John’s clients value his more than 50 years of experience working with real estate developers, owners, investors and lenders and educational institutions whose projects have helped shape Washington, DC’s historic skyline.  His industry knowledge, trust by his peers in the legal community, and ability to understand and resolve all side’s problems while crafting a transaction that works for all stakeholders have made him a “go to” lawyer for complex commercial real estate transactions, including mixed-use projects, transit-oriented development, education facilities, office buildings, hotels and multifamily and affordable housing.  He has extensive experience with ground leases involving both economic and policy issues and other types of public-private partnerships.

Having practiced through six recessions, John has extensive experience with non-performing and under-performing commercial real estate, workouts, foreclosures and other loan enforcement actions for lenders, investors and developers.  His understanding of commercial real estate economics and regulatory requirements of financial institutions and ability to generate creative solutions have turned “head-on collisions” into “near misses.”

John’s experience includes 21 years of adjunct teaching JD and LLM commercial real estate courses at the Georgetown University Law Center, practicing as a mechanical engineer, and growing up in a family-owned construction company.  He has served in numerous leadership roles in the Firm as an elected member of the Firm Management Committee, a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee, the Real Estate Practice Group Leader, and as the first Chair of the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee.

Presentations and Publications

  • Housing Hope in D.C., Legal Times, Week of November 22, 2004
  • Lender’s Approach to Construction Workouts, Troubled Construction Loans: Law and Practice, John Wiley & Sons, 1991
  • Litigation Risk and Avoidance Strategies for the Nonresidential Developers, Lenders, Contractors and Professionals Serving the Nonresidential Developer, Protecting Your Assets: Strategies for Successful Business Operation in a Litigious Society, Urban Land Institute, 1997
  • The Real Estate Loan in Distress: Workout, Foreclosure and Bankruptcy in the District of Columbia, National Business Institute, Inc.
  • Construction Contract Problems in Real Estate Loan Workouts in Affordable Housing Development, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • What Real Estate Attorneys Need to Know to Make a Difference in Affordable Housing Development, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Regulation of Assisted Living for the Elderly, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Creative Commercial Real Estate Financing, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Litigation Risks and Avoidance Strategies for Non-Residential Developer, Urban Land Institute
  • Legislative and Legal Enforcement: Solutions at 2001 Predatory Lending Summit by U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development

Civic and Professional Activities

  • Member, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Secretary, Capital Markets and Real Estate Finance Committee 
  • Former Co Chair of Affordable Housing Committee
  • Notary Public in District of Columbia, 1973 1993, 1994 present 
  • Notary Public in Maryland
  • Washington Trustee, Federal City Council, 2006 present
  • Drafted the “Protections from Predatory Lending and Mortgage Foreclosure Improvements Act of 2000” for the D.C. Office of Banking and Financial Institutions
  • Received “2000 Associate Member of the Year” Award from the Mortgage Bankers Association of Metropolitan Washington
  • Director & Pro Bono Attorney, Saint Mark Elderly Housing Corp., 1987 2006 
  • Pro Bono Attorney, Army Retirement Residence Foundation-Potomac, 1984-2002 
  • Director, Treasurer & Pro Bono Attorney, George Washington Boyhood Home Foundation, 1991 1997 

Honors and Awards

  • Chambers USA Ranked Lawyer, Real Estate, Washington, D.C. (Band 1), 2018 – 2020
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings) in the fields of Mortgage Banking Foreclosure Law, Real Estate Law, 2006 – Present
  • Super Lawyers Honoree in Real Estate, Business/Corporate, Nonprofit Organizations, Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers magazine (Thomson Reuters), 2007 – 2020


Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Represented the entrepreneurial lender in the redevelopment of The Hecht Warehouse in Ivy City, starting with the purchase and foreclosure of a defaulted loan through the redevelopment and expansion of the historic building into a mixed-use project that has transformed and rejuvenated the Ivy City area of DC.
  • Served as local counsel to the lender for the leasehold construction/permanent financing of the Trump International Hotel in the historic Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC. The US Government’s retention of jurisdiction and control over the Old Post Office created unique challenges and solutions for this private development.
  • Represented the developer of Rhode Island Row, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development at the Rhode Island Ave.-Brentwood Metrorail Station in Washington, DC. The project was financed with a leasehold construction/permanent loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration and New Markets Tax Credits, a first in the USA.
  • Represented the endowment of the University of Maryland College Park in its acquisition and ground leasing of university land for The Hotel at the University of Maryland and several other developments in the City of College Park through ground leases with private developers to enhance the community around the University.
  • Represented continuously for over 40 years and served as outside general counsel for 16 years a life insurance company which is the oldest military benefit association in the US and an active lender and investor in commercial real estate projects in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.  Acquired, developed and sold a portfolio of office buildings and closed both conventional and entrepreneurial/participating loans.