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22nd Annual Commercial Real Estate Institute


Speaker(s): Christine A. McGuinness, Danna M. Kozerski, David J. Pfeffer, Douglas B. Heitner, Elliot L. Hurwitz, Ivan Gold, Jodi B. Fedor, Jonathan L. Mechanic, Josh M. Leavitt, Kahlil T. Yearwood, Kelly Galligan, Kenneth McCarthy, Kevin M. Kelly, Laura Sugarman, Menachem J. Kastner, Mitchell D. Haddad, Paul M. "Tad" O'Connor III, Richard C. Mallory, Ronald D. Sernau, Steven L. Wilner
Recorded on: Nov. 16, 2020
PLI Program #: 278656

Danna Kozerski is a co-managing partner with Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP in San Francisco, and she is the former chair of the firm's real estate practice group.

Ms. Kozerski represents developers and companies in a wide range of commercial real estate transactions including financing, leasing, and acquisitions and dispositions of office buildings, museums, shopping centers, residential developments and mixed-use projects. She specializes in the formation of joint ventures and public/private partnerships.

Ms. Kozerski is an elected Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and an elected member of the Policy Advisory Board for the University of California, Berkeley’s Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. She is a frequent speaker on leasing, financing and acquisition topics, including presentations for the American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE), the California Continuing Education of the Bar and the Practising Law Institute.

Ms. Kozerski was named the 2021 San Francisco “Lawyer of the Year” in Real Estate Law by The Best Lawyers in America. She was honored by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business” in 2011 and 2012, and she was named to the “Forever Influential” Honor Roll in 2019. She was named a 2011 Dealmaker of the Year by the Daily Journal, one of 20 California real estate attorneys whose complex real estate deals have had a significant impact on local communities and the broader real estate market.

From 2003 to 2009, Ms. Kozerski served as a director and vice president of Habitat for Humanity San Francisco.

She is admitted to practice in the states of California and Michigan. Ms. Kozerski earned her undergraduate degree cum laude from Marquette University in 1984 where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her law degree cum laude from Wayne State University in 1987.


Christine A. McGuinness, leader of Schiff Hardin’s Real Estate Group and member of the firm’s Executive Committee, is a skilled real estate and corporate finance lawyer and a coordinating partner for Schiff Hardin’s New York office. Her 25 years of experience includes proficiency in matters involving real estate development, corporate finance, commercial lending, and financial institutions.

Chris is first and foremost a business lawyer, combining her knowledge of real property and other commercial assets with on-the-ground experience. Clients benefit from her ability to balance the economics of a transaction with the legal protections needed to get it done.

Chris represents real estate developers, funds and lenders in all aspects of commercial real estate, including acquisitions, dispositions, ground leasing; equity investments and mortgage and mezzanine financing.  Her clients are active on a national basis and cover all asset classes.


David Pfeffer is a partner and chair of the Construction Group at Tarter Krinsky & Drogin.

David works with clients in the commercial real estate and construction industry, and represents commercial, institutional and residential real estate owners, operators and developers. David is helping his clients reshape skylines through some of the most significant construction and development projects in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island City.

As a business partner to his clients, David not only provides sound legal advice, but also has a keen understanding of the business climate. He handles matters such as contract preparation, development, continuing operation, leasing and dispute resolution, and also maintains an active practice in business negotiation. Providing business solutions from a legal perspective, David’s practice focuses on project delivery strategies and the preparation and negotiation of design, construction and related contracts for private and public real estate development projects.

In addition, David has litigated cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States and before various alternative dispute resolution boards, gaining a solid reputation as a litigator who develops innovative solutions to complex disputes. He is widely experienced in prosecuting and defending construction and real estate related disputes such as:

  • design errors
  • mold and water infiltration claims
  • building failures
  • delays, acceleration and consequential damage claims
  • surety bond claims
  • insurance coverage disputes
  • lien and trust fund issues
  • bid protests and bid rigging
  • lease and ownership disputes
  • copyright claims
  • general contract matters

David is ranked by Chambers (2006-2020) and Super Lawyers (2016-2020).  


Douglas B. Heitner currently serves as iStar’s Chief Legal Officer. Prior to joining iStar in 2019, Mr. Heitner was a partner in Kasowitz Benson Torres' Real Estate Transactions group, where he represented the nation's leading real estate companies in a wide range of real estate matters. He was previously an associate in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP's real estate group. Mr. Heitner is ranked in Chambers USA and has also been named to Law360's “Rising Stars” list four times, making him one of only 156 lawyers nationwide selected for inclusion in the prestigious listing. Mr. Heitner is regularly recognized in The Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers. He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from Dartmouth College.


Ivan Gold is of counsel in our San Francisco office. Ivan represents clients in all areas of real estate-related litigation in state and federal courts, as well as contested matters and adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court. He has extensive experience in breach of lease and unlawful detainer litigation and pre-litigation counseling and negotiation involving a wide variety of commercial real estate, including neighborhood and regional shopping centers, office buildings, warehouse and industrial properties, data centers, restaurants, and hotels. Ivan represents shopping center developers and landlords of office and data center properties in major bankruptcy proceedings throughout the United States. He has utilized alternative dispute resolution in a wide variety of disputes, including arbitration, mediation and private judge proceedings.

Prior to joining Allen Matkins, Ivan was senior counsel at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP and a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Berg, Ziegler, Anderson & Parker.

Ivan has spoken at continuing education programs sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, State Bar of California, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and the California Continuing Education of the Bar, on topics such as landlord-tenant disputes, the treatment of leases in bankruptcy proceedings, alternative dispute resolution, and real estate-related litigation. Recent presentations have included "Should The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 Make You Change Your Lease Form?" at the 2006 CLE International Negotiating Leases Conference, "Designate This! Designation Rights and Lease Dispositions after the New Bankruptcy Amendments" at the 2008 International Council of Shopping Centers U.S. Law Conference and "The Impact of Bankruptcy on Real Property Transactions," 2008, 2010, and 2012 programs for California Continuing Education of the Bar.


Jodi B. Fedor is a partner at the San Francisco firm of Shartsis Friese LLP and a member of the firm’s Real Estate Department.  She has a broad practice handling commercial real property transactions nationwide for developers, institutional and private owners of and investors in real property, technology companies, and other corporate users of commercial real estate.  Ms. Fedor has particular expertise in acquisitions and sales (office, industrial, residential and mixed use), leasing (office, industrial and retail, both landlord and tenant side), financing (primarily borrower side), and structuring and development.  She also has significant experience representing developers and public entities in public-private real estate development transactions.  On the user side, she has represented several technology and consumer products companies in the acquisition or leasing and development of corporate campuses and major facilities sites, and currently serves as national real estate counsel to several of them, handling all real estate and facilities needs.

Ms. Fedor was previously a partner with SSL Law Firm after more than ten years as a director/shareholder of Ellman Burke Hoffman & Johnson.  Prior to that, she was a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, where she acted as primary counsel to the City’s Real Estate Department and PUC Bureau of Land Management. She began her legal career in the San Francisco real estate group of Morrison & Foerster.

Ms. Fedor received her B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1985 and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1988.  She is an elected Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers; and an elected Member of Lambda Alpha International – Golden Gate Chapter.  She was named a “Northern California Real Estate Woman of Influence” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2017 and recognized as one of the “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Bay Area Commercial Real Estate” by Bisnow Power Women in 2016.  She is listed in The Best Lawyers In America and has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer.  She is a Past President of the San Francisco Chapter of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network and has also served as the Chapter’s Network Delegate, Board Member and Chair of the Governance Committee.


Jonathan L. Mechanic is chairman of Fried Frank’s Real Estate Department. Prior to joining Fried Frank as a partner, he was general counsel and a managing director of HRO International, a real estate development organization.

Mr. Mechanic routinely counsels developers, owners, investors, REITs, and lenders in all aspects of commercial real estate transactions. Notably, he represents JP Morgan in connection with its redevelopment of 270 Park Avenue into a new 2.5 million-square-foot headquarters building; Maefield Development in its approximately US$1.6 billion acquisition of 20 Times Square (aka 701 Seventh Avenue); and CWCapital Asset Management in its sale of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village to Blackstone Group and Ivanhoé Cambridge. He also represents landlords and tenants in commercial leasing and ground lease transactions, including his recent representations of 21st Century Fox and News Corp. on their headquarters leases at 1211 Avenue of Americas; Citigroup in its long-term lease of its global headquarters at 388-390 Greenwich Street and the exercise of its option to purchase the building; Coach in the sale-leaseback of its global headquarters at 10 Hudson Yards; Ernst & Young in its more than 600,000-square-foot lease for its new headquarters at One Manhattan West; Shiseido in its 225,000-square-foot lease at 390 Madison Avenue for its US headquarters; and JP Morgan in its 437,000-square-foot-lease at 390 Madison Avenue.

Mr. Mechanic was awarded the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award from NYU and the 2016 Chambers USA Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession Award. For a decade, Mr. Mechanic has been recognized by Chambers USA as a “Star Individual” in real estate. He is consistently included on Commercial Observer’s “Power 100” list of the most powerful people in NY real estate. Over the years, Mr. Mechanic has been honored for his numerous philanthropic activities. In 2019, Mr. Mechanic was honored at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 24th Annual Real Estate Council Benefit.

Mr. Mechanic has taught the real estate transactions course at Harvard Law School for more than ten years. He also lectures regularly for NYU Law School, REBNY and PLI, and is a co-author of The Commercial Office Lease Handbook published by the American Bar Association.

He is on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors for REBNY and the Board of Trustees of NYU Law School. He is also Chairman of the Advisory Board of NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, a member of the Advisory Board of NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, a member of the Industrial Advisory Board for Columbia University Center for Urban Real Estate, and a member of ACREL.

Mr. Mechanic received his JD from New York University School of Law in 1977, where he served as an editor of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif, and his BA, magna cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1974.


Josh advises his clients on a broad range of construction law matters, including disputes, contracts, and counseling on industry risk. Chair of the Much Shelist Construction Law practice, he has more than 30 years of construction law experience and is an elected Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and Past President of the Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys.

Josh has significant knowledge of the construction industry and represents several worldwide leaders in the construction space, as well as middle-market companies. He has handled all manner of construction law matters for both domestic and foreign clients across the full spectrum of industry participants, including owners, contractors, architects, engineers, suppliers, manufacturers, developers and commercial landlords and tenants. He has handled matters involving dozens of building systems and technologies, on a variety of building and project types.

On the disputes side, Josh has handled defective design and construction, scheduling, delay, disruption, interference, efficiency loss, out of sequence work, cost overrun, mechanics lien, wrongful termination, extra work, change order, fraud, lending, insurance coverage, bonding, green building/sustainability, commercial lease and other disputes. Josh is a frequent user of alternative dispute resolution techniques, including creative forms of mediation and arbitration. He has presented and cross-examined numerous expert witnesses, including structural, mechanical, soil, instrumentation, control system, process and chemical engineers; material scientists; roofing, HVAC, and other building system consultants; standard of care, estimating, scheduling and damages experts; and numerous design professionals and builders.

On the transaction side, Josh counsels clients on delivery system selection, contract negotiation and risk management. Josh has drafted, negotiated and/or advised clients regarding a wide range of construction, design and EPC project agreements. Josh also advises clients on contractor and A/E licensing matters. Josh is often called upon to identify and mitigate risk in connection with M&A transactions in the construction and engineering sectors.

Josh holds a B.A. in Economics from Yale University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. For over 25 years, Josh has been a speaker and author at PLI programs and is proud to be a national co-chair of the PLI Commercial Real Estate Institute for the past four years.


Kahlil T. Yearwood is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he serves as a member of the firm’s Real Estate Department, with a practice focused on commercial real estate finance and capital markets.

Mr. Yearwood represents various portfolio lenders (including specialty finance companies, life insurance companies, hedge funds, and banks), debt fund managers, private equity firms, CMBS lenders, and loan servicers in transactions involving loan origination, loan purchases and sales, subordinate debt financing and acquisition, post-closing modifications, and work-outs.

Mr. Yearwood is consistently ranked as a leading lawyer for Real Estate in California by legal directory Chambers USA, where he is recognized as having a “celebrated lender-side practice, advising on high-value transactions involving properties across the US,” and noted by clients as being “great at coming up with flexible and creative solutions in situations that require something outside the box.”

In addition, he has been listed as a recommended lawyer for Real Estate and Structured Finance by The Legal 500 (U.S.).

Mr. Yearwood is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, a fellow in the American College of Mortgage Attorneys and a frequent speaker on commercial real estate lending and subordinate debt structures.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Yearwood practiced with Dechert LLP since 2005.  He received his Juris Doctor in 2005 from the University of California, Berkeley.  He received his undergraduate degree in 2001 from the University of California, Berkeley.


Kelly Galligan serves as Managing Director and Head of AIG's Commercial Real Estate Finance Legal Team in the U.S. AIG is one of the world’s largest institutional fixed income investors in the Commercial Real Estate Finance (CRE) space. AIG has offices in New York, London, Houston and Los Angeles, and focuses on real estate-related financing and investment transactions, including mortgage loan originations, syndications and securitizations, secondary and portfolio acquisitions of commercial mortgage loans, alternative loan structures, as well as associated loan modifications, loan servicing, workouts, foreclosures, and the management, leasing and sale of real estate. Ms. Galligan is responsible for managing the CRE legal team in the U.S. and for facilitating a multitude of transactions, regulatory compliance and overarching initiatives for CRE more broadly.

Prior to this role, Ms. Galligan was Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel at AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp. with responsibility for oversight of the domestic and international equity real estate investment activities of AIG Global Real Estate and AIG Insurance Companies. In that role, Ms. Galligan advised on structuring and negotiation of joint ventures, financing and construction of new real estate developments, as well as needs associated with the day-to-day management of owned real estate for regulated entities.

Ms. Galligan is passionate about providing thoughtful guidance in line with business objectives and in developing diverse talent. She enjoys serving as the President of AIG's Women & Allies Employee Resource Group based in NY, which is committed to accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion.  The ERG’s theme for 2020 is Cultivating Common Ground.  

Prior to joining AIG Global Real Estate in 2007, Ms. Galligan was a Vice President for Fixed Income at Merrill Lynch, with responsibility for the oversight of legal matters concerning the origination of commercial loans. Ms. Galligan’s early legal experience included private placement and lender side real estate work at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, followed by work as an Associate in the Real Estate department of Proskauer Rose LLP in New York.


Ken McCarthy has been with Cushman & Wakefield since August 2006. As Principal Economist, he works with the Chief Economist on C&W’s U.S. economic position and presents it to the public. As the Applied Research Lead, Ken is responsible for preparing cutting edge research about the outlook for commercial real estate in the Americas.

Before becoming Principal Economist with Cushman & Wakefield, Ken served as Chief Economist of The Center for Innovative Entrepreneurship. Prior to this role he was the Chief Economist for vFinance, Inc. where he oversaw all of the company’s economic analysis and research. He’s headed the Economic Intelligence Company (EIC) that provided economic analysis and advice to Fortune 500 firms and also served as Vice President of Rinfret Associates, Inc. for 14 years.

Professional Recognition

Ken’s market information and studies have been published in several business publications and annual almanacs including: The New York Times, Crain’s New York, New York Real Estate Journal, Real Estate New York and Real Estate Weekly.

Professional Affiliations

  • Member of the Research Roundtable of the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute of Baruch College.
  • Member of the advisory panel of the New York City Office of Management and Budget.

Education

  • Master of Arts degree from Fordham University
  • Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire


Kevin M. Kelly is Senior Finance Counsel for Simon Property Group where he is responsible for legal aspects of finance and transactional matters.  Kevin has had extensive experience in all aspects of commercial real estate related financing, both secured and unsecured, with a particular emphasis on commercial mortgage loan originations and securitization/syndication of the related loans.  Simon Property Group is an S&P 100 company and a global leader in premier shopping, dining, entertainment, and mixed-use destinations.  Prior to joining Simon, Kevin practiced law at Sidley Austin in Chicago, and before that, at Citigroup, Fried Frank and Sidley Austin, each in New York.


Laura Sugarman is a New York real estate attorney who focuses on commercial real estate transactions, including development, conversion to condominium and cooperative ownership, financing and acquisition of sale of residential, commercial, mixed-use and hospitality properties in New York and around the globe. She is also experienced in leasehold condominiums, sales and financing of assets, commercial leasing, development/air rights transactions and New York City land use matters.

Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Sugarman was assistant counsel at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, where she represented New York City in a range of matters, including negotiations with developers, concession agreements and contract negotiations for public-private partnerships.

While attending law school, Ms. Sugarman was the executive editor of the Cardozo Journal of Public Law, Policy and Ethics and a Dean's Merit Scholarship recipient.

Representative matters on which Ms. Sugarman has worked include:

  • represented lenders in analyzing and making construction and other loans with respect to properties in New York and nationally, including several developments in Hudson Yards
  • represented landlords and tenants, including universities, hospitals and charter schools in the structuring and formation of leasehold condominiums throughout New York State
  • represented the purchaser in the acquisition and financing of a $100 million multi-family facility in the Washington, D.C. metro area
  • represented landlords in lease negotiations with retail, commercial and not-for-profit tenants
  • represented sellers and purchasers of development/air rights and real property in various assemblages throughout New York City, including an entire city block downtown
  • represented the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Lincoln Square Synagogue and other not-for-profit organizations in navigating the Attorney General and New York State Supreme Court’s processes to dispose of substantial portions of their assets
  • represented the developers of commercial, mixed-use and residential condominiums, including the Baccarat Hotel and Residences, Aman New York, Halcyon, 212 Fifth Avenue, 154 Spring Street, 45 East 22nd Street, 100 Willoughby Street, 1 Great Jones Alley, Atelier, The Belnord, 737 Park Avenue, 150 East 72nd Street, 11 East 68th Street, 200 East 62nd Street, 325 West Broadway, 421 West 22nd Street, 78 Irving Place, 200 Lafayette Street, 868 Broadway, 1717 Broadway (the Hilton Garden Inn), and 333 East 38th Street
  • represented developers of condominiums with affordable components subject to regulatory agreements with various government agencies, including 160 Madison Avenue and 250 Ashland Place
  • represented the developer of Brooklyn Point, a condominium containing cooperative apartments
  • represented the developer of a luxury resort in Anguilla and represented various lenders for hospitality properties in Anguilla
  • represented the purchasers of the top third of the Woolworth Building
  • represented Deutsche Bank in analyzing dozens of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) transactions
  • represented high net worth individuals in sales and acquisitions of residential apartments in New York City

 


Menachem Kastner's practice involves all aspects of real estate litigation and is particularly centered in the area of commercial and residential leasing and ownership and valuation disputes. He has litigated through all of the courts, the interpretation of escalation clauses, assignment and sublet provisions, alteration provisions, use clauses, renewal or purchase options, termination rights, buy-out disputes, and other significant lease interpretation issues.

Menachem is a frequent contributor to legal publications, specifically the New York Law Journal and New York State Bar Association Journal. Many of his articles have been cited to and relied on by the New York courts. See London Terrace Towers, Inc. v. Davis, 6 Misc. 3d 600, 790 N.Y.S. 2d 813 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2004); 13315 Owners Corp. v. Kennedy, 4 Misc.3d 931, 782 N.Y.S. 2d 554 (Civ. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2004); Concourse Village Inc. v. Bilotti, 133 Misc. 2d 973, 509 N.Y.S. 2d 274 (Civ. Ct. Bronx Co. 1986). 

Menachem has lectured widely on real estate issues, including landlord/tenant and co-op litigation, the law of co-ops/condominiums, equitable distribution, and matrimonial tax. Most recently, Menachem lectured on "Real Estate Transactions - Spotting Litigation Issues" at the PLI Annual Real Estate Institute in 2016 and 2017.

In addition, Menachem is an official court arbitrator for the Civil Court of the City of New York, presiding over trials and inquests, issuing final non-appealable judgments, mediating the settlement of claims, and drafting and ordering stipulations of settlement.

Menachem earned his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1973 and his law degree, summa cum laude, from New York Law School in 1976, where he was the recipient of the Trustees' Award for Highest Scholastic Achievement. He was named a New York Super Lawyer (real estate) in 2006, 2010 and 2013-2016 by Law & Politics. He was also named one of "New York Area's Top Rated Lawyers of 2013" in Real Estate & Landlord/Tenant by Legal Leaders™. Menachem is admitted to practice in the state of New York.


Mitchell D. Haddad, a Member of the Sills Cummis & Gross Litigation Department, is Co-Chair of New York Real Estate Litigation.  He focuses on complex real estate and commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, workouts and corporate litigation.  He has first chaired numerous trials, argued appeals and participated in arbitrations and mediations on a wide variety of matters.  He works with clients and the Firm’s Real Estate Department on transactions in order to resolve issues and disputes prior to and as a means to resolve potential litigation.

Mr. Haddad represents domestic and international companies, lenders, borrowers, real estate owners and developers, and commercial landlords and tenants.  He prosecutes, defends and advises on complex commercial mortgage and UCC foreclosure actions, valuation proceedings, vendor-purchaser litigation, complex commercial landlord-tenant matters, Fair Housing Act and housing discrimination matters, not-for-profit and religious corporation transaction approval proceedings, zoning, title and land use issues, mechanic’s lien litigation, and general commercial torts, partnership, joint venture and corporate litigation and matters involving real estate entities.

Since 2012, Mr. Haddad has been selected for inclusion in New York Metro Super Lawyers®* published by Thompson Reuters under Real Estate and Business Litigation.  He is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey, as well as before the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York and District of New Jersey, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


Paul “Tad” M. O’Connor is a distinguished first chair trial and appellate litigator focusing on complex commercial cases.  He is regularly cited for his legal knowledge by publications including The Wall Street Journal, The American Lawyer and Law360.  Tad’s clients have included, among others, private equity powerhouse TPG, Fortress Investment Group, a lender in a dispute relating to Liverpool Football Club, and many major international real estate and hospitality companies including Related, JDS, L and L Holdings, Maximus, InterContinental Hotels Group, Crowne Plaza, Morgans, sbe, Hilton and Aman Resorts.

Tad represents private equity firms, hotel owners and developers, major corporations and wealthy individuals in federal and state courts around the country and before arbitration tribunals in the United States and Europe.  He has been involved a number of times in obtaining discovery outside the United States under international conventions and treaties.

Tad also has significant experience handling real estate disputes related to commercial and hotel properties around the country, including the representation of hotel operators in disputes with owners.  His successful work in this area has been instrumental in the firm Real Estate and Hotel Litigation Practice Group being recognized as a Tier 1 practice in the “Litigation – Real Estate” category from U.S. News – Best Lawyers.

As a result of his work, Tad has been appointed by courts to serve as a bankruptcy trustee and as a director of a facility administering large product liability settlements.  He has been recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and Benchmark Litigation as one of the top litigators in the United States.


Rick Mallory’s practice focuses on office, industrial and retail leases. He represents landlords and tenants in a broad range of leasing matters. In 1977, Rick was a founding Partner of the law firm of Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis, LLP, practicing with that firm until June of 2019. He is a frequent speaker at real estate industry seminars and conventions throughout the country and has published many articles on the subject of commercial leasing. In addition to being a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and a member of the honorary land use society of Lambda Alpha International, he currently serves on the advisory board of the Practicing Law Institute (PLI) and has been the San Francisco chair of the PLI annual Commercial Real Property Institute, for the last 21 years.

Since 1984, according to a survey of his peers, he has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America as a leading California real estate attorney. In a 2004 legal newspaper survey, Rick was named as one of the top six real estate attorneys in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since its initial publication, Rick has been listed in either the Northern California or the Southern California’s edition of Super Lawyers, and in 2006, 2009 and 2010 he landed on Super Lawyers‚ list of the Top 100 Northern California attorneys. In each edition of the Chambers & Partners USA Guide, he has been recognized for excellence as a California real estate attorney. 

B.S. in Finance and Real Estate from the University of Southern California, 1966; J.D., Stanford Law School in 1969


Ron Sernau is part of New York’s real estate industry inner circle and has more than 30 years of experience in real estate law. His clients, some of which have relied on his advice for decades, routinely involve him in their strategic decision making. Ron offers clients the insight he has gained by representing opposing interests in similar transactions. He has advised landlords and tenants, lenders and borrowers, purchasers and sellers, equity investors and developers, managers and owners, and brokers and principals.

Ron represents prominent New York City real estate developers in their investments in, and development of, premier properties. Various businesses, from large publicly traded companies to boutique investment firms, engage him to address their real estate concerns. He also provides general legal advice to luxury retailers, with a focus on real estate issues.

At Proskauer, Ron serves as the co-head of the Real Estate Department and co-chair of the Private Equity Real Estate practice. Ron is also part of the Firm’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Response Team helping to shape the guidance and next steps for clients impacted by the pandemic.

An avid speaker on real estate topics, Ron has appeared before groups sponsored by the Association of the Bar of The City of New York, the New York Hospitality Council, Inc., the New York State Bar Association, the Georgetown Commercial Leasing Institute, CB Richard Ellis, Inc., the Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate, Practising Law Institute, The Real Estate Board of New York, Inc. and the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.


Steven L. Wilner is a partner in Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s New York office. Steven’s practice focuses on financial, corporate and real estate matters, ranging from global real estate acquisitions, dispositions, development and finance to international mergers and acquisitions and restructurings, including private equity investments and joint ventures.

Steven has been recognized by numerous guides and publications as a leading practitioner in global Real Estate law, including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and The Best Lawyers in America. Steven was named a “Most Valuable Practitioner” in Real Estate by Law360, and was recently inducted into the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

Steven is a frequent speaker on all aspects of Real Estate transactions and law, and participates in PLI’s ongoing “Bridge-the-Gap” series, which aims to teach young attorneys the essential skills for success in the business and practice of law.

Steven joined the firm in 1988 and became a partner in 1997. He spent 2001­2005 as the managing partner of the firm’s former Tokyo office.


Elliot L. Hurwitz is Chief Commercial Counsel for Chicago Title Insurance Company, New York, NY, where he has primary responsibility for complex commercial transactions in New York City, including structuring, underwriting and coordination. Prior to joining Chicago Title, Mr. Hurwitz was a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, New York, NY. Mr. Hurwitz has had extensive experience in all aspects of commercial real estate, with a particular emphasis on mortgage loan originations, portfolio acquisitions, debt restructurings, sale-leasebacks, lease-backed financings, loan syndications and securitizations. Mr. Hurwitz is a frequent lecturer and author on real estate-related matters, including “Real Estate for the Corporate Counsellor”, published in the fourth edition of The Corporate Counsellor’s Desk Book (Prentice Hall Law & Business 1992). Contributor to the New York Law Journal, Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy, Shopping Center Legal Update and the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. Chairman of PLI’s annual 2-day seminar for real estate attorneys, titled “The Commercial Real Estate Institute”. Mr. Hurwitz is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. Member of the New York State Bar Association, Association of the Bar of the City of New York and Title Insurance Rate Service Association (TIRSA) – Law and Forms Committee. Mr. Hurwitz may be contacted at 212-880-1205 or hurwitze@ctt.com.