Jeff Berkowitz, JD ’74
President and Founder, Berkowitz Development Group, Inc.
Jeff Berkowitz is the President and Founder of Berkowitz Development Group. A former practicing attorney, he is widely recognized as one of the pre-eminent retail developers in Miami-Dade County. His expertise includes areas relating to all aspect of development, including leasing, management, construction management, customer and tenant relations, budgeting, projections and governmental relations. With his formal legal training and active experience practicing law, he also provides support in negotiation and a wealth of experience in dispute avoidance and, if necessary, resolution.
Anthony De Yurre, LL.M.’05
Associate, Bilzin Sumberg
Anthony’s background, prior to practicing law, as the founder of an internet startup gives him a unique perspective into the challenges that entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. Whether a client is buying, zoning or developing a property, or dealing with the inevitable disputes that can arise, Anthony is positioned to help his clients find a business-focused path forward. In addition to practicing law, Anthony is an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law in the Real Property Development Program. He also coaches entrepreneurs as part of the University of Miami’s Blackstone Launch Pad business incubator, an experience that continues to shape his thinking.
Lyan Fernandez, JD ’79
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, TotalBank
In the early 90’s Ms. Fernandez began her banking career, initially as General Counsel for Ready State Bank, a privately owned community bank, and later for Republic National Bank of Miami, a public company.
In 1999 she joined TotalBank as Executive Vice President of the Credit, Compliance and Legal Division and became Chief Credit and Risk Officer in 2007, overseeing risk management for the Bank. In 2009, Ms. Fernandez was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. As COO, she has responsibility for all of the Bank’s operations and for risk management as well. TotalBank is a $2.9 billion financial institution with more than 40 years serving the South Florida community. It enjoys a five-star rating from Bauer Financial Services.
Valerie Jahn-Grandin, JD’83
Executive Vice President and Chief Underwriting Counsel, NATIC
Valerie Grandin brings a wealth of commercial real estate experience to her position, including commercial acquisition, conveyance, financing and development, as well as title insurance underwriting. Prior to joining NATIC, Valerie was Senior Underwriting Counsel at Attorneys’ Title Fund Services, LLC, in Orlando, Florida. From 1999 to 2007, she handled all phases of commercial and residential real estate for Burr & Forman in Winter Park. She also managed a real estate caseload for Miami-based Shapo, Freedman & Fletcher for four years prior to that. Valerie is a graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park and earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of Miami, School of Law. She is a member of the Florida Bar, CREW Orlando and the Central Florida Real Estate Council. She has earned the Florida Bar Board Certified Real Estate Lawyer designation.
Michael F. Kashtan has over twenty five years’ experience in the practice areas of construction litigation, commercial litigation, insurance litigation, arbitration and mediation. He has successfully represented numerous architects and engineers, contractors and developers on issues ranging from simple contract disputes to multi party construction disputes with claims of over $50 million dollars. After practicing as a founding member of Daniels Kashtan for many years Michael joined Fort Partners LLC as General Counsel in 2014. Fort Partners is involved in the management and development of high end hotels and residential properties in the United States, in Europe and the Caribbean.
Gary A. Saul is one of the nation's leading attorneys in the area of condominium law. Representation of developers of condominiums and planned developments. Representation of real estate developers and lenders in matters concerning the creation and operation of residential, commercial and mixed-use condominiums, homeowners’ associations, warehouse/office parks and planned developments. Representations with respect to loans for development of condominiums and other properties subject to homeowners' associations, and the responsibilities of those clients upon acquiring title to such properties.
Carol L. Schoffel Faber, JD’83
Partner and Co-Chair, Distressed Property Practice, Akerman LLP
Carol Faber has extensive experience representing clients in a wide range of real estate transactions, including financing, leasing, and acquisition and sale transactions. Her financing experience includes representing borrowers and lenders in mortgage loans, ranging from several million dollars to over $600 million, on vacant land and developed property of all kinds, including industrial property, office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, condominiums, and apartment buildings, as well as construction loans, real estate related asset-based loans, leasehold mortgages, securitized loans, mezzanine loans, and loan participations. She also has extensive experience representing institutional lenders and holders of debt (including portfolios purchased from the FDIC) in loan workouts, restructures, forbearances, short sales, sales of loan documents, re-sales after foreclosure, deed-in-lieu transactions, and commercial foreclosures, having been involved in hundreds of millions of dollars of distressed property transactions including loan and judgment sales.
Vice President Investments, EDENS
Nicole Shiman is Vice President of Investments, leading our Florida portfolio and office. She brings extensive experience in acquisitions and dispositions, as well as portfolio oversight and management, to the investment team. Nicole previously served as Vice President at Miami-based 13th Floor Investments, where she was responsible for leading acquisition initiatives, new business procurement and capitalization efforts. She was actively involved in the ongoing oversight, development, management and disposition of 13th Floor’s and its affiliates’ real estate portfolios.
Mr. Turkell is a Managing Director with the Miami office of HFF with more than eight years of experience in commercial real estate. He has extensive knowledge of all major real estate product types with a specialization, distressed assets, non performing note sales, and real estate restructuring, particularly in the multi-housing and lodging property classes. Mr. Turkell joined the firm in early 2007. Prior to joining HFF, he practiced real estate law at an international law firm headquartered in Miami. While there, Mr. Turkell executed several large commercial and residential real estate transactions, served as a title insurance agent, drafted mortgages, promissory notes and other transactional documents, and counseled clients on legal issues related to real estate acquisitions and dispositions. Mr. Turkell graduated from Duke Law School in 2005 and then received a Masters of Laws in Real Estate Development and Finance from the University of Miami.
President, Wahab Construction
Since founding Miami-based Wahab Construction in 1992, Mr. Wahab has established a whole new caliber in his field and cultivated an exacting eye for detail. His distinct background in architectural engineering, a unique attribute for a builder, has enabled him to create a standard of excellence that is reflected in each project. Mr. Wahab is a leader in providing detail-driven construction and has completed some of the most impressive projects, many of which are widely published in national and international magazines, including the globally distributed Architectural Digest.
Raquel M. Matas
Acting Co-Director, Real Property Development LL.M.
Associate Dean for Administration and Counsel to the Dean