Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

“They personally do the work – you get who you hire.”

Evans Barba – President and CEO, Barba Consulting

Real Estate

Real Estate


At Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram, our real estate group consists of experienced practitioners, with every attorney possessing at least 17 years of hands-on skill. Each of our attorneys is a start-to-finish resource for any real estate transaction, from the most mundane to the most sophisticated.

Our team’s combined experience and skill enables us to handle all types of real estate matters, including sales and acquisitions of commercial office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, marinas, land, multi-family housing and mixed-use projects; financing of real estate projects; joint venture agreements; and commercial office and retail leasing for both landlords and tenants.

When it comes to any real estate need, we have our clients covered. Our representation extends to the preparation and negotiation of all required documents, assistance in the "due diligence" process - including the review and analysis of title and survey - and representation at settlement. We also have comprehensive experience representing owners and tenants of buildings and shopping centers in the negotiation, drafting, interpretation and enforcement of leases and subleases. Lawyers in our real estate group have also been extensively involved in restructuring commercial loan portfolios for some of the Beltway’s largest homebuilders and other real estate related companies and investors. We have represented commercial banks, credit companies, life companies, savings banks and the FDIC and RTC in commercial foreclosures, deeds-in-lieu transactions, workouts, and recapitalizations. Additionally, we have assisted non-real estate commercial borrowers in the negotiation of forbearance agreements and debt restructurings. Because we value their time and resources, our clients appreciate that we don’t educate “junior” associates at their expense. Rather, each client receives the real deal – senior level representation. It is because of our wealth of experience that we can and do deliver innovative and creative solutions for even the most complicated issues. We’ve been around the block a time or two, so when it comes to commercial real estate, if a challenge or obstacles exists, chances are we’ve seen it before and can solve it.

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Some practice law because it’s a job, others practice because it’s their passion. Our team falls in the latter category. The experience and passion that we bring to each transaction allows us to achieve results for our clients that often far exceed their expectations.

Being passionate about what we do also means listening to our client’s goals and working collaboratively with them to develop a strategy geared towards achieving their goals. Our own goal for our clients is simple: to exceed their expectations, every time, and to get the transaction closed.

To be successful at this, we often provide legal counsel that extends far beyond the typical and traditional client/lawyer relationship. Our clients have come to rely on us for thoughtful and insightful analysis of all aspects of the deal, and beyond that, they know that we keep their legal and overall business objectives in mind at all times. This level of attention requires that we truly understand our clients’ businesses since they frequently rely on us for more than just one transaction. When it comes to our clients, our passion makes it possible.

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As a nimble team of lawyers, we take great pride in producing quality results faster and at less expense than our larger competitors. Our size is boutique in scale, but that does not inhibit us from achieving maximum results. As our clients have come to know, our ultimate thrill is developing solutions to their unique and complex challenges. Examples of Our Solutions »

  • A customer of a large regional bank had an opportunity to purchase four separate parcels of real estate from a public utility company, located in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The properties were diverse and consisted of a suburban office building 100% leased to the United States government; a downtown property operated as a restaurant and office building; raw land zoned for residential development; and a long-term ground lease of land zoned for commercial development in the NOMA district of Washington, DC Knowing that timing was critical to its customer, the bank turned to us to prepare the loan commitments; to perform due diligence on title, survey and leasing issues; to document the loans for all four properties; and to supervise the closing. All four transactions closed simultaneously, less than five weeks after we began work. The bank and the borrower were both delighted with our dedication and extreme efficiency.
  • We represented the seller in a $45 million stock sale involving a large stone quarry operation in West Virginia with additional mineral rights and other assets in suburban Maryland. The purchaser was a multi-national public company based in the U.K. We deftly bridged the considerable culture gap between the Appalachian miners and the European businessmen, and by almost continuous negotiations, were able to hammer out a complex agreement, start to finish, over the Thanksgiving holiday. Since a transaction of this type involves (among other things) real estate, employee contracts, permits, mineral rights, equipment, vehicles and environmental issues, there is usually a period of several months between contract execution and closing. Since our client had a timing issue, the deal was closed over the Christmas holiday in a round-the-clock session. The purchaser was so impressed that they hired the firm for their next U.S. acquisition and future operations.

Our clients also rely on our ability to structure a transaction or a project in a way that protects them from liability while maximizing flexibility. For example:

  • Through various entities controlled by three generations of family members, a client owned a large tract of property, including a lake, underground caverns, a museum, commercial and industrial property, Civil War battlefield relics, and property zoned for residential development. The property had been acquired over a period of 50 years, with no substantive planning for how development would actually occur. Numerous challenges faced our client, including the fact that the residential land had limited frontage and could not be developed efficiently, while the museum had good frontage but little development potential. Another issue was that easements to access the underground caverns could cast a cloud on title to the individual houses to be constructed on the residential land. Our team came together to form solutions, and over a period of several months, working with each generation of the family, we restructured the clients’ holdings so that the land could be developed efficiently without damaging the cultural, historical and personal significance of the other properties.

For more information regarding Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram’s Real Estate Practice, contact Department Chair Ronald S. Shapiro at

Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?