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Overview

Real estate lawyers work in a variety of areas, including purchases, sales, joint ventures, and financings for projects, as well as navigating the state and local land use regulations. Clients can include owners, developers, landlords, tenants, investors, REITs, and lenders involved in a real estate market. Real estate finance attorneys help to secure financing of residential and commercial buildings and complexes.  The practice can be similar to project finance but with different types of projects. Real estate finance attorneys are often drawn to the work because of the tangible result at the end of the day. Land use attorneys help developers get local and state approval for their projects. Attorneys will negotiate with various government entities and advise clients on regulations that affect their developments. Real estate law is practiced both in large and small law firms, and there are many in-house opportunities with the various players in commercial real estate markets.

Featured Q&A's
Get an insider's view on working in Real Estate from real lawyers in the practice area.
Diana Brummer, Partner • Bridgette Bolte, Associate
Goodwin Procter LLP

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

Diana: In shorthand, my practice focuses primarily on assisting capital in investing in real estate transactions. What that means from a transactions perspective is that I represent investors at various levels of the capital stack, including so-called “money partners” in joint ventures, mortgage and mezzanine lenders, and borrowers in financings, and then on the back end of investment, sellers in asset-level or entity-level dispositions. The wide breadth of my practice, which is typical in Goodwin’s joint venture/real estate finance subgroup, means a broad skill set is needed, and no two days are the same.

Bridgette: My practice focuses primarily in the joint venture, real estate finance, real estate transaction, and hospitality and leisure subgroups in Goodwin’s Real Estate Industry group. We assist clients at all stages of an asset’s life cycle. At the acquisition stage, this includes drafting and negotiating complex joint venture agreements with operating (or investment) partners for both stabilized and development assets and acquiring a commercial property, ranging from multifamily apartment complexes to office buildings to retail or mixed-use projects to hotels and resorts. Often, our clients will acquire assets using a combination of equity and debt, and we assist in negotiating loan documents necessary for funding the acquisition. During an asset’s life cycle, we will often assist our client in refinancing or adding additional debt to the property. Finally, we will assist in the sale of the asset, either as a standalone sale or as a part of a larger portfolio disposition.

What types of clients do you represent?

Diana: I’m fortunate that my clients consist of some of the most active and sophisticated institutional players in the real estate market.

Bridgette: I work primarily with and represent both private and public real estate investment companies, real estate investment funds, other commercial real estate owners, and operators and hotel management companies.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

Diana: In the financing space, I have worked on a number of large construction financings in recent years, representing Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies, the debt platform of Mack Real Estate Group, as the lender of both mortgage and mezzanine debt. Construction financing requires a deep understanding of the intended project and is an exciting way to be involved in the development process.

Bridgette: I work on both domestic and cross-border commercial real estate transactions, including joint ventures, acquisitions and dispositions (both single asset and portfolio, as well as entity level), and financings. In addition, I represent hotel management companies and operators in the negotiation of hotel management agreements with hotel owners.

How did you choose this practice area?

Diana: My academic background focused on East Asian Studies, and I speak Japanese. At the start of my career, Japanese investors were very active in the real estate market, and real estate law was an area where I could pair my interest in Japan with my desire to do transactional work. I eventually ceased to focus on Japan-related work, but my love of real estate work remained. I think many of us in real estate particularly enjoy the fact that a tangible asset is involved, and our work shapes the skylines of various major cities.

Bridgette: Goodwin encourages its summer associates to seek work from all practice areas and even allows them to split work between the firm’s corporate and litigation practices. As a summer associate, I sought work from a number of practice areas I was interested in, including real estate, and ultimately chose real estate for my career because I enjoyed not only the work, but also the group’s partners, associates, and staff. As my career has progressed, I have learned that I also enjoy working and socializing with our real estate clients, both in formal transactional and informal social contexts.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

Diana: This is a difficult question because there really is no typical day. My work is a combination of meeting with clients about new opportunities to work together, teeing up new transactions, reviewing documents that have been drafted by our fantastic associates, leading negotiations, training associates both formally and informally, co-chairing our Women’s Initiative, and troubleshooting issues, among other things.

Bridgette: One of my favorite aspects of my practice is that every day is different. Some days feel very interactive and are filled with client calls and internal meetings. Other days, I spend a large part of my day at my desk drafting or reviewing a sophisticated transaction document or preparing an issues list for discussion with a client and negotiation with our client’s business counterpart. Most often, my days are a mix of both, with any remaining time spent with junior associates, working through diligence questions or preparing closing deliveries and managing deal-closing logistics.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

Diana: For associates going into any kind of transactional practice, I always recommend an accounting class. However, I also think that for most of us, law school is the last component of our formal education, so take advantage of that opportunity to take classes in anything and everything that interests you. (My colleagues may disagree with me on this!)

Bridgette: I would recommend taking an experiential business transaction class (such as contract drafting), as well as corporations and corporate finance. In addition, both secured transactions and tax would be useful background (though, admittedly, I took neither). Goodwin offers both business basics and real-estate-specific training to its junior associates. Coupled with experiential learning and on-the-job training, diligent and hardworking associates will be able to succeed in our practice group even if they did not take specific courses in law school.

What is the most challenging aspect of practicing in this area?

Diana: One of the most challenging aspects of a broad transactional real estate practice is developing expertise in such a wide breadth of issues and structures. Purchases and sales versus financings versus joint ventures present very different issues with changing market norms. This challenge is also part of what keeps the practice exciting.

Bridgette: The most challenging aspect of practicing in the commercial real estate industry is that the real estate industry is ever-changing, and the “hot” asset classes continue to shift with real estate market trends. While challenging, continuing to learn and master new asset classes (e.g., retail vs. industrial) keeps my practice nimble and interesting! Another challenge is that, as this practice is transactional, it can be difficult to effectively predict my schedule for the upcoming week or month and/or plan ahead (both short and long term).

What do you like best about your practice area?

Diana: I like that real estate touches everyone’s life in a day-to-day manner and involves a tangible asset.

Bridgette: As I mentioned above, I enjoy the clients that work in the commercial real estate space. In addition, I enjoy (i) that the underlying asset that I work with is tangible, and from time to time, I am able to visit my projects in person, and (ii) that, most often, we follow an asset from the beginning of its life cycle (acquisition) with a client through the end (disposition).

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

Bridgette: Junior lawyers are primarily responsible for deal organization (e.g., managing transaction checklists), reviewing due diligence materials, drafting closing deliverables and authority documents, and managing closing processes. These tasks lend to direct client contact as well as contact with opposing counsel early and often. Also, in our practice, we have a variety of transaction sizes, and, as such, ambitious junior lawyers will also often obtain experience early on drafting and negotiating larger transaction documents (such as purchase agreements and loan documents) for smaller, leanly staffed transactions.

How do you see this practice area evolving in the future?

Diana: Over the course of my career, commercial real estate has become progressively more institutional and global in nature. That means a firm like Goodwin, with its strong institutional client base and global footprint, is well poised to meet the needs of real estate clients moving forward. I also think we will continue to see interesting developments at the intersection of real estate and technology (i.e., PropTech).

Diana Brummer, Partner, and Bridgette Bolte, Associate—Joint Ventures/Real Estate Finance

Diana Brummer is a real estate partner in Goodwin’s New York office. Diana’s practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions throughout the country, with an emphasis on complex joint ventures, financings representing both lenders and borrowers, acquisitions, dispositions, and loan workouts. Her clients include pension funds, real estate investment funds and their investment managers, and REITs. Diana has been recognized by Chambers USA as one of New York’s top real estate counsel and is recommended by The Legal 500 United States. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from Cornell Law School.

Bridgette Bolte is a real estate associate in Goodwin’s Boston office. Bridgette advises institutional real estate companies in a variety of commercial real estate transactions, including complex joint ventures, mortgage and mezzanine financings, and asset-level and entity-level acquisitions and dispositions (for office, multi-family, industrial, retail, and mixed-use projects, as well as hotels and resorts worldwide). Bridgette also represents institutional investment funds in connection with subscription secured credit facilities, as well as hotel managers in connection with the negotiation of hotel management agreements with hotel owners. Bridgette earned her B.A. in Political Science (with a minor in Global Studies) from the University of California, Los Angeles and her J.D. from Boston University.

Jonathan L. Mechanic, Partner & Chairman • Laurinda Martins, Partner
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

Jonathan: My practice, and that of the department, is broad and encompasses all types of commercial real estate transactions, including purchases and sales, joint ventures, borrower- and lender-side financings, development deals, leasing on behalf of both landlords and tenants, and land use and zoning.

Laurinda: Our firm has one of the largest real estate practices, and it entails a broad range of complex commercial real estate transactions, including land use, acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, leasing, and financings, where we work closely with sophisticated sponsors, investors, and credit providers.

What types of clients do you represent?

Jonathan: We represent owners, developers, landlords, tenants, investors, REITs, and lenders, all of whom are active players in NYC’s real estate market. Brookfield, Google, SL Green Realty Corp., Resnick, RFR, Tishman Speyer, Related Companies, and Vornado Realty Trust are just a small sampling of the clients we represent.

Laurinda: We represent many of the industry’s most sophisticated clients, including large institutions, developers, and owners of many iconic commercial properties and development sites. Two of my largest clients are Brookfield Properties and The Blackstone Group.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

Jonathan: We worked on a number of exciting deals and projects in 2019. We continue to do a variety of work for Related Companies at Hudson Yards and Brookfield at Manhattan West. We are representing JP Morgan in various aspects of its planned 2.5-million-square-foot headquarters redevelopment at its 270 Park Avenue location.

In addition, we advised Blackstone in its acquisition of a 65 percent controlling interest in Great Wolf Resorts. Fried Frank also advised WarnerMedia in its US$2.2 billion sale-leaseback of its 1.5 million-square-foot headquarters at 30 Hudson Yards.

Those were just a few of the projects we worked on this year.

Laurinda: We have recently represented the borrower on several financing transactions, including a US$1.45 billion construction loan for a large office tower development project located in New York City. I am also currently working on construction financing for a multifaceted hotel development in Manhattan. I have been involved in several acquisitions, including several multifamily projects located in California and several large portfolio CMBS loans.

How did you choose this practice area?

Jonathan: I have been interested in real estate since I was a teenager. My father was a “part-time” real estate developer in New Jersey. When I was about 12, he bought a ShopRite that had gone out of business, and he decided to convert it to office use. I walked the site with him as they were tearing out the guts of the building and reconfiguring it into an upscale office property. I knew then that I wanted to be involved in the real estate industry. After law school, I started working at Fried Frank and was fortunate to be able to work with some great people who acted as teachers and mentors, fostering my love of the industry and the practice.

Laurinda: I originally thought I would be involved in the finance industry, utilizing my degrees in Finance and Economics. I debated between bankruptcy and real estate when I started practicing, but I truly enjoyed transactional work, which set me on my path to the real estate world. It is very rewarding to see a project take shape from start to finish, especially on large, complex development projects. There are tangible results that you can see, and you can feel proud that you played a role in their completions. In many cases, our work changes entire city skylines.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

Jonathan: My typical day is very busy, and I would not have it any other way. I carry a significant workload that requires me to juggle client and firm meetings, conference calls, and business development. I also attend many industry and charity events, some of which I am involved in directly and some of which I help support on behalf of our clients. I am on the Board of Trustees of NYU Law School, Chairman of the Furman Institute of NYU, and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Laurinda: While no day is the same, with each presenting new challenges, my typical day involves being actively engaged in various transactions, managing the teams working with me on those matters, mentoring the associates, and focusing on ways to continue to provide great service to our clients.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

Jonathan: Students interested in New York real estate should read the real estate columns in the local papers—The Wall Street Journal’s “Property Report,” the real estate section in Sunday’s The New York Times, Steve Cuozzo’s column “Realty Check” in The New York Post, and Lois Weiss’s column “Between the Bricks” in The New York Post. Of course, an undergraduate degree in finance, economics, or urban planning doesn’t hurt either.

Laurinda: Given the sophistication of our clients and their projects, as well as the complexity of the real estate industry, I would recommend anyone wanting to pursue a career in real estate law take classes in property law, tax, and bankruptcy. Incorporating strong research skills into the practice is also incredibly important. Real estate is heavily structured, so having a firm understanding of tax laws and issues as well as potential litigation risks is key to success.

What is the most challenging aspect of practicing in this area?

Jonathan: Each deal is different and presents its own set of challenges. We all strive to balance protecting our client’s interests and addressing the other side’s legitimate concerns to end up with a deal that is consummated. The uniqueness of each deal is what makes the practice so exciting.

Laurinda: Each transaction is unique and, therefore, presents different challenges. Generally, the common challenge is making sure that you are protecting your client’s interests while meeting their objectives. It becomes more difficult when you do not have a willing counterparty.

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

Jonathan: We have an incredibly talented, close-knit group that feels more like an extended family. That feeling has grown stronger with each year, even as the group has grown in size. We are capable of representing parties on any side of a transaction and in any type of deal, and we expanded to include the number one land use group in NYC, a highly sophisticated lending practice, and a vibrant REIT practice. I do not know of any other group that approaches the depth and breadth of our practice.

Laurinda: Our practice area is unique in the industry, as we have a broad range of expertise in various practice areas—land use, finance, bankruptcy, tax, and litigation. This really enables us to pull from various sectors and expertise and collaborate with a group of partners that are the very best in their disciplines.

What are some typical career paths for lawyers in this practice area?

Jonathan: Real estate lawyers have a variety of different career path options. For me, I began my career as an associate at Fried Frank and then followed my mentor to a client of ours, HRO International, where I was general counsel. Five years later, I had lunch with Joshua Mermelstein, my dear friend and a partner in Fried Frank’s Real Estate group. He was looking to increase the size of the team, and I knew I wanted to return to private practice. I made the decision to return to Fried Frank as partner and have not looked back since.

Many former Fried Frank attorneys wind up working in-house at clients, either in legal or business roles. We love our alumni and stay in close contact with almost all of them!

Laurinda: Real estate attorneys have a broad range of career paths they can take. Associates at our firm have graduated to partner positions and have remained lifelong attorneys. Many of them have also transitioned to in-house positions and become clients of the firm. Some have also become real estate investors, developers, and asset managers. I recently rejoined the firm after taking a position with a long-time client, Brookfield Property Group, where I was senior vice president and was involved with a variety of complex transactions and investments.

How important is collaboration in effectively practicing real estate law?

Jonathan: Collaboration is an important factor to effectively practicing real estate law. Internally, we collaborate amongst the department, including across seniority levels and with other departments at the firm. We are in dialogue with our clients to ensure we are addressing the issues that are most important to them. Our clients view us as strategic advisors, and we are often able to provide creative solutions that get deals done. Real estate is a relationship-driven business, so collaboration is critical.

Laurinda: Collaboration is key to our practice. Being able to tap into the unique expertise our colleagues bring to the table has made us the go-to practice in the industry and has garnered our group numerous awards and accolades.

Jonathan L. Mechanic, Partner & Chairman of the Real Estate Department, and Laurinda Martins, Partner in the Real Estate Department

Jonathan L. Mechanic is a partner in, and chairman of, Fried Frank’s Real Estate department. He became a partner in 1987 when he rejoined the firm after serving for five years as general counsel and a managing director of HRO International Ltd., a real estate development organization.

Mr. Mechanic routinely counsels developers, owners, investors, REITs, and lenders in all aspects of commercial real estate transactions. He has taught the real estate transactions course at Harvard Law School for more than 10 years. Mr. Mechanic received his J.D. from New York University School of Law, graduating Order of the Coif, and his B.A. from Brandeis University, magna cum laude.

Laurinda Martins is a partner in the Real Estate department. She first joined the firm in 2011 and became partner in 2015. She rejoined the firm as partner in 2019 after having acted as senior vice president of Brookfield Property Group for three years.

Ms. Martins has extensive experience with sophisticated commercial real estate transactions, including large-scale acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, and development. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from University of Miami School of Law and her B.A. and B.S., with honors, from University of Florida.

Meghan Hottel-Cox, Senior Associate
Goulston & Storrs PC

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

As a real estate attorney at Goulston & Storrs, I have been exposed to a broad real estate practice, including sales and acquisitions, leasing, finance, and development. As I’ve become more senior, I have concentrated my work on land use work in the District of Columbia. I now help clients build up the DC area while complying with zoning laws and other District regulations.

What types of clients do you represent?

As a Goulston attorney, I have the opportunity to represent a variety of clients. Many of my clients are private developers, both national and local, focused on mixed-use development in Washington, DC. I also represent local universities—including The George Washington University and Trinity Washington University—in their long-term campus-planning efforts, as well as local private schools as they develop their campuses. I also have the honor of representing several nonprofits on a pro bono basis, including Jubilee Housing, So Others Might Eat, and Martha’s Table, which all provide housing and services to low-income and housing-challenged families in the District.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

I work on a variety of zoning and related matters, all within the District of Columbia. Most of my work involves projects seeking discretionary approval from District agencies, including representing our clients in community meetings and public hearings. I also will analyze a property’s future potential for clients as they look to purchase and review client’s architectural plans for compliance with District law. I also assist clients in related real estate transaction work, including drafting contracts connected to their use of property. One of my most exciting projects, which has included almost all of these different tasks, has been development of the Riverpoint project in Southwest DC. This project is a redevelopment of the old Coast Guard headquarters building to create an exciting riverfront, mixed-use building with residential and restaurant uses scheduled to open in 2020.

How did you choose this practice area?

I knew I wanted to go into something related to property from the first week of my 1L property class—I immediately found its rich history and ubiquity fascinating. As I took more classes in real estate, I found my passion, and as I started practicing, I was drawn to land use and development work. Being a “dirt lawyer” is incredibly appealing—you get to help shape the growth of the community around you, and you see projects, literally, from the ground up. It is incredibly satisfying to see the tangible results of your work, and, as a people-person, I love working with all of the various stakeholders on a project, from the client and our team to the community and city officials.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

At any given time, I am working on several zoning cases, usually at various stages in the process. I spend time most days drafting, reviewing architectural plans, meeting or having conference calls with clients and project teams, and meeting with city agencies. I might draft a memo to a client about a potential development on a particular site or draft a filing to persuade a District agency why they should approve my client’s project. Zoning is also a very people-based practice, so I often have calls and meetings with a client, our project team (including architects, civil engineers, and transportation consultants), and city agencies to provide a legal perspective on the project’s development. A few times a week, I also have community meetings and public hearings to explain our project to the public and secure approval of our plans. With such a variety, the work is always diverse and interesting, and I spend a good amount of time away from my desk.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

In addition to the ever-important property class, those interested in real estate should consider broad exposure to real estate issues. These can include real-estate-specific classes like real estate transactions, real estate finance, and land use law, but also may include other related courses that real estate attorneys touch on regularly. These related courses could include tax and partnership tax, corporations, unincorporated business and agency law, secured transactions, environmental law, and administrative law. Skills and drafting courses are also incredibly useful and help prepare for the real-life practice of law beyond just the subject matter. For real estate, negotiations and contract-drafting skills are of utmost importance, so anything you can do to develop those skills will steer you on the right course.

What do you like best about your practice area?

I love the practicality of being a land use lawyer. When I walk around my city, I can see and usually understand why a building looks the way it does—the height, the design, the entrances. Additionally, working on projects in all areas of the District is a terrific way to get to know the city. I have had the opportunity to travel around the city with the most senior members of our practice; they can tell stories about neighborhoods, growth, and specific projects that show how integrated into Washington, DC, land use law is. Having that deep connection to the land and to our built environment is incredibly satisfying.

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

The real estate practice at Goulston is unique in how collaborative it is. While collaboration and collegiality are important in any firm, the level of extensive outreach and help we seek and receive from colleagues is a highlight of Goulston as a firm. My smaller land use practice mirrors this collaboration. We have bi-weekly meetings to discuss all of our projects, we routinely show up at each other’s doors to talk through issues on cases, and we come up with answers to complicated issues together. Having such a collaborative process helps us and our clients by aggregating our knowledge to address every case.

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

As a junior real estate attorney, there are a variety of tasks you will perform to help clients. In sales and acquisitions, you will often review title and survey to get to know the property and alert the client to any issues. For any kind of transaction, you will get to know the deal documents by creating closing checklists and helping keep track of everything needed to close the deal. In land use law, you will draft narratives and exhibits for case filings, research legal questions that arise, and spend time reading the zoning and planning documents in the city to understand how they impact your projects. You will also regularly conduct site visits—as a land use attorney, it is always important to see and walk the property you’re working on. Nothing will help you understand the land as much as standing on it.

How important is collaboration in effectively practicing real estate law?

Collaboration is incredibly important to real estate law. First, internally within a practice group or firm, collaboration is essential to understand multiple perspectives on an issue, to efficiently answer questions that have come up before, and to let clients benefit from the breadth of your collective knowledge. But even beyond your individual group or firm, collaboration in real estate is crucial. In real estate transactions, all parties (almost) always want to get to closing. While interests are not aligned exactly, collaborating to understand and address each party’s issues and get the deal done is the ultimate goal. In land use, collaboration is vital to understanding client, consultant, community, and city perspectives to promote a project that is viable and will serve everyone’s interests, shepherding the project through to completion.

Meghan Hottel-Cox, Senior Associate — Real Estate

Meghan Hottel-Cox is a real estate attorney. She focuses her practice on land use, working with real estate developers and educational institutions on a range of zoning matters. She counsels clients through the full range of project analysis and strategy, helping them to reach their goals when acquiring zoning approvals for projects throughout the District of Columbia. Meghan regularly appears before the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment and the DC Zoning Commission on behalf of her clients. Meghan also handles real estate transactions, such as sales, acquisitions, leasing, and financing of commercial real estate properties. She assists clients with both single-asset and portfolio transactions involving multiple jurisdictions.

Josh Winefsky, Partner
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

The Real Estate group at Kramer Levin is composed of intelligent, driven, strategic, and personable attorneys who collaborate on complex and often transformative “dirt” real estate transactions and projects both in New York and nationwide.

What types of clients do you represent?

I represent a broad range of clients, including real estate developers, funds, global insurance companies, public companies, and family offices. This is largely representative of our group as a whole.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

I handle a wide range of commercial real estate transactions as well as condominium and cooperative developments, and I am particularly adept at commercial transactions in which the subject asset is a condominium unit or development.

My transactional practice includes acquisitions and sales, leasing and development, partnerships and joint ventures, and financing for both borrowers and lenders. I recently represented a major U.S. company in the $1.2 billion sale of a multi-building campus on the Upper West Side. The deal included the negotiation of a lease that allowed our client to continue to occupy the campus following the closing.

My condominium practice includes the representation of developers of high-profile, complex, mixed-use and residential condominium and cooperative projects in connection with the various phases of condominium and cooperative formation and the sales process. I am currently representing the owner of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in connection with the conversion of this world-famous property into a mixed-use condominium, including preparing the condominium’s governing documents and negotiating the terms with the property’s long-term hotel manager, as well as preparing and filing the condominium offering plan for the project. In addition, I have represented companies, including Extell Development Company, CIM Group, and El Ad Group, on multiple projects over the past decade.

How did you choose this practice area?

During law school, my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) worked at a real estate PR firm. Her daily stories fascinated me and inspired me to seek work in the real estate group at Kramer Levin while I was a summer associate. She now runs her own PR company, and I’m waiting for the chance to work together on a project!

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

Organized chaos. Each morning, I make a list of the things that I will do that day, which typically includes a mix of drafting/revising documents and speaking with clients, colleagues, and opposing counsel. Typically, that list proves to be aspirational—unexpected issues arise, priorities get rearranged, and new deals come in. Through it all, my goal is to advance as much as possible and maintain regular communication with the people I work with and for. There is never a dull moment, and that is a big part of what makes my job fun.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

Throughout a transaction, lawyers are regularly communicating by phone and email, exchanging drafts of documents, and managing the pace of the deal and the people working on the deal. It is critical to know how to communicate effectively, write clearly and concisely, and manage yourself and others you work with efficiently.

What do you like best about your practice area?

The most enjoyable aspect of our group’s vibrant, diverse transactional practice is the variety of deals I work on. Our group aims to equip attorneys with a broad skill set and the ability to work on various transaction types. On a typical day, I spend time advancing four to eight different transactions, and often, the transactions fall into different categories. The benefit of this is twofold. First, there is often an aspect of one transaction that will provide insight to an issue on another. For example, representing a landlord in a lease negotiation may inform how I negotiate a provision in a loan agreement regarding a borrower’s right to enter into leases. Second, and more importantly, the broader your skill set, the more effective counsel you can give to a client.

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

We deal with complicated and challenging issues and transactions on a daily basis, and our lawyers have the intellect and creativity to tackle whatever challenges we face. But what sets us apart is the personality of our team. Our lawyers are kind, respectful, and personable. We strive to foster a positive work environment where you can do top-notch work, but also take a break to have a conversation with a colleague about the show you are binge-watching.

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

Junior associates are generally staffed on deal teams with a dual purpose: to gain hands-on experience doing “nuts-and-bolts” assignments and to observe the habits and approaches of senior lawyers. Basic tasks (e.g., completing title and survey diligence, managing checklists, and preparing schedules and exhibits) establish a strong foundation for how real estate transactions are structured. A team setting allows a junior lawyer to learn both tangible and intangible skills by observing, while also creating a natural occasion for mentorship. Our group is eager to give any promising junior associate the opportunity to learn new tasks and take on additional and advanced responsibilities.

How important is collaboration in effectively practicing real estate law?

Collaboration is critical, particularly given the complex nature of the transactions and projects that our clients depend on us to handle. Our group generally does not handle “cookie-cutter” deals. Walking around the Real Estate group, you will regularly see lawyers in each other’s offices and doorways, discussing issues and strategizing solutions. New issues that require unique solutions are par for the course, and our deep bench of bright attorneys is our biggest asset.

Josh Winefsky, Partner — Real Estate

Josh Winefsky advises and represents clients in sophisticated real estate transactions, both in New York City and nationwide. Equally adept working on traditional commercial real estate transactions or on condominium developments and offering plans, Josh brings a unique multidisciplinary perspective to his work for clients, providing counsel that is both innovative and business focused.

Josh handles a wide range of commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and sales, leasing and development, partnerships and joint ventures, and financing for both borrowers and lenders.

Josh also represents developers of high-profile, complex, mixed-use and residential condominium and cooperative projects, guiding clients through the various phases of condominium and cooperative formation and through the sales process, including the preparation and filing of offering plans and applications for no-action letters with the New York State Department of Law.

Josh was named a Crain’s New York Real Estate Rising Star in 2019 and a New York Super Lawyers Rising Star in Real Estate from 2015 through 2019. He earned his J.D. from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in 2009 and his B.A. from Binghamton University in 2006.

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