During his relatively short career, Justin Newman has earned a reputation as one of the city’s top real estate lawyers, representing everyone from buyers and sellers to landlords and tenants to lenders and borrowers in often complicated purchases, sales, leasing and lending matters.
He now works with a steady stream of repeat clients who come to him knowing that Newman has the knowledge, work ethic and temperament to help close their real estate deals or solve problems as quickly as possible.
“It was early on that I noticed his keen attention to details and ability to foresee potential issues that can tie up a transaction,” said Robert J. Buford, chief executive officer of Chicago’s Planned Realty Group.
Buford is just one of the many real estate professionals who have turned to Newman. Recently, Newman, a partner at Chicago’s Thompson Coburn LLP, represented Planned Realty Group in its acquisition of several multimillion-dollar apartment complexes, including one acquisition for more than $100 million. Newman also represented the company in several refinances totaling more than $300 million.
As is typical, Newman removed the stress from both the acquisitions and the refinance transactions, making sure that Planned Realty Group encountered no surprises along the way.
“He is a superb advocate, and devotes the time to get the job done,” Buford said. “He is very customer-oriented, and puts himself into your problem. When I work with Justin, I am the center of his attention and focus.”
Nominator Holby Abern, with Chicago’s Neal Gerber Eisenberg, said that Newman is especially valuable because he handles both transactional work and litigation. Newman can draw on his litigation experience to avoid missteps at the transactional level, while relying on his transactional experience when navigating through litigation.
At the same time, Newman is adept at breaking complex legal issues down into easy-to-digest topics. “His vast knowledge with his extreme drive and passion culminate in Justin’s zealous advocacy for clients,” Abern said.
Newman earns praise, too, for his ability to quickly adapt during legal matters. Skokie-based attorney Stephen Sher said that Newman knows when it’s best to compromise on a point and when holding firm makes more sense.
He has a knack, too, for knowing when to bring an issue directly to his clients and when to handle it among his fellow lawyers, Sher said.
“He has a great temperament and is never short-fused, even under deadline,” Sher said. “We are always pleased to see Justin representing the lender on our deals, and have even requested that lenders use him on our HUD-specific deals because he understands the specialized nature of those closings.”
Attorney Kimberly Scafuri said that one of Newman’s greatest assets is his ability to close a transaction efficiently. Even though she and Newman work on opposite sides of transactions, Scafuri said, it usually feels as if they are both on the same side trying to work out the best resolution.
“It is always a plus when you see that Justin will be representing the lender,” Scafuri said. “Justin has a great ability to advocate for his client but also guide a transaction through to closing without unnecessary complications.”
Stephen Herseth, associate general counsel at MB Financial Bank, praised Justin’s responsiveness and ability to take charge of legal matters. “The type of work Justin provides makes my job easier, and I appreciate his high level of client service,” he said.