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“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” –Mark Twain

Johnston Clem Gifford’s real estate focus reflects the firm’s depth of experience representing lenders, developers, contractors, investors, managers, landlords, and other market participants in Texas and beyond.

Unique Asset—Unique Approach

The law considers each parcel of real estate as unique and irreplaceable. For that reason, handling and enforcing real estate transactions means recognizing special duties and remedies not seen elsewhere in the law. For example, the laws are meant to encourage owners to put real estate toward its “highest and best use.” That principle forms the foundation of many taxing and zoning regulations, among other things. The same principle justifies adverse possession laws, which still exist in most parts of the country—if an owner has failed to keep her property, an adverse possessor may strip her of title, under very specific circumstances. In the case of breached purchase and sale transactions, the law may provide a “specific performance” remedy: forcing the parties to complete the sale and transfer title.

Our real estate practice recognizes the unique nature of of real estate and applies a unique approach to protecting our clients’ interests. We provide seamless representation to clients involved in real estate—for while the parcel may stay the same, the legal processes that affect that parcel are as varied as life itself.

The Legal Life Cycle of Real Estate

Real estate representation often begins with a transaction. Whether for a buyer or a seller, a purchase-money lender, a contractor, a developer, or an investor like a hedge fund or REIT, our lawyers provide on-time guidance throughout the transaction. Our transactional lawyers handle commercial financing, acquisition, disposition, development, construction, sale and leaseback, ground and space leasing, and environmental issues. We consult with clients regarding environmental site assessments, remediation programs, cleanup liability, and other property-related environmental concerns. The firm’s lawyers have experience with virtually all types of commercial real estate, including office, apartments, retail, industrial, condominiums, hotels and senior housing, including skilled and memory care facilities.

From time to time, transaction counterparties face insolvency or other structural issues that threaten our clients’ interests. Our lawyers take a practical approach to working out those issues. We may document pre-negotiation letters, forbearance agreements, or other contracts designed to protect our clients’ interests and to bolster their positions in the event of bankruptcy. We may use analytical tools to investigate the counterparty and recommend curtailments, capital adjustments, collateral pledges, or more detailed financial disclosures. And we may revise or amend the transaction documents themselves, guarding against potential claims or counterclaims arising from the process.

Should bankruptcy become inevitable, our “360 Review” process ensures that Johnston Clem Gifford’s insolvency and creditors’ rights lawyers have been aware of and advising on the matter from inception. We represent creditors in bankruptcies brought under Chapters 7, 9, 11, and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code—pursuing our clients’ interests through insolvency, liquidation, and reorganization.

Lastly, real estate transactions often end with litigation. Before recommending offensive litigation, we conduct a thorough review of the transactional documents, spotting and curing issues that may ripen into problems before the dispute matures. Our lawyers then consider every lawful remedy available to our clients, from pre-suit discovery to temporary restraining orders to federal or state lawsuits for specific performance or money damages.