Improving markets have revitalized real estate finance, and Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is poised to grow in tandem with clients.
Rebecca Livingston Lando, chair-elect of the firm's financial services and real estate finance group, explained Buchanan's expansion to The Legal Intelligencer as "hiring in a pretty strategic way."
"We're not growing everywhere, but have identified some priorities in terms of markets and skill sets," she said.
The firm has added three high-profile laterals in two strategic markets – shareholders Sean M. Girdwood and Brian D. Trudgen joined Buchanan's Pittsburgh office from Thorp Reed & Armstrong in February, and Dennis K. Moyer started in the D.C. real estate practice at the beginning of the year.
Buchanan isn't finished hiring yet, Lando said, and is looking to add lawyers in southern Florida, San Diego and New York.
Meet the rest of our real estate finance team.
Lando also pointed to "encouraging financial market and macroeconomic forecasts, such as increased occupancy rates for existing projects and increased condo sales in hard-hit markets" as reasons for confidence, The Legal said. Lando also noted improvement in the Miami and Southern California real estate markets.
A key strategy in growing the firm's real estate finance practice lies in its ability to link its real estate finance practice to other core competencies, like energy.
Lando recently attended a conference on wind energy project finance, a practice seemingly unrelated to real estate but lies firmly in Buchanan's wheelhouse. The firm has "a strong energy group that can work with real estate lawyers" on those types of projects, she explained.
Buchanan's real estate finance work spans the economic spectrum. Lando noted that while there are opportunities to represent investors looking to buy real estate financings that are underwater, the firm is also handling workouts and seeing loans reach their maturity dates.
The firm's new hires have been more "front-end deal oriented," Lando said. Since Buchanan wasn't as focused on front-end real estate development deals, the firm is now picking up experienced attorneys from firms that were more reliant on the practice, but whose work has now slowed.