Group Focuses on Real Estate Finance Litigation, Restructuring & Ins…

Group Focuses on Real Estate Finance Litigation, Restructuring & Insolvency in Response to Subprime Lending & Related Real Estate Issues

LAWFUEL – The Litigation & Business Law Newswire – Steptoe & Johnson LLP has announced the formation of an interdisciplinary team to handle litigation, restructuring and insolvency matters arising from the subprime lending meltdown and softening real estate market. The team’s focus is expected to include enforcing and defending contractual commitments, pursuing financial fraud, and litigating or pursuing restructuring options for troubled real estate loans, mortgage backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, financial guarantees and mortgage insurance, as well as other real estate arrangements, structures and acquisitions. The team is also well versed in director and officer liability and class action issues.

“As the real estate finance market has become increasingly securitized, attorneys must be able to handle disputes involving mortgage backed securities and a variety of other complex financial instruments and transactions as well as traditional real estate loans,” said Frank Burke, one of the leaders of the Real Estate Finance Litigation, Restructuring and Insolvency Team. “We have a seasoned group of trial, restructuring and transactional attorneys with deep experience in handling real estate financial mortgage securitization issues. We also have several attorneys who actively represent trade associations and corporations in litigation and legislative efforts relating to mortgage backed securities. Our members are experienced in economic, finance and accounting issues, real estate market and property issues, and have the ability to develop new approaches to untangle and resolve the complex issues involved,” added Mr. Burke.

The new interdisciplinary team includes 22 partners plus associated attorneys in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York City prepared to handle litigation, restructuring and insolvency matters nationally for investors, lenders, loan originators, syndicators, borrowers, investment banks, mortgage insurance companies, sellers, conduits, trustees, servicers, REMICs, special purpose entities, commercial and residential developers and builders, REITs, owners and purchasers. Team members are drawn from the litigation, restructuring and insolvency, corporate and real estate practice areas of the firm.

The team is buttressed by the addition of new West Coast restructuring and insolvency partner Robbin Itkin, who is moving from the Los Angeles office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP to the rapidly growing Century City office of Steptoe & Johnson. Ms. Itkin has a wealth of experience in restructuring and insolvency issues relating to real estate, ranging from cases involving thousands of acres of undeveloped land to office buildings to hotel properties. Ms. Itkin’s experience includes representing debtors, trustees, creditors’, equity and bondholders committees, as well as third party purchasers of distressed assets.

“In today’s environment, liquidation of assets is occurring more frequently and imminently in bankruptcy cases, and judicious sale and acquisition strategies are critical,” said Ms. Itkin. “I am looking forward to bringing my experiences in restructuring, purchase and sale transactions to the new Steptoe team. There is a real synergy between my practice and the areas of expertise of Steptoe attorneys that will be of great benefit to our clients. I am excited about working with the Steptoe attorneys to expand the restructuring practice in the United States and abroad,” said Ms. Itkin.

Key contacts for the group include Mr. Burke in Century City and Phoenix, Mark Neubauer in Century City, Greg Yates and Michael Rips in New York, Gwen Prothro in Washington, D.C. and Chris Barber in Chicago.

About Steptoe & Johnson

With more than 450 attorneys, Steptoe & Johnson LLP provides counsel and representation in a wide range of legal fields. In more than 60 years of practice, the firm has gained a national and international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in guiding business transactions. The firm has offices in Washington, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Century City, London, and Brussels.

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