Four real estate attorneys have jumped from Cooley to 60-lawyer Duval & Stachenfeld in New York, including a former chairman of its real estate practice and a senior partner.
Joining Duval & Stachenfeld are Thomas O’Connor, who served as the head of Cooley’s real estate group for six years, and Alan Cohen, a former senior partner in that group. Also moving are Maureen Hannon, who is of counsel, and Michael Estreicher, a senior associate.
O’Connor’s departure follows the appointment in January of Antonio Calabrese as chairman of Cooley’s real estate practice. Calabrese works from Cooley’s Reston, Va., office. O’Connor served as head of the practice until Calabrese’s appointment.
Duval & Stachenfeld focuses on real estate law and also serves corporate, litigation and bankruptcy clients. About 50 of the firm’s lawyers work on real estate matters. Founding partner Patrick Duval, a transactions lawyer, is a former Latham & Watkins partner, and founder Bruce Stachenfeld, a Harvard Law School graduate, was a partner at Shapiro, Shapses, Block & Stachenfeld. Duval & Stachenfeld was formed in 1997.
Cohen said that his new firm offers a better platform for real estate work, which is not a key focus for Cooley, he said.
"We weren’t getting the green light to grow the practice the way we wanted to," he said.
Cooley declined to comment on the attorneys’ departures.
O’Connor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His real estate finance clients have included Starwood Property Trust Inc., Safra Bank of New York, Oritani Bank and Arbor Realty Trust. He previously worked at Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
Cohen, a former partner at Morrison Cohen, has represented Centurian Realty LLC, Squaw Valley Ski Corp. and Caribbean Property Group.