Skip to main content

Negotiating Commercial Leases 2013

Speaker(s): Arthur E. Pape, Christine Chipurnoi, Devika Kewalramani, Edward Harris, Elizabeth J. Shampnoi, Jacqueline A. Weiss, Joanne Franzel, John Busey Wood, M. Rosie Rees, Michael A. Marra, Michael E. Meyer, Nancy Ann Connery, Steven D. Klein, Steven M. Alden, Steven Serota, Theani C. Louskos, Thomas M. Ventrone
Recorded on: Nov. 7, 2013
PLI Program #: 42679

Edward Harris is a co-founder of Commercial Tenant Services, Inc. (CTS), a founding firm in the lease audit services market, and has over twenty-five years of real estate finance and lease audit experience. Mr. Harris' expertise encompasses lease audit, lease interpretation, due diligence, global and portfolio-wide lease audit campaign management, landlord negotiation, and practical experience as an industrial engineer. Mr. Harris leads client service at CTS, operates in management of recovery negotiations, lease audit reviews, and consulting and special projects. Mr. Harris has presented on varying topics at CLE classes across the country, as well as at numerous CoreNet Global Education Development Program learning and panel presentations. Mr. Harris holds a degree in Physics from Allegheny College, a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, and an MBA joint degree in Real Estate Finance and Operations Research from the Graduate School of Business of Columbia University. 

Steven Serota is a co-founder of Commercial Tenant Services, Inc. (CTS), a founding firm in the lease audit services market, and has over thirty years of real estate finance, building management, and lease audit experience. For over twenty-five years, Mr. Serota has focused on providing commercial tenants overcharge recovery and sustainable cost avoidance solutions, identifying errors in landlord billing methodologies and application, and creating transparency in complicated and third-party accounting systems. Mr. Serota and CTS have together performed many thousands of commercial lease audits and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in landlord overcharges to tenants, with hundreds of millions of dollars in additional sustained cost avoidance through rectified landlord billing methodologies and implementation. Mr. Serota's expertise encompasses all aspects of lease audit, due diligence, lease interpretation, landlord negotiation, and practical engineering experience with heavy systems. Mr. Serota is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University, and holds an MBA in Real Estate Finance from the Graduate School of Business of Columbia University.

Mike Meyer has developed a national reputation as one of the preeminent leasing attorneys in the United States.

He regularly represents many of this country's leading financial institutions, accounting firms and law firms in connection with major lease transactions throughout the United States.  Representative of the major leases he has done for tenants recently include City National Bank headquarters lease (525,000 sq.ft. in Los Angeles, CA), Sempra (300,000 sq.ft. in San Diego, CA), Nestle USA headquarters lease (205,833 sq.ft. in Arlington, VA), ICM Partners headquarters lease (111,591 in Los Angeles), and Holland America headquarters lease (185,087 sq.ft. in Seattle, WA).  In November 2016 he won a five million dollar Fair Market Rental Rate arbitration award for Capitol Records against a very prominent New York developer.

Mike is considered one of the country's leading authorities on renewal rights, the establishment of fair market rental rates pursuant to arbitrations, the assignment and subleasing provision, and the inter-relationships between the tenant improvement agreement and the rent commencement date.  He served for ten years as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in Los Angeles.  He has served as judge pro tem in the Los Angeles Municipal Courts and presently serves as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.  He developed the definition of fair market rental rate which, in one form or another, is used in numerous major lease transactions, and has been intimately involved in many arbitrations/mediations involving fair market rental rates—the most recent, involving Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman & Goodman, Screen Actors Guild, Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, Nestle, Saban Entertainment and Sony with major landlords, including Jerry Snyder, Douglas Emmett, Equity Office, Heitman and Transpacific.

In a vote by his peers, which was published by Los Angeles magazine, he was ranked in the Top 100 of all the Super Lawyers in Southern California for the past five years.  In 2011, Mike was named Real Estate Lawyer of the Year by the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  Mike has been named CoreNet Global's Real Estate Professional of the Year; the Los Angeles Business Journal named him one of the 25 Most Powerful Attorneys in Los Angeles; he was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal.

The respected English legal directory Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business has repeatedly ranked Mike in California's top tier for real estate law.  The guide has stated that he is "far and away the giant of the leasing field," a "great talent," a "commanding name as a leasing expert," "a tremendously skilled lawyer" and "the best leasing lawyer in town."  Clients quoted in the guide have said that Mike is "iconic," a "leading light of leasing" and that he "basically invented the commercial tenant practice."  Furthermore, the guide has said he is "an outstanding real estate attorney and perhaps one of the strongest experts around in leasing transactions.  He has been integral to a number of the state's largest recent deals."  "Clients praise the experience he brings to complex transactions."

He was named among the 500 Leading Lawyers in the United States by Lawdragon for five years.  He has been listed in Woodward White for Best of the Best for over 20 years and in 2014 was named Los Angeles Real Estate Lawyer of the year by Woodward White.  Mike is the Chairman of DLA Piper's Los Angeles offices.

Mike has been honored by the Weingart Center Association at "Striking Out Homelessness and Poverty," a benefit event at Dodger Stadium, for his extensive efforts to help victims of poverty return to work.  Proceeds from the event went to the Weingart Center in downtown Los Angeles to contribute to its work delivering high-quality human services and providing leadership and innovative solutions to break the cycle of homelessness and end poverty.  He is on the board of directors of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Sheriff's Youth Foundation, Los Angeles Police Foundation, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, and LA Sports & Entertainment Commission.

The Real Estate Southern California magazine published "The Laws of Baseball," an article focusing on Mike’s lifelong love of baseball and his service on the board of directors of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Mike has lectured to numerous city organizations, including real estate brokers, landlords and developer groups, interior design groups and real estate appraisers.  He also has presented various seminars to BOMA, PLI, CLE, CEB, American Arbitration Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, State Bar of California and the American Bar Association.  He is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.


  • California


  • J.D., The University of Chicago
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • American Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • University of Chicago Law School Alumni Association of Southern California, President (1980 – 1982)
  • Elected President in the first contested election in 20 years, Los Angeles County Bar Association (term to commence in 2017)
  • Board of Directors, Los Angeles County Bar Foundation
  • Board of Directors, New Otani America Corporation
  • Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Los Angeles Building Owners and Managers Association
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association
  • Los Angeles Country Club


  • Board of Directors, Jackie Robinson Foundation
  • Board of Directors, Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission
  • Board of Directors, Los Angeles Police Foundation
  • Board of Directors, Boy Scouts of America, Greater Los Angeles
  • Board of Directors, United Way (1992 – 1995)
  • Board of Directors, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (1995-2010)

Michael A. Marra, is Vice President for the Construction Division and has served with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for more than fourteen years. Mr. Marra was appointed District Vice President of the AAA Philadelphia Office in September 2001.  He is currently responsible for expanding the use of AAA construction ADR services in the Mid-Atlantic and New England States.  In that role, he also interacts with the AAA’s clients who file construction and real estate cases and the neutrals who serve as arbitrators and mediators.   Mr. Marra also has national responsibility for developing the AAA’s construction caseload and works closely with construction industry associations through the AAA’s National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee (NCDRC).  In this capacity, Mr. Marra assists the corporate, legal and public sector communities in educating them on the various construction industry dispute avoidance and resolution techniques and in designing dispute resolution systems to meet their specific needs.  Mr. Marra is a frequent presenter on the subject of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Prior to his appointment as District Vice President, Mr. Marra spent fourteen years in the construction and insurance industries in both operations and sales.  Mr. Marra is a graduate of Temple University with a B.A. in Marketing.

Arthur E. Pape owns The Pape Law Firm in Wheaton, Illinois. He represents developers, lenders and other investors in real estate. He has been a principal in a small real estate development company and real estate counsel in the law division of a money center national bank. He was elected to American College of Real Estate Lawyers in 1986 where he founded and was first chairman of its Insurance Committee. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1997 (being named by it as "Chicago Best Lawyers Real Estate Law Lawyer of the Year" for 2012), in Who's Who in Legal, International Who's Who of Business Lawyers since 2005, has been an Illinois Super Lawyer since 2005 and was selected as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Illinois for two consecutive years. Mr. Pape is a member of Lambda Alpha International, an honorary land economics society. He writes and lectures extensively on topics of interest to real estate lawyers and is an Adjunct Professor in The John Marshall Law School's Masters of Real Estate Law Program where he teaches a course on insurance as it relates to real estate transactions. 

Devika Kewalramani is a partner and co-chair of Moses & Singer's Legal Ethics & Law Firm Practice which advises law firms, lawyers and legal departments on ethical and legal aspects of law practice. She also currently serves as the firm's general counsel. Devika’s practice focuses on the laws that regulate lawyers. She counsels clients on issues relating to legal ethics, professional discipline, law firm risk management, and lawyer licensing and admissions. Devika advises on ethics matters involving legal malpractice. She conducts ethics and risk management audits for law firms and legal departments.

A frequent lecturer, panelist and author on legal ethics, Devika speaks to law firms, corporate legal departments, bar associations and other professional organizations on a variety of legal ethics topics. The editor of New York State Bar Association’s Journal magazine recognized Devika as author of one of the best articles of 2010: “Up Close and Professional With New York’s Engagement Letter Rules” (September 2010). Her article, “Demystifying ESQrow Ethics” was featured on the front page of the New York State Bar Association Journal’s May 2013 edition. Devika is a faculty member of the Practising Law Institute and of

She began her career at Moses & Singer as an associate in the firm's Banking and Finance practice, where she represented major financial institutions in secured and unsecured financings.

Devika is the Chair of the Committee on Professional Discipline of the New York City Bar Association. She is a member of the Advisory Board of The Ethics Institute of the New York County Lawyers' Association.

In 2014 and 2015, Devika achieved Super Lawyer status in the Metro Edition of New York Super Lawyers®.

She was appointed as a member of the New York Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline in 2015 and served as a co-chair of its Subcommittee on Transparency and Access.


  • Member, New York Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline
  • Chair, Committee on Professional Discipline, the New York City Bar Association
  • Member, Public Policy and Action Committee, the New York County Lawyers' Association
  • Member, Committee on Continuing Legal Education of the New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Advisory Board of the Ethics Institute, the New York County Lawyer's Association
  • Member, International Board of Advisors of Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, Haryana, India
  • Past Chair, Subcommittee on Engagement Letters, Professional Responsibility Committee, the New York City Bar Association
  • Past Member, Committee on Professional Ethics of the New York State Bar Association


  • Lexis® Practice Advisor for Corporate Counsel: Ethics For In-House Counsel, Author (2012-current).
  • The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Mentor to Journal staff members for note publications on ethics (2010-11 and 2011-12).
  • "The New York Rules of Professional Conduct," Oxford University Press/New York County Lawyers' Association, Rules Co-Editor and Contributor of Three Chapters: "Rule 1.7 – Conflicts of Interest: Current Clients;" "Rule 1.8 – Current Clients: Specific Conflicts of Interest Rules;" and "Rule 1.9 – Duties to Former Clients" (2010-2012).


  • Legal Ethics & Law Firm Practice
  • Privacy & Cybersecurity


  • City University of New York School of Law (J.D.)
  • St. Xavier's College (B.A.) Kolkata, India


  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of NewYork
  • New York
  • Connecticut


  • Bengali
  • Hindi

John Busey Wood is a member of the commercial real estate group at the New York City office of the law firm Akerman LLP, and advises public and private companies on real estate acquisitions, facilities management, construction and development of mixed use and retail projects, brokerage law, commercial leasing, retail and office property management and litigation. For over 40 years Mr. Wood has represented owners in the design and negotiation of commercial leases covering in excess of 100 million square feet of retail, industrial, office and mixed use space projects.  He has assisted large volume space commercial and retail tenants and owners in the effective management of their facilities portfolios and in reducing costs and risk. These experiences, coupled with a unique blend of professional disciplines and his design and deployment of sophisticated new-generation commercial lease forms during the late 1970’s and the 1980’s resulted in his being featured in articles on the impact of commercial leases on companies and being referred to by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times as “the father of the modern killer lease.” His extensive national experience in developable land, improved property acquisitions, large scale retail and office developments, and leasing and management programs have made him an ideal corporate facilities support resource for companies.  He is a noted authority on ground leases as well as rental escalations, expenses, allocations, auditing and litigation/dispute resolution. Among noteworthy projects, Mr. Wood directed the legal team in a national portfolio acquisition with a value in excess of $2 billion and he participated in the development, leasing and financing of over 4 million square feet of regional shopping malls and retail centers nationwide. In 1998 he negotiated the largest ground/space lease transaction in the history of New York City, containing more than 1.6 million square feet and including “fast-track” rehabilitation, construction lending, permanent financing and options for fee acquisition. In addition, Mr. Wood has advised, directed teams and designed correlated construction contracts for “fast-track” design-build projects, conversions and renovations in New York City, exceeding 8 million square feet, with values greater than $4 billion.  Mr. Wood has also directed large-scale leasing programs for major New York City office towers and national mixed use properties and retail centers.  He regularly presides over arbitrations and directs litigation teams in landlord-tenant disputes, construction disputes and retail lease controversies.  His financing, auditing and computer expertise contributed to his uncovering the largest computer-leasing fraud in the United States, the O.P.M. Leasing Financing fraud. Mr. Wood is a licensed Class “A” commercial real estate broker, a Certified Public Accountant and holds B.B.A. (Accounting and Economics), M.B.A. (Accounting and Finance) and J.D. degrees.

Mr. Wood is a member of the American Bar Association (“ABA”), (Former Vice-Chair of the Commercial Leasing Committee and former Chair of the Office Leasing Subcommittee), and Board of Legal Advisors to the Practicing Law Institute (“PLI”). He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives (NY Chapter), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”), and American Association of Attorney-CPAs. Mr. Wood served, from 1982 through 1991, as a member of the Associated Builders and Owners of New York, the New York Building Congress and its Board of Legal Advisors, and the Real Estate Board of the City of New York (“REBNY”).  Mr. Wood frequently lectures on property acquisition and management, commercial leasing and construction contract techniques, transaction structuring and brokerage law at major real estate brokerage firms in New York City, REBNY, Columbia University-ISDE Graduate Law and Economics Program and at the New York University Graduate School and Real Estate Institute. He also lectures at PLI, where he is the New York and national Chairman of the National Commercial Leasing Seminars, and at the executive and annual meetings of the ABA and AICPA.  Mr. Wood has frequently served as a “party selected” and Federal arbitrator and with the A.A.A. in fair market rent valuation and rental/expense/adjustment disputes and audits and he is an American Arbitration Association - National Neutral - Commercial Panelist.  He has also served as Assistant Attorney General (Kansas), and as special counsel to Bronxville Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning Board and Board of Trustees and is a member of the Westchester-Putnam Boy Scouts of America Council and the National Eagle Scout Association.

Mr. Wood has presented papers on "Equity Leases" and “Work Letters” to the ABA and on “Accounting and Tax Issues for Work Letters and Allowances” to the AICPA.  His article "Trump [Tower] Tenant Finds Turnkey [Construction Agreement] Saves the Day" appeared in the Legal Times of Washington and New York, October 21, 1985. Mr. Wood co-authored, with Alan M. DiSciullo, Esq., the treatise Negotiating and Drafting Office Leases, published by Law Journal Seminars-Press (Library of Congress ISBN 1-58852-061-7, 1995-2017, supplemented 2 times per year); co-authored "Section V.A, Fire and Casualty Insurance" in the Real Estate Law and Practice Course Handbook , Published by PLI, 1994-2009; co-authored "Building Owner's Assumptions Spark Zoning War", Legal Times of New York, August/September, 1985 and co-authored "Financing Real Estate Development through Participation Leases", Real Estate Review, Volume 20, No. 4, Winter, 1991. He is the author of the book, Navigating The Dangerous Shoals of a Commercial Lease, published by New York University Graduate School, 1992-2017 and the ABA. Mr. Wood is listed in Who's Who in Real Estate, Who's Who in American Law, 2nd and 4th Editions, Who's Who Registry of Global Business Leaders, 1993-4 Edition and NY Super Lawyers 204-2017.  Mr. Wood is AV Preeminent® peer rated by Martindale-Hubbell and was peer-nominated and elected an American Bar Foundation Fellow.  Mr. Wood has been Senior Editor of "Real Estate Corner", a monthly article on commercial real estate for corporate professionals published by The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Inc. and has appeared on The Wall Street Report speaking on current trends in national real estate.

Steven Klein is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and is a member of the Firm's Real Estate Practice Group.  Mr. Klein's practice covers a broad range of real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, financings, leasing, construction and development, restructurings and recapitalizations.  He also has substantial experience in REIT offerings, REIT mergers and formation of investment funds.  He has advised clients on securitized funding agreements, permanent and mezzanine loan agreements, loan restructuring agreements, partnership and limited liability company agreements, private placement memoranda, property management agreements, retail and office leases and regional shopping centre agreements.  His clients include Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, DiamondRock Hospitality Company, AECOM Capital and Lehman Brothers. 

Chambers USA (2013) ranks Mr. Klein among the leading individuals practicing Real Estate Law in New York. He has also been included in Legal Media Group’s Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Real Estate Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500 and New York magazine’s "Best Lawyers.”

Mr.  Klein is an adjunct professor at the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate, where he has taught courses on commercial leasing, commercial real estate transactions and real estate development and investment.  He is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and of the Advisory Board of Chicago Title Insurance Company. 

Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Klein was Chair of the Real Estate department of Willkie Farr & Gallagher.  Mr. Klein received his Juris Doctor from Rutgers University School of Law in 1986.

Select Representative Transactions*

  • Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.:  $956 million sale of North American Industrial Fund III portfolio to Blackstone Group LP and Prologis Inc.
  • AECOM Capital:  Joint venture with the Mack Family Office and Urban Partners LLC to acquire and develop five development sites located in the South Park district of Los Angeles.
  • Goldman Sachs:  $1.85 billion refinancing consisting of first mortgage and four mezzanine loan tiers secured by a portfolio of hotels located in Hawaii and San Francisco.
  • Goldman Sachs:  Acquisition and restructuring of a $180 million mortgage loan secured by the YOTEL New York hotel, and subsequent $200 million refinancing of YOTEL consisting of first mortgage and senior mezzanine loans.
  • Prominent NYC developer:  Restructuring of construction loan and mezzanine loan.
  • Real Estate fund:  Loan restructurings.
  • Team of Private Equity Funds:  Purchase of $1.1 billion of timeshare loans, consisting of both construction and acquisition loans.
  • Bloomberg L.P.:  Lease for 700,000 square-foot new world headquarters at the “Alexander’s Site” in New York City, and numerous other acquisitions and leases, nationally and internationally, including in California, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., London, Prague, San Paulo, Rome and Tokyo.
  • Leases and construction agreements on behalf of Apollo, Avenue Capital, Alix Partners, Bank of America, Citibank, Crain, Greenhill, Jones New York, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Level 3, McKinsey & Company, Moelis, Pinebridge Capital, SAC and other corporate tenants.
  • Trinity Church: Redevelopment of 330 Hudson Street.
  • Sale-leaseback transaction with Disney and Wal-Mart.
  • Paramount: Acquisitions and financings of New York City office buildings.
  • Port Authority of NY and NJ:  Redevelopment of 42nd Street Bus Terminal.
  • DiamondRock Hospitality Company: Acquisitions and financings of several individual hotels and portfolios, including Westin Boston, Chicago Marriott and a 4-hotel portfolio from Blackstone.
  • CBL Properties, The Mills Corporation and Simon Property Group:  Acquisitions, joint ventures and financings with respect to regional mall centers and portfolios.
  • Land developer and home builder:  Loan restructurings.
  • Hospitality and residential developer:  Loan restructurings.
  • Private Company:  Acquisition of an office building in London.
  • Multifamily Company:  Restructuring of over $1 billion in CMBS debt, which encumbers a large portfolio of multifamily properties across the United States.
  • NorthStar Capital Partners LLC:  Joint ventures and financings with respect to retail portfolio in Puerto Rico, golf courses throughout the United States, and a mixed-use project in Manhattan.
  • Scout Real Estate Capital:  Acquisition, debt and equity financing and development of Wyndham Bermuda Resort & Spa, 6000 acres of waterfront land in Hawaii, and two Martha’s Vineyard hotels.
  • Praedium:  Acquisition of office properties.
  • Ventas:  Acquisition of 67 healthcare and seniors housing properties.
  • Lehman Brother Holdings Inc. (and various debtor and debtor affiliates):  Mezzanine construction financing of data center facility in Ashburn, Virginia; preferred equity investment in NYC residential condominium development; construction loan to develop luxury golf course in Texas; restructuring of residential condominium mortgage and mezzanine loans; restructuring of various debt and equity relationships with a major private developer and owner of an office building portfolio in the southeastern United States; marketing and potential sale of REO assets acquired by Lehman via foreclosure of otherwise; restructuring of loan facilities encumbering a portfolio of residential assets in Florida in which a Lehman affiliate is an equity investor.

*Representations occurred prior to Mr. Klein joining Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. 

Vice President, ICDR

International Centre for Dispute Resolution, New York, NY
Vice President of Case Management

Tom Ventrone is presently responsible for the management and oversight of the administration and management of all international arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution cases filed within the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), a division of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). This includes the direct supervision of over 20 employees from over a dozen different countries, including many attorneys licensed to practice in jurisdictions throughout the world. The ICDR presently manages nearly 1,000 cases involving parties from over 90 different countries. In this position he has daily interaction with the most prominent members of the international arbitration community, both counsel and neutrals. In addition to his role as the manager of all Centre activities Tom also maintains a prominent position as a member of the ICDR management team, working with fellow vice presidents and senior management to develop, refine, and promote the outreach, educational and service missions of the ICDR along with development of offerings for both the ICDR and the AAA. He also serves as a staff facilitator for the ICDR Arbitrator Symposium training sessions.

Prior to joining the ICDR Tom served as the Vice President of the AAA’s New Jersey State Insurance Case Management Center where he led a team that managed domestic Insurance, Commercial, Construction and Labor arbitration caseloads.

Mr. Ventrone spent many years serving the public in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey. He served as the manager of several departments within the Essex County (Newark, New Jersey) Family Court, including the oversight and management of several CDR programs such as the Family Mediation Program and Child Support/Domestic Violence Hearing Officer Program. He is a member of the New Jersey State Bar, Dispute Resolution Section and also served as a state-certified mediator.

Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, NY, J.D., June 1993
Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, B.A., May 1988

For over 25 years, Christine has been instrumental in developing, placing and maintaining insurance programs for regional, national and international clients. Christine specializes in property, casualty, professional and loss sensitive insurance programs with special expertise in hospitality, construction, real estate, and retail. She is an active member of Wells Fargo National Real Estate & Construction and Hospitality Practice Groups.

Christine served as the President of the Insurance Brokers Association of New York (IBANY) from 2012-2014; in 2012 she became IBANY’s 1st Female President in over 100 years. IBANY represents the interests of New York’s leading insurance brokers by actively supporting legislation and political activities that are in the members’ common interest, fostering advocacy, professional development and networking opportunities. Christine is also the 2014 President Elect of NYCREW (New York Commercial Real Estate Women) and is active on their Membership & Communications Committees. She is an Adjunct Faculty for the Practicing Law Institute on a multitude of Insurance related topics. She is an active volunteer for the Sanctuary for Families, the American Heart Association and the St. Francis Food Pantry. She is the recipient of many awards and honors.

Education and Designations

  • Master of Science, Finance and Risk Management, Boston University, 2006
  • Bachelor of Science, Management, Adelphi University, 2002
  • Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter, – CPCU, 2000
  • Registered Professional Liability Underwriter– RPLU, 1998
  • Licensed Insurance Broker–Excess Lines, Property, Casualty, Employee Benefits & Life
  • Advanced Level Business Management Courses – Wharton School of Business

Professional Affiliations and Awards

  • Insurance Brokers Association of New York (IBANY) –President, 2012-2014
  • New York Commercial Real Estate Women’s Network, Inc. (NYCREW) – President Elect 2014, National CREW Delegate, Communications and Membership Committee
  • Int’l Association of Insurance Professionals-NYC Association of Professional Insurance Women
  • National Association of Insurance Women (NAIW)
  • Chartered Property Casualty Underwriting Society (CPCU)
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)
  • Risk & Insurance Management Society (RIMS) – LI and NYC Chapters
  • Women’s Insurance Network of Long Island
  • NYCREW Avant Garde Award for Outstanding Achievement, 2013
  • American Heart Association – LI Go Red Luncheon Gala Committee - 2011, 2012
  • St. Francis Food Pantry “Woman of Valor” Award, 2012
  • National Association of Insurance Women (NAIW) Helen M Garvin Outstanding Achiever Award, 2012
  • NYCREW Pinnacle Award, 2011
  • Wall Street Journal Vanguard Professionalism Award, 2010

Ms. Shampnoi is CEO and President of Shampnoi Dispute Resolution and Management Services, Inc.  She primarily serves as a consulting expert to in-house counsel, litigators and senior business executives on a case-by-case basis to assist and support them in navigating the overall arbitration process. Her role is to assist counsel and their clients in achieving the best possible outcome by providing the knowledge and expertise she has acquired throughout her 18 year career in dispute resolution particularly surrounding case administration, arbitrator selection and best practices in arbitration advocacy. 

Examples of the services she provides involve: identifying the appropriate background and expertise of the arbitrator; determining whether to proceed with one or three arbitrators; ranking and selecting the arbitrator; guidance on best practices and strategies to expedite dispute resolution, achieve goals and manage budgets; advice concerning best advocacy practices before specific arbitrators; review of pre and post dispute arbitration clauses to identify any administrative pitfalls that could delay or add additional cost to the process; review of case management or arbitrator determinations to identify potential errors where counsel is seeking review; and assisting in the development and drafting of employment dispute resolution programs as well as overall company-wide dispute resolution programs such as identifying which cases are appropriate for arbitration. She typically works on commercial, construction, executive employment contracts and intellectual property disputes pending before private arbitration providers such as the American Arbitration Association, JAMS, FINRA and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution. In addition to consulting, Ms. Shampnoi is an experienced arbitrator, mediator and trainer.  

Prior to starting the company, Ms. Shampnoi gained a wide variety of business and legal experience serving as a litigator, in-house counsel and District Vice President  at the American Arbitration Association.

Partner at Schoeman Updike & Kaufman LLP


Rutgers Law School


Admitted to bar in 1978


Ms. Connery is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, and has been designated a “Super Lawyer”© since 2008.  She’s the former chair of the Committee on Real Property Law and of the Committee on Cooperative and Condominium Law at the New York City Bar Association, is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Real Property Law Section, and a former chair of the ABA Leasing Group’s Assignment and Subletting Committee.  She’s also a chapter author for “Negotiating and Drafting Commercial Leases” and for Commercial Real Estate Transactions Handbook.

THEANI LOUSKOS is a shareholder with Bartko, Zankel, Bunzel & Miller  in San Francisco.  She represents clients in a broad range of commercial real estate transactions including leasing, acquisitions and sales, financing and loan workouts.  She represents both landlords and tenants in commercial leasing matters and specializes in the representation of national retail tenants.  Ms. Louskos is a frequent speaker at Retail Leasing programs and has written articles on retail issues for real estate publications.  She received her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall School of Law) in 1980.

M. Rosie Rees joined the firm in 1994 and is a partner in the firm’s real estate department. The emphasis of Ms. Rees’ practice is shopping center leasing on behalf of both landlords and tenants.

Ms. Rees has published many articles and given many presentations on the subject of retail leasing.


The clients she has represented include: JMB Realty Corporation, Related Companies, Schnitzer West, Urban Retail Properties Corp., RREEF Management Company, AnnTaylor, Inc., Brooks Brothers, and Guess?, Inc.


Pircher, Nichols & Meeks Power Women In Real Estate


PNM Partners, Sheldon Halpern and Rosie Rees to Lead Webinar on Mixed-Use
Development Leases
February 25, 2014

Pop-Up To Permanent
Shopping Center Business, September 1, 2011

Landlord Lien Waivers and Subordinations
California Centers, May 1, 2010

Avoiding the 'Dark' Side of Temporary Uses
California Real Estate Journal, November 9, 2009

Trouble in Lease Land: A Guide to Retail Lease Workouts (Part Three)
Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy, August 1, 2009

Trouble in Lease Land: A Guide to Retail Lease Workouts (Part Two)
Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy, July 1, 2009

Trouble in Lease Land: A Guide to Retail Lease Workouts (Part One)
Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy, June 1, 2009

Illinois Court Extends Guarantor Liability To month-To-Month Leases
Midwest Real Estate News, June 25, 2006

The Exercise of Free Speech at Shopping Centers
California Centers, May 1, 2005

The Exercise of Free Expression in Shopping Centers
Illinois Real Estate Journal, October 14, 2004


State Bar of Illinois, Member since 1981
International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Member


Leasing and Development
Real Estate


Illinois, 1981


J.D., with honors, Loyola UniversityLaw School, 1981

B.A., English, Linguistics, Speech and Theater, with high honors, Northeastern Illinois University, 1973