The Real Deal New York

Herrick Feinstein in merger talks with DC-based Crowell & Moring: sources

New York-based Herrick has over 60 real estate attorneys
By Hiten Samtani | December 12, 2016 05:57PM

Angela B. Styles and Belinda Schwartz

Angela Styles of Crowell & Moring and Belinda Schwartz, chair of the RE department at Herrick Feinstein

Herrick Feinstein, a Manhattan-based law firm with an extensive real estate practice, is in late-stage negotiations to merge with Washington, D.C.-based law firm Crowell & Moring, sources familiar with the talks told The Real Deal.

The two sides are in the process of drafting a letter of intent, the sources said.

Herrick took fifth place in TRD’s most recent ranking of New York’s biggest real estate law firms, ranked by number of real estate attorneys in the city. Its recent deals include representing Fetner in its “business divorce” from the Durst Organization, representing the Lightstone Group in its $330 million ground lease sale of 1407 Broadway to Shorenstein Realty Services, and representing Mitsui Fudosan America in its $259 million purchase of a stake in Related Companies’ 55 Hudson Yards.  The firm has more than 60 real estate attorneys, including Belinda Schwartz, Mitchell Korbey, Richard Weidman, Louis Tuchman and Jonathan Adelsberg.

Representatives for Crowell couldn’t be reached. Representatives for Herrick, which has about 140 lawyers in total, declined to comment. Rumors were swirling over the past year that Herrick was entertaining proposals from several firms, including Mintz Levin.

In a September interview with TRD, Schwartz said that the retreat of some traditional lenders had opened up the firm to opportunities with middle-market lenders, the ones “between the hard money and the more institutional lenders.”

Crowell & Moring, which according to its website has more than 500 lawyers, is headquartered in D.C. but has offices in several cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, where it has over 60 lawyers according to its website. Though some of its attorneys handle real estate matters, the firm is not known for its real estate practice.