Real Estate: New York
Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.
THE FIRM This international firm is praised for its strong financing practice, particularly for its lender representation and its work on UCC foreclosures. Recent highlights include acting on Piedmont Office Realty Trust's foreclosure of a loan on a Chicago office building. Other clients include Dune Real Estate Funds, Loan Star Funds and PCCP.
Sources say: "The quality of the advice is excellent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kevin O'Shea "has the perfect blend of a velvet touch and a brass fist," according to one source. "He can be firm with the other side but without causing backlash." O'Shea recently advised Green Loan Services on a $107 million mortgage loan secured against four properties.
Erwin Dweck's recent highlights include advising The Blackstone Group on its interest in a loan securing the Hotel del Coronado. Clients praise him as being "extremely hard-working, detail-oriented and knowledgeable, with good client service."
THE FIRM This team is recommended for loan matters involving multiple assets, and is also noted for its expertise in secondary mezzanine financing, second mortgages, and additional financing secured by partnership. It advised Fannie Mae on the government's housing market stabilization plan.
Sources say: "They work to get transactions closed."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jacqueline Weiss's broad real estate practice includes advising clients on workouts and other distressed matters. She recently acted for Rose Associates on its assumption of property management at Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan.
THE FIRM This strong finance-oriented team is praised for its skill in negotiating loan agreements with and for major banks and institutions. Recent highlights include representing a private equity real estate fund formed by Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners in the restructuring of distressed development projects worth more than $2 billion.
Sources say: "The team is well integrated and has complementary skill sets. They not only provide excellent legal representation but understand who we are and what our business goals are."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Widely respected practice head Richard Fries is a "creative problem solver with strong negotiation skills." He combines a background in litigation and experience in workouts with "a businessperson's mindset," enabling him to provide "invaluable legal and practical advice," say interviewees. He represented M&T Bank in the workout of the mortgage loan for the Verizon Building, and acted for the loan holder on the distressed loan on 111 Washington Street.
Scott Stern recently represented special servicer JE Robert in the workout of an $80 million loan to Philips International for 40 Rector Street. He has extensive experience in dealing with banks and other institutional lenders, and is said to be "fierce in representing and protecting his clients. He has an unflagging work ethic and unwavering determination in achieving his clients' goals."
THE FIRM Bryan Cave's New York real estate practices houses 37 attorneys and advises both developers and private equity funds, including Och-Ziff Real Estate. The team recently handled GMAC's sale of a major portfolio to Centerbridge Partners.
Sources say: "Overall the quality of their work is excellent. We are pleased with the results, the professionalism and the breadth of knowledge."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Davis is "extremely thoughtful and extremely knowledgeable," and is "one of the premier land use attorneys in Manhattan." He advises a range of clients on land use matters, including acting for New York University on its Plan 2031 project to expand the Greenwich Village campus.
Barry Ross's broad practice covers both construction financing and ground leasing. He is "extremely knowledgeable on all matters relating to real estate transactions, purchase and sales, and land leases," say sources, one of whom added: "He is pragmatic and understands how to get a deal done."
THE FIRM This group is most well known for its financing practice and its expertise on investing lenders, although it does also advise borrowers. The practice acts on acquisitions, sales and exchanges, and leasing, and has particular expertise in mortgage financing within difficult credit markets. Clients include UBS, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Vornado Realty Trust and RBS.
Sources say: "They have always had a strong practice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Fredric Altschuler is respected by market commentators for his many years' experience. He advised JPMorgan on its $225 million loan to Centro Properties Group, regarding a real estate portfolio in California.
William McInerney primarily advises financial institutions on real estate financing. He represented JPMorgan and Bank of America in the securitization of the first mortgage on One Bryant Park.
Senior partner and corporate department cochair Christopher White is noted for his expertise in debt and equity financing.
THE FIRM This firm's corporate and finance-focused real estate practice advises on some of the most complex transactions in the market. Its five partners in New York are widely praised by peers and clients alike for their deep expertise and businesslike, pragmatic approach to deals. The team is especially adept in dealing with real estate entities facing bankruptcy. Recent highlights include advising Genting Group on the $236 million purchase of the Miami Herald building.
Sources say: "Someone on the team is always available to address our questions 24/7."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Horowitz is "a lawyer's lawyer: very detailed, technical, thorough and methodical." He acted for Kindred Healthcare on its $1.3 billion purchase of RehabCare.
Michael Weinberger advised Goldman Sachs on a $320 million mezzanine loan in connection with the financing of the Rockefeller Center. According to sources, he "instills confidence, is extraordinarily succinct, and has a tendency to get what he wants without annoying others."
Steven Wilner is praised as "a skilled lawyer who knows how to bring things together" and "understands the business side of what he does." He advised Yotel and IFA Hotels & Resorts on the financing and development of a new hotel in New York.
THE FIRM This seven-partner department is particularly noted for handling leasing matters, and has advised on the leases for some of Manhattan's most well-known buildings. It acts for major banks and other financial institutions, as well as other blue-chip companies, on the leasing for their headquarters. For example, it recently advised Commerzbank on its lease at Two World Financial Center.
Sources say: "They have good judgment and a reputation for being easy to deal with. They're deal-makers not deal-breakers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gerald Uram is described as a dean of the real estate Bar, and is widely recommended for his leasing expertise. He has "a tremendous amount of experience and excellent problem-solving skills," say sources, who add: "He is very precise and a good negotiator yet very practical." Uram handled the lease of 805 Third Avenue for Meredith, as well as the lease of 1251 Avenue of the Americas for Natixis.
THE FIRM This team is most well regarded for its corporate and finance expertise. It handles financing on both the lender and borrower sides, as well as REIT work and fund formation. In a recent highlight, it acted for Reynolds Group on its issuance of senior secured notes. Other clients include Westfield Group, Prudential Financial and Rank Group.
Sources say: "We get unparalleled client attention – the partners are always on the calls."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Irwin is "not a table pounder but can be forceful and firm," say interviewees. He represented Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in the financing for its purchase of Emergency Medical Services.
Nicole Levin Mesard is noted for her financing expertise. She is "a very good technical player but also practical in terms of understanding and giving advice on the commercial and business side of matters."
THE FIRM This strong finance-focused practice is especially praised for its expertise in dealing with ratings agencies and advising on debt restructurings. It recently advised a consortium of four banks on the financing of a potential bidder for Anglo Irish Bank's $10 billion portfolio sale. Other clients include BlackRock, Credit Suisse, UBS and Standard & Poor's.
Sources say: "They do a fine job with rating agencies."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Laura Ciabarra is commended as one of the best attorneys in her field for workouts and restructurings. She notably represented the mezzanine lenders in the restructuring of the $500 million Meristar financing.
THE FIRM Interviewees are impressed with the diversity of this international firm's real estate practice. The team is noted for its prowess in handling the financing of complicated real estate transactions and for its ability to offer multijurisdictional advice, particularly on Europe-focused deals. Highlights include advising Ladder Capital Finance on a mortgage loan for 681 Fifth Avenue, worth $125 million.
Sources say: "The folks there have been in this business for a very long time and are familiar with all the things that you need to look out for when you're acting with a lender in this space."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Polevoy has a strong focus on leasing and is noted for his representation of MassMutual and GE in a number of hotel sales.
Jeffrey Steiner is commended for his experience in both financing and the CMBS industry. His broad experience of structured financing and deals means he is "especially good for complex work."
"Smart and talented lawyer" Andrew Levy represented BRE Retail Holdings in the purchase of 585 shopping centers from Centro Properties Group, in a deal worth more than $9 billion.
Since publication, Joseph Philip Forte has joined the team from Alston & Bird. Sources describe him as "one of the best lawyers for finance." He focuses on loan origination.
THE FIRM This firm's dirt-oriented real estate practice advises on a range of matters, including distressed real estate transactions, mezzanine financings and leasing. Clients include Angelo, NorthStar Realty Finance and Prada USA.
Sources say: "They compete with the big law firms. They are well led, with great training."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bruce Stachenfeld "has done a tremendous job bringing together good lawyers with an appetite for business law." He has particular expertise in advising clients in co-venture situations.
THE FIRM The team at Fried Frank is involved in a high percentage of major dirt transactions in New York, and is consistently highlighted as one of the very best in the city, with an impressively deep bench. High-profile work of late has included advising Condé Nast Publications on the lease negotiation for its well-publicized move to One World Trade Center.
Sources say: "It knows how to get stuff done. The lawyers are all very smart and practical."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Industry legend Jonathan Mechanic is unanimously praised for his superior abilities and as "an intelligent and talented lawyer who has experience of every situation." He is also noted for his negotiation style: "He knows what's important for making a deal and bringing consensus to diverging parties."
Stephen Lefkowitz is highly recommended by sources, who note that his previous experience working for a government agency provides a useful facet to his land use practice.
Interviewees praise Joshua Mermelstein's broad practice and ability to tackle a range of real estate work. He advises both developers and financial institutions on their real estate deals, including restructurings. He handled Waterman Interests' acquisition of the leasehold of 400 Park Avenue.
Melanie Meyers focuses on land use issues and recently acted for Forest City Ratner on the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.
Robert Sorin is praised as being "loyal and dedicated," with "very good business sense." He acted for Google on its purchase of 111 Eighth Avenue. Sources note that he has benefited from working with Jon Mechanic.
Ross Silver tackles leasings as well as purchases, sales and financings. He advised MetLife, the owner of 85 Broad Street, on Oppenheimer's 15-year lease.
Harry Silvera is "a superb young partner who carries a lot of weight. He gives clients confidence and can seal deals well." He acted for RXR Realty on its joint venture acquisition of the Starrett-Lehigh Building.
THE FIRM This practice climbs the rankings this year having been praised for the high quality of service it provides to clients, which include financial institutions and REITs. It handles hotel acquisition financing, dispositions and foreclosures, tackles public/private work for charter schools, and advises foreign investors on their investments into the real estate market.
Sources say: "Their responsiveness, thoroughness and expertise have been a great asset and I would strongly recommend them to anyone."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Eric Feuerstein is "one of the best strategic transactional lawyers you will find anywhere on the planet," according to sources. He frequently advises financial institutions on such matters as mortgage loans and recapitalizations.
Andrew Lance is "exceptionally detail-oriented," and "extremely committed, intelligent and sensitive." He advises on major building acquisitions and sales, often acting for REITs on such matters.
THE FIRM This market-leading practice impresses across the board, particularly for the strength and depth of its New York team. Its expertise is focused on high-profile sales and acquisitions of commercial property, often involving significant Manhattan landmarks. It acts for an impressive array of developers and investors, including Glenwood Management, SL Green Realty, Starwood Capital and Vornado Realty Trust.
Sources say: "Its strongest qualities include its understanding of the real estate and financial markets coupled with its knowledgeable legal expertise, responsiveness and overall ability to get a deal done."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Ivanhoe is widely praised for "adding value through his real estate industry contacts and great diplomacy. He adds a depth of knowledge and experience that is hard to find." His many recent deals include advising Clipper Equity on its $78.5 million purchase of the Chelsea Hotel. According to sources, he is also "well connected in the markets, and a consensus-building force who is expert in resolving complex issues among counterparties."
Stephen Rabinowitz is widely praised by clients for his expertise in the buying and selling of major commercial property. For example, he advised Denihan Hospitality on the recapitalization of its assets in New York, and creating a joint venture with Pebblebrook Hotel Trust.
Peter Miller joined the firm from Akin Gump in 2011 and is praised as "a smart, diverse lawyer who understands how to make a deal." He represented Edward Minskoff Equities as the buyer on the acquisition of 51 Astor Place.
Gary Kleinman is noted for his specialist knowledge of joint ventures. He "excels at leading teams of lawyers in complex situations," and recently worked on SL Green's restructuring of its investments in the Starrett-Lehigh Building.
THE FIRM Haynes and Boone is praised for its strong leasing practice, with six leasing experts in its New York real estate practice and a further 15 who advise on real estate financing matters. The team represents major clients in significant Manhattan leases, and also represents landlords. Recent highlights include advising SL Green Realty on its purchase and lease of 1552/1560 Broadway. The team also acts for Brookfield Office Properties and Citi, among other clients.
Sources say: "They have a number of really talented lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Problem solver" and experienced leasing expert Stuart Mass handled Brookfield Office Properties' 20-year lease at 245 Park Avenue. He "makes subject matter that is unfamiliar to many clients easily understandable."
Robert Grados has considerable expertise in subordinate debt issues.
Noah Shapiro is praised for his "workhorse" approach and his "attention to detail in an industry where detail really, truly matters." He acted for Lazard on the lease for its headquarters at Rockefeller Center.
THE FIRM This large team handles a variety of work, including dirt transactions on major building acquisition as well as zoning and land use matters. Highlights include handling the mortgage financing for the Empire State Building's fee owner, Malkin, and acting for Savanna on its purchase of 100 Wall Street's mezzanine debt.
Sources say: "In addition to unsurpassed professionalism they are a pleasure to work with, no matter how difficult the discussions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dennis Russo and Scott Mollen are cochairs of the real estate team.
THE FIRM This team has recently been successful advising on the financing of distressed portfolio purchases. It is strong in securitization matters and balance sheet lending, and is further noted for its prowess in equity and workouts and restructurings. Highlights include handling Greenfield Partners' property refinancing for three New York City hotels, which involved securing $400 million in financing.
Sources say: "They are small enough to be able to share responsibilities. I like the fluid nature of how they share partners."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stephen Gliatta cochairs the real estate group and "is the creative brains behind the whole practice." Sources praise him as being "relentless in his pursuit" of a solution. He recently advised Wells Fargo on a $68 million mortgage obtained for the purchase of four hotels.
According to interviewees, Warren Bernstein "manages counterparties very well" and "can reach a legal position that is acceptable to all parties." He notably represented a loan syndicate in the $240 million financing of a major San Diego hotel.
THE FIRM This six-partner team is particularly recommended for corporate real estate deals, including acquisitions and disposals of both portfolios and single assets, as well as joint ventures and REIT formation. The New York practice benefits from the firm's expertise throughout the USA and globally. Recent work has included representing Anglo Irish Bank in its sale of 250 loans secured against real estate. Other clients include Archstone, Bain Capital and LaSalle Investment Management.
Sources say: "The quality of the advice and the team is excellent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Berger is described as "a dedicated, skilled practitioner who is very detail-oriented." He tackled GID Investment Advisers' joint venture in several Brazilian condominium projects, worth around $300 million in total.
Jonathan Schechter is praised for his focus on client service, and his "great legal and business sense." Sources also note that he is "good at negotiating issues that are not his specialty, such as tax. He is creative, brilliant and extremely hard-working." Schechter was part of the team that acted on Starwood Capital's $159 million purchase of a portion of MRV Log.
THE FIRM This firm fields one of the leading zoning and land use groups in the state. It handles many of the most high-profile zoning applications in Manhattan and elsewhere, and is also noted for its expertise on dirt transactions. Key clients include Brookfield Developments, Milstein Properties and the CIM Group, and the team recently advised on the sale of the upper portion of the Times Square Building.
Sources say: "They have really smart lawyers who do good deals, are hard-working and zealously represent their clients."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Leading dirt lawyer Jay Neveloff acted for a hedge fund on the acquisition of Manhattan's Sheffield Apartment Complex. "He is really an incredible lawyer with great clients," say commentators.
Paul Selver also has a specialist zoning practice and is said to be "effective in dealing with city planning approvals." His expertise was demonstrated in his recent advice to South Street Seaport on the alteration of Pier 17.
Michael Sillerman is noted for his work on the zoning approval for 610 Lexington Avenue, and on the enlargement of the former Sotheby's building, 980 Madison Avenue.
Neil Tucker worked on the sale of Saint Vincent Catholic Medicine Centers' main campus in Greenwich Village. He also acted for a real estate fund on the purchase of a development site for more than 500 apartments and a mall.
The firm mourned the passing of effusively-lauded zoning guru Sandy Lindenbaum in August 2012.
THE FIRM This firm is praised for its strong corporate and finance practice, which has the capability to advise on mortgage loan origination as well as securitization. Its lawyers are praised for their high-quality advice as well as their client service, and are highlighted for their willingness to discuss new ideas on an ad hoc, informal basis. The team acts for a range of private equity houses, investment funds and banks, and notably advised a joint venture between Leonard Green Partners and CVC Capital Partners on the acquisition of BJ's Wholesale Club.
Sources say: "They are very strong on the technical side, but they are also very practical; they know when we are off-market."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Spot-on and commercial" global practice head James Hisiger is praised for his pragmatism and ability to get a deal done. "I was lucky to have Jamie working with me," said one high-profile client, referring to a complicated deal. Hisiger's recent highlights include advising The Carlyle Group on a revolving credit facility relating to a REIT's IPO, and representing Trimont Real Estate Advisors in the foreclosure of multifamily assets in New York City.
THE FIRM This four-partner real estate practice concentrates on leasing, and often represents major companies in significant Manhattan leases. For example, it recently advised the American Folk Art Museum on the sale of its West 53rd Street museum building. Other clients include the Durst Organization, Dow Jones and the Winter Organization.
Sources say: "They have a wide range of specialists that are needed to complete transactions. They work with clients to develop the best strategies, and are very careful about attending to details."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Andrew Herz is an "incredible leasing lawyer, probably the best in the city in terms of leasing," say peers. He represented the independent directors of Hotel Carlyle Owners in the sale of the hotel.
Robert Safron handled the Condé Nast Publications lease at One World Trade Center on behalf of WTC Tower 1. He is noted for his vast experience, and praised as being "very good at spotting issues."
THE FIRM This nine-partner team is most well known for its activity in high-value dirt transactions. It frequently acts for international clients, and is able to call on the firm's global offices for support. The broad practice is noted for its ability to tackle corporate transactions such as Related Companies' acquisition of a portfolio of home showroom facilities. The team also has expertise in construction loans.
Sources say: "Our go-to firm – they are fabulous."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Eric Landau is praised as being "hard-working, smart and thorough." He advised Morgan Stanley on its $102 million financing to real estate private equity firm Savanna, for 1375 Broadway.
Robert Wertheimer is well liked and demonstrated his ability to handle big deals with his recent advice to Chinese company HNA on its bid for a Times Square hotel. He also handled William Macklowe in a venture with ING Clarion Partners to acquire 636 Avenue of the Americas.
Described as both "a legend" and an "impressive gentleman," senior statesman Martin Edelman is praised for his extensive experience and his focus on fostering long-lasting relationships.
Peter Olsen "puts his clients first" and is "extremely well regarded in the city." He advises developers on major purchases, including as part of a joint venture.
THE FIRM This firm's real estate department is strong on dirt matters, corporate transactions and financings. Its five-partner team is smaller than some of its competitors, but is noted for its high-quality work on complex and high-value matters. It acts for a range of blue-chip companies, from developers to fund sponsors, which it advises on development projects, equity investments and other matters. Recent highlights include advising Millicom International Cellular on the $182 million sale of more than 2,100 telecom towers.
Sources say: "It is a pleasure to work with people who can cut to the chase so quickly."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Steven Simkin is "just remarkable – he is always prepared, he understands the meat of the matter and articulates his points very quickly." His broad practice covers developments, acquisitions, financing and workouts. He advised Newmark & Company Real Estate on its acquisition by BCG.
Meredith Kane is noted for her experience in complicated transactions, and was part of the team that acted for SL Green Realty on its recapitalization of 1775 Broadway. Clients describe her as "phenomenal – one of the smartest and most creative attorneys we have worked with."
Harris Freidus is a "young guy with a bright future," and is praised for his thoughtful advice. He dealt with the Hard Rock Hotel's major debt restructuring.
THE FIRM This diverse, 15-partner team handles a broad range of real estate work, including property acquisitions, financings and the creation of REITs. It has strong leasing expertise and regularly advises major clients on significant commercial leasing transactions, such as acting for Hermès of Paris on the leasing for retail locations throughout the country. The team also represented SJP Properties in the lease for Eleven Times Square. Other clients include AIG, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, as well as a number of luxury retailers.
Sources say: "The attorneys are very experienced, knowledgeable and completely committed to client service. They are considered among the select experts in the industry for their specialized fields of practice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ronald Sernau is praised as a "smart thoughtful guy" and noted for the breadth of his expertise: "He can do a financing deal, an investment sale deal or a leasing deal." He successfully represented Hines Interests in the $485 million sale of 750 Seventh Avenue.
Steven Lichtenfeld is "a brilliant real estate attorney with experience in many asset classes." He acted for American Realty Properties on its $70 million REIT IPO, and has also tackled a number of debt restructurings for UBS Securities.
David Weinberger recently handled the financing of 1540 Broadway on behalf of CBRE.
Peter Fass is noted for his expertise in syndicated partnerships and his experience with funds and REITs. He advised American Realty Capital and Realty Capital Securities as issuer and underwriter on a number of REITs.
THE FIRM This team is most well known for its representation of funds, particularly hedge funds and private equity funds. It also handles workouts and restructurings, and acts for some developers. The real estate team represented North End Avenue Capital in its financing of two high-rise buildings in Battery Park City. Other clients include Petra Capital, Starwood Capital and AIG.
Sources say: "They are extremely well versed in the art of negotiation, and an excellent source of common-sense solutions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeffrey Lenobel frequently advises private equity funds and hedge funds on real estate-related acquisitions, and is praised for being "capable of being both tough and charming." He handled UBS Realty Investors' purchase of an equity interest in a planned multifamily New Jersey property.
THE FIRM This practice stands out for its expertise in financing, advising lenders on major loans to finance high-profile property and corporate real estate acquisitions. It frequently handles matters with international aspects, such as advising LBBW on its refinancing of Chelsea Market. Other clients include Katz 737, Trinity Real Estate and Shorenstein Properties.
Sources say: "The quality is top-notch."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The practice is headed by Chris Smith, who is "always available and a pleasure to work with." He recently acted on the sale of the Starrett-Lehigh Building for 601 West Associates. Sources also praise him for "having command of the details as well as the big picture."
Financing expert Malcolm Montgomery "has a good rapport with lenders" and is "very attentive to the client." He recently advised Citibank on a $4 billion deal to finance Simon Property Group's purchase of Capital Shopping Centers.
THE FIRM This global firm's diverse real estate practice advises on bankruptcies and restructurings in the real estate sector. It advises both banks and borrowers on loans and the purchase of real estate-related debt.
Sources say: "A player and a competitor."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Weil impresses clients with his expertise across a range of matters, including leasings, financings and the sale and purchase of commercial property.
THE FIRM The four-partner team at this global firm's New York office stands out for its high-level work for funds and private equity houses, including The Blackstone Group and The Carlyle Group. It advises on the purchase and sale of both real estate portfolios and single assets. The practice continues to impress the market with its involvement on megadeals in the real estate sector, such as representing Blackstone in its $9.4 billion acquisition of Centro Properties Group's shopping center portfolio. The team is also highlighted for its international approach, and is often involved in deals focusing on Europe.
Sources say: "We get great service with them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gregory Ressa leads the real estate practice and is praised for his prolific activity on corporate deals.
Sources are "always impressed" with Scott Kobak. He frequently advises Carlyle on its transactions and is an expert in counseling REITs.
THE FIRM This team earns praise for its size and for the quality of its work. It is large enough to handle the most complex restructurings, acquisitions and financings, on both the lender and borrower sides. Peers and clients alike highlight the group's breadth, depth and ability to handle any kind of real estate matter. Recent standout deals include handling Deutsche Bank's financing of the Hotel del Coronado.
Sources say: "The advice is absolutely first rate, and the business knowledge and help they give us on business matters is invaluable."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Harvey Uris is perhaps the practice's most well-known name, and is a "great strategist" who "knows how to run a deal well." His numerous recent deals include advising SL Green Realty on forming a joint venture with Vornado Realty Trust to consolidate debt relating to 280 Park Avenue.
Neil Rock leads the firm's New York real estate practice and has expertise in leasing, restructuring and handling distressed debt. He also advises on acquisitions, developments and joint ventures, and recently represented Centro Properties Group in the refinancing of its shopping center portfolio.
Senior partner Benjamin Needell "brings a business perspective to his legal advice, which is extremely valuable," say sources. He is also praised for his diligence, knowledge and availability. He advised Silverstein Properties on its negotiations with the Port Authority regarding the development plan for the World Trade Center.
A new addition to the rankings, Evan Levy handles all manner of financings, including workouts. He advised Credit Suisse on the Yellowstone Club's bankruptcy.
Since publication, the highly rated Russell Wohl joined the firm from Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP. He is praised for his responsiveness.
THE FIRM This practice enters the corporate and finance rankings for the first time this year, in addition to its dirt ranking, having earned praise for its breadth and high-quality advice. Sources highlights the team's ability to handle complex financings and dirt transactions. Recent highlights include advising Trump Entertainment Resorts on its sale of the Atlantic City Trump Marina Hotel and Casino.
Sources say: "They have a very good grasp of more complex deals and how to structure and provide the appropriate protections without over-lawyering."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice cochair Brian Diamond advises high-profile clients, including funds, on both financing and dirt matters. He represented JPMorgan Investment Management in the sale of 13 malls, worth more than $2 billion.
William Campbell typically advises on real estate loan issues, and recently acted for a fund on the acquisition of a distressed senior mortgage loan.
Steven Moskowitz is "excellent, especially on complex dispositions and acquisitions." He tackled the purchase of seven shopping centers for public REIT Cedar Shopping Centers.
Ross Moskowitz was part of the team that handled the ground lease negotiations for two Milstein Properties buildings in Battery Park City. He is a land use expert, and is noted for his "encyclopedic knowledge on the incentives legislation and regulations that exist in NYC today."
Leonard Boxer "brings creative solutions to difficult problems and is extremely well respected: when he makes a suggestion it is taken seriously." He advised Essex Waterfront on the sale of the Jersey City Liberty Towers complex.
Karen Scanna enters the rankings this year having earned praise for her ability to work quickly under pressure and "always stay one or two chess moves ahead." She advised World Wide Holdings on the lease for 250 East 57th Street.
THE FIRM This team specializes in large and complex big-ticket deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and is frequently involved in complicated work with international aspects. The diverse practice handles debt purchases, M&A real estate transactions and major restructurings; it also takes on litigation pertaining to leases and acquisitions. Highlights include advising Lazard Alternative Investments on the $3.1 billion sale of a portfolio of Altria senior living facilities to Ventas.
Sources say: "They have incredible attention to detail at a senior level."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Joseph Shenker is noted for his legal and financial abilities, with one source saying he is "the best investment banker you will ever find who happens to be in charge of a law firm." Shenker recently handled a $4.2 billion claim against Lehman Brothers on behalf of Canary Wharf.
"Terrific lawyer" Arthur Adler handled the $1.5 billion recapitalization and acquisition of 280 Park Avenue on behalf of SL Green Realty and Vornado Realty Trust. He maintains a general corporate real estate practice and can turn his hand to any large, complicated deal.
Anthony Colletta is praised for his expertise in advising funds on a variety of matters, and for his prowess in debt restructuring. He is noted for his close relationship with Goldman Sachs, and recently represented Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds in a major portfolio recapitalization involving 168 hotels.
THE FIRM This firm's corporate real estate team is especially recommended for its bankruptcy expertise, as demonstrated in its long-running advice to Lehman Brothers. The team has recently handled a number of major M&A and financings for real estate companies, including Brookfield Asset Management's purchase of a $250 million credit facility, secured by real estate. Other clients include Fortress, Landsource and Trump Entertainment.
Sources say: "Weil has a great restructuring practice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Bond has handled a number of matters for Lehman Brothers, particularly its transactions pertaining to Archstone. He "has a great background in transactional work."
Philip Rosen is praised for being able to handle both the debtor and creditor sides of a deal. He "cuts through the heart of the matter, and is businesslike and great on structuring deals," say sources. He advised Centro Retail Trust on its sale to The Blackstone Group, in a deal worth around $9.4 billion.
THE FIRM This New York powerhouse is praised for its pragmatic, deal-oriented lawyers, who handle both financing and dirt transactions. It is also commended for the depth of its bench and the strength of its associates. The team advised Brookfield Asset Management on its investment in shopping mall owner General Growth Properties. Other clients include Ventas, Boston Properties and Citi.
Sources say: "They consistently do excellent work. They have good business sense and lots of really smart associates."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Well-respected senior practitioner Eugene Pinover is a "skilled attorney with a great perspective and the ability to get deals done." He advises Sunrise on its senior living facilities, including a restructuring.
Steven Klein is "practical and responsive, and gives good advice." One source described him as "a truly outstanding lawyer who understands the important issues." Klein frequently acts for Diamond Rock and Goldman Sachs, the latter of which he advised on the restructuring of a mortgage loan secured by the Yotel New York hotel.
The "terrific" Robin Panovka
of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is especially known for his high-profile REIT work and advice on M&A. He recently advised Ventas on its acquisition of Nationwide Health Properties.
of GoldmanHarris LLC is a city planning and land use expert, and is noted for his previous experience in the City Planning Commission.
handles zoning and land use matters at boutique firm Wachtel & Masyr LLP. He advises on projects through every stage of their development.
of SNR Denton is known for his work representing balance sheet lenders. He "has deep experience in real estate finance transactions, is user-friendly and gives excellent advice,"
say interviewees. He represented Helaba on its loan for the acquisition of 180 Broadway.
of King & Spalding LLP is admitted in both New York and Germany, as well as England, and spends much of his time advising German investors on their New York commercial real estate transactions. He is "easy to work with and smart,"
and recently acted on DekaBank's foreclosure of the financing of the Snowmass Base Village hotel in Colorado.
of Loeb & Loeb LLP is praised for his "good business sense."
He demonstrated his expertise on landlord and tenant issues in his advice to 120 Park Avenue Associates on the lease of 400,000 sq ft to Bloomberg.
His colleague Kenneth Sold
is an expert on landlord and tenant work. He tackled Trinity Real Estate's lease transactions at One Hudson Square and 345 Hudson Street.
of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP is noted for his commercial leasing expertise and also works on acquisitions, financings and workouts. He advised Silverstein Properties on the lease of 210,000 sq ft at 7 World Trade Center.
of Joshua Stein PLLC is praised as "a world-class lawyer and a careful, intellectual, thoughtful guy"
who is "hard-working, creative and diligent."
His broad practice encompasses dirt and financing.
of Jones Day advises on both construction matters and real estate litigation. She recently advised on the redevelopment of Madison Square Garden.
is cochair of the firmwide real estate finance group at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He advises clients on their loans for real estate and is commended for his depth of knowledge and attention to detail.
Adam Leitman Bailey
of Adam Leitman Bailey, PC is lauded for his hard work and responsiveness. He is an expert in real estate litigation, and recently advised Sky View Park Purchasers Association and 116 individual plaintiffs on a condominium settlement case against FTC Residential.
"Savvy and practical," Martin Luskin
of Blank Rome LLP is a "very strong private equity lawyer with good knowledge of corporate, partnership and tax law."
He advised George Comfort & Sons as landlord on the lease at the Worldwide Plaza.
Dirt lawyer Martin Miner
leads the New York real estate practice at Holland & Knight LLP. He advises on major purchases and dispositions, and also tackles property deal structuring.
of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC represented KTR Capital Partners in the lease for an 830,000 sq ft data center. He "has an enormous breadth of experience in real estate, yet rolls up his sleeves and gets into the details on everything he works on."
of McDermott Will & Emery LLP is noted for his expertise in luxury hotel transactions. His recent highlights include handling the launch of the PUBLIC hotel line by Ian Schrager in Los Angeles, New York and London.
, who recently joined Holland & Knight LLP falling the fallout of the Dewey & LeBoeuf bankruptcy, and is praised for "seeing things that a lot of people don't see."
He is noted for his expertise in cooperative condominiums.
Corporate expert Chris Price
of Goodwin Procter LLP acted on Five Mile Capital Partners' purchase of 330 North Wabash in Chicago. He is "smart, strategic and forward-thinking,"
and highlighted for his experience in complex transactions.
of Mayer Brown LLP is an expert on real estate financing and is said to be "good at understanding both sides of the equation and picking the right spot to focus on and not give in."
He represented C-III Capital Partners in its merger with NAI Global.
of Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP is noted for his ability on transactions, purchase and sale agreements, leases and mortgage agreements. He advised Welber Broadway on the ground lease of Crowne Plaza Hotel. He "has the ability to negotiate efficiently, and is responsive with great attention to detail."
heads Morrison & Foerster LLP's real estate finance and distressed real estate practices, where he is praised for his knowledge of the New York market. He is noted for his activity on the balance sheet side of deals, and recently advised Eurohypo as administrative agent on the bankruptcy of General Growth Properties.
The "extremely creative" Carl Schwartz
of Hunton & Williams LLP handles major dirt transactions and is praised for his ability to "know when to push and when not to."
According to sources, he "can be relied on to deal with the tough issues and use his experience to offer good practical advice."
He recently arrived from Herrick, Feinstein.
recently joined Goulston & Storrs from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. The "outstanding"
Bressman handles leasing and financing work for major international banks.