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CMBS and the Real Estate Lawyer 2017: Lender and Borrower Issues in the Capital Market

Author(s): Meredith J. Kane, Joseph Philip Forte
Practice Area: Banking, Corporate & Securities, Real Estate
Published: Feb 2017
ISBN: 9781402428357
PLI Item #: 185854
CHB Spine #: N649

Joseph Philip Forte is a partner and Chair of the New York Real Estate department. Mr. Forte has substantial experience in commercial real estate capital markets and finance, with a particular emphasis on the origination, structuring, workout and enforcement of commercial mortgage loans. His experience includes permanent, bridge and construction mortgage lending; mezzanine finance; pari passu and subordinate debt; co-lending and participation agreements; loan sales and purchases; loan workouts, foreclosures and restructurings; and environmental risk management for lenders. He regularly advises lenders and investors on mortgage banking, doing business licensing, usury, federal preemption and investment authority, as well as secondary mortgage and capital markets issues.

He has been at the forefront of many major innovations in the real estate finance industry for over four decades. He was involved in the early development of the secondary and securitization markets for residential, multifamily and commercial mortgages and, in 1988, he developed the program and loan documents for the first commercial mortgage loan conduit and other early standardized conduit programs, loan documents and flow purchase programs.

Joe also represents traditional portfolio lenders as well as special servicers in CMBS transactions, whether as stand-alone transactions or in complicated capital stacks involving senior mortgage debt, subordinate B-notes or mezzanine debt with intercreditor, participation and co-lender arrangements. His workout experience began with the failure of the early mortgage REITs in the mid-‘70s; the interest rate spike and disintermediation crisis in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s; the partnership syndication crisis subsequent to the adoption of the 1986 U.S. Tax Doe; the savings and loan crisis and the RTC workouts in the early ‘90s; the market disruption after the Asian Flu crisis in August 1998 through the most recent financial crisis over the last decade. He has dealt with a wide array of disparate issues in resolving problem loans with the support of experienced partners in litigation, bankruptcy, corporate banking and tax practices.


Joe has been recognized as a leading real estate finance practitioner in national and international surveys. Since 2004, he has regularly been highlighted by Chambers USA for his real estate practice and has been hailed as “a legend” “who is at the top of his game. “He is someone who everyone truly respects.” Chambers USA stated that Joe is “a highly experienced and respected real estate finance specialist. He has notable expertise on the structuring, origination and workout of commercial mortgage loans.” The Legal 500 United States has also recommended Joe for his real estate practice.

Joe has been recognized annually by The International Who’s Who of Real Estate Lawyers as one of the top 10 most highly regarded lawyers, and from 2010 to 2013 and 2017 as “Global Real Estate Lawyer of the Year.” He was featured in the Real Estate chapter of the inaugural Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders 2017. In 2013, he was one of only two attorneys recognized among 30 executives in Commercial Property Executives’ “Most Influential People in Real Estate” feature celebrating those central to driving growth and innovation in the commercial real estate recovery.

Co-Chair of the Paul, Weiss Real Estate Department and a member of the firm’s Management Committee, Meredith J. Kane regularly represents developers, equity investors, institutional and entrepreneurial owners and government agencies in all aspects of development, finance, acquisitions and sales, equity joint ventures, restructuring, leasing and securitization of real estate.

Ms. Kane has received numerous honors and awards for her work. She was honored as the 2009 Woman of the Year by WX - New York Women Executives in Real Estate, and was named one of the Top 50 Women in Real Estate and one of 25 Current Leaders in the Industry by Real Estate Weekly and The Association of Real Estate Women. Euromoney Legal Media Group named her Best in Real Estate at the 2012 inaugural Americas Women in Business Law Awards and Grid Magazine named her one of the top 10 American women in real estate development. Most recently, Commercial Observer profiled Ms. Kane as part of New York’s Most Powerful Real Estate Attorneys, an accompaniment to its 2015 Power 100 list.

Ms. Kane is also cited by multiple legal directories as one of the leading real estate lawyers in the United States. In Chambers USA 2015, sources describe her as “terrific” and a “problem solver.” She is recognized for advising Rockefeller Group Development Corporation on the financing and development of the Flushing Commons Project. Ms. Kane is also recognized in Who’s Who Legal USA, The Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America and numerous other peer-review publications. She is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

Ms. Kane served as a commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1995 to 2004. She was a member of the World Trade Center Memorial Center Advisory Committee. She was a lead official from 1985-87 of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development in charge of the planning and development of 8,000 new housing units, and a City Planning official for the City of New Haven from 1977-79 in charge of mixed-use retail and commercial districts. She is a regular speaker at professional forums on real estate development and finance, and she also contributes to The Real Estate Law Review, an international legal reference publication covering developments in real estate law in 33 countries. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Avenue of the Americas Association (Chair, 1999-2007), and is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, WX-Women Executives in Real Estate, the New York Women’s Forum, the ULI-Urban Land Institute, the Forum for Urban Design and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (former Chair, Economic Development Subcommittee). She serves on the boards of several civic and not-for-profit organizations.