Firm Profile

Peter A. Gelles

Firm Details

Peter A. Gelles provides legal counsel to a variety of U.S. and international clients regarding U.S. and crossborder business, real estate and private matters.

Mr. Gelles was born and educated in England and received his law degree from the University of Oxford.  He has served as a lawyer at the International Labor Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland, and has been admitted to practice as a Solicitor in England and in Hong Kong, and as an Attorney in the U.S. (California) and he has practiced with law firms in each of these countries.

Mr. Gelles has been a frequent presenter and writer on U.S. and international legal issues, chaired committees and sections of preeminent local, regional, national and international legal associations, and organized, chaired and participated in seminars on legal topics  in the U.S. and other jurisdictions.

Among other distinctions, Mr. Gelles holds Martindale-Hubbell’s 5.0 AV® Preeminent™ peer ranking, its highest ranking, and for several years has been listed in Best Lawyers of America (including recognition by Best Lawyers as a 2012 Lawyer of the Year in the field of international trade and finance law), and as one of Southern California’s “Super Lawyers.”  In 2006, Mr. Gelles received Citywealth Magazine’s Magic Circle Award as California Attorney of the Year.

Currently, Mr. Gelles serves as Chair of InterCounsel, an association of independent international law firms in North and South America, Europe and Asia.



  • Legal counsel to select U.S. and international private clients in regard to business, real estate and personal matters
  • Legal counsel to U.S. and international investors and developers in regard to crossborder transactions
  • U.S. and international real estate and business acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, financings and commercial transactions
  • U.S. and international contract negotiation
  • Business, real estate and contractural advisory services for artists, creative professionals and nonprofit arts organizations
  • Crossborder investment transactions
  • Strategic planning, operational assistance, and dispute resolution problem-solving



  • Oxford University, B.A. (Jurisprudence), M.A. (Recipient of Open Exhibition in Jurisprudence, St. Edmund Hall)
  • Admissions to practice: U.S. (California), U.K. (England & Wales), Hong Kong
  • American Bar Association: Past Chair of Committee on International Real Estate Investments, Co-Chair of Committee on International Secured Transactions, and Advisor to Task Force on Transnational Legal Practice
  • California State Bar: Past Chair of International Law Section, and Past Co-Chair of State Bar’s Council and Task Force on Sections
  • L.A. County Bar Association: Past Chair of Real Property Section
  • Chair, InterCounsel, an association of independent international law firms in North and South America, Europe and Asia
  • Languages: English, French, Italian, German



“Lost in Translation? Trends in Foreign Investment in U.S. Commercial Real Estate”,  Annual Benjamin S. Crocker Symposium on Real Estate Law and Business, Los Angeles, California (Co-Chair/Moderator)

Foreign Real Estate Investment in the U.S.“, Southwestern University Institute, Los Angeles, American Real Estate Management Association, Atlanta, Georgia and California Society of Certified Public Accountants, Los Angeles, California

Cross Border Real Estate Transactions,” California State Bar Education Institute, Santa Monica, California (Program Chair and Moderator)

Crossing the Border: U.S./Mexico Real Estate Transactions,” California State Bar Annual Real Property Retreat, La Costa, California (Moderator)

Current Perspectives on U.S. Investment in U.K. Property,” Property Finance, London, England.

Doing Business in the Expanding EU”, British American Business Council, LA Center Studios, Los Angeles, California (Program Co-Chair and Moderator)

Global Real Estate“, Benjamin Crocker Symposium, Los Angeles, California (Moderator)

Global U.S. Real Estate Investment,” Institutional Real Estate Investor

Income Property Acquisitions and Dispositions,” Benjamin Crocker Symposium, Los Angeles, California

Innovative Methods for Improving NOI and Asset Value in Challenging  Times”, Benjamin Crocker Symposium, Los Angeles, California

The Parking Dilemma: Innovative Solutions for High-Density Parking and Automated Vehicle Storage”, UCLA Ziman Center Automated Parking Structures Symposium, Los Angeles, California

International Construction Projects”, California State Bar Annual Meeting, Monterey, California (Program Co-Chair and Moderator)

International Hotel and Resort Development: Legal and Practical Challenges,” International, American and Inter-Pacific Bar Associations,” Marbella, Spain (Member, Program Organizing Committee and Moderator)

International Real Estate Development – Current Trends,” American Bar Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia (Program Chair and Moderator)

International Real Estate Securitization – Current Developments and Trends,” American Bar Association Presidential Showcase Program, Toronto, Canada (Program Chair and Moderator)

Multijurisdictional Practice: The California Perspective,” International Bar Association Convention, San Francisco, California (Program Co-Chair and Co-Moderator)

Cross Border Labor & Employment Law”, California State Bar Annual Meeting, Monterey, California (Program Co-Chair)

Practical Business Aspects of U.S. Immigration Planning for Japanese Companies,” Tokyo, Japan

Effects of U.S. Product Liability Exposure on International Business Planning for Japanese Companies,” Japan Management Association, Tokyo, Japan

Real Estate Aspects of Mergers and Acquisitions in the U.S.,” Tokyo, Japan

U.S. Business Planning,” Japan Times, Tokyo, Japan

Role of U.S. Counsel in Advising U.S. Investors in Foreign Real Estate,” American Bar Association, Atlanta, Georgia

Crossborder Estate Planning”, California State Bar Annual Meeting, Monterey, California (Program Co-Chair and Moderator)

“Cross Border Estate, Financial & Asset Planning”, California State Bar Conference, Marina Del Rey, California (Program Co-Chair and Co-Moderator)

Cross Border Ethics and Multijurisdictional Practice”, California State Bar Annual Meeting, Monterey, California

Ethics and Multijurisdictional Practice Issues”, California State Bar Annual Meeting, San Diego, California (Moderator)


About Our Clients

Mr. Gelles emphasizes adding value for clients by providing practical, business-oriented legal advice, managing risks, and creating beneficial outcomes and business relationships for clients.

Mr. Gelles is known for the quality of his legal work and for his creative deal structuring and analytical skills, innovative problem-solving capabilities, and ability to resolve difficult situations involving complex issues, overlapping areas of law and matters involving multiple jurisdictions.

Mr. Gelles provides a “concierge” level of personal service for select clients, combined with the skills and  insights of a qualified and experienced U.S. and international lawyer and business counselor.

In order to service client needs, Mr. Gelles is able to draw upon an extensive network of other U.S. and international professionals, with expertise in particular specialty areas, so as to be able to provide services to clients on a multi-disciplinary and global basis.

In addition to representation of his own clients, Mr. Gelles frequently is requested to assist other professionals and professional firms in servicing their clients and to provide consulting services with regard to special projects, including litigation matters in areas related to his expertise.

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