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 Real Estate Law Fellowship Program (the “Real Estate Fellowship Program”), provided through the Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law (the “Mattone Institute”), offers an outstanding educational and pre-professional experience for selected 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 tuition stipend of up to $5,000, which award is incremental to any other scholarship monies. The Mattone 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 Mattone Institute’s strong network of alumni and connections in the real estate industry, and will participate in, and assist with, Mattone 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 Mattone 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 Application Process
The Real Estate Fellowship Program is comprised of 2Ls and 3Ls. Students apply for the Real Estate Fellowship Program either in the summer as a rising 2L or 3L or during the winter of their 2L year. Students are admitted to the program based on a competitive application process.
Students apply for the Real Estate Fellowship Program by submitting to the Director of the Mattone Institute: (i) an application form, together with (ii) a brief personal statement, (iii) optional diversity statement, (iv) unofficial self-prepared transcript and (v) current resume. There are two application cycles each year: in the summer (for rising 2Ls and 3Ls) and winter of each year (for 2Ls entering the spring semester).
The Program Review Committee will select candidates for the Real Estate Fellowship Program based on the following (the “Program Selection Criteria”): (i) academic performance, (ii) a demonstrated dedication to real estate as a career option, including applicable work experience and involvement with real estate law-related activities, and (iii) potential benefits to be derived from the program. Commitments which might limit a student’s ability to dedicate time to completion of the Program Requirements, such as participating in other fellowship programs, may decrease a student’s likelihood of being selected as a Real Estate Fellow. To be eligible to apply for the Real Estate Fellowship Program, students must have not less than 3.3 cumulative GPA in Property and all other real estate law coursework.
Additional Program Terms and Conditions
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.
Any terms, conditions or requirements of the Real Estate Fellowship Program may be waived in the discretion of the Program Review Committee.
David Aminov '22
At St. John's University School of Law, David is a Staff Member of the Moot Court Honor Society, as well as a board member of the Real Property Law Society. David graduated from the City University of New York at Queens College (CUNY Queens College) with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. During David's 1L summer, he worked at Jacobs PC, where we collaborated with supervising attorneys and partners involving complex litigation cases, commercial real estate transactions, and bankruptcy matters. In the Spring of 2021, David interned at The Yitzhak Law Group, where he worked on commercial business and corporate matters. This past Summer, David worked at Morris, Duffy, Alonso & Faley, where he focused on litigation issues ranging from medical malpractice to construction law. As a Mattone Institute Real Estate Fellow, David hopes to gain extensive legal knowledge in the New York commercial real estate realm.
Natalie Borukhov '23
Natalie is a J.D./M.B.A. student at St. John's Law and serves as a Staff Member on St. John's Law Review. This past year, Natalie became a WX scholarship recipient, an organization that promotes the advancement of women in real estate. Currently, she is a member of the Dispute Resolution Society, Vice President of the Corporate and Securities Law Society, and Director of Alumni Relations of the Real Property Law Society. During her 1L summer, Natalie was an intern at the Queens District Attorney's Office in the Frauds Bureau. This semester, Natalie will be externing at Ladder Capital. Natalie hopes to continue exploring the real estate industry as a Real Estate fellow and network within the industry's NYC community.
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. After excelling as a Jewish law scholar, William began St. John's Law School with a Real Estate Honors Scholarship to pursue a career in American law. As the judges with whom he has 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. This year, William is continuing on as a staff member for the New York Real Property Law Journal. William ultimately hopes to incorporate his experiences into the practice areas of real estate and bankruptcy law, either by being a litigator or a transactional lawyer who knows how to safely enshrine his client’s interests in writing.
Joseph DiOrio '22
At St. John's Law, Joe is an Executive Articles Editor on the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review and is a member of the Real Property Law Society. Joe graduated cum laude from St. John's University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. Prior to law school, Joe interned with the Law Offices of Erick K. Alahverdian. In Fall of 2020, Joe received the American Immobiliare Scholarship for commercial real estate. During the summer of 2021, Joe interned with Winget, Spadafora & Schwartzberg, LLP, where he will continue to work during his 3L academic year, while also working for his family's meat market. During the fall semester, Joe will work at St. John's Securities Arbitration Clinic. As a Real Estate Fellow, Joe hopes to gain more exposure in the real estate law field and increase his network.
Michael Forlini '23
Michael is a 2L from West Nyack, New York. He graduated from the University of Miami in 2017, where he earned a B.A. in Economics with minors in Marketing and Philosophy. Prior to law school, Michael worked at Sidley Austin LLP in their Managing Attorney’s Office, where he assisted the firm’s commercial and criminal litigation departments. At St. John’s Law, Michael is a staff member of the New York Real Property Law Journal and a member of both the Real Property Law Society and the Corporate and Securities Law Society. During his 1L Summer, Michael interned for the Honorable Thomas P. Zugibe in the Supreme Court of New York. Beginning in his 2L spring semester, Michael will work as a Law Clerk for Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov LLP, where he will focus his work on a range of real estate litigation and transactional matters. As a Real Estate Fellow, Michael looks forward to increasing his knowledge and passion in real estate law and connecting with members of the St. John’s Law community.
Sabrina Jorge '22
Sabrina Jorge is an Associate Managing Editor of the St. John's Law Review, previous Teaching Assistant for Legal Writing I and Constitutional Law, 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. Sabrina has worked at New York Life Insurance Co., the Tenants' Rights Advocacy Clinic, and is currently interning with the Consumer Justice for the Elderly Litigation Clinic. She will also be joining Lowenstein Sandler as a full-time associate upon graduation. As a Real Estate Fellow, Sabrina is looking forward to exploring commercial real estate and engaging with the St. John's community.
Sara Leston '23
Sara is a second-year student from Queens, NY. She graduated cum laude from Binghamton University in 2020 with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish Language and Literature. At St. John's, Sara's positions include being a Staff Member of the New York Real Property Journal, Research Assistant for Professor Kate Klonick, and the First Year Liaison for the Latin American Law Student Association. During her 1L summer, she interned for the Honorable Maria Ressos in the Queens Housing Court and was a recipient of the Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law Summer Public Interest Fellowship. In Sara's second year, she worked in the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic and is currently a legal extern at Mattone, Mattone, Mattone LLP. As a real estate fellow, Sara hopes to further her legal education in real estate law and connect with the St. John's community.
Billy Michaca '23
At St. John's, Billy's positions include Staff Member of the St. John's Law Review, Teaching Assistant for Professor Mark L. Movsesian's Contracts course, and Director of Communications for the Real Property Law Society. During Billy's 1L year, he assisted foreclosure prevention attorneys as a volunteer research assistant with The Legal Aid Society and worked with the Manhattan-based wealth management firm, Bessemer Trust, compiling, analyzing, and updating the firm's business practices regarding, inter alia, consumer privacy, AI implementation, and derivatives transactions.
Billy is a 2016 graduate of CUNY Brooklyn College, where he earned a B.A. in Philosophy and Other Fields and was inducted into The International Honor Society for Philosophers. He is also a graduate of Brooklyn Collegiate High School. Immediately prior to law school, Billy worked as a substitute teacher for the New York City Department of Education.
Billy is currently a student intern for the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic. He plans to implement his research skills, attention to detail, and passion for transactional law as a Corporate Attorney with a particular focus in Real Property investments and transactions. He looks forward to utilizing his position as a Real Estate Fellow to connect with St. John's Law students and alumni and gain insight into New York’s preeminent Real Estate landscape.
Daniel Mosayov '23
Danny is a member of the Executive Board of the Real Property Law Society and a staff member of the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review. This summer, he is working as a Knowledge & Innovation Legal Intern with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. His previous experience includes work at Resource America an asset management firm that specializes in real estate investments, and at BankUnited in the residential lending department.
Lorena Niyazov '22
Lorena graduated magna cum laude from St. John's Univeristy 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 an Articles & Notes Editor on the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, a member of the Real Property Law Society, and a Student Mentor for the 1L Mentorship Program. She is a recipient of the Dean's Scholarship, the 1L Mattone Institute Real Estate Honors Scholarship, the American Immobiliare Scholarship, and the Dean's Award for Excellence in Introduction to Bankruptcy Studies: Case Analysis. Meghan graduated cum laude from Binghamton University in 2018 with a B.A. in political science and a minor in history. Prior 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. Since the fall of her 2L year, Meghan has worked as a legal extern, law clerk, and summer associate 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 Piluso '22
Olivia is a 3L from Long Island, New York. She graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut in 2019. She majored in Political Science and International Studies. During her 1L Summer she was a recipient of the Catalyst Fellowship and interned for the Honorable Deborah Kaplan at the Supreme Court of New York.
In Olivia's second year, she was an active member in the Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute, competing internally and externally in competitions, a member of the Real Property Journal and the Solicitation Chair for the Annual Public Interest Auction. In her second year, she worked in the Tenants' Rights Clinic through Legal Aid. Olivia also worked at the Law Offices of March H. Supcoff as an extern.
As a rising 3L Olivia worked at KI Legal, a boutique law firm in downtown Manhattan. She is now the Co-director of Fundraising for the Annual Public Interest Center, Associate Managing editor of the Real Property Journal and currently working towards publishing a paper on Certificate of Occupancies with Professor Sharfman. Olivia is now a law clerk for KI Legal and is eager to continue learning about Real Estate from an educational and professional angle.
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 3L from Chicago, IL. He graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a B.S. in Chemistry. At St. John's Law, Antonio is the Associate Managing Editor of the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, the President of the Real Property Law Society, the Co-Director of Events for the Intellectual Property Law Society, and a Student Mentor for the 1L Mentorship Program. The summer after 1L, 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. In his 2L spring semester, Antonio externed at Mahon & Berger, where he researched legal issues and drafted memoranda regarding federal agents' scope of employment. This past summer, Antonio externed at Koutsoudakis & Iakovou, PLLC, where he built upon his professional legal skills through various research and drafting assignments.
Antonio has taken many of the real estate law electives offered at St. John's, including Real Estate Transactions, Residential Real Estate Finance, and Real Estate Development. As a Fellow, he has assisted with a CLE on the pandemic's impact on Condo/Coop, as well as put together highlights on St. John's alumni in the real estate law field. This semester, Antonio will be taking Commercial Real Estate Finance. He 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.
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.
THE MATTONE FAMILY INSTITUTE FOR REAL ESTATE LAW WRITING COMPETITION
The Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law Writing Competition (the “Competition”) is intended to encourage and reward writing on the subject of real property law by St. John’s Law students, and to foster additional scholarship and interest in this area.
2021: Holly Constants '22, “Freedom to Contract Injunction Waivers in Commercial Leases”
2022: Joe Mottola '23, “Theft of the American Dream: New York City’s Third Party Transfer Program”
Summer Public Interest Fellowship
The Mattone Institute Summer Public Interest Fellowship has been offered annually since 2021 in coordination with the St. John’s Law Public Interest Center. The fellowship is awarded to qualified first or second year St. John’s University School of Law students for summer positions with non-profit and governmental organizations representing traditionally underrepresented clients, groups, or interests relevant to real estate law, including housing, land use, environmental, development, landlord-tenant and/or community redevelopment.
2021: Sara Leston ’23 (Queens County Housing Court)
2022: Nadia Balkaran ’23 (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Spring 2019 Newsletter
Fall 2019 Newsletter
Spring 2020 Newsletter
Winter 2020 Newsletter
Fall 2021 Newsletter
Spring 2022 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