The Top 10 Law Firms for Multifamily Investors and Developers
In today’s world, contracts have never been more complex and litigation has never been more common. For multifamily investors and developers, this means that acquiring quality legal counsel isn’t just a luxury-- it’s a necessity. To help you better understand your options when it comes to real estate lawyers with specific experience in multifamily real estate, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 multifamily real estate law firms in 2019.
1. Holland & Knight
Founded in 1968, Holland & Knight has more than 1,300 lawyers in 25 offices around the United States, as well as 3 international offices. The firm focuses on representing multifamily investors, management companies, and development firms, and specializes in fair housing law, accessible design, and risk management. Holland & Knight also works to help owners and investors increase the revenue potential for their multifamily properties.
Specific services include:
Advising on the purchase and sale of multifamily properties and property portfolios
Condominium sales contracts and advising condo organizations
Negotiations with state, local, and federal government agencies
Representing developers during litigation
Helping multifamily owners partner with cable and communications services
Responding to state and federal safety and discrimination investigations
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance
Fair Housing Act compliance
Lead-based paint issues
Regulatory advice on EPA and HUD rules
In addition to these services, Holland & Knight also assists with the legal processes involving affordable housing development, as well as both U.S. and international construction.
2. Pepper Hamilton, LLP
Pepper Hamilton, LLP, is one of the 100 largest firms by revenue in the U.S., and currently has approximately 500 attorneys spread through the firm’s 14 offices. The firm specializes in representing lenders, especially those offering HUD multifamily loans, CMBS financing, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae multifamily loans. This includes pooling, servicing, and securitization arrangements, warehouse lending programs, and the provision of short-term loans to lenders themselves. As a result, Pepper Hamilton has extensive experience communicating directly with HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac staff, and has worked on closings for billions of dollars in multifamily financing.
In addition to its collaborative work experience with government agencies, Pepper Hamilton also focuses on assisting owner/operators of senior living and assisted living communities, as well as federally-assisted housing and community development programs. The firm prides itself on its experience in banking, public finance, administrative law, and litigation, and utilizes this to provide comprehensive solutions for clients.
3. Strauss, Mark, and Feder, LLP
Strauss, Mark, and Feder, LLP is a real estate law firm based in Northbrook, Illinois. While the firm has diversified experience in a variety of different real estate advisory areas, it specializes in acquisition and tax planning strategies for multifamily, commercial, and industrial real estate. Other areas of specialization include leasing, real estate negotiations, and identifying suitable investment properties for clients. Strauss, Mark, and Feder has worked with real estate portfolios as large as $500 million, and has extensive experience in negotiating and reviewing lending agreements and loan closings for mezzanine debt, securitized loans, and preferred equity. Other areas of specialization include structuring deals involving vacant land, credit tenant leases, and adaptive reuse.
4. SSL Law Firm, LLP
San Francisco, California
SSL Law specializes in representing buyers, sellers, and developers of commercial real estate, including multifamily, office, industrial, and retail assets. In addition to individual investors, the firm also specializes in representing clients including REITs, investment funds, and other institutional investors. Other specialties include environmental due diligence, title and zoning reviews, purchase and sale agreements, and large portfolio acquisitions. SSL is experienced in providing legal counsel for 1031 exchanges, option agreements, and the formation of joint ventures.
5. Duane Morris LLP
Duane Morris specializes in a variety of real estate areas, including representing clients purchasing, selling, and leasing multifamily/healthcare properties, military housing, student housing, hotel properties, retail, and mixed-use properties. The firm represents REITs, lenders, investors, developers, though a variety of different transaction types. Specialities include advising clients on complex regulatory matters, liability, construction deals, capital markets, LEED certification and sustainability, and tax considerations. Both Law360 and Commercial Property Executive have ranked the firm as among the best real estate law firms in the U.S.
6. White and Case, LLP
New York City
White and Case, LLP, headquartered in New York City, has extensive experience representing a variety of client types, including investors, lenders, developers, and corporations. Practice areas include general commercial and multifamily real estate transactions, dispute resolution, debt and equity financing advisory services, private equity, and international real estate purchase and sale.
Other specialities include:
Joint venture structuring
Hotel management advisory services
Data center real estate services
Holding company structuring
Domestic and international financing
7. Goulston & Storrs
Goulston & Storrs has a deep knowledge of multifamily law, and is focused on helping their clients in all stages of the multifamily investment and development process, particularly in areas including tax law, joint ventures, private equity, and litigation. The firm also represents lenders, property managers, and other key players in the multifamily and commercial real estate industry. Goulston & Storrs has a particular focus in affordable housing, including federal and state assisted projects, subsidized housing, and other similar programs. In addition, the firm has considerable experience guiding clients through various “green” incentive programs.
8. Adams and Reese, LLP
New Orleans, Louisiana
Adams and Reese is a real estate law firm that specializes in litigation, commercial leasing, property management, development, and construction. It represents a variety of clients, including lenders, portfolio managers, developers, and investors, and is particularly experienced in dispute resolution and complex real estate transactions. Unlike many other commercial real estate law firms, Adams and Reese has unique experience dealing with manufactured housing communities, and has advised these clients on governmental compliance, tax considerations, zoning, lending and capital raises, operations, and administrative concerns. The firm also has significant experiencing representing clients with large national portfolios of commercial real estate. In 2018, Adams and Reese was recognized as a Tier 1 law firm by U.S News & World Report.
9. Cullen and Dykman LLP
New York City
Unlike many of the other firms on this list, Cullen and Dykman’s main focus is representing multifamily lenders, rather than borrowers and investors. In particular, the firm assists clients with due diligence, drafting loan agreements, and other transactional matters.
Affordable housing loans
Office and retail transactions
Lines of credit and revolving credit facilities
While the firm’s primary focus may be on lenders, Cullen and Dykman still represents land owners and developers in areas such as zoning, land use, and general litigation.
10. Steeg Law Firm, LLC
New Orleans, Louisiana
Steeg Law, based in New Orleans, focuses on property acquisition and development, leasing, and tax advisory services for multifamily, office, industrial, retail, and all other types of commercial real estate. The firm is particularly experienced in dealing with complex and unique transactions, especially those involving urban development and redevelopment, and has been recognized as a top law firm by U.S. News and World Report. Steeg Law also has an in-house title agency that can provide concierge service to local clients.
Specific practice areas include:
Advising condominium owners, developers, and associations
Advising owners and tenants on leasing issues
Zoning and development litigation and advisory
Utilization of tax credit programs and other state, local and federal incentives
Easements, boundary disputes, and construction contracts
Property acquisition and disposition
Lender and borrower representation