Real Estate Transactions

Discipline, Strength, Diversity

Schnader’s Real Estate Practice Group serves a wide range of entrepreneurial, institutional and public sector clients, including developers, lenders, property owners, investment bankers, brokers, contractors, landlords, tenants, asset managers, loan portfolio advisers, REITs and other investors. Its substantive and geographic breadth, composed of real estate lawyers who have recognized areas of real estate specialization, enable the group to meet the needs of an astonishingly diverse clientele throughout all of Schnader’s principal offices.

In recent years Schnader’s real estate lawyers have played leading roles in high-profile projects involving the construction, renovation, sale or refinancing of convention centers, sports arenas, waterfront developments, air hub distribution centers, shopping centers, mixed-use commercial facilities, alternative energy plants, waste disposal systems, troubled real estate ventures and military installations excessed by the government for redevelopment in the private sector.

Schnader’s lawyers have been at the vanguard of all the most important emerging areas of real estate practice, including construction for the telecommunications industry, multiuse and special service districts funded through joint public-private initiatives, conduit lending and tax increment financing. Schnader’s real estate lawyers have guided clients participating in these projects from concept development to final closing, providing both oversight for the long-term and nuts-and-bolts attention to the mechanics of steering real estate projects through the maze of government regulation.

Another distinguishing feature of Schnader’s real estate practice is that it long ago broke through from the traditional barriers that have bound large firms. Many of Schnader's real estate lawyers litigate extensively in their discrete subspecialties, drawing liberally, when and as appropriate, from the personnel and resources of Schnader's Litigation Services Department.

Lawyers joining the Real Estate Practice Group, particularly those just entering the profession or transitioning to real estate from a different substantive field, learn from many senior attorneys practicing in several of our offices, as our practice group administrative co-chairs work continuously to improve and expand upon the experiences and education of less senior lawyers.

Practice Team Approach

Schnader has vigorously embraced the practice group management model, which redirects critical resources for planning and practice development from distant administrative bodies and into the hands of the substantive practitioners. Schnader’s Real Estate Practice group has taken that model one step further, creating five separate substantive practice teams and granting to each the resources and authority needed to operate at the front lines. Those five practice teams reflect five of Schnader’s areas of greatest substantive strength:

  • Retail, office and industrial leasing
  • Construction law
  • Public/private development
  • Land Use Regulation
  • Creditor’s rights
  • Lending

Our practice teams are poised to address client needs with both precision and depth, drawing upon the resources of Schnader’s seven principal offices located strategically throughout the country.

Our Diverse Clients

The range and the depth of our practice is perhaps best reflected in the diversity of our clients. We regularly represent major real estate clients including developers of industrial parks, offices and hotels, major universities, public sector agencies, owners, tenants, mortgage lenders, design professionals, title insurance companies, real estate investment trusts and contractors on a local and national scale. We also represent a broad range of domestic and international businesses whose worldwide activities include substantial real estate needs. We also represent start-up organizations and individual entrepreneurs in the early stages of growing their business, addressing such real estate needs as the development of build-to-suit facilities, the acquisition or leasing of buildings or office space and a variety of zoning and planning matters.

An Integrated Approach to Delivering Services

Many of Schnader’s real estate lawyers have had experience in both legal and business environments. A number of our attorneys have earned advanced degrees or licenses in real estate related disciplines, including architecture, engineering and title insurance. Schnader's real estate lawyers who before joining Schnader had worked in the governmental arena draw still draw bountifully from experience, representing cities and other municipalities, drafting legislation and handling governmental proceedings.

Leadership in the Community

Schnader's real estate attorneys have served in leadership positions in major bar and industry organizations including:

  • American College of Real Estate Attorneys
  • Commercial Real Estate Women
  • National Business Institute
  • Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Real Property Section
  • American Bar Association's Real Property, Probate and Trust Section

Our real estate lawyers also lecture frequently on real estate matters to other lawyers and to nonlegal professionals in the real estate field. Within recent years, we have participated in significant seminars and workshops on the Americans With Disabilities Act, new developments in zoning and real estate development law, and bankruptcy and foreclosure/collection matters involving real estate.

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Diversity

Below is information regarding Schnader’s Diversity Committee and its programs and initiatives.  Schnader is not a Minority and/or Women-owned business and is not certified as such.

 

A.  Schnader’s Diversity and Equal Opportunity Efforts

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP’s commitment to diversity extends back to its beginnings in 1935.  From its founding by William A. Schnader and Bernard G. Segal, a Christian and a Jew, the Firm, in standing for religious diversity, was unique in the Philadelphia legal community at that time.  In the 1960s, Schnader partner William H. Brown III was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson as the fourth chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  Under Mr. Brown’s leadership the EEOC tackled workplace issues related to adverse impact, job testing validation, and national origin discrimination.  Throughout our history and now more than ever, Schnader has always been able to point to our successes in diversity, which often go hand-in-hand with our success in the legal arena.

 

B.  Diversity at Schnader

Schnader is fully committed to recruiting and retaining minority attorneys.  The Firm’s Hiring Committee is comprised of partners & associates to lead our efforts to hire a diverse pool of associates each year.  The Committee has expanded on-campus recruiting to include schools with a diverse student population, including Howard University.  Participation at minority student job fairs, 1L minority hiring programs and outreach at the college level are all priorities of the committee.  Some of the programs in which the Firm is involved are:

·         Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG)

·         Western Pennsylvania Diversity Initiative (WPDI)

·         Philadelphia Minority Job Fair

·         Philadelphia First Year Minority Reception

·         Rutgers-Camden Diversity Initiative Program

·         Villanova Law Diversity Program sponsor

·         Overbrook High School Scholars Program

·         Allegheny County Bar Association’s Minority Summer Internship annual participant sponsor since 1998

·         Allegheny County Bar Association’s Diversity Collaborative Committee member

·         The Philadelphia Bar Association’s Statement of Goals of Philadelphia Law Firms and Legal Departments for the Retention and Promotion of Women (signatory)

·         The Philadelphia Bar Association’s Statement of Goals of Philadelphia Law Firms and Legal Departments for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention (signatory)

·         Sponsorship of organizations for minority students & professionals

 

C.  Mentoring and Training

Schnader encourages our attorneys to partake in all aspects of Firm life, including internal committees and participation in community activities.  Our summer associates and junior associates are each assigned partner and associate mentors and assignments are allocated through coordinators during the summer program and during the associate's career.  This ensures that all lawyers work on a variety of assignments with a mix of partners.  The Firm provides extensive training for all lawyers; all are encouraged to do pro bono work; and we have a comprehensive annual evaluation process in place so that our attorneys are developing professionally each year.

 

The Firm’s Diversity Committee and Associates Professional Development Committee have improved our mentoring programs to include a Women’s Initiative for female attorneys at all levels.  We have brought in a consultant to do training, and hold roundtable discussions as well as social events.  A Pathway to Partnership program has been implemented for our senior associates.  It is a mix of training and mentoring to guide senior associates and newly elected partners through the transition from associate to partner.

 

The Firm has sponsored our diverse associates to attend retention conferences and seminars like the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group’s (PDLG) Associate Development Seminar and the PDLG’s Program for Women Lawyers of Color.

 

Schnader's Pittsburgh office regularly works with minority summer interns from the Allegheny County Bar Association's Minority Summer Law Internship Program.  This program recruits students predominantly from Pittsburgh city high schools.  Schnader's Rosa Copeland Miller has acted as a mentor to the interns from the Internship Program for over 10 years.

 

D.  Leadership Positions

The following diverse attorneys are in key leadership roles at Schnader.

·         Elizabeth Ainslie (female partner) is co-chair of our Government Investigations, Corporate Compliance and Criminal Defense Practice Group. 

·         Jeanne Barnum (female partner) is co-chair of our Construction Practice Group and the Litigation Partner-In-Charge for our Cherry Hill, NJ office.

·         Christine Carty (female partner) is managing partner of our New York office.  Ms. Carty is also a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee.

·         Cynthia Fischer (female partner) is chair of the Nonprofit Organizations Practice Group.           

·         Christine Cushman (female associate) is co-chair of the Employee Benefits Practice Group.

·         Al Dandridge (African-American partner) is chair of the Firm-wide Diversity Committee and Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Committee, and chair of the Firm’s Securities Practice Group.

·         Catherine McFadden (female partner) is co-chair of the Family Law Department.

·         Megan Harmon (female partner) is co-chair of the Environmental Practice and Waste Management Practice groups.

·         Joan Kluger (female partner) is managing partner of our Delaware office and co-chair of the Firm’s Intellectual Property Practice. 

·         Hon. Timothy K. Lewis (African-American counsel) is co-chair of the Appellate Practice Group and co-chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group.

·         Theresa Loscalzo (female partner) is chair of the Firm-wide Billings and Collections Committee and the Accountant Liability Practice Group.  Ms. Loscalzo also co-chairs Schnader’s Financial Services Litigation Practice Group and the E-Commerce/Technology Litigation Practice Group.

·         Nicole Reimann (female partner) is chair of our Insurance Recovery Practice Group and our Lender Liability Practice Group.  She is also chair of the Firm-wide Associates Professional Development Committee.

·         Nancy Winkelman (female partner) is co-chair of the Firm’s Litigation Services Department, co-chair of the Railroad Litigation and Class Action Practice groups and chair of the Firm-wide Recruiting Committee.  Ms. Winkelman is past chair of the Firm-wide Pro Bono Committee and past co-chair of the Appellate Practice Group.

 

E.  Other Activities

The Firm has participated in the Overbrook High School Scholars Program in Philadelphia, where we hire high school students to work in different departments of the Firm to introduce them to the practice of law.  The Firm is also a participant sponsor of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Minority Summer Internship Program for high school students.

 

Schnader was also a co-sponsor of the 2008 Biennial Conference of the Just The Beginning Foundation (JTBF), titled “Reaching Back, Lifting Up.”  The Honorable Timothy K. Lewis, a former federal appeals judge and current co-chair of Schnader’s Appellate Practice Group, was a co-chair for this three-day conference that brought together a diverse group of federal and state judges, lawyers, law professors, and students from law schools, colleges, high schools and middle schools to enjoy the living stories of judges from diverse backgrounds and participate in panel discussions focused on contemporary legal issues.  JTBF supports students of color and other underrepresented groups by providing free educational and mentoring programs.  JTBF also offers a series of pipeline programs to prepare students for careers in law, which include Middle School and High School Summer Legal Institutes, an Advanced Summer Legal Institute, law student externships, law student scholarships, programming in schools that target underserved and minority high school and college students, and biennial conferences that bring together diverse legal leaders of local communities.  The organization’s long-term goal is to increase diversity in the legal profession and on the bench.

 

Schnader supports The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a group that helps address the professional needs and development of black lawyers in the City of Philadelphia.  Schnader attorney Rachel Branson is an Executive Board member of the Barristers' Association and the Firm has shown its support by sponsoring events like the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Memorial Breakfast and the Annual Awards & Scholarship Gala.  The Firm's Al Momjian was the 2010 recipient of the Cecil B. Moore award from the Barrister's Association in recognition of his work on behalf of the Republic of Haiti as Honorary Consul for that country.

 

F.  Achievements Noted in the Legal Community

A number of our women and minority attorneys have been recognized for their professional achievements:

·         Hon. Timothy K. Lewis (African-American counsel) was the keynote speaker at the 2010 National Symposium for Minority Professionals in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).  The purpose and focus of this year's program was to encourage scholarly dialogue about the impact of ADR on minority groups.  Judge Lewis spoke on the topic of "Diversity in ADR: Expanding Opportunities for Minority Neutrals."

·         Judge Lewis received the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Minority Bar Committee Award of Achievement.  Judge Lewis also was the expert presenter at the second meeting of the U.S.-Russia Roundtable on Democracy and Human Rights, co-sponsored by The Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights of the Russian Federation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  The event was held in Moscow, Russia, February 13-14, 2008.  He delivered the opening statement on behalf of the U.S. delegation, which focused on the history of habeas corpus issues in the United States in the context of human rights.

·         Jeanne Schubert Barnum (female partner) was named a “New Jersey Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers.

·         Al Dandridge (African-American partner) was named in The Best Lawyers in America for corporate law, and noted as a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer.”  Before joining Schnader, Mr. Dandridge served the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as associate director of small business and international corporate finance in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance.  In addition, he served as special counsel in the Division of Corporation Finance.

·         Marilyn Kutler (female partner) is repeatedly noted as a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer” and listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

·         Elizabeth Ainslie (female partner) was recognized in “Women of Influence,” a special supplement published by American Lawyer Media.  She was also named one of “America’s Top 50 Women Litigators” by the National Law Journal and included in the 2006 and 2007 editions of The Best Lawyers in America.  She is also a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer,” recognized as one of the top lawyers (male and female) in the state.  Liz is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

·         Our attorneys are frequently asked to comment on diversity issues.  For example, an interview with Judge Lewis was highlighted in the Dispute Resolution Journal (February – April 2008 edition) article “Striving for Diversity in ADR & Why It Matters.”  In the article, Judge Lewis, chairman of the American Arbitration Association Diversity Committee and a member of the association’s Board of Directors, discusses his interest and involvement in promoting and supporting diversity in decision-making professions, and why it’s critical to provide equal employment opportunities for minorities and women.

·         Also, Schnader partner Scott Wenner has co-chaired a session in Singapore on sex, race and age discrimination in law firms.  This session considered why some law firms seem to limit partnership opportunities for women and protected minorities, refusing to embrace diversity and multiculturalism and limiting the talent available as a result.  The session addressed diversity strategies and the limits of discrimination laws for promoting opportunities for victims of discrimination in law firms.

 

G.  Enhancing Diversity in Our Communities

We also have long strived to foster diversity beyond our own doors.  In March 2001, Schnader was among the founding members of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG), a city-wide organization of approximately a dozen major law firms and five corporate legal departments.  PDLG focuses on encouraging and supporting the promotion of diversity in the practice of law, particularly in the greater Philadelphia area, by recruiting and retaining attorneys of color, and is committed to fostering a diverse group of lawyers in the region to make the profession stronger‚ more productive and better equipped to address modern challenges.  Schnader has actively supported the PDLG First-Year Summer Program, which offers first-year students from participating area law schools summer employment in law firms and corporate law departments throughout the region, and Schnader has been pleased to have a first-year PDLG summer associate in its summer program each year.  This highly successful program allows law students to come away with valuable experience and a good impression of Schnader, often resulting in permanent employment with the Firm once a participant has graduated.

 

Also in Philadelphia, we are a founder of, and active participant in, the Philadelphia Minority Job Fair and among the original signatories of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Statement of Goals for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention.

 

Schnader's Pittsburgh office is an active, supporting member of the Western Pennsylvania Diversity Initiative (WPDI), which seeks to promote regional economic growth in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region by providing resources to employers to attract, hire, and retain employees from a variety of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.  Schnader Pittsburgh has hired individuals from the WPDI summer associate program for the entire time Schnader’s Pittsburgh office summer program has been in existence, with resounding success.

 

Schnader attorneys also serve on boards of a wide array of religious, multicultural and community organizations:

·         David Smith, the Firm's Chairman, is a past Chairman of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, a local affiliate of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  He is a former member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professional Competence.  He is President of the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education, a past President of The Jewish Publication Society, a past president of Jewish Outreach Partnership and Community Hebrew Schools of Philadelphia, and a past Vice-President of the Perelman-Schechter Jewish Day School of Philadelphia.  He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

·         Marilyn Kutler (female partner) is a past President and current board member of Akiba Hebrew Academy, located in Merion Station, Pennsylvania.

·         Marilyn Kutler and David Smith are both board members (and Smith is current President, as noted above) of the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education, which was established by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in 1987 for the purpose of developing and enhancing strong and positive Jewish identity, lifelong Jewish learning, and commitment to and participation in the Jewish community in the United States, Israel and throughout the world.

·         Hon. Timothy K. Lewis (African-American counsel) serves as a member of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution Diversity Committee and also serves on its Board of Directors.

·         Nancy Winkelman (female partner) is a member of the Board for the Disabilities Rights Network of Pennsylvania.

·         Jerry Tanenbaum, a partner in our Cherry Hill office, served as the area chair for the Anti-Defamation League of New Jersey from 2001 to 2003.

·         Rosa Copeland Miller (African-American female partner), named among the “Top 40 under 40” by the Pittsburgh Courier and Pittsburgh Magazine, is the Governance Chair for the Board of the Multicultural Arts Initiative, a Pittsburgh-based group whose objective is to enhance the cultural landscape of the region by funding consistently high quality African-American and African-influenced arts programming.  The Initiative also strives to focus on Latin, Asian, and Native American culturally-specific arts.  Ms. Copeland Miller also serves on the Development Committee for Pennsylvania Cultural Trust. 

·         Co-Chair of Schnader’s Family Law Department, Albert Momjian plays a special and important role in the city’s Haitian community – he serves as the honorary Consul to the Republic of Haiti for the Philadelphia region, and sits on the board of the Haitian Community Culture Development Abroad Association (HCCDA).  In 2004, he was central to organizing a fundraising event for Haitian children at the Wachovia Center, which included the presentation of a trophy to Samuel Dalembert, a Haitian native who played for the Philadelphia 76ers, and the donation of money from Dalembert and other friends for the purchase of medical supplies for the children of Haiti.  In March of 2010, Mr. Momjian delivered the opening remarks at a fundraising event being held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in support of Haiti earthquake relief.  In his role as honorary Consul, he routinely assists Haitian nationals with various issues and concerns, and promotes friendship and understanding of the Haitian community within Philadelphia.

·         Rachel Branson (African-American female associate) is an elected Executive Board member of The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

·         Keith Whitson, chair of the Product Liability Practice and administrative partner of Schnader's Pittsburgh office, has volunteered as a mentor for several years with the University of Pittsburgh's Black Law Students Association's (BLSA) "Footprints Mentorship Program."  "Footprints" provides minority law students with academic and professional guidance from mentors who are legal professionals with experience in the students' areas of interest. 

 

H.  Schnader’s Relationships with Diverse Businesses

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP works in conjunction with or represents several minority- and/or woman-owned business enterprises, including attorneys, vendors, benefits providers, legal employment search firms, and others.  Schnader is committed to minority and women’s business enterprise growth and involvement throughout the United States.  For example, we have a history of partnering with diverse vendors:

·         Our benefits broker is The Commonwealth Consulting Group in Jenkintown, PA; the principal is Ivy Silver, a recent Women's Way leadership award recipient.

·         prWerks serves as the public relations firm on retainer with the Pittsburgh office.  The firm is founded by and owned and operated by Kelley Denny and Lynn Seay.

·         Schnader uses TransPerfect, a litigation support service company that was named Fifth Fastest-Growing Women-Led Company in America by the Women Presidents' Organization and American Express.

·         Schnader uses Strategic Design, a woman-owned, full-service graphic design company, for many of its graphics and marketing needs.

·         We also have partnerships with the following woman-owned legal employment search firms:  Laura Segal & Associates; McCanney, Esposito & Craybill; Oxford Legal Associates and Abelson Legal Search.

 

Our representations of diverse businesses include:

·         Splash Media, a media buying company owned by Wendy Clayton-Gonzalez, for all of its needs.

·         PITG Gaming, the company owned by Don Barden, which will operate the Majestic Casino on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

·         J.E.Stuckert, Inc., a service station and towing company owned by Gladys Stuckert, for all of its needs.

·         Advanced Systems Advisors, Inc., a medical software reseller owned by Nancy Novic.

·         Innovation Exhibits, Inc., a company, owned by Laura Gables, which provides display systems for booths at conventions, etc.

·         Paula Lysy, a sole-proprietor graphics artist.

·         Mary Olliffe, an architect.

·         CAM International, Inc., an evangelical nonprofit, mission-sending agency, and a WBE contractor.

·         ImbuTec, an energy consultation and contracting services company, is an MBE contractor.

·         Peoplechart, a woman owned and run business.

·         Mad Maps, a woman owned and run business.

·         Etcetera Edutainment, a woman owned and operated business

·         Iremsys, a new technology company being formed by an African professor from CMU.

 

I.  Looking to the Future

While Schnader is proud of these and other examples of our diversity and our efforts to enhance it, we do not rest on our laurels.  We remain committed to enhancing our reputation as a law firm in which people of diverse backgrounds want to work, a place where they can thrive professionally and become part of a multifaceted team that serves the needs of our diverse clients in the global marketplace.  The Firm recently began a formal assessment of its progress toward its diversity goals, with an eye toward defining objectives and next steps for the near future.