NEW YORK – Reed Smith announced today that it has added significant bench strength to its real estate finance practice with the appointment of a team of five partners, one counsel, five associates, and one consultant to the Financial Industry Group.
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The arrival of partners Randy Eckers, Michael Estreicher, Taila Martin, Alexander (A.J.) Sokoloff, and Samuel Lee; associates Marissa Hight, Nicoletta Lakatos, Amanda Fick-Cambria, Brandon Sapala and Jessica Gersten; contract attorney Erica Blank and consultant Anne Eckhoff bolsters Reed Smith’s industry-leading real estate finance offering for its bank and lender clients. The group, which will be based in New York, joins Reed Smith from Akerman LLP.

This group expands Reed Smith’s best-in-class real estate finance capabilities to support lenders on a complete spectrum of their legal needs, including debt origination, REIT formation and compliance, fund formation, securitization and CRE CLO capabilities, tax credit planning, and structured finance and repo facility representation. The group also complements Reed Smith’s existing finance capabilities in its representation of commercial lenders in every type of financing across all asset groups and helps position the firm to respond to the recent uptick in bridge debt and construction loans.

“Over the past several years, we have been laser-focused on building transactional depth in finance across multiple disciplines, including real estate finance,” said Jodi Schwimmer, global co-chair of Reed Smith’s Financial Industry Group. The addition of this exceptional group of lawyers - lawyers who are real dealmakers - positions us as a premiere firm in the market, capable of meeting client needs from origination to securitization and all points in between.”

Reed Smith’s global network of real estate and real estate finance lawyers is recognized for providing strategic counsel to investors, developers, lenders and corporate clients in all real estate asset classes and categories. The practice also advises clients on complex real estate financing at all stages, including origination, securitization, servicing, syndication, workout, and enforcement of loans secured by real estate assets throughout North America and beyond.

“Joining Reed Smith presented us with the ideal situation, based on the strength and strategic focus of the firm’s finance practice, its commitment to the industries in which my colleagues and I have built our practices, the firm’s culture of collaboration, and its global footprint,” said Eckers, who previously served as chair of Akerman’s Real Estate Finance Practice. “We are excited to join Reed Smith and to contribute to what we believe is among the best, most comprehensive real estate finance practices in the market.”

In addition to providing counsel to lender clients throughout the real estate finance lifecycle, the practice is also well positioned to guide lenders through the pitfalls of any distressed financing circumstances that may arise, such as forbearance arrangements, foreclosure, discounted pay-offs, workouts, restructuring (in or out of bankruptcy) and loan sales, a valuable capability given challenging and turbulent economic times.

“The addition of this team instantly enhances our real estate finance capabilities in New York, one of the most intriguing and expensive real estate markets around the globe,” said Cindy Minniti, Reed Smith’s New York office managing partner. “This group, in addition to other recent significant joiners, reinforces our commitment to growing a highly sophisticated finance practice that is at the top of its class.”