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CoStar, Regency Centers Reshuffle General Counsel Roles

March 5, 2020, 10:51 PM

Two of the largest U.S. real estate companies have announced new top lawyers.

CoStar Group Inc., a real estate data and information provider, said Wednesday it was promoting deputy general counsel Jaye Campbell to general counsel and corporate secretary. CoStar deputy general counsel and assistant corporate secretary Jeannette Koonce is being promoted to chief compliance officer.

The two appointments mark the start of a new legal and compliance regime at CoStar, where the law department has been led since 2005 by general counsel Jonathan Coleman. A CoStar spokeswoman told Bloomberg Law that Coleman is leaving the company and would not be retiring but “looking toward new adventures which are yet to be determined.”

Coleman did not respond to an inquiry about his plans after two decades at Washington-based CoStar, which last month tapped Jones Day to advise on its $587.5 million all-cash acquisition of bankrupt home rental website operator RentPath Holdings Inc.

Regency Succession

Separately, Regency Centers Corp., a Jacksonville, Fla.-based real estate investment trust that is one of the largest U.S. owners and operators of shopping centers, said longtime general counsel Barbara Johnston will retire May 1 and be replaced by Michael Herman.

Herman, currently general counsel and company secretary at Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc., will leave that role March 20 and be replaced by assistant general counsel R. Colby Slaughter, according to a securities filing by the Jacksonville-based chemical company. Slaughter, a former associate at K&L Gates LLP, has been in-house at Rayonier since 2013. Herman joined the company a decade prior.

Herman will become Regency’s general counsel-elect April 6, according to the REIT, and succeed Johnston the next month as senior vice president, general counsel, and company secretary.

Johnston, a former partner at McGuireWoods LLP, has led Regency’s law department since 2010. During that time, she advised Regency on several notable transactions, including its $4.6 billion combination in 2017 with fellow shopping center developer Equity One Inc. Herman handled Rayonier’s 2014 separation from Rayonier Inc., a forestry products and timberland-focused REIT.

Coleman, who served as a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s civil division prior to joining CoStar as deputy general counsel in 2000, oversaw a stable of high-powered litigators representing the company. Among them were a team from Williams & Connolly LLP that scored a record $500 million copyright judgment last fall against bankrupt real estate data rival Xceligent Inc.

Bloomberg Law data shows that Williams & Connolly has handled 50% of CoStar’s litigation engagements within the past five years. Campbell, Coleman’s replacement as general counsel, previously served as the company’s head of litigation.

Real Estate Recruits

Other recent notable in-house legal appointments in real estate include:

  • Magellan Health Inc., a Phoenix-based managed care provider with a large portfolio of real estate holdings, announced Feb. 3 its hire of Quality Care Properties Inc. general counsel David Haddock as to be its general counsel and corporate secretary.
  • Stay Alfred, the Spokane Valley, Wash.-based hospitality startup, announced Feb. 18 its recruitment of Edmond Farrell, managing counsel for global real estate at Oracle Corp., to be vice president and general counsel.
  • Rockwood Capital LLC, a private real estate investment firm, announced Feb. 20 its promotion of Marti Breier to general counsel in Los Angeles. David Becker, Rockwood’s former in-house legal chief, is a managing partner with the firm in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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