Hugh P. Finnegan is a partner and co-manager of the commercial real estate department at Romer Debbas LLP, a New York City-based boutique law firm specializing in commercial and residential real estate.
Previously Finnegan was a partner in the New York office of Sullivan & Worcester LLP. He was also a partner at the New York law firm Siller Wilk LLP.
Finnegan has over 30 years of experience as a real estate attorney with particular expertise in representing lenders and borrowers in commercial real estate financings (acquisitions, bridge, construction, project and mezzanine), loan restructurings and workouts.
He also specializes in sales and acquisitions of undeveloped and developed properties, including so-called “green” developments and representing both landlords and tenants in leasing transactions for offices, warehouses, shopping centers, restaurants and other retail users; and construction matters.
Finnegan earned his law degree from Fordham University School of Law, J.D. and a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, also from Fordham University.
He is licensed to practice law in New York State and is a member of the New York State Bar Association. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Self Help Africa and of New Ground, Inc.
How long have you been a real estate attorney?
What made you decide to get into real estate law?
I was inspired by Ed Forrester, an attorney who ran the real estate department at my first law firm, Sage Gray Todd and Sims. He took me under his wing and made what he did look interesting. I wanted to get involved in this practice area.
Who inspires you?
My mom and dad, who grew up in Ireland during the Depression, and my wife and four children.
What pushes you to the next level?
I love helping clients grow their businesses and I am also inspired to help grow Romer Debbas to the next level.
What is the biggest or most challenging case/deal you have worked on to date?
I helped a client restructure his debt on a high-end retail property in Beverly Hills, CA, so he would not be forced to sell the property at a discounted price.
What is your secret weapon for closing a transaction?
Remember that New York City’s real estate community is small, so you are likely to encounter the people on the other side of a deal again. For this reason, you don’t need to win every battle, just fight to win the important ones.
What is the hottest area for real estate lawyers right now? Commercial real estate lending with an expertise in construction lending because development in New York City continues unabated, although some of the neighborhoods may have changed.
What’s the best season for deals?
The last six weeks of the year because there is a drive to get deals done before the end of the fiscal year for budget and tax purposes.
If you had to work in a city other than New York, where would it be?
Is there any other city?
What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone starting in the business?
Real estate law is a contact sport. Get out and meet people. Don’t hide behind your key board and texting.