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Real estate lawyers see a GFC upside

Real estate lawyers see a GFC upside

Real estate lawyers are still feeling the pain of the global financial crisis, but with an appetite emerging for equity raising and a continued interest for mid-range commercial property, some…

Real estate lawyers are still feeling the pain of the global financial crisis, but with an appetite emerging for equity raising and a continued interest for mid-range commercial property, some are benefitting from an unexpected upside.

Real estate lawyers told Lawyers Weekly this week that they have seen an unexpected emphasis on property deals at the $80 to $100 million mark in the current market, due to the fact that banks are only willing to commit to large projects if the legal risks are well and truly covered. This means that lawyers are increasingly being asked to make instant strategic decisions and assist in the formuation of long-term property plans.

According to DLA Phillips Fox Melbourne partner, Tom Cantwell, he's not seeing the $100 million-plus deals right now - with many projects stalling due to lack of finance - but he is seeing good scale transactions elsewhere.

"At the same time, since the GFC banks have been more amenable to teaming up and providing funds to the right customers with a good credit and performance history," he said.

Meanwhile, Andrew Willder, the chief executive partner at Lander & Rogers, said the real estate sector is now "getting stronger and more consistent, and performing much better than could have been expected", with mid-tier firms like Lander & Rogers continuing to represent "many large national clients" and "property generally in a more positive mode and more confidence than there was six months ago."

At Baker & McKenzie, real estate partner, Bruce Webb is mostly optimistic about his real estate practice group, pointing to continuing restructuring by property funds, with capital raisings to "prosper in GFC times".

"Banks have allowed funds to manage things in an orderly fashion, and there have been no major financial crashes," said Webb.

See more on the current state of real estate work in this Friday's edition of Lawyers Weekly

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