The Cathay Associates network member in New York, USA:
Duval & Stachenfeld LLP

Established: 1997

Staff: 92

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

— John D. Rockefeller

Duval & Stachenfeld has determined to focus all of the Firm’s practices around our core expertise in real estate. Notably, we now have roughly 50 full-time real estate lawyers, which enable us to take pride in the fact that we now have one of the largest and most diverse real estate practices in New York City. Additionally, we have strong practices in litigation, tax, corporate, bankruptcy, and not-for-profit. We enhance all of these practice areas through the adjunct of the powerful Pure Play Real Estate practice. We are committed to helping our clients build and protect their businesses. We believe that our clients simply love to have lawyers who not only do excellent legal work, but also work to help them build their businesses. This includes making critical connections, thinking of critical insights, and truly adding value to them in their most important goal; namely, being successful in the business world. On the litigation side, this means a commitment to not only winning litigation when it occurs, but also working with our clients to ensure that litigation does not occur in the first place, or if it does, our clients are well protected from adverse outcomes.


Twenty Six of our attorneys have been selected to the 2017 New York Metro Super Lawyers list or as 2017 New York Metro Rising Stars

Four of our attorneys are listed in the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©

Terri Adler (who runs the real estate department) and Bruce Stachenfeld (Managing Partner) were elected to The Commercial Observer’s 2013 Power 100 Reader’s Poll. The list marks the first (and only) time that The Commercial Observer has allowed the public to vote for the most powerful people in New York real estate.


  • Our Mission to Help Our Clients Grow Their Businesses:  There is another aspect to working with our firm that bears mention and this is our mission to “Help Our Clients Grow Their Businesses.” This is a unique value-add that distinguishes us from other law firms.  Instead of “only” looking to send bills to our clients, we also spend a great deal of time on what our clients often need more than anything else; namely, assistance in growing their real estate businesses successfully.  This includes, by way of example, helping clients find transactions, financial partners, investors and other counterparties.  This has resulted in several billion dollars of transactions in the past few years, including close to $1B of deals ongoing right now.  If you are wondering, we do not get a fee for this – we do it solely to help our clients build their businesses.  Our clients love that we do this.  We believe this could be of great use the Cathay Network.
  • Harvard Lawyers: We try to hire lawyers from the top law schools in the world. Indeed, the heads of our Tax, Litigation, and Not-For-Profit Practices, and the founder of our Real Estate practice, are all graduates of Harvard Law School.  In addition, in a statistic that we don’t know what to make of, by happenstance, over 25% of the equity partners in the Firm are graduates of Harvard Law School.  We suspect this is probably more than any other law firm of significant size.
  • High-Quality Clients We Are Proud To Represent: Our client base includes private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, CMBS lenders, mezzanine lenders, developers, REITs, insurance companies, servicers, and other players.  Sample clients include:  ACORE Capital; Almanac Realty Investors; Angelo, Gordon & Co.; Barings Real Estate Barclays Bank; Cantor Commercial Real Estate; Caribbean Property Group; Cerberus Real Estate; Colony NorthStar, Inc. (formerly known as NorthStar Realty Finance Corp.); Dune Real Estate Partners; Equity Office Properties; Extell Realty; Fisher Brothers; Jamestown; Lightstone Group;  Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Inc.; Meritage Properties; Nan Fung; New York Life Insurance Company; Och Ziff; RXR Realty; Safra Bank; Savanna; StepStone Global; Starwood Property Trust; Terra Capital Partners; TH Real Estate; Toll Brothers; and one of the largest Middle-Eastern Sovereign Wealth Funds; by way of example.
  • High Profile and Complex Matters:  Anyone can claim to be the “best” at anything; however, in New York City circles we are well-known to be one of the top real estate practices.   We are regularly retained for major, high-profile transactions in NYC and nationwide, including, for example, in NYC: The Carlton House; Chelsea Market; Industry City; 375 Pearl Street; 100 Varick Street; and NorthStar Realty Finance Corp.’s acquisition of an ownership interest in RXR’s $6.5B 108-property NYC portfolio.
  • Corporate/Joint Ventures/Platforms: The Firm has deep expertise in corporate transactions involving joint ventures, platforms and other structures.  This includes everything from simple joint ventures to highly complex and complicated platform-type transactions. As described in more detail below, this area is our “sweetest sweet spot”.
  • Tax and ERISA Expertise: Stephen Land is the chair of our Tax Practice Group.  Many believe he is one of the top tax lawyers in NYC.  His accolades include Harvard College – Harvard Law School – Harvard Business School – and stints at Sullivan & Cromwell and Linklaters.  Most recently, Stephen was served as the Chair of the New York State Bar Association Tax Division, which is possibly the most prestigious position a tax lawyer can have.  Stephen also headed the ERISA practice at Linklaters for many years, so he brings this expertise to bear as well.  Stephen also headed the ERISA practice at Linklaters for many years, so he brings this expertise to bear as well.  Stephen is backed up by Jessica Millett (tax partner); Geoffrey Ward (tax associate) and Leah Li (a junior tax associate- she is fluent in Mandarin).
  • Data Privacy and Cybersecurity: Privacy laws are continually evolving, vary by jurisdiction, and are enforced irregularly. Even companies with the best of intentions can make mistakes when protecting sensitive information.  Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly complex. The consequences can be serious: heavy fines, injunctions, government audits, even criminal liability. Companies that do not abide by privacy and cybersecurity standards are subject to adverse media attention and potentially irreversible loss of trust. These risks have led a growing number of multinational companies to turn to Duval & Stachenfeld’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Group — led by Tim Pastore, a partner in the Firm.  Pastore – also known informally as “Captain Tim” – is a former military and federal prosecutor with over 20 years of security expertise in the U.S and internationally. The Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Group regularly counsels clients on sound privacy and security practices, ensuring regulatory and legal compliance, protecting against and responding to data security breaches, storage and records management, and protecting our client’s competitive advantage.
  • Tax Controversy: We have a Tax Controversy Practice Group, which is handling complex cases for some of the world’s largest financial institutions with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. In this endeavor, our tax team is joined by additional Harvard lawyers from our litigation, real estate and non-profit groups.
  • Litigation: Duval & Stachenfeld LLP has assembled a team of exceptional commercial litigators who are skilled in representing clients in varied commercial litigation and arbitration matters both in and out of the courtroom.  Our litigators are tenacious – yet practical and business-savvy.  They advise; they broker quick and smart compromises; but they do not hesitate to fight (all the way through trial) when that is the best course of action to achieve our client’s objectives.


Bruce M. Stachenfeld

Managing Partner

Elsa Ben-Shimon

Real Estate Partner

Jessica Millett

Tax Partner

Stacie Trott

Real Estate Partner


  • Real Estate

Pure Play in Real Estate Law:  The most critical and distinguishing characteristic of our Firm is that, unlike the major law firms, we have decided to focus on what we are best at.  Accordingly, we have branded ourselves as the “Pure Play in Real Estate Law”, and have focused all areas of the firm primarily on real estate.  For example, our corporate practice focuses on corporate real estate – our litigators are real estate litigators – our tax lawyers are specialists in real estate tax – and so on. By way of further explanation, all of these practices proudly handle non-real estate matters; however, they also overlap with real estate as a core specialty.

  • Tax

We have one of the top cross-border tax practices in the US.  This practice is led by Stephen Land and Jessica Millett (formerly from the prestigious global law firm Linklaters).

  • Litigation

We have a premier litigation practice with Harvard Law School trained litigators who practice extensively in New York and other jurisdictions throughout the U.S.  We call ourselves “Strategic Warriors”, to emphasize strength and aggression plus careful strategic thinking.  If a client of a Cathay member is in trouble in the U.S., we can be very helpful.

  • Other

If we do not have a certain expertise in our firm we are extremely happy to introduce other law firms that have that expertise – and we do this all the time.  This could be in other states.  In that regard we have a correspondent law firm in every U.S. state, to which we regularly make referrals and receive excellent services of responsiveness.  Accordingly,

  • To Sum Up

Ultimately, no matter what the legal issue is, if it is in the U.S. we can either handle it for the Cathay client or easily find the right law firm for the job.  We have already done this many times before for Cathay clients and – like a good teammate – are here to help, whether or not we personally benefit.


  • Corporate Real Estate – M&A, Platforms, Joint Ventures
  • Securities Litigation
  • Real estate litigation
  • Cross-Border Tax
  • Tax controversy and tax disputes
  • S/Israel Real Estate
  • Securities Litigation
  • Cyber Security
  • Non-Profit
  • Retail Leasing
  • Agency Debt Trading
  • Capital Markets
  • EB-5 and Distressed EB-5


Duval & Stachenfeld LLP
555 Madison Avenue
6th floor
New York, New York 10022

+1 (212) 883-1700

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