The Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law (the “Institute”), St. John’s Law’s focal point for real estate law, is dedicated to preparing aspiring real estate attorneys for practice through exceptional academic programs and curriculum, unique career development opportunities, and extraordinary special events. In so doing, it builds upon St. John’s Law’s nearly century-old tradition of producing outstanding real estate lawyers.
The Institute operates out of dedicated offices on the third floor of the Law School, strategically located across from the Offices of Alumni Relations, Career Development and Admissions. The offices include a conference facility and work spaces for Real Estate Fellows.
The Institute is named for Joseph M. Mattone, Sr. '53C, '55L, '94 HON, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mattone Group, whose generous endowment supports the Institute and its programs.
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Current course offerings include the following:
ADVANCED TOPICS IN REAL ESTATE LAW
In this seminar, students will explore cutting-edge issues in real estate law and deepen their understanding of concepts related to the financing, development, ownership and operation of real estate not covered in depth in any other course. Topics covered will change from year to year to reflect the most recent developments and trends in real estate, and the instructor’s particular areas of expertise. Case studies of actual and simulated transactions will be used to increase students' understanding of the issues explored. The course will be taught as a mixture of lecture, directed discussion and seminar, and is anticipated to include distinguished guest lecturers with expertise in the particular topics covered. Pre-requisites: Real Estate Transactions and four additional credits of advanced PROP coursework. Enrollment requires permission of the Program Director.
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LEASING
(PROPERTY - 2010)
This course introduces students to the negotiation, drafting and interpretation of commercial real estate leases. It covers topics distinct from those covered in Real Estate Transactions. Topics include: letters of intent, term, permitted use, assignment and subleasing, rent, alterations, maintenance, building services, regulatory compliance, options, brokers, casualty, insurance, indemnities, subordination, defaults and remedies. The course will also address ancillary lease documentation such as non-disturbance agreements, estoppel certificates and guaranties; certain tax consequences of commercial leasing; and ethical issues that arise in commercial leasing practice. Special attention will be paid to New York State and City laws impacting commercial leases. Students will gain an understanding of the key negotiating points in a commercial lease, the interests of the parties in relation to those points, and the process of negotiation which results in lease documentation memorializing these interests. Grades will be based on final examination. Prerequisite: PROPERTY
CONDOMINIUMS, COOPERATIVES & HOMEOWNER
ASSOCIATIONS (PROPERTY - 1000)
This course examines modern forms of shelter from the viewpoint of the community, the developer, the institutional lender and the consumer. The relative advantages of each form of development, the legal problems involved in selling and re-selling individual units, and the controls that may be exercised over unit owners are examined. The economic, social and legal aspects of conversion of rental properties to cooperative or condominium status are discussed. Rights and remedies in the event of defaults by unit owners/developers are also considered. Students will work with applicable statutes, governmental regulations and documents of existing projects. Grades are based upon a research paper.
(BUSINESS AND FINANCE LAW - 4050)
This course is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the field of construction law, beginning with the parties to a typical construction project, the types of contracts used, the competitive bidding process, labor law issues, and the resolution of disputes, with a concentration on issues related to construction in New York State and City. The students will review a standard construction contract published by the American Institute of Architects, participate in a mock mediation of a construction dispute, review and complete NYC Vendex Questionnaires required of all NYC municipal contractors, and review and complete a notice of mechanic's lien. The objective will be to provide the students with the ability to advise clients working in the construction field in reviewing contracts, participating in the competitive bidding process, handling disputes and labor issues, and filing claims for public and private works projects. Grades will be based on a final examination and class participation. Prerequisite: CONTRACTS I AND CONTRACTS II
DRAFTING: REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
(PROPERTY - 1050)
This course is a transaction-oriented course dealing with modern real estate problems. The major work product is a series of drafted agreements. Before undertaking actual drafting, students analyze a hypothetical transaction on an integrated functional basis. This involves primarily the interplay of Property, Partnership, Corporation and Tax rules, and how to use them to achieve maximum objectives. Pertinent background reading is assigned in connection with each transaction. Preliminary analysis leads to particular structuring or restructuring of a transaction and provides the basis for the drafting of the appropriate instruments. Grades are based upon class assignments and a final examination.
(ENVIRONMENTAL LAW - 1000)
This course covers the legal responses to current environmental problems, including climate change, air and water quality, toxic substances, solid and hazardous waste and the preservation of parks, wetlands and the habitats of endangered species. The course starts with the common law of nuisance and the public trust doctrine, foundations of the current law. It then traces the development of federal and state environmental statutes and the administrative law that governs agencies implementing these statutes’ provisions. Grades are based upon a final examination.
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
(ENVIRONMENTAL LAW - 1030)
This course surveys the leading legal instruments and approaches to dealing with regional and global environmental problems. It will address transboundary air and water pollution, mass catastrophes, protection and allocation of freshwater supplies, stewardship of ocean resources such as fisheries, protection of the atmosphere (including the ozone layer and climate change), transport and trade in hazardous chemicals and waste, and biodiversity. The course will explore the environmental side of new approaches to economic regulation, including the world trade regime, and emerging ideas about sustainable development. Grades are based upon a final examination.
LAND USE PLANNING
(PROPERTY - 1010)
This course provides an analysis of the legal and administrative aspects of land use control, and of the problems and techniques of urban planning. The course includes a study of building codes, zoning, subdivision, public acquisition of land tax controls and urban redevelopment. Grades are based upon a research paper of law review quality on a topic approved by the faculty member conducting the seminar.
(PROPERTY - 1080)
This course analyzes the various types of property interests, real and personal, recognized under U.S. law, the rights and obligations of holders of property interests, and the legal bases and public policies that lead to recognition of property interests, rights and liabilities. The course may include a discussion of property rights based on possession, including adverse possession, labor, gift and purchase, as well as estates in land, concurrent interests, landlord-tenant law, and land use regulations. Grades are based upon a final examination.
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
(PROPERTY - 1040)
This course examines the law and practice of real estate development, including substantive discussion of such areas as: assemblage of a development site; entitlements, air/development rights and permits; ownership structures; construction financing; agreements with contractors, designers, property managers and leasing agents; and exit strategies. Students will be introduced to the economic considerations associated with a real estate development. Special attention will be given to laws and regulations that impact the real estate development process in New York City. Students will also be instructed on ethical issues that arise in this area of practice. Grades are based upon a midterm (20% of grade) and a final examination (80% of grade). Students would benefit from taking REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS prior to or concurrent with enrollment in this course.
REAL ESTATE FINANCE: COMMERCIAL
(PROPERTY - 2020)
This course examines the law and process of commercial real estate finance. It covers topics distinct from those covered in Real Estate Transactions. Topics will include real estate finance applications whereby an investor or lender acquires a direct interest in real property, including fee and leasehold mortgages; those in which the investor or lender acquires an indirect interest in real property, including mezzanine loans and preferred equity; and capital markets structures such as CMBS and REITs. The course will also address participations, syndications, intercreditor arrangements, workouts and foreclosures. Students will learn to review and analyze key provisions in financing documentation from the perspective of multiple stakeholders. Federal and New York State and City laws and regulations impacting the commercial real estate finance process will also be covered. Students will also be instructed on ethical issues that arise in this area of practice. Grades are based upon a final examination. Students will be required to complete an ungraded take-home midterm examination. Pre- or co-requisite: REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
REAL ESTATE FINANCE: RESIDENTIAL
(PROPERTY - 1070)
This course is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the federal and state consumer protection laws affecting the origination and foreclosure of real estate mortgages, the regulation of the mortgage industry, and the foreclosure process, including title insurance, the priority of liens, the impact of bankruptcy filings and post-foreclosure proceedings such as evictions, surplus money proceedings and deficiency judgments. Grades are based upon a final examination.
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
(PROPERTY - 1090)
Open only to students who have not taken the two-semester sequence of Property I and II and/or Real Estate Transactions-Advanced. This course examines the fundamental legal and business building blocks of real estate transactions. Topics include the role of the lawyer, broker participation and responsibilities, the contract of sale and remedies for breach, deeds and closing, the title system, mortgages and foreclosure. This course provides a foundation for other advanced real estate courses. Grades are based upon a final examination. Pre-requisite: PROPERTY
REAL ESTATE WORKOUTS AND BANKRUPTCY
(PROPERTY - 2030)
This course will examine the consequences of real estate defaults, emphasizing the major current problems faced by real estate mortgagees, landlords, tenants and partners in default situations and mitigating drafting techniques that may be employed in the documentation stage. Among the areas covered will be: negotiating and drafting a workout agreement; lender liability; cram down of bankruptcy plans including classification and "new value" issues; and effect of bankruptcy of a real estate partner. Grades are based upon a research paper and a final examination. Pre-requisite for J.D. students: CREDITORS' RIGHTS OR REAL ESTATE FINANCE: COMMERCIAL OR BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY REORGANIZATIONS
At St. John’s Law, real estate courses are taught by a renowned faculty including both real estate scholars and seasoned practitioners with experience in a variety of areas of real estate law.
Jacob L. Todres
David M. Curry
Thomas J. Rossi
Chris M. Smith
The St. John’s Law Real Estate Law Fellowship Program (the “Real Estate Fellowship Program”), provided through the Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law (the “Institute”), offers an outstanding educational and pre-professional experience for selected 2L and 3L St. John's Law students ("Real Estate Fellows") who have a strong interest in real estate law, including real estate development, finance and investment. The Real Estate Fellowship Program provides to each Real Estate Fellow an annual stipend of up to $5,000, and, potentially, additional funds to pursue academic and pre-professional activities, which awards are incremental to any other scholarship monies. The Institute provides Real Estate Fellows with a unified program of academic and pre-professional instruction designed to prepare them for rewarding careers in real estate law, including real estate-focused externship, mentoring and clinical programs. Real Estate Fellows will be linked with the Institute’s strong network of alumni and connections in the real estate industry, and will participate in, and assist with, Institute networking events, conferences, seminars and continuing legal education programs. Real Estate Fellows will be given preferential access to limited-enrollment real estate law electives. The Institute’s Director and a dedicated Career Development Counselor with expertise in real estate career options will work closely with the Real Estate Fellows as they make decisions regarding curriculum, publications, internships, externships, and long-term career planning.
The Real Estate Fellowship Program is open to all St. John's Law students in the 2L year. 2L students apply to the Real Estate Fellowship Program either in the spring as a rising 2L or during the fall of their 2L year. The Real Estate Fellowship Program is also open to selected students in the 3L year (see below). Students are admitted to the program based on a competitive application process.
Students apply for the Real Estate Fellowship Program by submitting the Real Estate Fellowship Program application, together with a brief personal statement, an optional diversity statement, a resume and a self-prepared transcript, to the Director of the Mattone Institute. The Director of the Institute also interviews all applicants. There are two application cycles each year: between May 1 and the third Friday of June of each year (for rising 2Ls) and between November 15 and December 1 of each year (for 2Ls entering the spring semester) (dates subject to adjustment from time to time).
The Program Review Committee will select candidates for the Real Estate Fellowship Program based on certain selection criteria (the “Program Selection Criteria”), which include the following: (i) the requirement of a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.3 or better in all real estate courses (including 1L Property) (subject to waiver by the Program Review Committee in exceptional circumstances), and (ii) a demonstrated dedication to real estate as a career option, including applicable work experience.
Students may apply for admission to the program as rising 3Ls, and may be selected for the program by the Program Review Committee on a case-by-case basis based upon the Program Selection Criteria.
Real Estate Fellows will agree to comply with the following requirements (the “Program Requirements”):
Participants in the Real Estate Fellowship Program will be referred to as “Real Estate Fellows” for the duration of their participation in the program, and may refer to themselves as “Real Estate Fellows” in resumes and similar materials following graduation if they satisfactorily complete the Program Requirements.
Norah Alimonos '21E
Norah is the S.V.P. of Global Sales for a leading provider of Corporate Ground Transportation Logistics Solutions. Providing services to major
Fortune 500 companies in the banking, legal and entertainment industries in over 450 cities and 39 countries, Norah is responsible for leading a global sales team and overseeing operational areas related to general account management and quality assurance. She is fully responsible for tailoring all aspects of the account support infrastructure inclusive of technology customization, reporting enhancements, human resource allocation and development of client cost-savings initiatives. A graduate of Baruch College, Norah is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration, and received an award for highest G.P.A. in her major of International Marketing. Norah is a staff member for the New York Real Property Law Journal and received the Dean’s Award for Excellence for Torts - Fall 2017, Real Estate Transactions - Spring 2019, Commercial Real Estate Leasing - Spring 2019, and Drafting Real Estate Transactions - Fall 2019. In recognition of her exceptional academic performance in real estate law coursework, Norah was named the 2020-21 Timothy J. Meehan Fellow. Intensely passionate about pursuing a career in real estate law, Norah’s ultimate goal is to establish a local New York based practice specializing in residential and small commercial real estate.
Brandon Auerbach '21
At St. John’s Law, Brandon is an Executive Notes and Comments Editor on the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, and the President of
the Real Property Law Society. Brandon graduated cum laude from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Science in Financial Economics. In Spring of 2019, Brandon received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Legal Writing. During Brandon’s 1L summer, he worked at Ahmuty, Demers, and McManus, where he worked with partners and associates with litigation and trial preparation. Additionally, Brandon assisted with blockchain, legal, and international research, while working as a research assistant at the Mattone Institute. In fall of 2019, Brandon worked at Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov, a firm specializing in Real Estate and Bankruptcy matters. Brandon was an intern at the Consumer Justice for the Elderly Clinic, an in-house clinic at the law school. This summer, Brandon worked at Andersen, where he was a member of the commercial tax group. This semester Brandon looks forward to externing at Estee Lauder in the corporate and security department. As a part of the real estate fellowship program, Brandon hopes to further his career interests and contribute to the St. John’s Law community.
Edward Belotte '21
At St. John’s Law, Edward serves as The Associate Managing Editor for The New York International Law Review, Treasurer of the St. John’s Black Law Student Association, and a Teaching Assistant for Dean Michael A. Simons’ Criminal Law class. He has also served as a research assistant, a Teaching Fellow for Introduction to Law, and served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for Diversity and Inclusion. Edward is currently interning at Oppenheimer & Co., a multinational investment bank with over $25 billion in assets under management. There, he counsels financial advisory and management on regulatory relations, litigation defense, and risk management. Additionally, he responds to regulatory inquiries from the SEC and FINRA. This past summer Edward concurrently interned in the New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division, for the Honorable Larry D. Martin. In the summer of 2019, Edward was a judicial intern to Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke in the Eastern District of New York, where he conducted research and assisted in drafting a multi-issue judicial opinion. Edward graduated from Providence College with a B.S. in Finance and a B.A. in Political Science. At Providence, he completed an International Business Studies program in Milan, Italy. Edward is a graduate of Chaminade High School. As a Real Estate Fellow, Edward is looking forward to exploring New York’s preeminent real estate market and connecting with fellow St. John’s students and alumni.
William Buzzini '22
William is a judge of Jewish law and an author of numerous case comments covering areas of Jewish tort, transactional, and matrimonial law. Having excelled as a Jewish law scholar for nearly two decades, William began St. John’s Law School with a Real Estate Honors Scholarship to pursue a career in American law and specializing in Real Estate. As the judicial chambers with whom he worked closely can attest, William’s previous discipline serves him well in the context of complex issues of law, allowing him to cut to the heart of any issue with the support of authoritative and persuasive precedent. Chambers made extensive use of William’s writing and analytical abilities, which gave William the opportunity to let his abilities and work ethic shine. This year, William is looking forward to being a staff member for the New York Real Estate Law Journal and taking courses in the fundamentals of real estate transactions and finance. In the spring, William will be interning with the Court of International Trade to broaden his perspective of the Federal Judiciary and have an opportunity to experience some of the finest lawyering in the country. William ultimately hopes to incorporate his judicial experiences into the practice area of real estate law, either by being a litigator or a transactional lawyer who knows how to safely enshrine his client’s interests in writing.
Sabrina Jorge '22
Sabrina Jorge is a Staff Member on the St. John’s Law Review, Teaching Assistant for Legal Writing I, and Co-Director of Public Relations for the Women’s Law Society. In 2019, Sabrina graduated from Binghamton University with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Law. During Sabrina’s 1L summer, she worked at New York Life Insurance Co., where she researched and drafted memoranda on various legal issues, including real estate finance. Currently, Sabrina is working as a student intern in the Tenants’ Rights Advocacy Clinic where she will represent low-income tenants asserting various rights under New York’s rent laws. As a Real Estate Fellow, Sabrina is looking forward to exploring commercial real estate and contributing to the St. John’s community.
Heather Lewin '21
Heather Lewin is a 3L from Glen Head, NY. Previously, Heather graduated from Binghamton University magna cum laude. Heather is the Vice President of The Real Property Law Society and Member of the New York International Law Review, Public Interest Center, and Woman’s Law Society. This past summer, Heather interned at the Queen’s Surrogate Court for Hon. Peter J. Kelly. She has also worked at St. John’s Consumer Justice for the Elder: Litigation Clinic and the Law Office of Donna Furey. As a Mattone Institute Real Estate Fellow, Heather hopes to gain more exposure in residential real estate law and to further connect with St. John’s extensive alumni pool.
Federica Marini '21
Federica grew up in Italy, in a rural village in the Milan area. She moved to the United States to attend Agnes Scott College, where she double-majored in History and French. She is currently a 3L at St. John's School of Law and a senior staff member of the St. John's Law Review. During her 2L year, Federica worked as a law clerk at Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov LLP, where she focused on landlord-tenant, foreclosure, and bankruptcy issues. Federica wrote her law review note on a foreclosure defense issue that she encountered while working as a law clerk her 1L summer. Federica recently accepted an offer to join Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP full time after graduation.
Lorena Niyazov '22
Lorena graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s University in 2019, earning a B.A. in Economics. At St. John’s Law, Lorena is a St. Thomas Moore Scholar and a member of the Real Property Law Society. While in college, Lorena worked as a loan officer assistant at R&J Capital Group, LLC, which is where her interest in real estate law began. As a Real Estate Fellow, Lorena hopes to gain a better understanding of residential and commercial transactions.
Meghan Paola '22
At St. John’s Law, Meghan serves as a staff member on the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review and is a member of the Real Property Law Society. She is a recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship and was a 1L Mattone Institute Honors Scholar. Meghan graduated cum laude from Binghamton University in 2018 with a B.A. in political science and a minor in history. Prior to coming to law school, Meghan worked as a legal intern at The Durst Organization, where she assisted the in-house legal department in various matters ranging from commercial leasing to data privacy. During her 1L summer, she returned to The Durst Organization and also worked as a research assistant for Professor Chiu. In the fall of 2020, Meghan is working as a legal extern at Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. As a Real Estate Fellow, Meghan looks forward to furthering her interest and experience in real estate and connecting with fellow students and alumni.
Olivia Pizzo '22
Olivia graduated from Fordham University in 2019, where she earned a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Business Administration. In undergrad, Olivia interned at A&E Real Estate, a commercial real estate management company, reviewing leases and drafting tenant notices. Prior to St. John’s Law, she also became a member and scholarship recipient of WX: New York Women Executives in Real Estate, an organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of women in the industry. At St. John’s Law, Olivia was awarded the Real Estate Honors Scholarship. Currently, she is a member of the Real Property Law Society and the Wellness Committee of the Student Bar Association. This past summer, Olivia interned in the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Division, for the Honorable Tanya R. Kennedy. In January, she will be a Teacher’s Assistant for Dennis Glazer’s Lawyering course. As a Real Estate Fellow, Olivia hopes to find her niche within the industry and further connect with the St. John’s community.
Antonio Sciarrotta '22
Antonio is a 2L from Chicago,IL. He graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a B.S. in Chemistry. At St. John’s Law, Antonio is a Staff Member on the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, an Executive Officer for the Real Property Law Society, the Co-Director of Events for the Intellectual Property Law Society, the Social Chair for Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and a Student Mentor for the 1L Mentorship Program. This past summer, Antonio worked with the Child Advocacy Clinic at St. John’s Law, where he helped represent children in their Family Court guardianship proceedings, USCIS Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions, and EOIR removal proceedings. This semester, Antonio will be externing at Mahon & Berger. Antonio hopes to further explore his interest in Real Estate Law as part of the fellowship program, and forge relationships within this part of the St. John’s Law community.
Andrew Stanko '21
Drew graduated from Villanova University in 2018, where he earned a B.A. in Economics with a minor in English Literature. At St. John's Law, Drew is an executive officer with the Real Property Law Society, and a Notes and Comments Editor for the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development (JCRED). During his 1L summer, Drew worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Gerald Pappert of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and during his 2L summer he worked as an intern at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in the Economic Crimes and Civil Rights divisions. As a 2L, Drew worked closely with President/CEO, Alfred Cerullo, as an extern at the Grand Central Partnership, a Business Improvement District (BID) in East Midtown, and as an extern at Romer Debbas, LLP, a boutique real estate law firm in New York, NY. After graduating from St. John’s Law, Drew will serve as a judicial law clerk for Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. As a Real Estate fellow, Drew hopes to immerse himself in the industry from both a professional and academic standpoint.
Ashley Williams '21
Ashley graduated magna cum laude from Lehman College in 2015, earning a B.A. in Political Science. Upon attending St. John's Law, Ashley was awarded the Ronald H. Brown Scholarship for her academic accomplishments. At St. John's Law, Ashley serves as a Competition Director for the Moot Court Honors Society, Event Coordinator of the St. John's Black Law Student Association, and Treasurer of the St. John's Women's Law Society. She has also served as a teaching assistant for Criminal Law and the Prelaw Undergraduate LSAC PLUS Program at St. John's. Ashley successfully competed in the 2020 Cardozo BMI Entertainment & Media Law Moot Court Competition and won first place for Best Brief.
This Fall Ashley will be interning at The Appellate Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi P.C. where she will work on appellate matters in state and federal appellate courts. This past summer, Ashley interned at the New York City Law Department where she worked in the Commercial and Real Estate Litigation division. In addition to conducting legal research and drafting pleadings, she defended lien cases and worked on breach of contract and real estate actions brought against the City and its constituent agencies. Her work included revising and updating the department's training manual on Adverse Possession claims and researching and drafting a memorandum on the City's immunities in contract law. During her internship, Ashley attended countless panel discussions on the various issues that the Law Department handles, from force majeure issues to the Urbanization of New York. Ashley worked directly with the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, James Johnson on a research project regarding the barriers of family togetherness. Ashley's research memo focused on NYCHA's Family Reentry Program and its effects on communities of color.
In the summer of 2019, Ashley worked for David A. Gallo & Associates, LLP in the Contested Department, which deals with the litigation of mortgage foreclosure sales. In this role, she assisted attorneys with third-party closings, and strict foreclosures. Ashley drafted motions for summary judgement, strict complaints, affidavits in support, lost note affidavits, motions to dismiss, and stipulations to rescind sales.
In addition to taking the foundational property law class, Ashley has studied advanced real estate courses, such as Commercial Real Estate Leasing, Real Estate Transactions, Real Estate Development, Condominiums, Cooperatives & Homeowner Associations and participated in the Tenants' Rights Advocacy Clinic at the Queens Housing Court last spring.
As a Real Estate Fellow, Ashley is looking forward to exploring New York's commercial real estate market and connecting with fellow St. John's students and alumni.
The Mattone Institute benefits from the support and guidance of a distinguished Advisory Board, which includes leaders from across the real estate industry.
*Emerging Leaders Committee member
The N.Y. Real Property Law Journal is the official publication of the New York State Bar Association’s (NYSBA) Real Property Law Section, which “serves New York real property lawyers and the public, promotes the successful transaction of real estate business in New York State, and contributes to the sound development of real property law in New York State.” As part of its mission, the Section aims to “publish a high quality journal to keep section members informed of developments and the latest thinking in real property law.”
The Externship Program at St. John's Law places students with a variety of pre-approved employers where they work directly with an assigned mentor attorney on real legal matters. Externship placements provide students with actual litigation and transactional experience and, in some cases, students are exposed to case management and policy issues. All placements give students a substantial lawyering experience and prepare students for the practice of law in specific areas. Students choose placements based upon their interest in a substantive area of law or their desire to learn or sharpen particular lawyering skills.
Students interested in building practical skills in the area of real estate law while doing real work for New Yorkers in need may choose to participate in our Tenants’ Rights Advocacy Clinic, in which students engage in the various stages of landlord-tenant litigation on behalf of income-eligible tenants residing in Queens who are facing eviction; or our Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic, where students have the opportunity to represent low-income, elderly Queens residents in cases that include deed theft, foreclosure defense and home improvement fraud.
The Mattone Institute builds upon St. John’s Law’s long tradition of producing exceptional real estate attorneys. Our Featured Alumni showcases on a rotating basis the accomplishments of a few members of our distinguished alumni network.
“I am thrilled and honored to be part of the Institute. What excites me most (and why I wanted to become involved) is what I view as the importance of exposing the real estate legal and business community to law school students and the amazing benefits that will be derived. I received an excellent education at the Law School , however, until my first day as a first year associate , I had never met a real estate lawyer nor real estate professional or actually knew what a real estate lawyer did for the ten to fifteen hours each workday. it is this “gap” that I see the Institute closing.”
After earning his B.A. from Syracuse University in 1968, Mr. Altschuler graduated the Law School in 1972. He started his career at Milbank Tweed in the Real Estate Group before joining Breed, Abbott & Morgan in 1981 to help develop a real estate practice. In January, 1992, Mr. Altschuler joined Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, where he continues to practice today as Senior Counsel (after more than two decades as a Partner). Mr. Altschuler represents a variety of clients in connection with the origination of construction, interim and permanent financings; workouts and foreclosures; the origination and securitization of commercial mortgage loans, mezzanine loans and preferred equity interests; and the acquisition, financing, restructuring and disposition of performing and non-performing loans and properties. Particularly active in the public sector over the course of his career, his clients have included Battery Park City Authority, including with respect to the World Financial Center, the Holocaust Museum, the first residential leasehold condominium project in NYS, the relocation of NYMEX and new Stuyvesant High School; the City of New York, including with respect to the Metrotech Project in downtown Brooklyn; and the State of New York Urban Development Corporation with respect to the Times Square Redevelopment. He has been recognized as one of the country’s leading real estate lawyers by Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who Legal.
"SJU Law’s founding, development and operation of the Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law is a singularly bold and inspired move which dramatically increases the profile of SJU Law within the New York City real estate community. The Institute will provide SJU Law students with numerous unique opportunities to interact with and learn from many of SJU Law’s most notable and well-established alumni, including real estate practitioners in some of New York City’s preeminent law firms and in-house counsel at numerous real estate companies and institutional lenders and investors. I have no doubt that those SJU Law students who take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities offered by the Institute will be uniquely qualified and extremely well-positioned to make an immediate impact in, and be a significant contributor to, any real estate department."
Bruce S. DePaola ’91 is a partner in Paul Hastings LLP’s New York office, specializing in the representation of real estate developers, private equity investors, real estate opportunity funds, institutional investors in real property and hotel managers which are involved in innovative real estate transactions across the globe. Recently, he represented (i) Vladislav Doronin of the Moscow-based Capital Group in connection with its ongoing restructuring, recapitalization and redevelopment of the upper floors of the NYC landmark, the Crown Building; (ii) Nordstrom Inc. in its acquisition and development of its proposed 285,000-square-foot flagship New York City store, which will be located at 57th/58th Streets and Broadway in New York City; (iii) New York City Football Club LLC, in connection with its acquisition of a Major League Soccer franchise and the acquisition and development of a first team training facility in Orangeburg, New York; (iv) Nobu Hospitality in connection with hotel management agreements and restaurant leases/licenses in existing or pending mixed-use projects in Las Vegas, Miami, Toronto, Chicago, London, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Malibu, Marbella, Ibiza, Palo Alto, Toronto, and London; (v) Investcorp International Realty Inc. in connection with acquisitions of multi-family and student housing projects in Raleigh, Nashville, Phoenix and Boca Raton and office parks, storage, industrial and retail projects in Boston, Atlanta, Denver and Chicago, (vi) HFZ Capital in connection with its development of, and hotel management agreement with Six Senses Hotels and Resorts for, 76 Eleventh Avenue, in New York City and (vii) L&L Holding Company in connection with its investment in, and development of, 1568 Broadway, in New York City.
"The Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law will be an excellent addition to the St. John’s University School of Law academic offerings. Having practiced real estate law in New York for over 20 years, I know firsthand the importance of staying on top of current issues and understanding market trends. Through its dedicated programs and curriculum, the Institute will provide an invaluable opportunity for students to contextualize their experiences in the classroom and help prepare them for practice."
Peter J. Irwin ’96 is a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Chair of the firm’s Real Estate Group. Mr. Irwin regularly advises clients on real estate acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, financings, restructurings and leasing transactions. He received his B.S. from Cornell University in 1993 and his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 1996. He was selected as a David Rockefeller Fellow for the class of 2012 by the Partnership for New York City. Mr. Irwin is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Real Property Law Section and a member of the Real Estate Board of New York.
“New York City is the real estate capital of the world. Being involved with designing, building, owning and operating real estate projects in New York is exciting. These processes require smart people with good judgment, which are traits that have long been identified with SJU Law graduates. Giving our law students a ‘head start’ in the industry through the Mattone Institute is a wonderful idea and a tremendous benefit to students."
Chris is President of Gotham Properties & Hospitality and Chief Operating Officer of Gotham Organization, Inc. Over the past 100 years, Gotham has built over 40 million square feet of space. The firm currently owns/is developing 4.1 million square feet of residential, commercial and retail properties. Chris leads the company’s property management and hospitality divisions, which manages residential and commercial space for Gotham’s 4,000 residents and 35 commercial tenants and he was the executive in charge of launching Gotham West Market in 2013, a first-of-its-kind marketplace named "one of America's best food halls" by Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine and others, and he recently launched Gotham Market at The Ashland in Brooklyn. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, the Urban Land Institute and others call on Chris as an expert source in real estate and hospitality trends. Chris is also Gotham’s Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for transactions, commercial negotiations, human resources, risk management, contracts, litigations and crisis control, while also leading the company’s retail and commercial portfolio. Christopher joined Gotham in 2003 after representing the company as an attorney for Proskauer Rose LLP.
“Ladder Capital Corp, a $6 billion commercial real estate finance REIT, currently benefits from a prestigious roster of St. John’s Law alumni, including two board members, the president and the general counsel, as well as two members of its corporate legal department and a senior member of its transaction management team. Having experienced the advantages of St. John’s prevalence in the real estate industry, we look forward to the Mattone Institute providing both a forum for the numerous alumni practicing real estate to give back and a centralized resource for law students who would like to practice in the real estate field.”
Pamela McCormack ’96 is a co-founder and the President of Ladder Capital. Ms. McCormack most recently served as Ladder’s Chief Operating Officer and previously as the Company’s Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel. Before forming Ladder, Ms. McCormack served as Head of Transaction Management – Global Commercial Real Estate at both Dillon Read and UBS. Prior to joining UBS, Ms. McCormack was Vice President and Counsel at Credit Suisse and an associate at leading global law firms. Ms. McCormack received a B. A. in English, cum laude, from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.
Kelly Porcella ’07 is General Counsel of Ladder Capital Corp. Ms. Porcella is responsible for strategic and corporate governance, legal, human resources, financing and regulatory matters. Prior to being appointed as General Counsel of Ladder, Ms. Porcella served as Associate General Counsel. Before joining Ladder in March 2009, Ms. Porcella worked at Dillon Read and UBS, serving as a key member of the Global Commercial Real Estate asset management team. Ms. Porcella received a B.S. in Marketing, summa cum laude, from The Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University and a J.D., magna cum laude, from St. John’s University School of Law.
“With the real estate market on the rise, the Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law could not have come about at a better time. This institute will allow St Johns students to gain practical experience in the real estate industry and benefit from the increased opportunities that will be created by the rise in the market.”
Tianja Samuel ’13 is an associate at Kriss & Feuerstein LLP in New York. Ms. Samuel’s practice is real-estate based, with a particular focus on finance, representing both institutional and private lenders in the financing of commercial real estate. Ms. Samuel also handles transactional matters including acquisitions, sales and financing of commercial properties. Prior to joining Kriss & Feuerstein LLP, Ms. Samuel was an associate in the banking and financial services practice group of a Long Island-based firm where she represented institutional lenders in the financing of commercial properties. Ms. Samuel received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Florida International University in 2003 and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in 2010. She attended St. John’s University School of Law on a full academic scholarship and graduated in the top 25% of her class. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Samuel worked as a Licensed Financial Specialist with several major financial institutions where she originated and negotiated consumer loans, small business loans and various other banking products. She also held Series 6 and 63 securities licenses and used these licenses to counsel consumers on the various securities and insurance products offered by the lenders.
John V. Terrana is the partner-in-charge of the Tax Certiorari practice group at Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP, a law firm headquartered in Uniondale, NY, employing more than 60 attorneys. Over the course of his career, Mr. Terrana has obtained millions of dollars in real estate tax refunds and savings for clients, including national, regional and local owners and tenants of commercial and residential property. He started his career as a Deputy County Attorney for Nassau County. Mr. Terrana was the Glen Cove City Attorney, and counsel to the Glen Cove Community Development Agency and the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency, before joining the firm in 1993.
He has published numerous articles, and has lectured extensively on, tax certiorari issues. Mr. Terrana has received the following honors and awards: “Real Estate Ones to Watch” (New York Real Estate Journal, 2018); “Ones to Watch in Real Estate, Architecture, Engineering and Construction” (Long Island Business News, 2018); named to the 2009-2010 & 2015-2018 New York Super Lawyers lists (Real Estate: Business); “Who’s Who in Tax Certiorari Law” (Long Island Business News, 2007, 2014 & 2015); “Who’s Who in Real Property Tax Certiorari Law” (Long Island Business News, 2015); “Leadership in Law” (Long Island Business News, 2013); “Legal Eagle and Long Island’s Most Unbeatable Lawyer in Real Estate Tax Certiorari Law” (Long Island Pulse, 2012); “50 Around 50” (Long Island Business News, 2011); “Long Island Executive of the Month” (New York Real Estate Journal, 2009) and “40 Under 40” (Long Island Business News, 1999). He has achieved a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating. Mr. Terrana is a member of the Mattone Institute Advisory Board, the Nassau County Bar Association (former Chairman of the Tax Certiorari and Condemnation Law Committee), the Suffolk County Bar Association (former Co-Chair of the Tax Certiorari and Condemnation Law Committee), The International Council of Shopping Centers and the Institute for Professionals in Taxation. He earned his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 1984 and his B.S. from St. John’s University in 1991.
“The Mattone Institute is slated to be a fantastic resource for future St. John’s Law students and for the real estate industry as a whole. Interested students will be exposed to a valuable array of information and a network of accomplished professionals in an exciting, sophisticated area of the law. Thank you to the Mattone family for your exceptional generosity in making the Institute a reality.”
Alfred M. Williams ’14 is an associate in Morrison & Foerster LLP’s Real Estate Group in New York. Mr. Williams’ practice includes a broad range of real estate matters, with a particular focus on financing and joint venture investments. Recent matters on which Mr. Williams has advised include a joint venture for a high-rise mixed use condominium project at 45 Broad Street, New York, a $600 million acquisition financing for the historic Sony Building in New York, and an investment of up to $1 billion by an overseas institutional investor in a domestic real estate investment trust. Prior to joining that firm, he was a judicial intern for the Honorable Arthur D. Spatt of the Eastern District of New York. While at St. John’s Law, he was the Managing Editor of the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, and he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in Suretyship & Mortgages, Business Organizations and Legal Writing, and the Wann Family Foundation Award in Business Planning. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, in economics from Siena College, where he was elected to Omicron Delta Epsilon.
"The Mattone Institute continues to enhance St. John’s Law’s success in graduating leaders in the real estate, development and construction industries. The Institute’s interdisciplinary approach and NYC focus aims to provide numerous opportunities and resources to students and alumni for years to come.”
Nicole Woolard is an Associate at Duane Morris LLP in New York. She concentrates her practice in the areas of construction law and commercial litigation, representing owners, developers, non-profit institutions, tenants, contractors, construction managers, owner’s representatives, building managers and design professionals. Nicole negotiates construction, design, vendor, access, easement and development agreements. Nicole assists clients in disputes and litigation arising from public and private construction projects. At Duane Morris, Nicole serves on the Women's Impact Network for Success. She provides assistance pro bono to survivors of commercial sexual exploitation through Duane Morris' alliance with GEMS, a not-for-profit corporation. Nicole volunteers with the Justice Resource Center's Mentor program for local high schools and also serves on the programming and membership committees for the Professional Women in Construction. At St. John’s Law, Nicole was part of the Moot Court Honor Society.
Spring 2019 Newsletter
Fall 2019 Newsletter
Spring 2020 Newsletter
Winter 2021 Newsletter
Robert J. Sein
Director, Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law
St. John’s University School of Law
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439