Firm Profile

Duval & Stachenfeld LLP
555 Madison Avenue, Sixth Floor
New York, NY 10022
United States
(212) 883.1700

Firm Details

  • One of the Largest and Most Comprehensive Real Estate Law Practices in NYC:  Our roughly 50 full-time real estate lawyers make us one of the largest real estate practices in New York City (not that size is everything).  The Firm’s Real Estate Practice Group handles matters across all asset classes in virtually all U.S. jurisdictions and many non-U.S. jurisdictions.  These matters span almost every conceivable transaction structure, involve every level of the capital and debt stack, and encompass various degrees of complexity.
  • The Pure Play in Real Estate Law®:  All of our practice areas are geared towards real estate – we are known as “The Pure Play in Real Estate Law®.”  Our other practices – litigation, tax, corporate, non-profit, etc. – all have real estate as the key focus of the practice.   
  • High-Quality Clients We Are Proud To Represent:  Our client base includes private equity funds (of all types), sovereign wealth funds, family offices, lenders, developers, REITs, insurance companies, servicers, and other players.  They include: Angelo, Gordon & Co.; Ares Management; Barings; CPG Real Estate; Cerberus Capital Management; CIM; Colony NorthStar, Inc. (formerly known as NorthStar Realty Finance Corp.); Dune Real Estate Partners; EQ Office; Feil Group; Jadian Capital; Jamestown; Melody Capital; Meritage Properties; Metropolitan Real Estate (a division of Carlyle Group); a major life insurance company (name withheld); Och Ziff (now known as Oz Management); RXR Realty; Savanna Fund; Stonehenge; Toll Brothers; Westcore Properties; and one of the largest middle-eastern sovereign wealth funds.
  • Platforms, Joint Ventures and Corporate Real Estate Expertise:  Partners in the Firm are well known for our expertise in platforms, joint ventures, programmatic relationships, club transactions, recapitalizations, restructurings and other so-called “Corporate Real Estate.”  Indeed this is an area in which our Firm is truly the best of the best – it is our sweetest sweet spot.  Over the past 21 years, we have worked on well over 2000 different transactions, almost all of which took place in a corporate real estate type structure.  Thus far, our most high-profile transaction was representing NorthStar in its preferred and common equity investment in a major-NYC-developer, RXR Realty.  This transaction encompassed 108 NYC metro area office properties with a market capitalization of over $8B.  This was the largest real estate transaction in the NYC area that year and still one of the largest ever in NYC.
  • Global Cross-Border Expertise:  We have been responsible for transactions throughout many places in the world.  This includes virtually all U.S. jurisdictions, as well as Europe, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.  The running total is 35 different countries.
  • Cross-Border Tax Expertise: Jessica Millett chairs our Tax Practice Group.  Jessica Millett is an expert in U.S. tax issues that arise in complex real estate transactions, notably Qualified Opportunity Fund structures and cross-border investments. Ms. Millett is at the forefront of structuring investments into Opportunity Zones along with the D&S real estate team.  She also has extensive experience in FIRPTA structuring for non-U.S. clients, and she is Chair of the Subcommittee for Foreign Investors of the ABA Tax Section Real Estate Committee. Other senior members of the tax group include Stephen Land and Bradley Borden.  Many believe Stephen to be one of the top (or perhaps the top) tax lawyers in NYC.  His accolades include Harvard College – Harvard Law School – Harvard Business School – and stints at Sullivan & Cromwell and Linklaters.  Most recently, Stephen served as the Chair of the New York State Bar Association Tax Division, which is possibly the most prestigious position a tax lawyer can have. Our Tax Practice Group has handled sophisticated inbound and outbound investment transactions, tax controversies, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, financial instruments, investment funds, executive compensation and employee benefits.  Additionally, on a more humanistic note, we pride ourselves on being able to make complex tax issues seem easily understandable, which permits our clients to focus on decision-making rather than trying to decipher the tax code.
  • Opportunity Zone Expertise:  The Firm is one of the industry leaders in the Opportunity Zone space.  Jessica Millett (Tax Co-Chair), whom we have named “The Wizard of OZ,” is leading this initiative with managing partner and real estate practice group chair, Terri Adler.  Among other things, we are representing clients in setting up Qualified Opportunity Fund structures, handling Opportunity Zone developments and advising numerous clients in determining Opportunity Zone strategies.  In addition to being in touch with the U.S. Treasury Department on a consistent basis and speaking at various conferences and other trade organizations, Ms. Millett was named as one of the Top 50 People Shaping the Future of Opportunity Zones in Opportunity Zone Magazine.
  • Tax-Exempt Organizations Practice: Our Tax-Exempt Organizations Practice Group, chaired by David Samuels, advises charities, foundations, corporate sponsors, and professional fundraisers on matters which affect the nonprofit community.  We are one of the few law firms with a practice group dedicated to addressing the unique regulatory, economic and legal issues of tax-exempt organizations. David Samuels was Deputy Chief of the New York AG’s Charities Bureau and regularly works with the Bureau on real estate transactions (including those involving sales and leases of real property, real estate matters sometimes requiring Attorney General and/or court approval) and other matters requiring regulatory approval (such as mergers, dissolutions, and cy pres applications to lift restrictions on charitable gifts).  David has been ranked by Best Lawyers® and Super Lawyers since 2007.  Of particular note here, David was involved in the creation of the Madison Square Park Conservancy; he incorporated the organization, successfully filed the application with the IRS for tax-exempt status, and provided legal guidance during its formative period.
  • Real Estate Finance Expertise:  We regularly handle major finance transactions throughout the real estate capital stack – including everything from recapitalizing and restructuring properties, to originating first mortgage and mezzanine debt, to buying distressed debt at all levels of the capital stack, workouts, restructurings, litigations (often among creditors – e.g. tranche warfare, put-back/take-back cases), recapitalizations, etc.  

  • Helping our Clients Grow Their Businesses:  D&S spends a great deal of time focused on its core mission “To Help Our Clients Grow Their Businesses”.  This is a unique value-add that distinguishes D&S from other law firms.  Instead of focusing only on providing legal services to clients, the Firm also directs its focus to what clients often need more than anything else; namely, assistance in growing their real estate businesses successfully.  This includes, by way of example, helping clients find transactions, financial partners and other counterparties.
  • Networked Law Firm:  We pride ourselves on being one of the most “networked” law firms in the real estate world.  We have contacts and friends in all US jurisdictions and in many non-US jurisdictions as well.  No matter what our clients are seeking to do in real estate – and wherever in the world they are seeking to do it – we are an extremely useful teammate.  Whether it is a first-time transaction in a new country, setting up an office in a new location, or handling multi-locational transactions, we provide great guidance and value.



Terri L. Adler
Managing Partner


  • Bruce Stachenfeld and Terri Adler were elected to The Commercial Observer’s Power 100 Reader’s Poll
  • Terri Adler was selected to the 2012 New York Super Lawyer's "Top 50 Women" List


  • Barings
  • Colony Northstar
  • EQ Office
  • Island Capital Group
  • Jadian Capital
  • JDS Development
  • Melody Capital Partners
  • Oz Management Real Estate
  • Savanna
  • Spitzer Engineering
  • The Lightstone Group
  • Angelo, Gordon & Co., L.P.
  • Caribbean Property Group LLC
  • C-III Asset Management LLC
  • Jamestown Properties
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • Prada USA Corp.
  • Starwood Property Trust, Inc.

Firm Practice Areas

  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Construction Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Leisure and Hospitality Law
  • Litigation - Banking and Finance
  • Litigation - Bankruptcy
  • Litigation - Real Estate
  • Nonprofit / Charities Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Tax Law

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