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Negotiating Commercial Leases 2021


Speaker(s): Alan M. Di Sciullo, Allison Nelson, Christine Chipurnoi, MS, CPCU, RPLU, Elizabeth J. Shampnoi, George Bernhardt, Gerald R. Uram, Jack Fersko, James A. Fenniman, John Busey Wood, Kelly Merino, Marc E. Betesh, Meyer Last, Michael A. Marra, Michael E Meyer, Nancy Ann Connery, Robert J. Bergson, Ruth A. Schoenmeyer, Shelby D. Green, Thomas P. Rohan
Recorded on: Feb. 25, 2021
PLI Program #: 305558

Alan Di Sciullo, Esq. is the retired Director of Global Real Estate for Shearman & Sterling LLP.  In that capacity, he directed the firm’s worldwide real estate portfolio.  He has been a Senior Vice President with a major global banking organization working on its corporate real estate merger and acquisitions activities and was of counsel with a New Jersey law firm.  Mr. Di Sciullo served the largest portion of his career with Morgan Stanley as First Vice President and Senior Counsel responsible for real estate transactions and related litigation, such as the largest leases at the original World Trade Center totaling over 1.2 million sf, claims and relocations following the 1993 and 9/11 attacks on the Towers, development of the 600,000 sf Discover Card Headquarters in Riverwoods, Il., and over 200,000 sf for Dean Witter Trust’s headquarters in Harborside Plaza, Jersey City, NJ.

Mr. Di Sciullo has been active in civic and professional activities. He was a member of President Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control (the Grace Committee) and was elected a fellow of the American College of Real Estates Lawyers (ACREL) in 2003. He has served as an Executive, Council and Planning member of the American Bar Association’s Real Property Trust & Estate (RPTE) and has been a long-serving chair of the Office Leasing Committee and various other lease-related committees. He also served as President of the New York chapter of the International Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives (NACORE), director on that organization’s international board of directors, and president-elect of its educational affiliate, the Institute of Corporate Real Estate, and an advisory member on the New York chapter of its successor organization, CoreNet Global. He received numerous leadership and planning awards as the chair of the West Windsor Planning Board between 1993 and 1997.  He was a director on the New Jersey Planning Officials board from 1996 to 2014, and he is currently an advisory directory for the Georgetown University Wall Street Alliance.

Mr. Di Sciullo is a co-author of a 2500-page treatise Negotiating and Drafting Office Leases (Law Journal Seminars-Press 1995), now in its 25th year of publication.  He is an adjunct Professor at NYU Schack, where he was honored in 2017 for 25 years of service to the University and has received Outstanding Teaching and Services awards. He has also received several Outstanding Faculty awards from CoreNet Global’s MCR program.

Mr. Di Sciullo graduated cum laude in Government and Economics from Georgetown University. He holds J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and an M.B.A. in finance from New York University.  He is listed as a Super Lawyer (2008) and in Who’s Who in America and the World and in companion publications for American Lawyers, Finance and Emerging Leaders.He has been a frequent author and speaker on commercial real estate issues.


Allison Nelson focuses her national practice on representing healthcare systems in complex real estate transactions and mergers and acquisitions. In the healthcare sector, Allison negotiates compliant sales and acquisitions, joint venture developments, and leases, ground leases, and subleases. She partners with clients to build and improve systems to manage real estate portfolios to ensure compliance with federal and state healthcare regulatory laws.  She is also experienced in navigating clients through real estate compliance investigations by the U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Allison guides clients in retail, industrial, office, mixed-use, and home builder sectors, through all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including acquisition, entitlement, development, financing, and disposition. She represents both landlords and tenants in negotiation of master leases, ground leases, leases, and subleases for office parks, industrial centers, retail centers, anchor locations, and distribution and warehouse space. She has served as lender’s counsel in commercial real estate transactions for national lenders and as receiver’s counsel for court-appointed receivers of retail, office, multi-family, and other commercial properties.


Christine is a current Board Member of CREW Network & served as the 2015 President of CREW New York, one of the largest professional organizations for women in Commercial Real Estate. CREW’s mission is to transform the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally. CREW offers unparalleled opportunities in business development, leadership opportunities & networking in the local market & globally across the 10,000 + member base. Christine also served as the President of the Insurance Brokers Association of New York (IBANY) from 2012-2014; in 2012 after a decade of service she became IBANY’s 1st Female President in its’ 117 years. IBANY represents the interests of New York’s leading insurance brokers by actively supporting legislation & political activities that are in the members’ common interest, fostering advocacy, professional development & networking opportunities. As Adjunct Faculty for the Practicing Law Institute & guest lecturer at NYU Graduate School of Hospitality & the Zicklin School of Business, as well as guest speaker at the New York City Bar Association, Christine speaks regularly on a multitude of insurance related topics. She also provides insurance education at major law firms & accounting firms. She is an active mentor for WX and CREW Network Global Mentoring program.

Christine serves on the Board of Directors & the Audit/Finance Committee for Housing & Services Inc. a non-profit that provides permanent supportive housing & related services for the chronically homeless population in NYC. She is involved in many Real Estate & Insurance industry groups & volunteers for several philanthropic organizations including NEW (Non - Traditional Employment for Women, the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, CREW Foundation & the St. Francis Food Pantry.

Christine is the recipient of many awards including the 2020 IBA Elite Women in Insurance, 2019 Premier Business Woman of Long Island, 2017 IBANY Person of the Year, the coveted CREW New York’s most prestigious Founders Award in June, 2017 & The Real Estate Forum’s “Women of Influence” Award in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 & 2020; NY Real Estate Journal Women in Real Estate 2018, 2019, 2020; the prestigious Helen M. Garvin Outst&ing Achiever Award in 2012 (National Association of Insurance Women); The St. Francis Food Pantry’s “Woman of Valor” recipient in 2012; NYCREW Avant Garde Award 2013 & Pinnacle Award 2011 & The Wall Street Journal’s Vanguard Professionalism award 2010. She has been nominated for the 2015 Risk & Insurance Power Broker of the Year as well as more than a 10 time recipient of the Wells Fargo Winners Circle & USI Peak Awards for top new business growth & retention.


Elizabeth J. Shampnoi is an attorney, consulting expert, independent mediator, arbitrator and trainer based in New York City with 20 years of experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution.

Ms. Shampnoi’s focus on alternative dispute resolution began early in her career when she served as the District Vice President of the New York region of the American Arbitration Association.  In that role, Ms. Shampnoi was responsible for overseeing case management; mediator and arbitrator recruitment, training and development; and working with in-counsel counsel and law firms to develop and implement dispute avoidance and dispute resolution programs, including internal employment dispute resolution plans. 

Following her tenure at the American Arbitration Association, Ms. Shampnoi joined a litigation boutique where she represented a diverse range of organizations and individuals before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, and arbitration forums.  Ms. Shampnoi also served as settlement counsel. Her practice involved commercial litigation, securities, employment, contract, wage/hour, not-for-profit, intellectual property and real estate disputes on behalf of plaintiffs, and defendants.  She also drafted and reviewed settlement, confidentiality, non-compete, non-disclosure, licensing, work-for-hire, buy/sell, employment, and domestic and international dispute resolution agreements.  Ms. Shampnoi has also served as in-house counsel providing legal advice surrounding employment disputes and commercial matters with an emphasis on early, internal dispute resolution and cost-effective and strategic dispute management. 

In her consulting practice, Ms. Shampnoi serves as an arbitration and mediation consulting expert working with advocates to help guide them through the dispute resolution process using strategies for successes. Her practice is focused on advising clients in the selection of experts and consultants in litigation, investigation, regulatory and valuation matters. This includes working with clients to identify emerging issues and trends, develop innovative strategic business initiatives and prepare tactical responses to market developments. Serving as a mediator, arbitrator and consulting expert and providing legal advice in a variety of areas including commercial and employment matters. This enhances her value as a neutral, keeping her up-to-date on legal developments, litigation trends and current practices, dispute prevention, negotiation mediation, and arbitration. 

In her dispute resolution practice, she has successfully mediated over 200 commercial and employment disputes involving all areas of discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, contract, real estate and partnership matters. She has also served as a sole arbitrator and as part of a tribunal in similar matters.  Mr. Shampnoi’s success as a neutral is rooted in the breadth of her experience, ability to build rapport and temperament.  Her balanced perspective, broad experience and insight gained from serving as a business executive, advocate, in-house counsel in a wide variety of settings has been the catalyst for her success. 

Ms. Shampnoi regularly conducts CLE programs, trainings and presentations each year for advocates, arbitrators, mediators, businesses and human resource departments concerning best practices in dispute avoidance and resolution.

 


George Bernhardt, received his undergraduate degree in Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University in 1986 and his law degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1989, where he was an editor of the Journal of Legislation.  Mr. Bernhardt began his legal career at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP in Houston, Texas, where he practiced in the real estate and oil & gas section.  Since 1997 Mr. Bernhardt has led the real estate department in the Baker Hughes Company legal department.  Baker Hughes is a Fortune 500 corporation in the Oil & Gas Services sector. 

Mr. Bernhardt’s practice at Baker Hughes includes responsibility for the legal aspects of the company’s global buying, selling, leasing and construction operations, including related environmental, M&A and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters.   He has worked on construction, leases, purchases and sales in dozens of countries on six continents. 

Mr. Bernhardt is a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and a Council Member of the American Bar Association Real Property Trust and Estate Law Section.  He is currently Co-Chair of the ABA RPTE Section’s Leasing Group and a member of the CLE Committee and is a former Co-Chair of its Special Committee on In-House Counsel.  He is a former chair of the Houston Bar Association real estate section.  Mr. Bernhardt is a frequent speaker and writer on a variety of real estate topics including international leasing, build-to-suit leasing, force majeure and environmental matters.  He is an avid cyclist and has completed seven MS-150 rides from Houston to Austin, as well as being a Club 300 Top Fundraiser for 2013 – 2020 and a member of the MS Society’s Southwest Chapter Fundraising Hall of Fame.


Gerald R. Uram is a partner in Davis & Gilbert’s Real Estate Practice Group. He was also chair of the Real Estate Practice Group for 38 years, after formally establishing the group in 1974. Under his leadership, the practice received prominent recognition by publications that cover the legal industry, including Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and Best Law Firms.

Mr. Uram has handled headquarters leases for a number of major companies, including MasterCard International, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Saatchi & Saatchi, MONY, The Segal Company, Meredith Corporation, the Associated Press, Lehman Brothers, Boston Consulting Group, Raymond James Financial, Inc. and the National Football League, among others. Mr. Uram also represents a number of New York City landlords, including 140 Broadway, TF Cornerstone Inc., Oxford Properties Group, Westbrook Partners, Savanna Fund, American Realty Advisors and Kato International.

Mr. Uram has been recognized as a leading real estate lawyer for twelve consecutive years by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2009-2020). Mr. Uram was also recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of real estate (2013-2016). In addition, Mr. Uram has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America in real estate law for 11 consecutive years (2011-2021) and was selected as a Super Lawyer by New York Metro Super Lawyers from 2006-2020 (Top 100 in 2008-2013, and 2015).

He has also acted as an expert witness in several cases, including on behalf of Avon in its litigation with its former landlord, and Bates Advertising in its litigation with its landlord regarding free rent penalties for late delivery. Both Avon and Bates Advertising were successful in the actions. Mr. Uram has lectured on commercial leasing practice before the Real Estate Board of New York and at New York Law School.

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

  • American Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • New York City Bar Association
  • St. Francis Friends of the Poor, Board of Trustees

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • New York

EDUCATION

  • Yale University, LL.B., 1967
  • Dartmouth College, B.A., 1963


Jack Fersko is a partner and Co-Chair of the Real Estate Department at Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP, one of New Jersey’s leading business law firms. His practice reflects his extensive experience as a commercial real estate and general business lawyer.

Mr. Fersko’s legal services emphasize industrial and commercial real estate activities, with a particular focus on industrial leasing, project financing, sustainable development and alternative energy initiatives, urban redevelopment, and the impact of environmental laws on commercial real estate transactions, including the acquisition and redevelopment of environmentally contaminated sites. His participation in high-value real estate transactions in New Jersey includes his leading a team of lawyers as real estate, land use and public finance counsel to a major private equity firm, his involvement in one of the largest portfolio sales of industrial real estate to be completed in New Jersey in recent years, and his key role throughout the planning, financing and construction phases of one of the country’s largest roof-mounted solar energy installations. 

Mr. Fersko is a Fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and a Council Member of the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section.  He is a Trustee of NAIOP NJ and a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association. He serves on the Rutgers Business School Center for Real Estate Advisory Board and on the Executive Committee of the Industrial and Office Real Estate Brokers Association.

Since the 1990’s, Mr. Fersko has been coordinating, moderating and lecturing at comprehensive annual seminars addressing a variety of transactional and leasing issues for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He has chaired and presented programs for groups including the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, NAIOP, the American and New Jersey State Bar Associations, the International Council of Shopping Centers, and the New Jersey Hospital Association. Mr. Fersko has also been a guest lecturer at Monmouth University’s Kislak Real Estate Institute and at New York University and Columbia University graduate school real estate programs. 

Mr. Fersko is the Editor-In-Chief of the three-volume treatise Commercial Real Estate Transactions in New Jersey (NJICLE, 4th Ed., 2019) and is a frequent author on topics related to commercial real estate law. He is recognized in his areas of practice in Chambers USA, Best Lawyers, Who’s Who Legal, and in New Jersey Super Lawyers, where he is continually listed as one of New Jersey’s Top 100 Lawyers. He is Peer Review Rated AV Preeminent in Martindale-Hubbell.  


John Busey Wood is a member of the commercial real estate group in the New York City office of the national law firm Akerman LLP and advises public and private companies on national real estate transactions, development of mixed use and retail projects, retail centers and portfolio property master and ground leasing. For over 40 years Mr. Wood has represented owners and tenants in the design and negotiation of commercial leases covering in excess of 100 million square feet of retail, industrial, office and mixed use projects. These experiences, coupled with a unique blend of professional disciplines, resulted in his being featured on the Wall Street Journal Report and in articles on the impact of commercial leases on commerce and being referred to by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times as “the father of the modern killer lease.” His has extensive national experience in developable land, property acquisitions, and large scale retail and office developments.  He is a noted authority on ground leases and sale/leasebacks and helped lead a national team on a purchase, sale and master lease transaction involving 327 super market properties. Among noteworthy projects, Mr. Wood directed the legal team in a national portfolio acquisition with a value in excess of $2 billion and he participated in the development, leasing and financing of over 4 million square feet of regional shopping malls and retail centers nationwide. He negotiated what is considered the largest ground/space lease transaction of its kind in the history of New York City, containing more than 1.6 million square feet and including “fast-track” reconstruction, construction financing, permanent financing and options for fee acquisition. Mr. Wood is a licensed Class “A” commercial real estate broker, a Certified Public Accountant and holds B.B.A. (Accounting and Economics), M.B.A. (Accounting and Finance) and J.D. degrees. Mr. Wood frequently lectures on commercial leasing, transaction structuring and master leasing at Columbia University-ISDE Graduate Law and Economics Program and at the New York University Graduate School and Schack Real Estate Institute. He also lectures at PLI, where he is the New York and national Chairman of the Milton Friedman Leasing Lectures, and at the executive and annual meetings of the ABA and AICPA.   Mr. Wood has frequently served as a “party selected” and Federal arbitrator and is an American Arbitration Association - National Neutral - Commercial Panelist.  Mr. Wood is the senior author of the national treatise Negotiating and Drafting Office Leases, published by Law Journal Seminars-Press and supplemented 2 times per year ©1994. He is the author of the textbook, Navigating The Dangerous Shoals of a Commercial Lease, published by New York University Graduate School, ©1992-2012 and hosts the commercial leasing educational websites officeleasingusa.com and leasingnyc.com which are utilized to supplement his lectures. Mr. Wood is listed in Who's Who In Law and Registry of Global Business Leaders, National Lawyers of Distinction and NY Super Lawyers 2004-2020.  Mr. Wood is AV Preeminent® peer rated by Martindale-Hubbell and was peer-nominated and elected an American Bar Foundation Fellow.


Kelly Ryan (Merino) is a Director with CBRE working in New York City on projects throughout the US. She has been representing building owners, occupiers and even the City of New York’s Real Estate division on a wide range of assignments for more than 10 years. Her experience spans from retail prototypes to very large commercial tenant fit outs, including media studios and kitchens, industrial, warehouse and specialty projects. Ms. Ryan has a unique ability to understand the clients’ goals and business and translate their real estate needs to an executable plan. Her strength lies in her ability to build teams that communicate and execute goals on time and on budget.

Currently Ms. Ryan is working on Discovery's Global Head Quarters at 230 Park Avenue South. Involving a full restoration of an 1895 14-story building. Ms. Ryan has managed and directed teams on projects from coast to coast. She has spent nearly 20 years working for or on behalf of Fortune 500 firms, REITs, City and State agencies. She spent more than five years representing Bank of America in both developing and renovating properties and two of those years working hand in hand with Bank of America and Jones Lang LaSalle in a master re-design of all project management systems.

Ms. Ryan is an excellent business partner to the all her clients. She joined CBRE in 2006 and brought with her an exceptional record of managing projects of all size and shape and seeing them through to successful execution. She has a background in business and spent many years in finance and operations before joining the world of real estate development. In addition, she brings substantial real estate experience to the team and a successful track record working with developers, contractors, architects, engineers, brokers, planning, zoning and other city agencies to meet project expectations. Her skills and attributes combined with her dedication and win-win attitude are valuable assets to the CBRE organization.


Marc Betesh is the founder and CEO of both KBA Lease Services and Visual Lease, LLC.  KBA was the pioneer of commercial lease auditing in 1985 and remains the signature firm in the industry.  It has represented thousands of companies in almost every leasing market in the US, helping them to eliminate overcharges in their commercial leases.  Visual Lease is a lease accounting and administration software system that helps companies manage, analyze and report on their real estate and equipment lease portfolios.  It incorporates numerous lessons learned through KBA’s work and is one of the top systems in its field.  Visual Lease is used by more than 700 of the world’s largest publicly traded and privately owned companies.  The Visual Lease company has been included in the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the U.S., Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, NJBIZ’s Best Places to Work 2020 and CFO Tech Outlook: Top Accounting Solution 2020.  Together KBA and Visual Lease employs more than 150 people. 

Marc received his BA from Temple University and his JD from Georgetown University.  Marc practiced law in New York City where he negotiated commercial leases.  As an attorney, Marc became widely recognized as a leading expert on commercial lease negotiation, lease interpretation and expense reimbursement clauses.  In 2016, he helped shape FASB’s new lease accounting standards. 

Marc is regarded as “top-rated faculty” at CoreNet Global Learning and often lectures on lease topics at New York University’s Real Estate Institute, American Bar Association, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Practicing Law Institute, ICSC, Lorman Education Services and the Institute of Internal Auditors. He is also an active member of the New York and New Jersey Bars.  He was a 2018 and 2019 Finalist for EY Entrepreneur of the Year New Jersey Awards.  


Meyer Last is a real estate partner in Fried Frank's New York office. He joined the Firm in 1987 and was named partner in 1991.

Mr. Last has served as lead partner for some of the biggest real estate transactions in New York City involving prominent owners and developers such as Brookfield, RXR Realty, and Tishman Speyer; financial giants such as Citigroup, Bank of America, and UBS; and leading technology companies such as Google and Facebook. His deep understanding of the real estate market qualifies him to advise his clients on all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, with a particular emphasis on large commercial leasing for both landlords and tenants. He has represented one of the parties in the largest leases concluded in New York City for three of the last five years.

Mr. Last's work also includes advising purchasers and sellers on acquisitions and dispositions, facilitating ground-up developments and commercial condominiums, and arranging financings and restructurings. His long-standing clients include real estate developers, managers and owners, institutional investors, financial institutions, and public and private companies, some of whom have relied on Mr. Last's advice for more than 25 years and continue to involve him in all of their high-stakes real estate deals.

Mr. Last's work in the industry has earned him recognition by Legal 500 as one of New York City's leading real estate attorneys. He was recognized as a 2017 Client Services All-Star by BTI Consulting Group, a recognition identified solely and exclusively by corporate counsel.


Michael A. Marra, is Vice President for the Construction Division and has served with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for more than nineteen years. Mr. Marra was appointed District Vice President of the AAA Philadelphia Office in September 2001.  He is currently responsible for expanding the use of AAA construction ADR services in the Mid-Atlantic and New England States.  In that role, he also interacts with the AAA’s clients who file construction and real estate cases and the neutrals who serve as arbitrators and mediators.   Mr. Marra also has national responsibility for developing the AAA’s construction caseload and works closely with construction industry associations through the AAA’s National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee (NCDRC).  In this capacity, Mr. Marra assists the corporate, legal and public sector communities in educating them on the various construction industry dispute avoidance and resolution techniques and in designing dispute resolution systems to meet their specific needs.  Mr. Marra is a frequent presenter on the subject of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Prior to his appointment as District Vice President, Mr. Marra spent fourteen years in the construction and insurance industries in both operations and sales.  Mr. Marra is a graduate of Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management.


Michael E. Meyer has developed a national reputation as one of the preeminent leasing attorneys in the United States.

He regularly represents many of this country’s leading financial institutions, accounting firms and law firms in connection with major lease transactions throughout the United States.

Representative of the major leases he has done for tenants recently include City National Bank headquarters lease (525,000 sq.ft. in Los Angeles, CA), Sempra headquarters lease (300,000 sq.ft. in San Diego, CA), Nestle USA headquarters lease (205,833 sq.ft. in Arlington, VA), ICM Partners headquarters lease (111,591 in Los Angeles), and Northern Trust’s headquarters lease (450,000 sq.ft. in Chicago, IL). Recently he won a $5.6 million dollar Fair Market Rental Rate arbitration award for Capitol Records.

Mike is considered one of the country’s leading authorities on renewal rights, the establishment of fair market rental rates pursuant to arbitrations, the assignment and subleasing provision, and the inter-relationships between the tenant improvement agreement and the rent commencement date. He served for ten years as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in Los Angeles. He has served as judge pro tem in the Los Angeles Municipal Courts and served as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration

Association. He developed the definition of fair market rental rate which, in one form or another, is used in numerous major lease transactions, and has been intimately involved in many arbitrations/mediations involving fair market rental rates.

In a vote by his peers, which was published by Los Angeles magazine, he was ranked in the Top 100 of all the Super Lawyers in Southern California for the past five years. In 2011, Mike was named Real Estate Lawyer of the Year by the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mike has been named CoreNet Global’s Real Estate Professional of the Year; the Los Angeles Business Journal named him one of the 25 Most Powerful Attorneys in Los Angeles; he was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal.

The respected English legal directory, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, has repeatedly ranked Mike in California’s top tier (Band 1) for real estate law. In 2017, he was elected President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

He has served on the board of directors of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Los Angeles Police Foundation, and LA Sports & Entertainment Commission.


Ms. Connery is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, and has been designated a “Super Lawyer”©.  She’s the former chair of the Committee on Real Property Law and of the Committee on Cooperative and Condominium Law at the New York City Bar Association, is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Real Property Law Section, and a former chair of the ABA Leasing Group’s Assignment and Subletting Committee.  She’s also a chapter author for “Negotiating and Drafting Commercial Leases” and for Commercial Real Estate Transactions Handbook.


Robert J. Bergson earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law.

Mr. Bergson’s practice focuses on professional liability defense, business and corporate litigation matters, real estate litigation, business divorce and products liability defense. He also handles disputes concerning miscellaneous/not-for-profit insurance lines, securities litigation, intellectual property, unfair competition claims and errors and omissions matters.     


Ruth Schoenmeyer is a Partner at Eversheds Sutherland in Chicago. Ruth has extensive experience representing landlords and tenants in leasing transactions, including leases relating to retail, office and industrial properties, and in the redevelopment of retail property in particular. She is also a frequent speaker about real estate topics nationally, and recently presented a program at the International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference entitled “The Three R’s of Retail Redevelopment: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” and another program at the annual meeting of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers entitled “Hot Desks and Cool Hotels: Non-Traditional Uses of Real Estate.” She also co-authored the article “REAdy to Draft and Amend REAs? Pointers for New Developments and Redevelopments," which appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Probate & Property and was awarded Best Practical Use Article in 2019. Ruth was formerly Chair of the Leasing Group of the Real Property Trust and Estate Section of the American Bar Association and is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Georgetown University Law Center Advanced Commercial Leasing Institute and a Fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.


Tom is Special Counsel in Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf’s Real Estate Practice Group with extensive experience focused on the representation of owners, managers and tenants in all aspects of their commercial leasing requirements involving life science, medical and pharmaceutical research and development, warehouse, distribution, industrial, office, health care and medical office, retail and other specialized uses.

Tom has served as outside real estate counsel to several well-known global and national organizations, working as part of their corporate real estate team negotiating and documenting their nationwide leasing and subleasing transactions, executing their real estate portfolio strategies, supervising acquisitions and dispositions of owned real estate, negotiating real estate services agreements and work letter agreements, and coordinating the design and construction of tenant improvements.


As an Area Executive Vice President of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co- New York, James is responsible as a sales team leader for client development with a group of veteran and emerging brokers. As a Senior Director of the Construction Practice, he is responsible for all aspects of Construction activities for Gallagher in the New York City office, and works closely with the North East Construction Leader in developing the practice in the metro region.

He received a BS in Economics from Wagner College and his MBA in Risk Management from the St. John’s University Peter J. Tobin Graduate School of Business. After graduate school he studied Scientific Methods of Risk Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation. He currently is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at St. John’s University Peter J. Tobin School of Risk Management, and also participates as a faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute. With over 50 years of experience he remains active in the Real Estate and Construction Industry by participating in many of the local association seminars and conferences.

He was President of the Insurance Brokers Association of the State of New York and continues to serve on its Past Presidents Committee. He also was 1st Vice President and Board Member of The Players Club and now is a Governor of The Squadron A Association. He currently serves on the NY Committee of the Regional Planning Association.


She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.   She teaches and writes in the areas of property, real estate transactions, housing and historic preservation.  She is co-author, with Professor Nicholas A. Robinson, of Historic Preservation, Law and Culture (2018) and author of Historic Preservation:  Stories and Laws (2020).  She is the Assistant Secretary of the Real Property Trust and Estate Law Section and the chair of the Legal Education Group of the Real Property Trust and Estate Section of the American Bar Association (“ABA”).  She is the editor of the Keeping Current-Property column in Probate & Property magazine and an organizer, occasional presenter and regular moderator for the monthly webinar, Professors’ Corner, both offered by the same ABA section. She is chair of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Music School and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jay Heritage Center, which manages the John Jay Estate, a National Historic Landmark in Rye, N.Y.