his team in Orlando praised as ‘top notch‘ and providing ‘excellent service‘.

Practice head(s):

Cecelia Bonifay

Other key lawyers:

James McNeil; Neisen Kasdin; Joshua Rinesmith; Meg George; Lisa Kolieb; Jack George; Ian Bachiekov; Kate Duncan; Nora Martins; Jaclyn Scarinci


‘James McNeil and his team are top notch and provide an excellent service.’

Key clients

Illuminarium Chicago LLC

3425 Collins LLC

ESJ Capital Partners

LINK Real Estate

Withers LLC

Lake Nona Land Company

Ryan Companies

Madison Realty Capital

Home Depot

Bajraktari Realty Management Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented ESJ JI Leasehold, the owner and operator of the Jungle Island theme park, in a Special Area Plan (SAP) approval for the site on Watson Island in Biscayne Bay.
  • Advised a charity on seeking approvals from the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development and Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals for construction of a new headquarters in Chicago.
  • Represented a realty management corporation in securing land use approvals from the New York City Planning Commission and City Council to rezone an existing residential district to a higher density commercial district.

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP

A California heavyweight in land use law for all manner of developments, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP advises on some of the largest commercial and residential development projects and transactions in the state. Its real estate transaction and land use teams are fully integrated to provide comprehensive support to a client base that includes major sports teams, real estate developers and tech giants Google and Facebook. Matt Bove oversees the department as chair of the wider real estate group, and experienced of counsel Pamela Duffy is particularly strong on large public and private partnerships. Tay Via is the name to note for regulatory issues, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and laws regarding housing, climate change, redevelopment dissolution and waterfront development. She has co-led advice to Google on redeveloping Downtown West in San Jose alongside Miles Imwalle and Megan Jennings, both dedicated land use and zoning attorneys. Frank Petrilli advises Facebook on land use, entitlement, and transactional matters relating to its headquarters, and Harry O’Brien has vast experience in the region, particularly in stadium builds. All named lawyers are based in San Francisco.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Bove

Other key lawyers:

Pamela Duffy; Tay Via; Miles Imwalle; Megan Jennings; Frank Petrilli; Harry O’Brien

Key clients


Lane Partners

Vallco Property Owner LLC / Sand Hill Property Company

Murphy’s Bowl LLC – development entity for the LA Clippers

San Francisco Giants


San Francisco 49ers

Focil MB (Mission Bay developers)


Work highlights

  • Representing Google in its efforts to redevelop Downtown West, an 81-acre area surrounding Diridon Station in San Jose, California, into a new mixed-use extension of the downtown area.
  • Advising Vallco Property Owner on its efforts to redevelop the 50-acre Vallco Mall in Cupertino into a new mixed-use town center.
  • Assisting Murphy’s Bowl, the development entity for the LA Clippers NBA basketball franchise, with its proposed new $1bn multi-purpose basketball arena in Inglewood, CA.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

DLA Piper LLP (US) continues to be a strong choice for land use and zoning law in a number of jurisdictions across the US, with several teams that have extensive experience planning major real estate developments, brought to bear in its ‘creative problem solving regarding complex land use matters‘. Richard Klawiter heads the department from the Chicago office and is ‘one of the most respected and knowledge zoning attorneys in the city‘ having worked on some of its most notable urban developments. Alongside him, ‘true superstarKatherine Jahnke Dale is an increasingly prominent name in the market, obtaining zoning and public financing approvals in several of Chicago’s largest developments in recent years. Kyndra Joy Casper is another standout name- based in Los Angeles, she is the firm’s most foremost professional on compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Brian Winterhalter joined from Cooley LLP in June 2021 as of counsel at the office in Reston, North Virginia, and is praised for his ‘unparalleled‘ knowledge of Fairfax county zoning regulations. At the same office, Antonio Calabrese receives client recognition as ‘phenomenal at what he does‘ and has managed a significant number of the region’s transformative projects.

Practice head(s):

Richard Klawiter

Other key lawyers:

John Rattigan; Katherine Jahnke Dale; Jerold Neuman; Kyndra Joy Casper; Antonio Calabrese; Brian Clifford; Karen Hallock; Kevin MacWhorter; Brian Winterhalter


‘Unsurpassed in-market knowledge and expertise with strong relationships on both the private and public sectors.’

‘Creative problem solving regarding complex land use matters.’

‘Antonio Calabrese and his team at DLA have deep ties with the personnel in Fairfax County, where our project is located. Tony’s and DLA’s experience and knowledge of the processes for rezoning in the county are invaluable to us. They have guided us well in dealing with a complex, bureaucratic organization at the county. Additionally, they have been prudent and efficient in their use of personnel and time, ensuring that we get the maximum value for their time spent.’

‘I have worked with the DLA land use/zoning groups in both Chicago and in Northern Virginia. Both groups have exceptional knowledge of the local political and government staff stakeholders. Both groups provide exceptional advice and well-reasoned strategic guidance. Simply put, the DLA teams help us get through the entitlement process quicker and better than other groups.’

‘Brian Clifford has a great mastery of land use, planning and the local government entitlement processes. He consistently juggles a tremendous workload to ensure client needs are met on schedule. Brian always obtains answers to client questions quickly and accurately, follows up to ensure projects stay on track and on schedule and works exceptionally well with local government players. He is a tremendous asset to DLA and to all clients that have the opportunity to work with him.’

‘Antonio Calabrese is phenomenal at what he does and he sees the bigger picture. There are few competitors that could handle the scale/complexity of zoning cases.’

‘We mostly deal with Katherine Jahnke Dale and Richard Klawiter. Richard is one of the most respected and knowledge zoning attorneys in the city. His knowledge of past projects and solutions is second to none. Katherine is work horse of the group. She is responsive and is always looking for a solution. She is a true superstar and is respected by clients, the city staff, and local alderman.’

‘We worked with Brian Winterhalter on team both at his prior firm and followed him from his prior firm to DLA Piper. Brian successfully led a complex rezoning application for us. I found his knowledge of both Fairfax zoning regulations and also the intricacies of the county staff and board to be unparalleled.’

Key clients

GRIT Chicago, LLC

Harridge Development Group


Onni Group

601W Companies

The Taubman Company

Origami Capital Partners & Timberline Real Estate Partners

The HYM Investment Group

Tysons Development, LLC

Related Midwest

Work highlights

  • Represented Chicago-based joint venture GRIT Chicago, in securing city council approval of agreements and entitlements to purchase and redevelop a 48-acre tract of land in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood.
  • Acted for the bidding team in the bid response for the acquisition of a legacy project.
  • Advising Origami Capital Partners and Timberline Real Estate Partners on the rezoning of over 100 acres that comprise Innovation Station, along the Metro Silver Line Rail System.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP has a renowned presence in New York City land use and zoning law, currently advising on major projects in the city from the acquisition phase through obtaining permits and navigating the development process, as well as managing the city’s complex regulatory landscape. Development expert Melanie Meyers leads the practice with support from head of the wider real estate department, Jonathan Mechanic. ‘By far one of the best and most qualified zoning lawyers in New York‘, Carol Rosenthal is a go-to attorney for planning involving thorny political and regulatory issues, and of counsel Stephen Lefkowitz is another senior figure focused on large-scale projects. Zachary Bernstein‘s practice is land use focused and he represents clients including private developers, not-for-profits, and religious organizations, while David Karnovsky is another name to note, drawing on professional experience at the New York City Department of City Planning prior to joining the firm. Special counsel Wesley O’Brien advises leading real estate owners and developers, lenders and cultural institutions, and Ellen Lehman is one of a strong pool of associates assisting with the development potential of sites, negotiating rights transfers and obtaining land use approvals.

Other key lawyers:

Carol Rosenthal; Stephen Lefkowitz; Zachary Bernstein; David Karnovsky; Wesley O’Brien; Ellen Lehman; Jeremy Kozin; Nick Williams


‘There are only a few truly well qualified zoning lawyers in New York City, and Carol Rosenthal is by far at the top of this list. New York City’s zoning laws are so complicated. A wrong interpretation can be catastrophic. We do very complicated deals and would only use Carol and her team, because we know we can rely on her expertise to guide us in the right direction.’

‘Carol Rosenthal is by far one of the best and most qualified zoning lawyers in New York. What makes her stand out is her knowledge of the code, and more importantly her ability to determine the intent of various provisions and how that impacts the interpretation of various sections. This knowledge base is keenly important when determining pricing of land, or massing of our projects.’

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP‘s land use and development department is a familiar presence in major projects across California, recognized for its work on major stadiums and arenas, among its portfolio of landmark matters. The team is capable across the full range of potential issues, from entitlements and permitting, ground leases and development agreements to CEQA reviews, PPP waterfront development and the public trust and historic preservation. Leadership of the department is shared between Amy Forbes in Los Angeles, whose focus is at the administrative level, and San Francisco-based Mary Murphy, who has particular experience in PPP and historic rehabilitation projects. Also in San Francisco, Allison Kidd‘s expertise in both land use and transactional real estate make development stage projects her forte, and of counsels Sara Ghalandari and Neil Sekhri both have broad expertise across the range of planning issues most relevant in the state. Douglas Champion is the lawyer to note for entertainment venues, having led advice on a number of headline projects from the Los Angeles office.

Practice head(s):

Amy Forbes; Mary Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Allison Kidd; Douglas Champion; Ben Saltsman; Sara Ghalandari; Neil Sekhri

Key clients

Oakland A’s Major League Baseball team

Berggruen Institute Project

Intuit Dome

Brookfield Properties Development

Madison Square Garden Company

Oak View Group

Golden State Warriors

The Kroenke Group

Related / MPG

Stockbridge / Wilson Meany

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP has a nationwide reputation in land use law, fielding strong teams in a number of major markets spanning Florida, New York, Massachusetts, California, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia. It is particularly dominant in Florida, where land use experts have advised on the state’s major development projects in the recently popular areas of logistics and rental housing. The Miami-based team is led by Joseph Goldstein who specializes in representing developers and private property owners in seeking entitlements and processing complex development or other governmental approvals and permits. Alongside him, Juan Mayol is a key contact for all land use matters and environmental issues pertaining to prospective developments. On the West Coast, Jennifer Hernandez is the primary contact, leading the land use group from the San Francisco office, where Chelsea MacLean is also a key figure, keeping on top of the state’s slew of new housing laws. In Washington DC, Norman Glasgow handles matters of zoning, building code and historic preservation law, and Christine Shiker acts in large, mixed-use and multi-phased projects throughout downtown District of Columbia. Kenneth Lowenstein is the firm’s land use contact on the ground in New York, and from a strong pool of non-partner lawyers, senior associate David Schneider is a name to note. New York's Joseph Guay and Miami-based Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz are notable contacts as head and deputy head of the wider real estate team, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Joe Guay; Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Goldstein; Chelsea MacLean; Norman Glasgow; Jennifer Hernandez; Juan Mayol; Kenneth Lowenstein; Pedro Gassant; Daniel Golub; Christine Shiker; David Schneider


‘Superior knowledge of subject matter. Excellent writing and strategy.’

‘Excellent writing skills and connections within the industry enabling a more effective approach.’

‘Continuous interaction with staff and elected officials. Experience and decades of success.’

‘The team with which I interface comprises individuals with exceptional substantive expertise and, importantly, great humor, empathy, curiosity, and integrity. They are fun to work with and easy to work with. There are other firms with great departments but do not possess the collaborative spirit that H&K exhibits.’

‘The individuals with which I interface possess exceptional substantive expertise and, importantly, great humor, empathy, curiosity, and integrity. They are fun to work with and easy to work with.’

‘The team worked with us to keep our costs low and helped us to navigate our county’s complex rules and regulations. I would recommend them to anyone needing legal expertise in this area.’

‘We worked closely with David Schneider. His experience helped us to move through the process of changing our Special Use permit in a way that was as painless as possible. He was very responsive to questions. He made suggestions that lowered our costs. He negotiated a great outcome. And, he was a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund

Burbank Housing; 3575 Mendocino Avenue

California Coastal Properties Concar Passages

Vision McMillan Partners

WC Smith Squares 695, South Capitol St. and Square 464

Property Group Partners


Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc.

Monument Realty

JBG Smith

Dezer Development LLC

Lennar Homes LLC

Brookfield Property Partners

GID Development Company

The Clorox Companies

Tysons MK, LLC and Tysons MK II, LLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Burbank Housing on the approval of entitlements for redevelopment of a 13.3 acre in-fill site at 3575 Mendocino Avenue located within a Priority Development Area, set in a transit-oriented development in Santa Rosa.
  • Representing Dezer Development in its proposal to redevelop the Intracoastal Mall, a waterfront retail and restaurant center in North Miami Beach.
  • Acting for Property Group Partners in zoning and land use issues for the air rights above the I 395 Center Leg Freeway related to development of more than two million square feet of residential, commercial and institutional development over three new city blocks.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP‘s team of land use attorneys in New York City have a history acting for major developers and institutions in some of the areas landmark developments. In representing clients before before the Department of City Planning, the City Planning Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the group draws on professional experience at the agencies establishing the city’s land use policy. Practice co-head Paul Selver has a particular emphasis on environmental, zoning and historic preservation; he leads alongside Gary Tarnoff, who covers the range of land use, zoning and landmarks issues, as well as having administrative law expertise. Receiving client praise for her ‘long-time experience and expertise‘, Elise Wagner is a senior figure in the market and a go-to counsel for new developments and the reuse of existing sites. She has recently been leading advice to L&L and Columbia Property Trust on prosecuting an application for a zoning change and related approvals regarding the Terminal Warehouse building in Manhattan, supported by Valerie Campbell, Patrick Sullivan and Meenakshi Srinivasan. Other key contacts include James Power, who assists clients with the analysis and assemblage of development sites, and special counsel Sheila Pozon, an advisor on land use and environmental review processes.

Practice head(s):

Paul Selver; Gary Tarnoff

Other key lawyers:

Elise Wagner; James Power; Valerie Campbell; Meenakshi Srinivasan; Eugene Travers; Sheila Pozon; Patrick Sullivan; Adam Taubman


‘They are highly knowledgeable and professional, of course. And the breadth and scope of their practice allows each associate to draw on an array of expertise as needed. For the sake of the reputation of the institution I represent, it is also very important to us that the firms we deal with have the highest standards and are seen as responsible, well-respected actors. Kramer-Levin is in that category.’

‘Elise Wagner is the partner with whom I work with most closely. Beyond her long-time experience and expertise, she understand how academic institutions operate and what our needs are. She also is the definitions of a “team player” which I value highly.’

Key clients

81 Beaver Street LLC

DH Property Holdings

Flag Luxury Group LLC

The Frick Collection

H Hotel

Howard Hughes Corporation

JDS Development Group

LendLease Americas

Madison Realty Capital

Mount Sinai Medical Center

New York Blood Center

One45/Museum of Civil Rights

The Public Theater

Quadrum Global

RFR Holding

Shubert Organization

Terminal Fee Owner LP (L & L and Columbia Property Trust)

Windermere Properties LLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Terminal Fee Owner LP (L&L and Columbia Property Trust) on prosecuting an application for a zoning change and related approvals to expand the permitted uses within the 1.2 million square foot Terminal Warehouse building in Manhattan.
  • Assisting JDS Development with the development of a new primarily residential tower at 9 DeKalb Avenue, which will rise 1,066 feet in height and be the tallest building in Brooklyn.
  • Advising LendLease on the land use and zoning issues associated with its acquisition of 1 Java Street, a 2.6 acre full-block site located on the waterfront in Greenpoint-Williamsburg Brooklyn.

Latham & Watkins LLP

The considerable land use and zoning offering at Latham & Watkins LLP has significant presences on either coast, with strong teams in Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington DC. Attorneys have local expertise and experience, while frequently forming multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary teams to assist clients through the duration of complex real estate projects across the country. A major strength of the practice is at the intersection of land use and zoning and environmental law, James Arnone in Los Angeles and Janice Schneider in Washington DC are key names in that respect. They coordinate the group with co-chairs of the firm’s project siting and approvals group, LA-based Stacey VanBelleghem and Duncan Moore in DC. George Mihlsten‘s vast experience in securing regulatory approvals for large-scale developments and guiding large teams on innovative resource-heavy projects stands him out as one of the leading names in the Californian market, while Lucinda Starrett is a top attorney for entitlement work in the region; both are based in LA. Tommy Beaudreau left in June 2021 after being sworn in as Deputy Secretary for the Department of the Interior, and Christopher Garrett  retired in November 2020.

Practice head(s):

James Arnone; Janice Schneider; Stacey VanBelleghem; Duncan Moore

Other key lawyers:

George Mihlsten; Lucinda Starrett

Key clients

Oasis West Realty LLC

CORE / Grand Avenue


Paramount Pictures

Laguna Beach Club

Santa Monica Beach Club

Ventana Del Sur

California American Water Company (Cal-Am)

Poseidon Water

Hudson Pacific Properties

Sunset Strip Development Clients

Crescent Heights

Oakland Athletics

City of Hope National Medical Center

Terra-Gen Development Company

Occidental Petroleum

Lineage Logistics

Chevron Corporation

FivePoint/Newhall Land & Farming

Avangrid Renewables


8 Minute Solar Energy

Work highlights

  • Advising City of Hope National Medical Center on its long-term major master planning project.
  • Advising lenders on the environmental and land use aspects of the Vineyard Wind offshore wind development financing.
  • Representing Terra-Gen in its on-shore and off-shore renewable projects across the US.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP leads advice to owners, developers and investors in some of California’s most challenging, innovative and long-term projects. One matter illustrative of this has seen practice co-head Jeffrey Haber representing Cedars-Sinai on the entitlement and development of a new 405,000-square-foot addition to the hospital, needing to meet California’s seismic safety requirements for hospitals to withstand a major earthquake and remain operable. Mitchell Menzer leads alongside Haber and has great experience in a plethora of projects, from luxury hotels to corporate headquarters, while Gordon Hart‘s San Francico-based land use work focuses on helping prepare CEQA documents and other project approval documents, then defending these documents in litigation. The practice is closely integrated with the firm’s wider real estate team, and lawyers with frequent crossover input include environmental law specialist Deborah Schmall, and expert in transactional real estate law David Hamsher. Unless otherwise stated, all named lawyers are based in Los Angeles.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Haber; Mitchell Menzer

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Hart; Deborah Schmall; David Hamsher

Key clients


Cedars Sinai Medical Center

A Community of Friends

Marina Del Rey Hospital

Plenitude Holdings, LLC

Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Mack Urban Development

Related Santa Clara LLC

AG-SCH 8150 Sunset Boulevard Owner, L.P.

Associate Capital

Five Point Holdings

Beverly Blvd Associates, L.P.

Lennar Corporation and its partners

Oakland Athletics

Work highlights

  • Representing the Oakland Athletics in its pursuit of a new Major League Baseball stadium and surrounding mixed use development at a maritime terminal along the Oakland estuary.
  • Assisting The Related Companies with the environmental and land use issues associated with its planned redevelopment of 240 acres owned by the City of Santa Clara on top of a closed municipal landfill across the street from Levi Stadium in San Francisco.
  • Advising Associate Capital and its subsidiary California Barrel Company on all aspects of its planned redevelopment of a former PG&E power plant site for a 5 million square foot mixed-use project on a 28-acre site on San Francisco Bay.

Ballard Spahr LLP

Ballard Spahr LLP‘s land use and zoning group has attorneys in various areas of the country that advise on securing all permits and approvals on real estate projects, and excels in historic preservation and environmental issues. It has a particularly strong base in Philadelphia, continuing to represent clients in some of the cities highest-profile developments, and head of the department Matthew McClure is based at the firm’s office there. His practice emphasizes development, land use, zoning, and historic preservation matters and he frequently works with David Gest in cases before the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Philadelphia Historical Commission and the Civic Design Review Committee. In Salt Lake City, Thomas Bennett has a focus on development of commercial and resort properties, frequently involving zoning and entitlements work, while at the Minneapolis office, James Walston heads the firm’s real estate development and transactions group and covers land use and zoning in his broad practice.

Practice head(s):

Matthew McClure

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Bennett; Jon Laria; James Walston; Joanne Phillips ; David Gest; Steven Mehr; Alyssa Domzal


‘Access and availability of top partners, knowledge of land use regulations, relationships with key individuals and regulators, specifically regarding Thomas Bennett.’

Key clients

Midwood Investment & Development

Exeter Property Group

LCOR Incorporated

Wexford Science + Technology

The Rodin Group

Callahan Ward Companies

Mural Arts Philadelphia

Pearl Properties


Brevet Capital Management

Sundance Partners

East West Partners


Padre Canyon Resort, LC

Wasatch Peaks Ranch Development, LLC

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

The team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLPunderstands the ins and outs of the zoning rules of New York‘ and provides the full range of services in land use law, including advice on development enhancement strategies and arising administrative litigation. Clients include developers, institutions, public authorities, non-profit developers of affordable housing, and lenders; and the group has recently handled housing projects, transport infrastructure and hotel developments. Judith Gallent heads the practice and is a renowned figure in New York City planning law, frequently acting in matters involving the New York City Planning Commission, Board of Standards and Appeals, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. James Colgate is the other key contact, a qualified architect who brings expertise to bear on a range of land use matters, including special permits, zoning variances, and complex bureaucratic and political processes.

Practice head(s):

Judith Gallent

Other key lawyers:

James Colgate


‘BCLP is a true institution and can rely on this history, knowledge, and knowhow to deliver results to its clients.’

‘I worked closely with Judith Gallent on the rezoning of a mixed use commercial property. This project had technical and political complexities and Judy led us to a successful outcome. She is a potent leader and demonstrated her abilities while balancing owners, consultants, city agencies, politicians, and community members. Not only did she execute, but she also provided invaluable strategy and insight to us in order to make decisions. I enjoyed working with her personally and hope to do so again.’

‘They understand the ins and outs of the zoning rules of New York.’

‘James Colgate is exceptionally smart, hard working and creative. We think most highly of him.’

‘There is no question that Judith Gallent and James Colgate stand among the top tier of the most talented attorneys in their fields. Since their expertise is slightly different (ie Ms. Gallent’s is specifically land use and zoning and Mr. Colgate’s tilts more toward Department of Buildings and Code issues), together they represent an extraordinary team that quickly digests and comprehends the complex web of issues developers face in New York and can formulate strategic advice and plans to both lead to success and maximize value, which ultimately, is the bottom line of why they’re hired.’

‘Judith and her team are extremely knowledgeable, experienced, networked, and professional. They are easy to reach and produce high quality work quickly. I am confident that their counsel is grounded in rigorous research and years of experience. The team has land use, urban planning, zoning, environmental and code experts on staff who can provide 360 degree understanding of the issues, risks, and solutions.’

‘Judith Gallent is very intelligent, organized, thoughtful, and forceful in advocating for her client’s interests. She knows how to “read the room,” when to push, and when to relent. She looks at obstacles several miles down the road and advises near-term steps to avoid them, which is invaluable in real estate development with 2 – 5 year planning periods.’

Key clients

Arbor Realty Trust

The Archdiocese of New York

Breaking Ground

Certain Solar (d.b.a. NineDot Energy)


Empire State Development Corporation

Fashion Institute of Technology

Janus Property Company

Joseph Safra Real Estate

The Kamali Organization

Kipp Charter School

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The Nightingale Group

The Rockefeller Group

Silverstein Capital Partners

Silverstein Properties, Inc.

St. Nick’s Alliance

Toll Brothers City Living

The University Club

The Hudson Companies

Work highlights

  • Advising Arbor Realty Trust on zoning and land use aspects of various mortgage and mezzanine loans and preferred equity investments in New York City assets, including multi-family new construction, repositioning hotels and retail properties, and conversions.
  • 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

Cooley LLP fields a team of land use and zoning experts based at its Reston office, covering the breadth of projects across Virginia. Praised as an ‘amazing team of innovative, hard working and dedicated attorneys and planners that know how to get zonings approved‘, the team has a focus on the state’s more complex cases, involving obtaining approvals from public bodies, and presenting proposed zoning changes to community groups and the local media. John Lavoie leads the wider real estate team and oversees land use and zoning matters. There are two key specialists to note: Colleen Gillis is a standout name in the market, recently representing longstanding client The Peterson Companies in four significant projects within Loudoun County and the Town of Leesburg; and Mark Looney, who acts for property owners and national, regional and local developers on all aspects of the land planning, zoning and development process.

Practice head(s):

John Lavoie

Other key lawyers:

Colleen Gillis; Mark Looney


‘Amazing team of innovative, hard working and dedicated attorneys and planners that know how to get zonings approved.’

‘They know how to navigate the local processes, politics and bureaucracy better than their peers.’

Key clients

Peterson Companies

Boston Properties

Healthy Hound Playground

Pulte Home Company, LLC

Brookfield Properties

Retail Properties of America (RPAI)

Brambleton Group

IDI Group Companies



Work highlights

  • Advised Peterson on four projects within Loudoun County and the Town of Leesburg, including three residential rezonings for more than 1,500 residential units and a commercial rezoning for approximately 500,000 square feet of commercial development.
  • 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 Healthy Hound Playground, a chain of dog care/kennel facilities, in connection with its expansion plans in Northern Virginia.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson

Cox, Castle & Nicholson‘s California-based land use and zoning team stands out for the variety of projects it advises on across the state. It is a particularly strong choice for developments with notable elements of environmental impact or conservation, and the group’s client base includes developers, investors and owners, as well as government agencies and quasi-governmental agencies. Anne Mudge co-leads the practice from the San Francisco office and is a leading name in permitting renewable energy facilities on the West Coast. Leadership duties are shared with Andrew Fogg in Los Angeles, who is an experienced figure in all aspects of planning, zoning, and environmental review, as well as related litigation, in jurisdictions throughout California. Margo Bradish has long-standing experience in Bay Area entitlements work, while David Waite regularly appears before planning commissions, city councils, and other state agencies on land use and regulatory matters. Up and coming in Los Angeles, Linda Klein‘s practice has an emphasis on the California Environmental Quality Act.

Practice head(s):

Anne Mudge; Andrew Fogg

Other key lawyers:

Mike Zischke; Linda Klein; Margo Bradish; David Waite; Stanley Lamport; Alex DeGood

Key clients

Beechwood Owners Group

Cohen Goldstein Investment Strategies

County of Ventura


Winehaven Legacy LLC

MI San Luis Ranch LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised the Beechwood Owners Group on all aspects of the entitlements for the Beechwood Project in Paso Robles, California, which includes residential units, commercial mixed-use development, and green spaces.
  • Acting for Cohen Goldstein Investment Strategies in its redevelopment at La Brea/Wilshire in the city of Los Angeles, including 121 residential units, a boutique hotel and ground floor commercial uses.
  • Representing the County of Ventura in defending its new countywide General Plan Update against 11 separate lawsuits challenging planned policies to reduce impacts, such as buffers between new wells and homes and schools, and restrictions on flaring gas at new wells.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

The ‘incredibly intelligent and politically savvy‘ practice at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP is a significant player in the California market, with representatives in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco and Sacramento. ‘Incredibly talented‘ practice head Victor De La Cruz coordinates the group from LA and has experience facilitating the approval and development of a wide variety of headline projects in Southern California. In Orange County, Susan Hori has ‘tremendous experience in all sorts of projects‘ and focuses on obtaining entitlements for landowners and developers, including local land use approvals, CEQA compliance, and state and federal regulatory agency permits for real estate development projects. The names to note in San Francisco are Sigrid Waggener, who has particular skill in energy projects, and David Smith, who is frequently engaged in entitlement and permitting matters for contentious projects.

Practice head(s):

Victor De la Cruz

Other key lawyers:

Susan Hori; David Smith; Sigrid Waggener; Jennifer Lynch


‘The Manatt, Phelps & Phillips Land use/zoning team lead by Susan Hori has tremendous experience in all sorts of projects in every phase of your project from DD to operations. Not only is their knowledge second to none, Susan’s reputation is exemplary among both the private and public sides of development. In addition to the deep bench and breadth of expertise, Manatt comes in as a reasonable expense that wont upend your project from relying on them along the entire project.’

‘Susan Hori’s tactful approach and experience enables you to walk a fine line of keeping all sides of a project amicable and still maintaining schedule and budget goals. Susan is always reachable to address urgent project needs and is able to support in many facets outside of what you would expect.’

‘I appreciate the level of personal attention attention provided to their clients. Our questions, concerns, issues, etc are always addressed in a timely and thoughtful manner. The team is incredibly intelligent and politically savvy, which is important when working on land use issues with city councils and other government entities.’

‘Victor De La Cruz is the partner we have worked with consistently on land use issues, and he is incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and also just a kind and pleasant person. It makes a difference to actually like the attorneys you work with!’

Key clients

Aera Energy

Athens Services

California Capital and Investment Group (CCIG)

CapRock Partners

Cargill, Inc.

Joseph Horacek and John Bedrosian

Lyon Living/Synergy Oil & Gas

Mount Saint Mary’s University

Poseidon Water LLC

Trumark Homes

Work highlights

  • Representing Poseidon Water in obtaining approval from the California Coastal Commission and the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop a seawater desalination plant to be located in Huntington Beach, California.
  • Advising Cargill on critical issues surrounding potential future uses and/or conservation of the Redwood City Saltworks industrial facility.
  • Representing Mount Saint Mary’s University on its controversial Wellness Pavilion development project.

Mayer Brown

Edgar Khalatian is ‘extremely knowledgeable about land use issues in various jurisdictions‘ and heads the land use entitlements team at Mayer Brown. He has extensive experience in the range of matters, from land use regulation and obtaining entitlements for residential and mixed use projects, to CEQA compliance, drafting development agreements, and water supply issues. The practice is based at the firm’s Los Angeles office and focuses on complex and controversial projects in the city and surrounding area. Recent trends that the firm has been prominent in include office space for the resident technology and entertainment companies, a standout example being ongoing advice to the owners of a 500,000 square foot office building in Hollywood. Associates Arteen Mnayan and Nedda Mahrou add further dedicated practices in land use and entitlements, while the team also collaborates closely with the wider real estate team and its public policy lawyers.

Practice head(s):

Edgar Khalatian

Other key lawyers:

Dan Queen; Jennifer Chang; Arteen Mnayan; Nedda Mahrou


‘I have been working with Mayer Brown land use for several years. mostly with Edgar Khalatian. he is extremely knowledgeable about land use issues in various jurisdictions. what makes Edgar special is that he goes above and beyond the code. he is creative, solution oriented and time sensitive. he delivers. he adds value to the projects that he is involved with.’

Key clients

Millennium Partners


8150 Sunset

Crown Realty and Cypress Equities

The Post Group

AvalonBay Communities

Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

Encore Capital Management and Cal Coast Development

Watt Companies

Jamison Properties

Mitsui Fudosan USA

Bank OZK

Work highlights

  • Representing owners of a 500,000 square foot office building in Hollywood, designed by MAD Architects.
  • Advised AvalonBay Communities on 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 $1bn redevelopment of the Capital Records property with the Hollywood Center mixed-use project.

Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes

Boutique firm Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes focuses solely on land use, zoning, and environmental matters from its Miami office. The team excels in seeing through the full cycle of complex and politically sensitive legislative matters, bolstered by ‘established relationships with applicable governmental entities‘. Practice head and co-founder of the firm Jeffrey Bercow covers all aspects of local, state and federal real estate permitting and licensing. Melissa Tapanes Llahues specializes in complex and politically sensitive matters for a wide-ranging client base, while Michael Larkin focuses on the areas of Miami Beach, Aventura, Hialeah Gardens, Sweetwater and Key Biscayne. Graham Penn has broad land use and zoning experience and also handles appellate litigation matters before the Eleventh Judicial Circuit’s Appellate Division and the Third District Court of Appeal.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Bercow

Other key lawyers:

Melissa Tapanes Llahues; Michael Larkin; Graham Penn; Michael Marrero; Matthew Amster; Daniel Espino; Emily Balter


‘BRFLT does a very good job of providing excellent service while ensuring costs appropriately managed for clients. They have established relationships with applicable governmental entities which in our experience provided an efficient process for handling matters and issues.’

‘The partners, including Melissa Tapanes, and associates, such as Emily Balter, we work with are very good at assessing our needs and putting together a process which can usually fit our timeline. They are very responsive to communications and provide necessary updates.’

Key clients

Aligned Real Estate Holdings LLC

Location Acquisitions

Adler Development Group and 13th Floor Investments

Rosal Westview, LLC/Panattoni Development Company/Lennar Homes

KTC SW 88 Street LLC

CEO Contract

JDS Development Group (191 SW 12 Owner, LLC)

Florida Kennels, Inc.

The District Board of Trustees of Miami-Dade College

Sweetwater House, LLC

AMP-IV Hidden Harbour, LLC

Fontainebleau Florida Hotel, LLC

Downtown Retail Associates, LLC/Block 55 Owner, LLC

GC3 Development, LLC

Work highlights

  • 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 neighborhood and within the Miami-Dade County Rapid Transit Zone Brickell Subzone.
  • Advising Aligned Real Estate Holdings, as the principal applicant for the creation of the South Dade Logistics and Technology District (SDLTD) , a proposed 800 acre special district that requires an expansion of the Miami Dade County Urban Development Boundary.
  • Acting for Adler Development Group and 13th Floor Investments, who formed a joint venture to redevelop the 7.5 acres of land surrounding the Douglas Road Metrorail Station.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP fields land use experts at several of its East Coast offices, with Miami-based Iris Escarra and Jay Segal in New York sharing leadership duties of the department. The firm has a strong history in the practice area and was one of the first to establish it as a separate department. Recent trends have included complex reassessments for developments with an office component, as well as a rise in condominium builds as people desire more space for home working. Clients include national and international developers on sites that vary from housing and offices to stadiums and transport infrastructure. Nick Hockens and Deirdre Carson in New York are further contacts to note.

Practice head(s):

Iris Escura; Jay Segal

Other key lawyers:

Nick Hockens; Deidre Carson

Herrick, Feinstein LLP

Herrick, Feinstein LLP is well-established in the New York real estate law market and has a fully integrated land use and zoning group led by renowned figure Mitchell Korbey. From offices in New York City and Newark, New Jersey, the team acts for owners, developers, lenders, investors and other stakeholders in a range of developments, working with other subsets of the real estate practice to provide comprehensive assistance. The department also handles zoning litigation, a recent example saw Korbey acting for Mitsui Fudosan and SJP Properties in a challenge from a neighborhood coalition of residents and politicians to a luxury high-rise development. Associate Robert Huberman has extensive experience preparing land use applications and obtaining complex approvals for rezonings, large-scale developments, special permits, authorizations, and certifications. The team also draws on the expertise of planning and development specialist Vinh Vo, who assists attorneys with the gamut of matters.

Practice head(s):

Mitchell Korbey; Belinda Schwartz

Other key lawyers:

Robert Huberman

Key clients

BFC Partners

Centennial Bank

Goldman Sachs

L+M Development Partners

Mitsui Fudosan and SJP Properties

Property Markets Group (PMG)

RAL Development

Real Term Logistics

Rubinstein Partners

William Macklowe Company

BFC Partners

Centennial Bank

Goldman Sachs

L+M Development Partners

Mitsui Fudosan and SJP Properties

Property Markets Group

RAL Development

Real Term Logistics

Rubinstein Partners

William Macklowe Company

Work highlights

  • Represented Mitsui Fudosan and SJP Properties as co-counsel in a zoning litigation involving its development of luxury high rise Amsterdam when a neighborhood coalition of Upper West Side residents and politicians challenged the Department of Building’s approval of the project and two approvals by the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals.
  • Advising PMG on the City’s proposed rezoning of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal neighborhood.
  • Acting for Goldman Sachs in various land use and zoning due diligence matters throughout New York City including zoning due diligence for Alloy Development’s 1.1 million-square-foot development known as 80 Flatbush, in Brooklyn, NY.

Nossaman LLP

Nossaman LLP fields a land use and entitlements team that collaborates with dedicated practices for eminent domain and valuation, and coastal development. The team’s slate of matters includes projects across California and covers major infrastructure, housing and mixed-use developments. A niche area for the department is its expertise in and focus on precondemnation planning, for which practice head Brad Kuhn is a go-to contact. His broad experience covers various matters in the transportation, energy, water, land use development, and telecommunications sectors. John Erskine has strengths in planning and zoning compliance, the California Environmental Quality Act, state resource agency issues, and the California Coastal Act. Erskine and Kuhn are based in Irvine, while in Los Angeles key contacts include coastal land use expert Steven Kaufmann and David Graeler, who has worked on some of the largest public works projects in California.

Practice head(s):

Brad Kuhn

Other key lawyers:

John Erskine; Steven Kaufmann; David Graeler; Bernadette Duran-Brown; Artin Shaverdian; Steven Silva; Aline Madikians


‘Efficient and effective. Delivered quick results in a short amount of time.’

‘Brad Kuhn was excellent. Great client service, effective handling, and was a quick study in knowing client personnel and their respective preferences.’

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

Theodore Kracke

San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA)

City of Los Angeles / Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART)

North Central Valley Solar Holdings, LLC

Mubadala Investment Company

Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro)

Work highlights

  • Representing SANDAG in providing strategic advice and oversight related to the planned Airport Connectivity Project.
  • Representing SCE in land use, zoning, encroachment dispute, utility relocation, inverse condemnation, and right of way acquisition services for multiple electric transmission projects.
  • Advising T-Mobile on a wide-range of land use litigation matters related to co-location issues, access, coverage and utility service disagreements, permitting approvals for new sites and site upgrades, landlord/tenant and contract disputes and eminent domain proceedings.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Ross Moskowitz leads Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP‘s land use offering in New York and is an experienced figure in the market, acting for leading developers, including The Related Companies, and investors such as the Blackstone Group. The firm has a strong real estate law practice that works closely with the land use and zoning professionals, providing rounded support to its clients on projects that range from urban housing to retail; a particular niche strength being complex joint ventures. Special counsels John Egnatios-Beene and Raymond Pomeroy are dedicated to land use, zoning and environmental issues, assisting Moskowitz with the full range of matters. At the associate level, Ashley Doukas is experienced in analyzing the New York City Zoning Resolution, the New York City Building Code, the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. As co-chairs of the wider real estate group, Brian Diamond and Jeffrey Keitelman are further names to note as real estate department chairs.

Practice head(s):

Ross Moskowitz; Brian Diamond; Jeff Keitelman

Other key lawyers:

John Egnatios-Beene; Raymond Pomeroy; Ashley Doukas; Eva Schneider

Key clients

Blackstone Group

The Related Companies

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc.

Chanel, Inc.

JetBlue Airways

The New York Times

Sabey Corporation Inc.

Skyline Developers

F&T Group

Madison Realty Capital

Triangle Equities

TF Cornerstone

Criterion Group LLC

Simone Development Cos.

Work highlights

  • Representing Blackstone in several ongoing matters, including proposed co-generation plants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.
  • Advising The Related Companies on zoning and land use issues relating to the development of Manhattan Tow Pound.
  • Acting for Alexandria Real Estate as land use and zoning counsel in several projects throughout New York City.

Sullivan & Worcester

Jennifer Schultz now co-leads the Boston-based land use and zoning practice at Sullivan & Worcester LLP, a rapidly growing department based in Boston that permits large-scale, complex projects through local, state and federal approval processes. The team’s attorneys draw on professional experience at city planning agencies and architects, as well as recent representation of developers in the Greater Boston area, with a focus on life science, office, mixed-use, and housing. Ashley Brooks leads alongside Schultz and has a practice that covers more general real estate issues, as well as zoning and permitting. Victor Baltera is the name to note for environmental regulatory issues, while counsel Jordan Smith supports on complex mixed-use development work in and around the Boston area.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Schultz; Ashley Brooks

Other key lawyers:

Victor Baltera; Adam Weisenberg; Karen Kepler; Jordan Smith


‘Fantastic group of people that work hard to meet their client’s goals.’

‘They think like owners and become an extension of your team.’

‘A firm with great resources for all aspects of the real estate development business. The firm has very experience personnel able to help with all arising issues.’

‘Very proactive permitting attorney in Jennifer Schultz. She is part of the team not just billing hours. She has great knowledge. Jennifer is consistently proactive, does not let anything fester. Pushing as hard as ownership gives you a confidence in her ability. A very confident and competent attorney with great relationships.’

‘The real estate group has established a reputation with local permitting authorities of being trustworthy & respected. Because of this they have access to federal, state & local government officials.’

‘We work primarily with Jennifer Schultz. She is smart, knowledgeable, reads situations and people, always gets back to you, writes extremely well, listens, and takes control. No lawyer I know works harder than Jennifer. I like to say “she takes no prisoners” which is a compliment. We would not be where we are today if it were not for her. Her passion for this job is amazing. In closing if you want it done right she is your person.’

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 that includes waterfront along the Mystic River.
  • Advising CenterCourt Partners in the redevelopment of 35-75 Morrissey Boulevard, master planning a new mixed-use life science, housing, office campus in Boston.
  • Acting for Skanska in the redevelopment of the six-acre Simmons Residential Campus in the Fenway/LMA neighborhood of Boston.