27 January 2006
Addition of 14 Attorneys Expands Firm’s National Presence in Financial Markets with Unique Ability to Offer Both Debt and Equity Focus
Alston & Bird LLP announced today that Joseph Philip Forte, Ellen M. Goodwin, Carson M. Leonard and Gerard C. Keegan, Jr., have joined the New York office as partners; William J. Lippman has joined as counsel; and nine other attorneys have joined as associates, expanding the firm’s real estate capital markets practice. The nine associates are: Carey LeRoux, Meryl Diamond, Donald Frey, Blase Iaconelli, Michael Vines, Britta Thornquist, Danielle Myers, David Freedman and Joseph Tully. All were previously with the New York office of Philadelphia-based Dechert LLP.
“For generations Alston & Bird has had a vibrant and well respected real estate practice,” said Ben Johnson, Alston & Bird’s managing partner. “With the addition of Joe, Ellen, Carson, Gerard and their team to our firm, our practice has reached a preeminent level – unique in its ability to address both debt and equity in the primary and capital markets.”
The highly credentialed team brings with them substantial experience in real estate finance and securities transactions relating to the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market, including large loan originations and the sale, securitization, syndication and servicing of commercial mortgage loans for capital markets.
“Alston’s reputation as a leading national firm and its growing presence in the New York market have established us as a strong national real estate capital markets practice.” Joe Forte said. “The group has married its top-notch securities and lending practices with its legacy real estate capabilities to create a service area aligned with the real estate industry as it evolves and recreates itself in different ways.”
Joseph Philip Forte
Mr. Forte is recognized as a pioneer in the legal aspects of real estate capital markets and a respected voice in the New York real estate community. He was involved in the early development of the secondary market for residential, multifamily, and commercial mortgages, and in 1988, he developed the program documents for the first commercial mortgage loan conduit. He was also the principal draftsman of the Capital Markets Mortgage form, published by the Capital Consortium. And as counsel to the Mortgage Bankers Association of New York and Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), he was also instrumental in defeating the American Land Title Association (ALTA) original creditors’ rights exclusion in New York and led the drafting and adoption of the “New York” creditors’ rights endorsement by ALTA across the United States.
Mr. Forte is a past president of the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association, and an active participant in its Real Estate Roundtable and founder and publisher of its quarterly magazine, CMBS World. He has been listed as one of the top lawyers in his field in Chambers USA, Who’s Who Legal, The Best Lawyers in America, and EuroMoney among others. Mr. Forte is a trustee/manager of the Downtown Association in the City of New York and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Chicago Title Insurance Company. He is also a frequent author and speaker on real estate finance and capital market topics.
Over the last 33 years, Mr. Forte has focused on real estate finance and workouts, secondary mortgage market transactions and environmental risk management. He represents regulated and unregulated investors – including banks, insurance companies, pension funds and investment banks – in the financing of commercial real estate and construction, and also has extensive experience with alternative financing vehicles for real estate. He frequently advises clients on the federal regulation of residential real estate and doing-business issues in the fifty states. Mr. Forte developed and has chaired a commercial securitization real estate program for ALI-ABA lawyers around the country for the past eight years. In 2004 he planned and co-chaired The Legal & Financial Infrastructure Requirements for Residential Mortgage Securitization in China. Hosted by the Peking University School of Law and International Sponsors, it was a program on residential securitization in China for government ministers and heads of the country’s financial institutions. In 2005 he planned and co-chaired the Second International Securitization Conference with respect to several newly enacted Chinese laws enabling securitization in China.
Mr. Forte, age 58, received his B.A., magna cum laude, in 1969 from St. Francis College and his J.D., cum laude, from St. John’s University School of Law 1973 where he was managing editor of its Law Review and a Thomas Moore Scholar.
Ellen M. Goodwin
Ms. Goodwin represents investment banks, commercial banks, pension funds and insurance companies on a variety of U.S. loan transactions for both portfolios and securitizations, including permanent, interim and construction loan financing, loan syndications and participations, co-lending arrangements, mezzanine finance, (including mezzanine construction loans) and mortgage loan foreclosures and workouts. She has represented developers and property owners in connection with the investment in and finance of commercial properties. Ms. Goodwin is a frequent lecturer for the Practicing Law Institute and the New York State Bar Association and is a member of the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Real Estate Board of New York. She is also on the legal advisory board for First American Title Insurance Company of New York.
Ms. Goodwin, age 42, obtained a B.A. from Boston College in 1985 and a J.D from Hofstra University in 1989.
Carson M. Leonard
Mr. Leonard, who represents banks in their capacity as originators of mortgage and mezzanine financings, was lead counsel in two of the largest stand-alone real estate deals of 2004: the $825 million financing of the acquisition of the Sears Tower and the $730 million financing of the BankAmerica Tower. He also represents insurance companies and institutional investors in portfolio and securitization transactions, including permanent and bridge loans; mezzanine and other subordinate debt financing; participations, and co-lending arrangements, and loan sales and restructurings. He is also on the legal advisory board for First American Title Insurance Company of New York.
Mr. Leonard, age 42, received a B.A. from Duke University 1985, an M.B.A from Cornell University in 1989 and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1992.
Gerard C. Keegan, Jr.
Mr. Keegan focuses his practice on securitized mortgage lending. Mr. Keegan represents investment banks, institutional lenders, servicers and borrowers in origination, refinance, modification, securitization, assumption and work-out of commercial real estate loans involving multiple states and multiple properties, environmentally distressed properties, ground lease and credit lease financings as well as mezzanine and subordinate debt.
Mr. Keegan, age 33, graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in 1995 and received his J.D. from Fordham University in 1998.