Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order
by firm name.
Real Estate - New York
THE FIRM The real estate group at this international firm is particularly finance-focused, and comes highly recommended for its expertise in complex debt and equity transactions. In standout matters, the team advised Lone Star Real Estate Funds on its $4.5 billion acquisition of Anglo Irish Bank's nonperforming loan portfolio. An impressive client list also includes AG Insurance, Krung Thai Bank and SL Green.
Sources say: "Top-notch and very professional."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources value the way that department head Kevin O'Shea "cuts through all the red tape and works very hard for his clients to get a good solution." He is also praised because he "has the foresight to see trends and capitalize on them." He was the lead partner on the abovementioned Lone Star matter.
Erwin Dweck represented AllianceBernstein in its joint venture acquisition of two Upper West Side multifamily apartment buildings. An interviewee placed particular value in his ability to "be really creative in structure to ensure we get what we need in deals."
THE FIRM This wide-ranging practice offers expertise across the full spectrum of real estate work, and has been particularly busy of late dealing with substantial leasing matters and workouts. The group also advised Fannie Mae on the refinancing and restructuring of a $450 million loan for Parkmerced. Other notable clients include BBC America, PepsiCo and Acadia Realty Trust.
Sources say: "They were really terrific - a very practical and diligent approach, and they got right to the issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jacqueline Weiss receives a range of plaudits from clients, who value her as "a deal-maker" who is "smart, fast and accessible." She has recently handled a number of portfolio management and leasing matters for fashion brands Lacoste USA and Diesel USA.
THE FIRM The finance-focused group at Bingham is well known for its strength in handling complex loan originations and distressed loan workouts for major financial institutions. Notable matters include acting for Gotham Construction on the closing of a $520 million bond financing for the construction of a large Manhattan residential complex. Key clients also include M&T Bank, Wells Fargo and Citibank.
Sources say: "They're excellent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "absolutely top-notch" Richard Fries is regarded by sources as "one of the premier real estate litigators in the city." He advised M&T Bank on the origination of loans to leading developers worth many billions of dollars. Interviewees are keen to praise his "excellent demeanor," and also comment that "his depth of expertise and intelligence are just wonderful."
Interviewees highlight that Scott Stern is "always reliable and available when needed." Practice highlights include advising Silverpeak Real Estate Partners on the ongoing restructuring of distressed development projects, loans and joint venture interests.
THE FIRM The 11-partner team at Bryan Cave offers expertise across the full spectrum of real estate matters, including a sophisticated land use practice. Of late, the team has been busy representing private equity fund Och-Ziff Real Estate in numerous real estate investments. The firm also acts for NorthStar Realty Finance, Vico Capital and Dune Real Estate Partners.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Davis heads up the firm's land use practice. He regularly handles litigation, administrative proceedings and permitting matters for a varied client base, including lenders and developers.
THE FIRM This strong, finance-focused group is well known for its representation of prominent financial institutions, and especially for its work in securitization and loan origination. It recently advised JPMorgan, Citi and Deutsche Bank on the financing for The Blackstone Group's acquisition of Accor's Motel 6 chain. Other key clients include UBS, Westbrook Partners and Macquarie Bank.
Sources say: "The lawyers are levelheaded and responsive - a great firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Fredric Altschuler is an "excellent attorney," who wins effusive praise for his "perfect combination of zealous advocacy on behalf of his client, while at the same time being pro-business and solution-oriented." He advised UBS as placement agent on the $580 million refinancing of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel.
The highly regarded William McInerney acted on behalf of JPMorgan Chase in connection with a $400 million mezzanine and mortgage loan for New York's HSBC Tower.
Firm chairman Christopher White has substantial expertise in a variety of debt origination matters, and acts for several major institutional investors based in the USA and overseas.
THE FIRM This sophisticated practice focuses on handling complex corporate and finance-related matters for a high-end client base. The team offers particular experience in securitization, leasing and capital markets, and regularly lends this expertise to some of the most prestigious projects in the USA. One highlight saw the group acting on behalf of Goldman Sachs, providing advice on the origination and securitization of a $1.4 billion mortgage loan secured by Hawaii's Ala Moana Center.
Sources say: "Their client service is outstanding." "The response time is immediate and they know how to get deals done and protect the client."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "incredibly intelligent" Michael Weinberger is praised by sources for being able to "synthesize the key risks for businesspeople, and guide their decision making." He advised Goldman Sachs on a $135 million loan advanced for the acquisition of 222 Broadway.
Steven Wilner is a "businessman's lawyer" who "puts the legal issues in the appropriate context" according to interviewees. Standout matters include advising Genting Group affiliates on the development and financing of a proposed $500 million Massachusetts resort casino.
Sources appreciate that Steven Horowitz is "a lawyer's lawyer and is very well grounded." He advised Genting Organization on a proposed $4 billion investment for a major exhibition and convention center development at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.
Kimberly Blacklow advised multiple CMBS 2.0 lenders on the origination of repo facilities totaling more than $500 million. Sources highlight that she is "a very savvy attorney, highly proficient in the workout of complex structured real estate transactions, and also a very skilled negotiator."
THE FIRM This group offers experience across the full spectrum of real estate matters, and is well known for its prolific leasing practice. The team is regularly involved in representing landlords, owners and lessees in some of the City's most substantial office, commercial and retail leases. Highlights include flagship store lease negotiations for major fashion clients.
Sources say: "They're a terrific firm." "Very conscientious, smart and good at what they do."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Chair of the practice Gerald Uram is celebrated as "an excellent leasing lawyer" by sources, who also note that "he's a terrifically nice guy and very responsive." His clients include Lehman Brothers Holdings, which has sought his advice on a variety of leasing transactions in New York and across the country.
THE FIRM This real estate practice is known for its expertise in corporate and finance matters, and also offers experience on the dirt side, regularly representing clients in acquisitions, dispositions and leasings. One highlight was the team's representation of the Westfield Group in the $1.15 billion sale of seven US shopping centers to a consortium led by Starwood Group. Other notable clients include Beacon Capital Partners, Tishman Speyer and Rockefeller Group.
Sources say: "They work extremely hard and always in a timely manner."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Irwin chairs the real estate group, and has a strong reputation in the market. He represented a fund advised by JPMorgan Investment Management in connection with the joint venture acquisition and financing of New York's 200 Fifth Avenue, the former International Toy Center building.
Nicole Levin Mesard is a hit with clients, who assert that "she is extremely savvy on the give and take of negotiation, and how to argue our points and advance our interests." In practice highlights, she advised Westfield Group on a $1.225 billion investment in the World Trade Center retail development site.
THE FIRM This well-regarded team is particularly recommended for its skills in finance work, and offers high-caliber expertise in securitization and structured finance issues. Noteworthy mandates include representing a foreign government's investment arm in connection with its $1 billion financing of Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Other key clients include Morgan Stanley, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage and Credit Suisse.
Sources say: "The firm does a good job of leveraging its attorneys to make a transaction efficient."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very smart" Laura Ciabarra is well respected in the industry, and sources recommend her for highly structured transactions. She has represented the mezzanine lenders in the restructuring of a wide range of Blackstone financings, including the workout of the $1 billion Carr America financing.
Interviewees highlight that Richard Jones "has great insight into how to balance the legal and business issues, so that clients get the right result." Of late, he has advised Macquarie Bank on the acquisition of mortgage assets from Société Générale worth nearly $600 million.
THE FIRM The real estate group at this international firm can draw on decades of experience handling complex matters on both the dirt and the corporate and finance side. Its deep bench and impressive pool of resources mean the team can take on a raft of substantial projects. One highlight was the representation of Bank of China's New York branch in the $275 million refinancing of Rego Park II, a 610,000 sq ft shopping center.
Sources say: "A top-notch firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Joseph Philip Forte recently joined the team from Alston & Bird. He is hailed as "a legend" who is "at the top of his game." The arrival of Forte adds considerable strength to the firm's real estate finance offering.
Martin Polevoy is the head of the New York real estate group, and recently represented Kroonenberg Groep in the $100 million conversion of 404 Park Avenue South from an office building to a luxury condominium.
Andrew Levy has a broad practice which includes advising clients on joint ventures, restructurings, REITs and debt and equity transactions.
Head of the corporate and finance practice Jeffrey Steiner regularly acts as adviser to prominent investors and financial institutions based in London and in New York.
THE FIRM This distinguished real estate group focuses on handling sophisticated transactional matters, with particular expertise in mezzanine financings, preferred equity and distressed real estate. Notable clients include Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Ralph Lauren and Phoenix Realty Group.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "terrific" Bruce Stachenfeld is the firm's managing partner. He offers a wealth of experience in guiding clients through workouts, bankruptcies and insolvencies.
THE FIRM This powerhouse of the New York market is well regarded for its expertise across the whole spectrum of transactions, including leasings, restructurings and financings. The team works closely with the firm's other departments, such as litigation, bankruptcy and tax, in order to provide a seamless service, and also has notable land use and zoning capabilities. Key clients include Related Retail, Tishman Speyer and Centerbridge Partners.
Sources say: "The firm is one of the best and brightest in terms of speed, accuracy, efficiency and just getting the job done."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department chairman Jonathan Mechanic attracts an array of plaudits from sources across the market, and is widely regarded as "a legend" in the real estate field. He regularly represents REITs, developers, lenders and investors in transactions involving commercial real estate. Clients note that "he is very skillful in terms of making big deals happen - he makes a big difference in the New York City real estate landscape."
The "fabulous" Stephen Lefkowitz is hailed as a "go-to zoning lawyer" by interviewees. He advises a range of companies on the structuring of development projects, and major financing transactions with the City and State of New York.
Joshua Mermelstein offers extensive experience advising clients on joint ventures, developments, acquisitions and financings. He is popular among sources, who describe him as "a really super lawyer," as well as "very smart, and very savvy."
Robert Sorin is noted for his advice to clients on leasing, developments, joint ventures and various financings across the commercial property spectrum. Sources highlight that "he's a fantastic negotiator."
The "very thoughtful" Melanie Meyers concentrates her practice on zoning, land use, public approvals and environmental review matters.
Ross Silver possesses a wealth of experience in matters relating to office buildings, hotels, residential properties and shopping centers. He regularly advises high-profile clients including MetLife and Highgate Hotels.
The "extraordinarily competent" Harry Silvera is praised for his "good commercial instincts." He represents both borrowers and lenders in construction, commercial mortgage and mezzanine financing.
THE FIRM This team is recognized for its strength in representing REITs, private equity funds and developers across a broad range of real estate matters, and is commended for its high-quality client service. Of particular note, the team recently advised Tishman Speyer on the $1.5 billion acquisition of an Australian REIT. The firm also acts for Rockpoint Group, German American Capital and Alexandria Real Estate Equities.
Sources say: "They're very knowledgeable, smart and incredibly hard-working people. They know the area very well, and are good at introducing you to new business possibilities."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources are full of praise for the "extremely knowledgeable" Andrew Lance, stating that "he just knows everything and everyone in the industry, and has a very calming demeanor about him that people on both sides like to work with." He handles a lot of work for German American Capital, and his expertise includes complex debt restructuring and equity interests in developed ventures.
Eric Feuerstein is described by interviewees as "a very hard and diligent worker, who brings a lot of accuracy and attention to the work." He represented RXR Realty in its $920 million acquisition of New York's Starrett-Lehigh building.
Steven Klein has recently joined the firm from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. His experience covers the gamut of transactions, with sources asserting that he is "very thorough, very experienced and has very good judgment."
THE FIRM This preeminent firm is recognized for its expertise in all areas of real estate law, and regularly handles diverse matters such as joint ventures, restructurings, commercial leasing, and acquisitions and dispositions. In one highlight, the team represented public REIT UDR in its $630 million purchase of a five-property portfolio on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Other key clients include SL Green, Glenwood Management and Square Mile Capital.
Sources say: "One of the strongest firms in NYC matters." "They look at real estate like the client wants to look at real estate, and take a business approach to a transaction."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very impressive" Robert Ivanhoe "leads a phenomenal team" at the firm. He is well regarded in the New York market, and sources highlight that he is "very thoughtful and bright."
Gary Kleinman offers experience across a wide array of real estate issues, and wins praise from clients, who assert that "he's wonderful - he's always available, he's always looking out for us and sending us new ideas."
Peter Miller recently advised Ironstate Development on the acquisition of two plots of land bordering New York Bay, to be developed into a new mixed-use site. Interviewees report that "he does an excellent job for his client."
Stephen Rabinowitz wins praise for being "extraordinary on difficult transactions." Notable work includes acting for SL Green on the $135 million acquisition of 304 Park Avenue South.
THE FIRM This real estate group enters the rankings in recognition of its burgeoning presence in the New York market, following a number of lateral hires over recent years. The team is particularly noted for its expertise in leasing, and recently advised Brookfield Office Properties on the lease of 1.2 million sq ft at Manhattan's One New York Plaza to Morgan Stanley. The firm also acts for Fisher Brothers, SL Green Realty and L&L Holding.
Sources say: "They are very responsive, hard-working, thoughtful and have good business sense."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stuart Mass is described as "very knowledgeable, very bright, very thorough and detailed." He offers a wealth of experience in the ground leasing of high-end buildings in New York and New Jersey.
Noah Shapiro represented SL Green Realty in connection with Random House's lease at New York's 1745 Broadway. Interviewees assert that he "has a good sense of what the market is," and also note that he is "very knowledgeable, very smart and very careful in his language."
Aaron Beim wins praise from interviewees who describe him as "an excellent lawyer - highly intelligent and with a grasp of the issues way beyond his years."
THE FIRM This firm bolstered its New York real estate expertise with the addition of a nine-strong team from Stark & Stark in autumn 2012. These new hires bring substantial expertise in a range of areas including condominium and cooperative matters. In practice highlights, the team represented the Republic of Turkey in connection with the construction of a new consulate. Other key clients include Sherwood Equities, Toll Brothers and The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
Sources say: "Excellent - very up to date and very well rounded."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients are impressed by Mitchell Korbey, reporting that he is "knowledgeable and gives great advice." He has also served in various roles at New York City departments, giving him valuable insight into city workings.
THE FIRM The group at Kaye Scholer is widely recognized for its strength in the CMBS area, and frequently represents portfolio lenders in construction and syndicated term financings. Recent highlights include representing Jefferies LoanCore in the provision of $160 million of preferred equity financing for New York's Park Avenue Seagram Building. Other key clients include Greenfield Partners, Deutsche Bank Securities and AWH Partners.
Sources say: "We have never before encountered a firm that has so consistently outperformed the expectations of both their own client and the counterparty." "The lawyers have proven to be invaluable counsel on real estate transactions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Warren Bernstein is praised for his "superb people skills" along with his ability "to anticipate issues in transactions and defuse them before they become material obstacles." He recently advised a European bank with regards to its $125 million financing for the acquisition of a large California hotel.
The "very pragmatic" Stephen Gliatta is commended for his "technical mastery of commercial real estate finance and all of its facets." In standout matters, he represented Deutsche Bank Securities in the $80 million financing of a Chicago Ridge mall.
THE FIRM This firm's real estate practice offers particular experience in advising major real estate private equity funds, and guides clients through joint ventures, financing transactions and debt restructuring. The team recently acted for Starwood Capital on the formation of a joint venture and the subsequent acquisition of seven shopping malls from Westfield Group. An impressive client list also includes Kerzner International Holdings, Archstone and Lubert-Adler Partners.
Sources say: "They are respectful of their client's time and they're well organized. It's a pleasure to work with the Kirkland people." "Very creative and very available."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Berger is a very highly regarded figure in the real estate market, with vast experience in private equity issues. His multifaceted practice includes advising international as well as domestic interests on transactions, financings and joint ventures.
Interviewees appreciate the way Jonathan Schechter can "draw on a wealth of prior transactional experience," and also highlight that he is "very responsive and diligent." He advised Starwood Capital on the formation of a joint venture for the purpose of developing a New York eco-friendly hotel and condominium community.
The "very commercial" Jennifer Morgan is "very calm, doesn't overreact to things and is always looking for constructive solutions." She focuses her practice on real estate private equity, and recently advised Kerzner International on the restructuring of $3 billion of debt.
THE FIRM This firm's real estate department is renowned for its breadth of expertise in both litigation and transactional matters, and regularly acts for investors, owners, developers and bankers. Its excellent zoning and land use practice is also recognized as one of the best in the city. A recent highlight saw the team acting on behalf of New York Life on its $360 million purchase of an office building. The firm also represents Toll Brothers, Rockrose Development and Forest City Ratner.
Sources say: "Responsive and creative." "They are extremely bright, business-savvy and they blend tremendous business awareness with exceptional legal judgment."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jay Neveloff is celebrated among sources, who report that "his judgment is outstanding, as is his understanding of business aspects, and he has great talent in structuring and negotiating transactions." He represents a number of leading companies with regards to their real estate matters.
The "very experienced" Paul Selver is a recognized land use expert who "really knows his business." Recently, he advised Extell Development on obtaining land use approvals for the 3 million sq ft Riverside Center. Interviewees find that "he's very thoughtful, pragmatic and is a problem solver."
Commentators admire Jay Godman's "depth of experience" in real estate matters, and comment that he has "a really good understanding from a business perspective of the details involved, as well as from a legal perspective."
THE FIRM This real estate group is a key player in the capital markets space, and also regularly handles real estate transactions on a local or international basis. The team recently represented the Yucaipa Companies in connection with the $240 million acquisition of UK-based Soho House, a private members' club with locations across Europe and the USA. An enviable client list also includes The Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs and Starwood Capital.
Sources say: "They have a lot of experience in business transactions so they can help us and know when to push the agenda."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Hisiger is commended for his "ton of experience in the space," and is also valued as "a very good negotiator." He represented Barclays in the sale of interests in US and Caribbean real estate with a combined worth of $300 million.
THE FIRM Morrison & Foerster's real estate group is highly respected in the corporate and finance arenas. Interviewees praise its performance in a whole host of roles, including as lender's counsel, and in refinancings and distressed debt purchases, and in M&A-related real estate matters. Its recent highlights include representing Amalgamated Bank as agent for lenders of loans totaling nearly $300 million secured by the Radisson at Los Angeles International and by the Intercontinental Hotel at O'Hare Airport in Chicago.
Sources say: "The service has been excellent, the attorneys are very knowledgeable of the industry, and they're very responsive."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department chair Mark Edelstein is described by interviewees as "thoughtful, smart and responsive," and is also praised as "very creative in problem solving." He represented JPMorgan Chase in the restructuring and enforcement of a $580 million loan for a planned community project in Nevada.
THE FIRM This group is particularly well known for handling top-notch leasing matters on behalf of both landlords and tenants. In one standout deal, the group represented WTC Tower 1 in connection with a lessee's decision to rent a further three office floors at the site, in addition to an already-leased 1 million sq ft. The firm also acts for Morrison & Foerster, Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Durst Organization.
Sources say: "A terrific firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "terrific" Andrew Herz has "developed a great reputation for himself" in the New York market, and contemporaries state that they would refer leasing matters to him "without a shadow of a doubt." He represented a single-purpose entity controlled by AEW Capital Management in connection with the $50 million lease of four floors of 250 Park Avenue to Pernod Ricard.
Robert Safron offers more than 40 years of experience in the area of commercial real estate. He recently advised a party owned and controlled by Durst Organization on a new lease of 360,000 sq ft at 114 West 47th Street.
THE FIRM The real estate practice at this international firm is known for representing big-ticket financial institutions, developers, opportunity funds and pension funds. In notable mandates, the group acted for Morgan Stanley on the $189 million financing of 50 Beale Street in San Francisco, California. An enviable client list also includes William Macklowe, Millennium Partners and Tan-Eu Capital.
Sources say: "They're really tremendous - the response is immediate." "They're excellent business attorneys, and there isn't a deal structure they haven't dealt with."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Wertheimer is "extraordinarily knowledgeable not just in real estate, but in most areas of law," according to interviewees. In a recent highlight, he advised a joint venture on the $425 million refinancing of Illinois's Woodfield Mall shopping center.
Peter Olsen was involved in advising William Macklowe on the $264 million disposition of majority interests in two Manhattan office buildings. Sources describe him as "terrific - a practical lawyer, who sees the bigger picture."
The "highly experienced" Eric Landau is lauded for his expertise in land use and zoning matters. His various roles within the real estate field include acting as outside general counsel to Millennium Partners.
The "fabulous" Martin Edelman wins praise from sources, who note that "he's just extraordinarily strategic, and extraordinarily smart."
THE FIRM This five-partner department offers a breadth of experience in real estate matters, acting for a diverse client base comprising government agencies, investors, developers and REITs among others. The group is recognized for its strength in dirt matters, as well as in corporate and finance issues. In practice highlights, the team assisted Time Warner with its negotiations to acquire over 4 million sq ft of New York office space.
Sources say: "Outstanding - it doesn't seem as though you can come up with a problem so difficult that they can't find a solution."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Steven Simkin is described as "enormously skilled and experienced" by interviewees, who also highlight that he is "able to see solutions from many different sides, and always has client interests as primary." He represented New York Proton Management in connection with the proposed development of the city's first proton center for the treatment of cancer patients.
Harris Freidus advised CIM Group on the acquisition of premier development site 432 Park Avenue. Commentators describe him as "a terrific lawyer."
Sources find Peter Fisch "a pleasure to deal with." He represented joint venture Rock Ohio Caesars in connection with a $275 million senior secured credit facility and a $380 million notes offering.
The "absolutely fabulous" Meredith Kane is "state of the art in her field" according to interviewees. She advised New York City Economic Development Corporation on the $2 billion development of an applied sciences and engineering graduate campus. Sources particularly highlight her "deep understanding of transactional matters with a focus on tax issues."
THE FIRM The practice at Proskauer Rose offers expertise across the whole gamut of real estate issues, on both the dirt side and in corporate and finance matters. The team regularly handles complex projects for REITs, developers and institutional lenders, and of late has represented Vornado Realty Trust in a number of high-profile leasing transactions in New York and Chicago. Other key clients include CBRE, Hermes of Paris and UBS Securities.
Sources say: "A deep bench of superior attorneys."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Lichtenfeld is highlighted by commentators as an "expert on all matters related to real estate finance and capital markets." He advised American Realty Capital Trust on its initial listing on NASDAQ.
Ronald Sernau represented Extell Development in connection with the development of Nordstrom's new Manhattan flagship store. Sources note that he is "efficient, smart and really knows his leasing area."
David Weinberger is "very detail-oriented, and extremely knowledgeable about the lender's viewpoint on loans." In notable highlights, he advised the owners of Harbor Group International on the acquisition, sale and financing of various properties, including the $270 million sale of Four New York Plaza.
Interviewees hail Peter Fass as "the 'Godfather' of the modern REIT." Work highlights include providing ongoing advice to American Realty Capital and Realty Capital Securities in connection with REIT public offerings worth a total of more than $14 billion.
THE FIRM This group is recognized for its expertise in representing private equity funds, and also has vast experience in structuring complex finance deals for both borrowers and lenders. A recent work highlight saw the team advise The Praedium Group on the $500 million acquisition, financing and disposition of 16 properties across multiple states. Other notable clients include GE Asset Management, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors and the Museum of Modern Art.
Sources say: "There's a lot of personal attention there; there's a real thoroughness and a real practicality."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeffrey Lenobel is praised as a "gifted lawyer with a first-rate mind," and sources are particularly impressed by his "vast experience and knowledge." He heads the group and represented the Museum of Modern Art in matters relating to its acquisition of the American Folk Art Museum building.
Julian Wise offers a wealth of expertise across the real estate spectrum, and is highly commended for his "extensive lending experience." He is described by interviewees as "very practical, very thoughtful and very thorough."
THE FIRM This four-partner practice is highly regarded for its skills in real estate finance. The group has recently been involved in a number of headquarter leasings for leading institutions, and highlights include representing Viacom International in the 15-year lease renewal and expansion of its 1515 Broadway headquarters, valued at more than $1 billion. The firm also represents Solow Realty & Development, Shorenstein Properties and Wafra Partners.
Sources say: "The work is very strong, they're always thoughtful and timely, and the turnaround is very quick."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "incredibly intelligent" Chris Smith heads up the department and is "a pleasure to work with," according to sources. He acted for IntercontinentalExchange with regards to the lease of three floors of the Park Avenue Plaza building, to be used for its New York headquarters.
Malcolm Montgomery handles a range of cross-border and domestic real estate finance and investment matters. Interviewees regard him as "a phenomenal force" in the market.
THE FIRM The diverse practice group at Sidley handles a wide array of complex and often high-profile transactions. One highlight saw the group represent Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund with regards to a $355 million construction loan origination and syndication, for two Boston office building developments. Key clients also include MetLife Real Estate, Starwood Property Trust and Forest City Enterprises.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "superb" Alan Weil is "very calm, very thoughtful and very focused on getting deals done," according to sources, who also describe him as "a wonderful person to work with." He has been representing Agricultural Bank of China, in connection with its first US bank operation, negotiating the lease for 277 Park Avenue.
THE FIRM This leading real estate practice is widely recognized for its skills in handling sophisticated matters for leading private equity houses and funds, and has advised The Blackstone Group on a range of transactions. The team also represented affiliates of The Blackstone Group in their acquisition of an 82-office property portfolio from Duke Realty for more than $1 billion. In other highlights, the firm acted for Barclays on the $2.9 billion sale to Lehman Brothers of Barclays' and Bank of America's interest in Archstone.
Sources say: "A premier real estate equity firm." "It's a great real estate group."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice leader Gregory Ressa leads the firm's work for The Blackstone Group, and is lauded by sources as "one of the best private equity guys" in the market. He advised Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII on the proposed $1.9 billion acquisition of Accor's US economy hotels division.
Scott Kobak is recognized by interviewees as "a very practical lawyer," who is "very good on all aspects of real estate." He leads the firm's relationship with major private equity player The Carlyle Group.
The "superb" Sasan Mehrara concentrates his practice on handling joint ventures, financings and real estate acquisitions and dispositions on behalf of private equity firms. In particular, he has handled a lot of work for The Blackstone Group.
THE FIRM This group receives high praise from market sources, who confirm its position as a market leader. The team regularly handles complex transactions for a diverse client base, and is commended for its experience in corporate, finance and dirt matters. In one standout deal, the team advised Centro Properties on its AUD16 billion Australian debt restructuring, via a debt-for-equity exchange. Its enviable client roster also includes Sungate Properties, Genesis HealthCare and FelCor Lodging Trust.
Sources say: "They are top-tier. I love dealing with them." "They do everything really well."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Harvey Uris is "a smart lawyer who doesn't miss anything," and who is lauded for his strong problem-solving skills. He offers a wealth of expertise in all finance-related issues, and recently led the team on the abovementioned Centro Properties matter.
Neil Rock has worked on a number of healthcare-related matters. He also represented Gaylord Entertainment in its conversion into a REIT, which involved the sale of the Gaylord brand to Marriott International for $210 million.
The "fantastic" Benjamin Needell recently represented Silverstein Properties in a $364 million joint venture with Dune Real Estate and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts (Canada), to develop a new Four Seasons Hotel at Disney World Resort, Orlando. Interviewees assert that "he's a brilliant negotiator."
Evan Levy wins praise from sources who value the fact that "his manner and the way he articulates issues are really helpful to us."
Formerly of Patterson Belknap, Russell Wohl joined the real estate group at Skadden in September 2012. He is an expert in commercial leasing matters, especially new construction and complicated condominium leasing.
THE FIRM This group is widely recognized as a go-to practice in New York, and sources comment on its particular strength in the area of condominiums. The team frequently handles projects encompassing the whole spectrum of real estate issues, from workouts to joint ventures and acquisitions. Highlights include advising a pension fund on a joint venture acquisition of 15 acres outside of Washington, DC for the development of a large mixed-use site. Key clients include Silverstein Properties, AIG and JPMorgan Asset Management.
Sources say: "They're extremely smart, organized and have a deep bench."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Campbell is a "very smart individual," who has been busy advising a fund on the complex acquisition of a distressed senior mortgage loan.
Ross Moskowitz is a "really great" adviser, whose practice highlights include representing a joint venture client involved in a mixed-use development valued at $1 billion.
Brian Diamond is "a true businessman's attorney" who is praised by interviewees as "extraordinarily skilled at negotiating." Of late, he has represented a real estate fund in relation to the multistate disposition of 12 senior housing facilities for over $500 million.
Steven Moskowitz represented a pension fund client in the acquisition of a portfolio made up of 50 Texas properties for more than $500 million. Interviewees highlight that he "takes charge, and makes sure the client's needs are met."
Clients speak very highly of Karen Scanna, who acted for Silverstein Properties on the proposed development of three towers on the World Trade Center site.
The well-regarded Leonard Boxer is described as "a brilliant legal mind who really understands the way New York City works." He offers a wealth of experience across both residential and commercial real estate issues, and sources enthuse: "He does great things for the real estate community."
THE FIRM The team at Sullivan & Cromwell offers a seamless multidisciplinary service to clients involved in complex, high-value matters, with particular expertise in joint ventures, financings, restructurings, and acquisitions and dispositions. One significant achievement was the group's representation of Frank McCourt, advising him on the record-breaking sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Dodgers Stadium for $2.15 billion. The firm also acts for Vornado Capital Partners, General Growth Properties and Bank of America.
Sources say: "Great lawyers, great firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Joseph Shenker is described as "one of the most highly respected real estate practitioners" in New York, and sources agree he is "a very talented, very smart guy." Joseph acts as a personal adviser to numerous influential clients, and represented General Growth Properties in the $270 million acquisition of 11 Sears 'anchor pads' in malls across multiple states.
Arthur Adler offers a broad range of experience spanning all areas of real estate, with a particular focus on the finance side. He advised Vornado Capital Partners on the $132 million acquisition of a Miami Beach retail property, as well as its synchronous mortgage loan from Bank of America.
The "unbelievably smart" Anthony Colletta handles loan workouts, private equity fund formations and transactional matters for an impressive client base. Interviewees particularly appreciate his "good business judgment."
THE FIRM This corporate-focused practice is highly regarded for its expertise in debt restructuring, having worked on some of the most complex and high-profile workouts of recent years. The team continues to represent Lehman Brothers Holdings, and advised on its $3 billion purchase of the remaining 53% stake in Archstone. Other notable clients include General Growth Properties, Fortress Investment and Brookfield Asset Management.
Sources say: "Weil has excellent service, responsiveness and completion of engagements."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "phenomenal" Michael Bond is described by sources as "the calming, knowledgeable and creative presence in the room." He handled the Archstone matter for Lehman Brothers, and also advised Lehman on the $820 million sale of a stake in LCOR to the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS).
Philip Rosen represented Brookfield Asset Management in its $400 million joint venture with Hillwood Development to acquire and develop US industrial properties. Interviewees report that he is "very smart, understands the arguments, and is very articulate."
THE FIRM This real estate group is highly recommended for its expertise in complex restructurings, which it handles for a diverse client base of investors, developers, hedge funds and sponsors. In one standout deal, the team represented prominent healthcare REIT Ventas in its $770 million acquisition of Cogdell Spencer, including 72 medical office buildings. The firm also acts for Morgan Stanley, Colony Capital and Citi.
Sources say: "They are very capable, responsive and hard-working."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Eugene Pinover is "an excellent lawyer," whose can offer expert guidance on securitizations and offerings and advises REITs, investors and underwriters. He also represented Sunrise Senior Living in real estate aspects of its acquisition by Health Care REIT.
Real estate litigation expert Adam Leitman Bailey of Adam Leitman Bailey, PC "puts in a tremendous amount of time and a tremendous amount of effort," according to sources. Interviewees also value the fact that "you feel like you have a zealous advocate out there working for you, and you never worry about things when they are in his hands."
Martin Luskin heads up the real estate group at Blank Rome LLP. He focuses on handling LBOs and mergers for a varied client base.
Jesse Masyr recently joined Fox Rothschild LLP from Wachtel & Masyr. Masyr comes recommended as one of the city's "go-to zoning and land use lawyers." His vast range of expertise in the area includes commercial, industrial and residential development.
Howard Goldman of GoldmanHarris LLC is an expert in land use and city planning, who offers more than 35 years of experience in the industry.
The "very intelligent" Christopher Price of Goodwin Procter LLP is praised by interviewees for his "great business mind and keen sense of how to get a deal done." Recently, he advised Silverpeak Real Estate Partners on the sale of office portfolio interests for $1.3 billion.
Robert Bressman recently joined Goulston & Storrs from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Bressman concentrates on complex development and equity matters, as well as sophisticated leasing and financing matters.
Martin Miner is co-head of the practice at Holland & Knight LLP; he wins praise for his "great technical ability and experience." He represented Carey Added Value in the $120 million restructuring of its US operations.
Former Dewey & LeBoeuf partner Stuart Saft recently joined the team at Holland & Knight LLP as a co-head of the practice. He is recommended by sources as a "go-to guy on condominiums," and his recent experience includes representing Marriott International in the $381 million purchase of Manhattan's Essex House Hotel.
Carl Schwartz is head of the real estate group at Hunton & Williams LLP, and interviewees report that "he is a superior negotiator, combining legal acumen with excellent business counsel." Recently he advised World-Wide Holdings on the development of a whole city block for more than $550 million.
Susanna Fodor of Jones Day is described as "extraordinary in construction lending." Sources cite her "tremendous experience" coupled with her ability to understand the client's point of view as her key strengths.
The "absolutely fantastic" Joshua Stein of Joshua Stein PLLC is popular among interviewees, who say he acts as "both a teacher and a lawyer," and that he "is incredibly knowledgeable in every area of real estate."
Wallace Schwartz of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP "is a very calm and effective negotiator" according to sources, who also highlight that "very little comes up that he hasn't previously had experience with, which makes him a very effective adviser." He is experienced in all facets of real estate, from leasing to capital markets.
Raymond Sanseverino of Loeb & Loeb LLP is dubbed "a superstar" by sources, who also note that he is "extremely knowledgeable about commercial leasing, and a very good advocate for his client's position." Recently, he advised Coty on a lease for 120,000 sq ft of expansion space at the Empire State Building.
Kenneth Sold of Loeb & Loeb LLP is praised for his "superior communication skills" as well as for being "responsive and knowledgeable." He represented Trinity Real Estate in a lease for 77,000 sq ft at One Hudson Square to Getty Images.
Robert Koen of Mayer Brown LLP wins praise from sources for his "attention to detail - he makes sure that he leaves no stone unturned, and he fights very hard." He represented HFZ Capital in multiple transactions totaling $600 million.
Interviewees are impressed by Elias Eliopoulos of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, describing him as "very smart, friendly, knowledgeable and quick," as well as "in sync with the needs and desires of his clients."
Sources look to Keith Pattiz of McDermott Will & Emery LLP as "a voice of reason," and laud him for being "strategic, clever, methodical and purposeful in negotiations." He advised King & Grove on its $33 million acquisition of Brooklyn's Hotel Williamsburg.
The "fantastic" Jeffrey Moerdler of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC is described by sources as being "right on the cutting edge" in terms of his work. Practice highlights include advising the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty on the $75 million acquisition of 15 acres of land on Staten Island for the development of a senior housing facility.
Samuel Ross of Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP is described as "knowledgeable, thoughtful and thorough." He represents clients in the purchase and sale of apartment buildings, retail space, hotels and large office buildings.
New entry David Djaha of Ropes & Gray LLP joins the rankings following impressive feedback from the market. According to his clients, he is "extremely knowledgeable and his depth of real estate experience is very useful."
Peter Korda is cochair of the structured and real estate finance group at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He offers experience in all types of real estate lending, and has recently been advising clients on their distressed loan matters, including enforcement actions, sales and workouts.
Robin Panovka is co-head of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz's real estate and REIT M&A group. He offers particular expertise in fund formations, complex private equity transactions and REIT matters.