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Stephen Porter at Arnold & Porter is the lawyer whom longtime Washington developer J.W. “Joey” Kaempfer turns to when he wants advice or action on a real estate deal. At the moment, Porter and his partner Michael Goodwin are handling the $100 million-plus sale of the Kaempfer Co.’s commercial portfolio in the District to Vornado Realty Trust of New Jersey. “Steve has done brilliant work for me. I wouldn’t do a transaction without Steve or Michael [Goodwin]” in the United States, says Kaempfer, who is one of the three busiest developers in downtown Washington. In London, he relies on Arnold & Porter partner S. Lee Narrow, who has been helping Kaempfer build a $1.5 billion shopping empire of outlets in Europe. But it’s not Arnold & Porter that has Kaempfer’s loyalty. “I think it is a great firm, but if Steve Porter left, I’d leave with him.” Porter, 64, is the senior partner in Arnold & Porter’s real estate group. He joined the firm with eight lawyers in 1993 after the breakup of his old firm, Dunnells, Duvall & Porter, which he had helped found in 1974. Prior to that, he had practiced at Hogan & Hartson and later Williams & Connolly. Porter is well-known for handling some high-profile deals around town, among them the Gallery Place retail and housing development near Chinatown and the Postal Square office development next to Union Station. He is also well-connected after 35 years of downtown deal making: he serves on numerous boards, including the Washington Baseball Club, which is trying to bring a major league team to Washington, and the Greater Washington Board of Trade. Most flattering, according to Porter, is the work he has been hired to do for his peers. Porter and his partner, Gary Humes, just wrapped up an unusual and very complicated office deal for Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering involving three landlords and three adjacent buildings on the 1800 block of Northwest Pennsylvania Avenue. “There were three different leases, each about 100 pages long, and they had to be consistent with one another,” Porter says. His former partners at Williams & Connolly turned to him in 1992 when they leased office space at 725 12th St., N.W., and recently retained him again to assess their real estate needs. Williams & Connolly senior partner Paul Wolff says that Porter negotiated a great lease. “I believe that if you ask the real estate community — lawyers, brokers, and developers — you would be told that the Williams & Connolly deal was at the time, and still remains today, one of the best real estate transactions ever negotiated for a tenant,” says Wolff, who serves with Porter on the Washington Baseball Club.

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