Practice Areas & Industries: Duane Morris LLP


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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Duane Morris has a national and regional practice providing extensive skills and experience in virtually all real estate and development matters. We represent clients in a broad range of sophisticated and complex real estate transactions and offer a full range of services related to the purchase, sale, leasing, development, financing, joint venture, syndication, securitization, use and management of real property and real estate portfolios. Our representations include work relating to lease agreements, financing and loan documents, restructurings and workouts, condemnation, eminent domain, valuation and tax issues, purchase and sale agreement negotiations, real estate development and real estate portfolio management.

With experience in many real estate market cycles, we understand the challenges in both the up-cycles and downturns and have the depth and experience necessary to advise clients on a broad range of sophisticated issues. Our experience includes handling the routine issues involved in real estate matters, as well as determining solutions to complex and seemingly unsolvable dilemmas that require solid working relationships within the industry and a high level of understanding of the nuances of deals, regulations, profitability, leverage and liability protection. We place primary emphasis on finding practical and creative solutions to facilitate our clients' business objectives and closing transactions both advantageously and efficiently.

We represent some of the largest developers, many with signature brands, investors, lenders and real estate-oriented companies. Our clients include a wide variety of investors, property owners, residential and commercial developers, homebuilders, asset management firms, private equity firms, manufacturing and industrial companies, retailers, banks and other financial institutions, title companies, pension funds, real estate investment trusts, construction companies and contractors, insurance companies, hotel operators and public agencies. The work of the Duane Morris Real Estate Practice Group involves properties throughout the United States and abroad.

The reputation of the Duane Morris Real Estate Practice Group is built on a profound understanding of the real estate industry and how real estate businesses function. Our attorneys have a broad background in the real estate industry and have worked as registered architects, licensed mortgage brokers, certified public accountants, property appraisers and licensed real estate agents. Several Duane Morris attorneys are members of, actively involved in, and hold leadership positions in Urban Land Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, NAIOP, community development corporations, and various national and local homebuilders' and real estate professional associations and trade organizations, many of the same organizations in which our clients are involved. In addition, Duane Morris real estate attorneys include those recognized in Chambers USA, hold the distinguished CRE professional designation from The Counselors of Real Estate, and are Accredited Professionals under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.

Real estate transactions and projects often include other areas of the law. Duane Morris brings together the resources and experience needed by clients, giving them access to skills and resources in practice areas, such as corporate, construction, tax, securities and bankruptcy, and with attorneys whose practices overlap with other disciplines but who routinely devote substantial attention to real property matters. The firm's team approach enables clients to take advantage of additional legal resources in related areas, resulting in seamless, value-added, high-quality representation.

With a comprehensive understanding of all phases of the market cycle, the Duane Morris Real Estate Practice Group covers a broad range of complex commercial real estate practice areas. Our principal areas of practice include:

Real Estate Development
Acquisitions and Dispositions
Environmental Matters and Sustainable Development
Eminent Domain, Condemnation and Property Valuation
Public/Private Partnerships
Joint Ventures
Real Estate Investment Management
Hospitality and Gaming Industry
Distressed Real Estate
Zoning and Land Use
Condominium and Homeowners Association Documentation and Registration
Affordable Housing
Transportation-Oriented and Smart Growth Projects
Western Region Real Estate

Real Estate Development

Our lawyers routinely represent both residential and commercial developers in a broad spectrum of property types, including condominiums, planned residential communities, mixed use projects, apartments, shopping centers and retail buildings, office buildings, industrial and warehouse facilities, entertainment facilities, hotels and resort facilities and healthcare facilities. Our clients include some of the largest residential real estate developers that we assist with newly constructed projects ranging from small subdivisions to major planned residential communities, mixed use and transportation-oriented development. We provide full-service counsel for development, construction and re-development of real estate projects and represent clients through the entire development process, from site evaluation, due diligence and acquisition and financing of the property to structuring, zoning, permitting, development, construction and sale or lease of the finished product. In addition, we have experience in negotiating and creating joint ventures between property owners, developers and investors to facilitate property development.

Acquisitions and Dispositions

Duane Morris represents real estate owners, investors, developers and others in the purchase, sale, exchange and disposition of real property assets, including multi-asset portfolios throughout the United States. Such representations include due diligence, analyzing and effectively negotiating the acquisition and disposition of real property for commercial, residential, industrial, warehouse, manufacturing and other uses. In addition to negotiating the purchase and sale of real property, we offer tax and other advice regarding the structure of ownership entities and transactions in order to maximize benefits through the selection of appropriate ownership and investment vehicles.


We advise financial institutions in the structuring, negotiating, documenting and restructuring of their financial products, as well as in their long term and strategic objectives. We represent some of the largest national, state and foreign banks in their lending programs, as well as numerous life insurance companies. We have extensive experience representing financial institutions in syndicated and participated loans, revolving lines of credit, multistate and multi-site financings, construction financings and letter of credit backed facilities, including acquisition, development, construction and permanent financings, as well as workouts, forbearances and foreclosures of such products when required. We are often called upon to address regulatory issues on behalf of financial institutions and financial services companies. We also defend them in lender liability claims, including class action lawsuits, as well as regulatory enforcement actions.

Our practice group takes an integrated approach to our clients' needs, providing counsel from teams of real estate, finance, tax and healthcare attorneys located throughout the firm's offices, with experience in all areas of lending, including new development, office, retail, residential, hospitality, assisted living and other healthcare facilities.


We have significant involvement with both landlords and tenants in the lease of all types of real estate properties, such as leases for industrial, manufacturing, warehouse, commercial, retail and office uses, as well as ground leases. Our leasing work ranges from small space leases to major lease transactions, and our attorneys frequently address issues, such as tenant and landlord bankruptcies, go-dark provisions and radius restrictions.


In conjunction with Duane Morris' Construction Group, attorneys in the Duane Morris Real Estate Practice Group represent clients with respect to public and private construction contracts, construction management agreements, design/build agreements, architects' and engineers' contracts for owners, construction companies, and design professionals.

Environmental Matters and Sustainable Development

Duane Morris attorneys regularly work with buyers, sellers and lenders to structure transactions that conform with all federal and state environmental regulations. In addition, we assist clients in obtaining land use and environmental approvals for their projects. In conjunction with the Duane Morris attorneys in the Energy, Environment and Resources Practice Group, we are involved with environmental regulation issues and remediation and environmental clean-up matters which often pose challenging issues in real estate transactions. We have significant involvement with environmental consultants to develop comprehensive plans to manage and finance clean-up and remediation operations.

Duane Morris attorneys are deeply involved in and committed to the renewable energy and conservation markets, and attorneys in the Duane Morris Real Estate Practice Group include Accredited Professionals under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. Duane Morris attorneys assist clients seeking to construct and develop "green" and sustainable buildings and advise clients on sustainability issues. Our attorneys assist clients in meeting green building standards and obtaining LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Counsel.

Eminent Domain, Condemnation, and Property Valuation

Duane Morris eminent domain and land valuation lawyers regularly counsel private property owners, governmental entities and quasi-governmental entities in eminent domain and land valuation matters. Our attorneys are experienced in representing both condemnors and property owners in all phases of eminent domain proceedings and have handled highly complex takings cases involving multiple landowners and major urban projects. Our eminent domain practice includes annexation and land use issues including the obtaining of re-zonings, variances and conditional use permits.

With our extensive knowledge of and experience in the field of condemnation, Duane Morris frequently handles challenging valuation issues for both developing and improved properties. We are well versed in land use, environmental and government regulatory matters to best serve our clients' needs throughout the evaluation process. Additionally, we offer tax advice on the financial impact of receiving compensation in an eminent domain proceeding.

Joint Ventures

Duane Morris attorneys represent institutional investors and developers in the formation and operation of joint ventures. The purposes of these joint ventures run the gamut of (i) product types, including office, retail, raw land, multifamily, industrial and hospitality; and (ii) investment types, including core, core-plus, value-added and opportunistic. Their work extends to joint ventures formed to address programmatic acquisitions, acquisitions of scale, renovation and development.

Real Estate Investment Management

For real estate investment managers, our lawyers provide counsel on their deployment of funds allocated to real estate investment. This representation can and does involve any and all of the other core competencies referenced above.

Hospitality and Gaming Industry

A unique subset of the real estate industry, the Duane Morris Real Estate Practice Group has extensive experience in the hospitality and gaming industry. Our attorneys handle all of the real estate and contractual aspects of development, management and ownership and provide legal services for hotel owners, operators and managers, casinos, restaurants and other entertainment venues.

Distressed Real Estate

Duane Morris attorneys from the Real Estate, Business Reorganization and Financial Restructuring Practice Groups as well as the Banking and Financial Services Group provide a multidisciplinary approach and the experience, resources and skills necessary for clients to develop creative solutions, identify creative opportunities and navigate emerging issues during periods of economic and financial uncertainty. With their vast experience in commercial real estate, finance, creditor rights and bankruptcy, Duane Morris attorneys assist owners, developers, investors, lenders, sellers and buyers with the acquisition, disposition, restructuring, development and financing of troubled properties and loans. Representations include negotiating and structuring complex real estate transactions, including the purchase and sale of troubled property, assets and loans at both the property level and entity level, counseling borrowers and lenders on foreclosures and deeds in lieu of foreclosure, negotiating debt restructuring, workouts, recapitalizations and forbearance agreements, and developing reorganization and restructuring strategies for troubled properties.

We assist lenders in protecting the value of their real estate collateral. We regularly work with lenders to restructure debt, stabilize troubled projects with court-appointed receivers and negotiate and consummate deed-in-lieu of foreclosure recoveries for troubled properties. Our experience also includes:

  • Completing foreclosures and execution proceedings
  • Assisting in the interim management and sale of recovered real estate collateral
  • Pursuing the recovery of real estate collateral in borrower-initiated bankruptcy cases
  • Securing and preserving time-sensitive land use approvals for troubled developments
  • Assisting in the construction, marketing and leasing of troubled real estate projects that are in receivership or are already repossessed by the lender

In addition, clients that are seeking to capitalize and take advantage of distressed situations and investment opportunities rely on our experience to identify the advantages and opportunities that distressed properties may provide.


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Group Presentations
  Duane Morris Partner Harvey Johnson to Speak at the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey Event, The Mansion, Voorhees, NJ, January 17, 2014
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