Joint Ventures / Corporate Real Estate


The Duval & Stachenfeld Joint Venture / Corporate Real Estate Practice is one of the absolute best such practices in the real estate world. It melds the four critical components for excellence in lawyering: brainpower, expertise, heart, and market and industry knowledge.


Practice Group Leaders: Bruce M. Stachenfeld and Terri L. Adler


Overview

The Duval & Stachenfeld Joint Venture / Corporate Real Estate Practice is one of the absolute best such practices in the real estate world.  It melds the four critical components for excellence in  lawyering:

Brainpower
Expertise
Heart
Market and Industry Knowledge

We are veterans of over 3000 joint ventures over more than 20 years of practice

There are 17 partners and senior associates all of whom have devoted their careers to this practice – aggregating over 250 years of practice in the aggregate.  These senior attorneys are buttressed by an army of 15 additional associates and paralegals.

The practice is global in nature, and includes joint ventures throughout Europe, Asia, South America, India and the Caribbean.  It also includes a great deal of in-bound real estate work for our non-US clients.

The practice nestles comfortably with our Pure Play in Real Estate Law business model.  We have one of the largest real estate law practices in New York City, and the D&S Real Estate JV Practice is the crown jewel in our Pure Play crown.

The practice adjoins with our IWOM (International Women of Mystery) real estate practice that focuses on international real estate joint ventures. 

It also adjoins with our China Real Estate Law Practice, which has as its fulcrum joint ventures between Chinese and U.S. real estate players.

The practice encompasses the entire real estate industry, including:

  • Simple two-party joint ventures, such as money partner/operating partner matters
  • Programmatic arrangements
  • Complex platforms
  • Recapitalizations
  • Restructurings
  • So-called “secondaries” transactions – both simple and “structured”
  • GP Capital/Sponsor Capital Funds
  • Debt-to-equity swaps
  • Corporate real estate transactions
  • Non-traded-REIT transactions
  • Public markets REIT transactions
  • Fund formation and compliance
  • Syndications

We are everywhere in the real estate world in which multiple parties interact to achieve a result.

The practice also adjoins with our world-class tax team which is headed by one of the top cross-border tax lawyers in the world. 

Finally, the practice also adjoins with our mission to “help our clients build their businesses”.  Most obviously, a “joint venture” by definition requires at least two partners, which permits us to connect one partner with another (ideal) counterparty.  This encompasses finding the “right” partner for a deal to helping raise a fund or investment club or other arrangement to strategic partners to help grow a real estate business.

Many of our clients use other law firms for specialty matters and/or matters that can be handled by more pedestrian lawyers, with concomitant savings in dollars.  However, virtually all of our clients come to us for the D&S Real Estate JV Practice – it is just too dangerous and there is too much at stake in this area where the real estate legal and business worlds intersect.

There is a virtuous cycle to us focusing ourselves in this manner because clients come to us for the most complex matters, which in turn permits our lawyers to develop expertise, talent, industry knowledge, and other skills, which in turn attracts others with great talent to the practice, which in turn…..Overall, our practice attracts the “best” lawyers in this niche, which services clients with the most cutting-edge transactions and problems for solution.  We provide this intellectual capital to both our clients and our lawyers at the highest level.

As a result of all of this, we are able to not only “just” negotiate legal issues, but economic issues as well:

We know what is market
We know how to get the absolute best deal from a joint venture counterparty
We know how to get along and build relationships
We know what is happening in the real estate industry

There are minimum skills to enter this specialty group, including:

All partners in this practice have worked extensively on joint venture transactions over an extended period of time – this to develop not only the necessary legal skills but also marketing and industry information

All partners must have the type of brain that can essentially “play chess in the future” (which is our metaphor for what it takes to be successful in this type of practice); and

In addition to high IQ, all partners must also have high EQ.  This because this practice demands not only being smart, but also being sensitive to strategy and the interpersonal relationships that are engendered by joint venture partners who need to harmonize to achieve the intended results.

In addition to these minimum standards, many of the partners have developed specialties in specific niches, such as: Recapitalizations; GP Capital/Sponsor Capital; Platforms; Fund Formation; Preferred Equity; and much more.

The way we work includes the following:

We have a “default style” of negotiating that is based on the theme that our clients are going to have to get along with their counterparties after the matter closes; accordingly, it is rarely in their interest to get into a battle that poisons a solid relationship, if this can at all be helped.  Having said that, we are not afraid to mix it up if need be.

We work crazy hard – we routinely out-work the other side.  Our clients have deadlines and timing goals and we take them very seriously.  Often, to our surprise, other counsel does not have this degree of urgency.  This sets us apart. 

We never let our clients down – ever – period! 

We love our clients and look out for them.

We would never describe ourselves as “inexpensive”; however, due to our smaller size and focus on low overhead as a law firm, we don’t have to charge “crazy” prices either.  Plus, we have already invented all of the joint venture “wheels”, so we almost never have to “reinvent” them, other than in respect of the most bespoke of matters.  This makes us incredibly efficient.  

Since joint ventures and corporate real estate is one of the first things that has to be thought through for a new real estate company, we often act as informal general counsel for emerging real estate managers ,and we have special alternative billing arrangements for these types of real estate players.

Finally, we have a hedgehog at D&S.  The hedgehog is the reason “why” we are in business.  It stands for the proposition that we really and truly and deeply care about our clients and our lawyers.  And it is not just because the lawyers bill hours and the clients pay us money.  It is because there is something special in the relationship.  It is the reason why clients and partners virtually never leave the firm – there is no other place like us.

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