Bilzin Sumberg Announces The Formation of The Distressed Assets Practice

News
August 24, 2007

Miami, Florida, August 24, 2007 The Florida law firm of Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP, widely known for its experience in real estate, announced today the formation of its Distressed Assets Practice. The team is comprised of attorneys from the firm's Real Estate, Corporate & Securities, Litigation, and Restructuring & Bankruptcy practice areas and will focus specifically on providing services to owners, investors, lenders, and financing sources in distressed and special opportunity real estate matters.

"Using our wide range of experience in real estate and corporate work, we will represent and advise public and private real estate funds, special opportunity and equity funds, other investors and developers in the acquisition, development and disposition of distressed properties, and counsel borrowers and lenders in workouts, restructurings, foreclosures, deeds in lieu of foreclosure and receiverships," explained Marjie C. Nealon,Partner in the Real Estate Group and member of the Distressed Assets Practice.

The move comes at a time when the national and Florida real estate markets present challenges to existing owners and lenders, as well as opportunities for new and different forms of finance, investment and portfolio expansion.

The recent turmoil on Wall Street, fueled in part by the subprime mortgage crisis and a trend toward tighter credit, indicates dramatic changes in the market and highlights investment opportunities in distressed real estate. Various factors, including increases in unsold residential inventory, the increased cost of retaining and developing commercial properties, and the recent decrease in liquidity, are prompting investors to seek undervalued assets through opportunity funds and other vehicles.

"Florida, which is often cited as a leading indicator of real estate prosperity and volatility, will undoubtedly be a focal point as this market shift unfolds," said James W. Shindell, who chairs the firm's Real Estate Group.

"Our Real Estate practice represents clients in every business aspect of the industry at every phase of the economic cycle, including unavoidable market downturns," he added.

Bilzin Sumberg was one of only nine law firms in the United States to be nominated for the prestigious Chambers USA 2007 National Award for Excellence in Real Estate.

Bilzin Sumberg routinely handles matters of regional and national scope. The firm has been instrumental in many of the recognizable developments in Florida, including its involvement in nearly one-third of the construction projects in the downtown Miami corridor which are recently completed, currently underway or planned. This includes involvement in multiple phases of several of the developments.

"We are well-positioned to help our clients weather any market turbulence. In addition to our significant real estate practice, we are well known for our deep and interdisciplinary resources, from corporate and tax to bankruptcy and litigation," said John C. Sumberg, the firm's Managing Partner.

"These factors, as well as our understanding of the real estate market, particularly in Florida, give us a unique perspective on navigating the economic cycles of the real estate market, and forming this new practice group will enable us to bring our levels of client service to new heights," he added.

Bilzin Sumberg has established a national reputation representing Fortune 100 companies and national and international private equity funds in multi-billion dollar transactions. In 2006, the firm's Real Estate Capital Markets Team, participated in $75 billion in CMBS transactions, representing 36% of the U.S. market.

The firm's Restructuring & Bankruptcy practice, which will be an integral part of the Distressed Assets Practice, is a regional and national player in high-stakes, complex bankruptcy and restructuring matters, including mass tort cases, as well as the bankruptcy of a subprime automobile lender. The group also handles matters involving national portfolios of properties including office buildings, industrial facilities, malls, hotels, condominiums, sports arenas and mixed-use projects.

Using its interdisciplinary approach, the firm has also represented a broad base of institutional and other investors in organizing special opportunity and investment funds, providing take-out financing and in acquiring distressed commercial property in the marketplace and out of bankruptcy.

"We have the restructuring experience and real estate industry knowledge to represent companies and investors in every type of troubled financing or bankruptcy situation," stated Scott L. Baena, Chair of the firm's Restructuring & Bankruptcy Group.

A nationally recognized bankruptcy practitioner, Mr. Baena is the only Florida attorney to have been listed in The K&A Restructuring Register: Americas Top 100, an elite registry and peer listing of the top 67 attorneys and 40 financial advisors who practice in the restructuring, reorganization, insolvency and bankruptcy arenas in the United States. He has held this distinction for five consecutive years.

About Bilzin Sumberg 
Bilzin Sumberg is a commercial law firm based in Florida. The Firm’s core practices include Business Finance & Restructuring, Corporate, Environmental, International, Land Development & Government Relations, Litigation, Real Estate, and Tax. For more information, please visit bilzin.com.

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