Goodwin Procter is expanding in California with the addition of Pircher Nichols & Meeks real estate partner Alex Jacobs despite a slump in the commercial real estate market.
Jacobs, who joins Goodwin as a partner in its real estate industry practice in Los Angeles, advises private and institutional investors, owners, and developers in connection with the acquisition, disposition, development, and financing of commercial real estate properties.
Jacobs has known attorneys at the firm, including the chair of its Los Angeles office Dean Pappas, for several years and said he thought the firm was “a really attractive place to practice for the next phase of my career.”
One key component to that was Goodwin’s PropTech practice, which launched back in 2018 and marries client needs around both real estate and technology.
Back in March discussion began about how the real estate market was going to change because of Covid-19 and how it would be different post-pandemic, Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the veracity of those concerns is still unclear, but Goodwin’s head start into this space made it “a place where I would be happy to practice and I thought it would beneficial to me and more importantly my clients.”
Commercial real estate deals have plunged to their lowest level since 2010 amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released by New York-based firm Real Capital Analytics Inc. Deal volume dropped 79% in May 2020 compared with a year earlier, the data showed, as many Americans are still being kept out of the workplace by Covid-19 and social distancing measures.
Despite these dips, Goodwin sees an opportunity.
“With significant capital currently earmarked for real estate investment, there remains a considerable demand for sophisticated real estate transactional legal services throughout the major metropolitan West Coast markets,” Minta Kay, chair of Goodwin’s real estate industry practice, said in a statement.
Real estate is one of six core practice areas where the firm has been keen on expanding in recent years. The others include technology and life sciences, private equity, securities, white-collar litigation and regulatory matters and financial institutions.
In April, the firm supplemented the existing PropTech practice by launching a PropSci practice to handle specialized real estate needs from biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
Jacobs began his career at Loeb & Loeb. In 2003, he jumped to Los Angeles-based real estate firm Pircher Nicols, where he built out a practice representing commercial owners and developers.
He also negotiates and structures complex joint venture arrangements between sponsors and capital providers and represents clients in transactions, including land for residential development, multifamily residential projects, office buildings, and hotels and resorts.
He represented New York boutique hotel company Sydell Group in its various acquisitions, developments and financings of hotels, including the Saguaro Palm Springs hotel.
“Alex’s practice complements the skillsets of our existing real estate and hospitality industry team on the West Coast and having him on board further positions us as one of the dominant real estate industry practices in the United States and Europe,” said Pappas, chair of Goodwin’s Los Angeles office, in a statement.
Jacobs worked with Divya Bala of global legal recruitment firm Lippman Jungers Bala in his move to Goodwin.