Top Ten Influential Real Estate Lawyers Shaping Northern California 2023

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The realm of real estate law is one packed with complexity and dynamism. It calls for an intricate understanding of property rights, contractual laws, and finance – all tied together with a capability to negotiate and navigate the often unpredictable waves of the market. The job of a successful real estate lawyer, then, is not just about dispensing legal advice – it often involves advising on tactical business decisions, strategic planning, and risk management. In the bustling property market of Northern California, a number of real estate lawyers stand out for their excellence in the field. This article highlights ten such individuals, all distinguished by their expertise, dedication and innovative approach to the profession.

Each of the featured lawyers have had substantial impact on their clients and the real estate industry, regardless of the size or nature of their respective legal firms. They demonstrate a high level of competence, a keen eye for detail, strong commitment to client service, and an unerring ability to handle complex and demanding transactions. Several have been described as the ‘golden standard’ by those in the industry, and many have earned plaudits for their sharp insights and their practical, solution-oriented approach. Given the multifaceted aspects of real estate law requiring both legal, business, and interpersonal skills, their achievements are all the more commendable.

Whilst not exhaustive, one cannot deny the exceptional caliber of the lawyers discussed in this article. We invite you to read through, and to connect, learn and be inspired. The profiles of each of these brilliant legal minds will surely pique the interest of those seeking representation, those in the profession looking for role models, or the merely curious reader.

Clay Gantz

With a sterling reputation, Clay Gantz’s experience lies in acquisitions, developments, and financings. Based in the prestigious firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP, Clay serves a broad range of real estate owners, developers, and investors.

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Alan C Gennis

At Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP, Alan Gennis shines for his in-depth knowledge in real estate transactions, including acquisitions and joint ventures. Known for his legal and market knowledge, Alan has great acumen in providing counsel on mixed-use and office development projects.

Kahlil T Yearwood

Renowned for his user-friendly approach, Kahlil Yearwood specialises in advising a range of lenders on financing transactions. Specifically, he handles matters involving mortgage, mezzanine, and construction loans.

Dustin Calkins

Working at Goodwin, Dustin Calkins has made his mark representing a range of real estate investors. His expertise encompasses acquisitions, joint ventures, and related financing transactions.

Michael Polentz

Michael Polentz, at Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP, leads the firm’s real estate group. He represents a variety of clients on diverse matters ranging from acquisition to construction of real estate and lease negotiations.

M.J. Pritchett

With a wealth of experience at his disposal, M.J. Pritchett represents organizations across a range of asset classes. Based at ArentFox Schiff LLP, he excels in the areas of real estate financing, development, and acquisitions.

Scott Buser

Operating from Mayer Brown LLP, Scott Buser advises a varied clientele on real estate acquisitions, development deals, and joint ventures. His counsel has consistently added value to transactions, garnering high praise in the industry.

Philip Levine

Philip Levine of Morrison Foerster stands out for his practice advising a variety of real estate clients, from financings to acquisitions and sales. His expertise extends to the structuring and formation of joint ventures.

Jacobus Machalow

Jacobus Machalow at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, specialises in acquisitions, development deals and secured financings. Appreciated for his practical approach, he is well-regarded for his capability to bridge the legal and business worlds.

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Camarin Madigan

Representing clients ranging from developers to landowners, Camarin Madigan operates from Perkins Coie LLP. Her powerhouse performance in acquisitions, dispositions and land use entitlements sets her apart. Moreover, she showcases a keen ability in the drafting and negotiation of ground leases.


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