New York — Sidley Austin LLP announced today that it is expanding the firm’s global Real Estate and Complex Commercial Litigation practices with the addition of four new partners: Richard S. Fries, Scott L. Stern, Neil S. Cohen and Todd B. Marcus. These well-known and widely-respected lawyers come to Sidley from Bingham McCutchen LLP and bring a wealth of experience and expertise across the real estate spectrum.

“With the addition of this talented group of lawyers, we are enhancing our strong real estate and real estate litigation capabilities in New York and globally,” said Michael J. Schmidtberger, managing partner of Sidley’s New York office. “Richard, Scott, Neil and Todd have built substantial practices and their skills complement those of our well-established team focused on serving our clients facing a wide range of real estate and related issues.”

“This group brings a deep understanding of the real estate industry and an extensive range of experience, from handling complex real estate transactions and litigation to advising on and structuring complicated financing deals and workouts,” said Alan S. Weil, head of Sidley’s New York Real Estate group and co-global coordinator of the firm’s Real Estate practice. “Here at Sidley we take pride in being at the forefront of breaking developments in the real estate arena. The addition of this group adds strength and depth to Sidley’s already impressive roster of real estate lawyers.”

“We are delighted to be joining Sidley, as its award-winning real estate and litigation groups provide outstanding resources and a substantial platform from which we will be well-positioned to continue the growth of our practices,” said Mr. Fries. “The highly collaborative environment also makes Sidley a good fit culturally, and we look forward to working with our new colleagues in providing top-notch client service on important and exciting real estate transactions.”

Below is detailed information on each new partner and their respective practice.

Richard S. Fries, Real Estate – Mr. Fries served as chair of the real estate group at his previous firm. He focuses his practice on a wide array of complex real estate financing transactions, in which he represents leading national and global institutional lenders, investment banks and private equity firms. Mr. Fries is known for his work in high-profile distressed commercial loan workouts spanning all real estate asset classes. He has developed a highly-regarded practice using litigation tools to restructure real estate loans and projects. He also has extensive experience representing private equity investors, property owners and developers in real estate joint ventures, commercial real estate litigation, construction, hospitality and partnership disputes, asset disposition, loan portfolio sales and project development. Mr. Fries has been highly recognized by Chambers USA each year from 2007 through 2014 in New York and in 2013 and 2014 nationally. He is recommended in The Legal 500 United States for Real Estate and was named by The Best Lawyers in America as a Litigation - Real Estate “Lawyer of the Year” in New York City in 2013. His expertise and reputation in loan workouts has been acknowledged by Chambers as “legendary.”

Scott L. Stern, Real Estate – Mr. Stern advises financial institutions in commercial real estate loans and other types of asset-based lending including syndicated, acquisition and development loans, mezzanine loans and loan portfolio sales. He has particular expertise in all aspects of construction finance. He represents lenders and owners-developers in transactions involving office buildings, retail, multi-family apartment complexes, ground-up development and shopping centers. He has been involved in many of the leading new construction projects in New York City over the past several years. Mr. Stern has been recognized by Chambers USA each year from 2012 through 2014.

Neil S. Cohen, Real Estate – Mr. Cohen advises clients in real estate, asset-based and franchise lending transactions. He has experience representing and advising major institutional and commercial lenders on permanent, construction, bridge and mezzanine loans. His representative transactions include multistate and multi-property portfolio financings, construction loan originations, and loan participations and syndications. 

Todd B. Marcus, Complex Commercial Litigation – Mr. Marcus is a commercial litigator focusing on sophisticated real estate finance litigation. He is experienced with contentious and complex mortgage foreclosure actions and workouts, the foreclosure and workout of mezzanine and other secured loans and intercreditor disputes. He has been involved in the litigation, foreclosure and restructuring of permanent, construction and mezzanine loans secured by office buildings, land development projects, hotels, mixed-use projects, apartment buildings and automobile dealerships, among other real estate and business assets.  He also represents private equity investors, property owners, developers and contractors in all aspects of commercial litigation.

With more than 1,800 lawyers in 18 offices worldwide, Sidley has built a reputation as a premier legal adviser for global businesses and financial institutions. For the fourth consecutive year, and every year since the survey’s inception, Sidley received the most first-tier national rankings of any U.S. law firm in the 2014 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” survey. On Law360’s list of Global 20 Firms, Sidley was ranked among the top law firms “with the greatest global reach and expertise.” To stay up-to-date with the latest Sidley news, please follow us on Twitter at @SidleyNewsroom or download the Sidley Mobile App.