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

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Real estate
  2. Hall of Fame
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Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • AVELLUM advised largest Ukrainian brick manufacturer on restructuring and refinancing of its debt

    AVELLUM acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to Private Joint Stock Company with Foreign Investments “Slobozhanska Budivelna Keramika” (“SBK ”) in connection with the restructuring and refinancing of SBK’s debt, valued at approximately EUR20 million. Atlas Advisors, an independent investment banking firm, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the SBK’s shareholders in connection with the restructuring of the credit portfolio, attraction of financing for the debt’s refinancing, and buy-out of SBK’s shares.
  • AVELLUM advises on Ukraine’s USD2 billion Eurobond issue

    AVELLUM acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on the USD2 billion sovereign Eurobond issue consisting of two tranches with 5.5 and 10-year tenor. J.P. Morgan Securities, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, and Citigroup acted as joint lead managers on the transaction.
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    The new anti-money laundering ( AML ) law of the UAE took effect at the end of October 2018. Containing features recommended by the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF ), the new law introduces subtle but important changes to the AML landscape in the UAE. 
  • Confidentiality Under Renewed Focus

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  • Israel Chapter in The Virtual Currency Regulation Review

    Earlier this year, the Israel Tax Authority (ITA) issued two circulars, one on the taxation of digital tokens and the second addressing the taxation of utility tokens in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Additionally, in March, the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) released a detailed interim report by the Committee for the Regulation of Public Offerings of Decentralized Cryptocurrency Coins (Report) (with a follow-up report due to come out around October 2018). Moreover, it is expected that before the end of 2018, legislation will come into force that for the first time will see Israeli primary legislation define virtual currencies as financial assets and mandate licensing for related services, as is later discussed in detail.

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