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.
For information on Institute news and events, please follow us on
Current course offerings include the following:
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.
Robert E. Parella
Jacob L. Todres
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 Real Estate Transactions, Spring 2019 and Commercial Real Estate Leasing, Spring 2019. 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 a staff member on the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, an executive board member of the Real Property Law Society, and a teacher’s assistant for Legal Writing. 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 helped firm 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 began working at Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov, a firm specializing in Real Estate and Bankruptcy matters. Currently, Brandon is working at the Consumer Justice for the Elderly Clinic, an in-house clinic at the law school. 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 a staff member 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. 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.
Joseph Carlo '20
Joseph graduated magna cum laude from St. John's University in 2017, earning a B.A. in Criminal Justice and Finance. This past summer, Joseph worked with the in-house counsel for the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY), where he worked mainly on negotiating and drafting contracts and drafting memoranda providing advice to the various Bank departments. His legal focus at FHLB largely dealt with mortgage law (assignments/recording, etc.), while also working on projects including SEC disclosures and data privacy. While at St. John’s Law, he also worked as a clerk at Goldstein Hall PLLC, Scamardella, Gervasi, Thomson & Kasegrande PC, and Marco & Sitaras. Joseph serves as a member of the Executive Board of the Real Property Law Society. In 2018, Joseph was awarded a scholarship from American Immobiliare recognizing his academic achievement, service and leadership consistent with the values of Italian-American influencers and innovators in the field of commercial real estate. He is also a recipient of the Dean’s List award for spring of 2018 and fall 2018. He has written several articles on real estate law topics, covering new housing market developments and affordable housing issues.
Steven Cecere '20
Steven serves as a staff member for the St. John’s Law Review and is an Executive Officer of the Real Property Society. He is the recipient of the 2020 Real Property Law Section Melvun Mitzner Scholarship. In the summer of 2019, he worked as a summer associate for Cullen & Dykman, where he worked on a vast array of litigation and transactional matters. As a 2L, he worked as an extern with the Hon. Alfred Cerullo at the Grand Central Partnership and the New York City Planning Commission, and wrote his Law Review Note on the Visual Artists Rights Act, which protects certain recognized public works of art created on another's property. Steven has also enjoyed working as a teaching assistant for various 1L classes and has been an active member of the Student Bar Association and Office of Admissions. He can often be found conducting campus tours for prospective students or volunteering at recruitment events. In 2015, after he received his B.S. in finance from University of Delaware, Steven worked in out-of-home advertising before working as a legal assistant with Ahmuty, Demers & McManus. As a legal assistant, he worked in all aspects of civil litigation, with an emphasis on personal injury defense. During his 1L summer, while he continued to work with Ahmuty as a law clerk, Steven worked as an Intern with Fishman, Decea & Feldman, where he assisted attorneys in connection with retail leasing and other commercial real estate transactions. By becoming a Real Estate Fellow, Steven is excited to help further the Institute's goals through events such as the Hudson Yards Site Visited hosted by sponsored by the Related Companies and the One Vanderbilt Site Visit hosted by S.L. Green and Grand Central Partnerships. In addition, he looks forward to coordinating events that bring together both alumni and students with a passion for real estate and help grow the Law School's presence in the industry.
Kayla Rae DiMatos '20
At St. John’s Law, Kayla is an Articles and Notes Editor on the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, President of the Women’s Law Society, Editor-in-Chief of The Forum, and a Writing Fellow. She has worked as a student intern in the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic where she represented elderly, low-income Queens residents in predatory lending and construction fraud issues and as a part-time law clerk at Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP. During Kayla's 2L summer she was a law clerk in the litigation, banking and real estate departments at Jaspan Schlesinger LLP. In 2017, Kayla graduated magna cum laude from Binghamton University with a B.A. in political science and minor in urban and regional planning. While at Binghamton, Kayla interned at the Broome County Department of Planning and Economic Development. Prior to coming to law school, Kayla also assisted a banking attorney that introduced her to transactional practice. Kayla was responsible for clearing title issues, conducting closings, and drafting and compiling documents for closing packages. In 2019, Kayla was awarded a scholarship from American Immobiliare recognizing her academic achievement, service and leadership consistent with the values of Italian-American influencers and innovators in the field of commercial real estate. She looks forward to committing her interest as a Real Estate Fellow and Executive Officer of the Real Property Law Society.
Andrew Fisher '20
Andrew is the Executive Director of the Moot Court Honor Society and serves as a Senior Staff Member on the New York Real Property Law Journal. In 2016, Andrew graduated from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science. While at Grand Valley, Andrew worked as an intern at the Kent County Office of the Defender in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During the summer of 2018, Andrew has worked as a judicial intern for judge John M. Galasso at the Nassau County Supreme Court, where he conducted research, analyzed motions, and proposed draft opinions in connection with various matters including personal injury and immigration. In the fall of 2018, Andrew worked as a legal extern in the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he conducted intake, research, and investigation for fair housing claims, evaluated compliance reviews, and drafted determinations and stay letters. From January to August 2019, Andrew worked as a law clerk at Shiryak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov, LLP, where he drafted motions and conducted research on various matters including real estate litigation and bankruptcy. During the Fall of 2019, Andrew worked as a law intern at Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP. Currently, Andrew works as an intern at Mischel & Horn, P.C. as a real estate fellow, Andrew is excited to expand St. John's involvement in the New York real estate community.
Fiona Hogan '21
Fiona Hogan is a St. Thomas More Scholar, staff member on the New York Real Property Law Journal, and member of the Dispute Resolution Society. In addition, she is a Writing Center Fellow and Teaching Assistant for Constitutional Law I. Fiona graduated cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross with a double major in History and Spanish. Before coming to St. John’s, she worked in the education sector as a teacher and as a project manager for a private school management organization. Fiona’s interest in real estate law was first piqued during a college internship in the legal clinic of a Bronx nonprofit where she assisted in the representation of tenants in landlord tenant disputes. During her 1L summer, she worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Joanna Seybert of the Eastern District of New York. During her 1L year, she received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Legal Writing and won first place in the Dispute Resolution Society 1L Negotiation Competition. As a Real Estate fellow, Fiona looks forward to learning more about the New York real estate industry, planning events, and connecting with alums.
Mark LoBiondo '20
Mark is a St. Thomas More Scholar, an Articles and Notes Editor on the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, and a member of the Real Property Law Society. Mark graduated magna cum laude from Binghamton University with a double major in History and Politics Philosophy and Law. While in college, Mark worked as a legal secretary for Metcalf & Metcalf, a Manhattan based law firm specializing in criminal defense, civil litigation, and family law. During Mark’s 1L summer, he worked as a judicial intern for Magistrate Judge Tomlinson of the Eastern District of New York, where he researched and drafted a report and recommendation and observed court proceedings, such as arraignments, sentencing hearings, and plea hearings. Last fall, Mark externed at Cuttita LLP, a Manhattan based sports and entertainment law firm, where he performed legal research on various aspects of real estate law related to landlord-tenants disputes. This past summer, Mark was a Sumer Associate at Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan, where he assisted with complex insurance coverage litigation. Mark is currently working as a Law Clerk for Vale Insurance Partners, where he helps manage incoming broker submissions. As a real estate fellow, Mark hopes to further grow both his interest in real estate law and St. John’s presence in the field.
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 2L at St. John's School of Law and a member of the St. John's Law Review. Federica works as a law clerk at Shyriak, Bowman, Anderson, Gill & Kadochnikov, LLP, where she focuses 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. Next summer, Federica will work for Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
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 a member of both the Real Property and Corporate and Securities Law Societies, and a staff member on the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development (JCRED). As a member of JCRED he is writing his Journal Note on the current antitrust investigations into Facebook. During his 1L summer, Drew worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Gerald Pappert of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. As an intern at the EDPA, Drew conducted legal research and assisted in the drafting of judicial opinions. During the Fall of his 2L year, Drew worked closely with President/CEO, Alfred Cerullo, as an extern at the Grand Central Partnership, a Business Improvement District (BID) in East Midtown. Currently, Drew works as an extern at Romer Debbas, LLP, a boutique real estate law firm in New York, NY, where he is conducting due diligence related to commercial real estate transactions and assisting in the preparation of loan documentation. As a Real Estate fellow, Drew hopes to immerse himself in the industry from both a professional and academic standpoint.
Alexander Woo '20
At St. John's, Alex is the President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Treasurer of the Historical Society for the New York Courts System, and Executive Officer of the Real Property Law Society, the Notes and Comments Editor of the New York International Law Review, a Mentor with the SJU Student Mentorship Program, and served on the Dean's Advisory Council for Diversity and Inclusion. He is a recipient of the Dean's Scholarship. Before coming to St. John's, Alex worked as a legal assistant at Shearman & Sterling LLP's New York office and as a legal intern with the New York City Housing Court with Judge Lydia C. Lai, as a legal intern with the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic, as a legal extern with the Mattone Group, and as a legal extern at DLA Piper LLP. He currently works as a Writing Fellow at the St. Joh's Law School Writing Center. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2014 with a B.A. in History, and served as a Senior Interviewer at the Wesleyan University Office of Admission. As a Real Estate Fellow, Alex looks forward to helping to expand St. John's role in serving the Queens 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.
Spring 2019 Newsletter
Fall 2019 Newsletter
Spring 2020 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