CRE’s Legal Eagles Flying High
By Madeline Winship, Senior Research Analyst, Yardi Matrix
As recession-wary investors shift to a more measured and cautious approach, legal counsel has become an even more critical component of the commercial real estate transaction. While helping clients negotiate the right terms in an uncertain environment, attorneys are also assisting investors as they navigate the complexities of Opportunity Zones, which offer some security through long-term hold requirements and the prospects of reducing taxes on capital gains.
In this year’s Leading Real Estate Law Firms ranking, practice size made an impact: The top 10 firms averaged just shy of 150 attorneys focused on real estate, compared to the overall average of 98. Goodwin Procter, consistently at or near the top of the list, claimed the first spot, aided by strong growth and an experienced roster.
Big deals also helped sway the rankings. Nearly two-thirds of participating firms were involved in at least one transaction valued above $1 billion, with the top 10 reporting an average highest deal value of $7.9 billion. Goodwin Procter represented Brookfield Property Partners in its $15 billion acquisition of GGP. Other notable transactions included: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom acting on behalf of Brookfield in its $11.4 billion deal to buy Forest City; Kirkland & Ellis repping Marriott Vacations Worldwide when it purchased ILG for $4.6 billion; and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson advising Google on its $3 billion purchase of Chelsea Markets for $2.4 billion.
The CPE-MHN 2019 survey of the Leading Real Estate Law Firms utilized self-reported data for all firms. The ranking uses a weighted formula based on a variety of factors (only a few of which are specified on these pages), including revenue performance, the number of lawyers dedicated to the sector, the growth of the real estate practice and the size and nature of its top deals. The ranking represents what we feel is a logical balance between growth and market share.