(Be sure to check out our podcast examining trends in real estate law.)
We are once again pleased to share our views on the most powerful real estate law practices in the nation. These are the crème de la crème, which represented the world’s best-known real estate and financial institutions in the most noteworthy and complex transactions during the past year.
After a downtick in the number of attorneys in the respective real estate practices last year, we are happy to see some 2,158 such attorneys currently working on deals, an increase of almost 9 percent. If you read through some of the highlighted work over the past year, it is easy to see why the extra hands on deck were needed.
The past year saw a flurry of M&A activity, and you will find firms representing both sides of the largest deals of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 (most notably ARCP’s acquisition of Cole). While multi-family transactions still comprise a hefty portion of these firms’ activity, there appears to be an uptick in retail and office work—a trend that mirrors what we are seeing in commercial real estate activity.
One last takeaway from this list is the growth of the general law industry. Though this ranking only represents a cross section of the largest firms, it is important to note that the number of law offices operated has increased significantly since 2011. In that year, there were 417 offices; in 2013, there were 487, a nearly 17 percent increase. Some of the largest leasing deals in the past year have been with law firms, a trend that is likely to continue, given this growth.
The CPE-MHN Leading Law Firms Survey was sent out to firms with substantial experience in commercial real estate. The firms were asked to provide information on their practice areas, experience of their real estate associates, offices, revenues, employees, tenure of real estate staff and special areas of practice. We tracked information about the firms historically and then weighted the variables to give us a ranking. The ranking represents the growth of the firms, levels of revenue generated, practice areas, attorney experience, as well as recent transactions, litigations and development work.