2015 Awardee – Nixon Peabody Affordable Housing Group
The affordable housing legal practice at Nixon Peabody can be described as a real estate practice with a legislative or regulatory overview. This means that in addition to being equipped to run a standard real estate practice, the affordable housing group members work with city, state, and federal agencies. “We work with all these moving parts, to make sure they all work together to make the transaction happen,” says Joe Lynch, Office Managing Partner. One thing that makes the Nixon Peabody affordable housing group stand out is that it truly is a national practice.
The roots of the group extend back to 1970, when Chuck Edson and Bruce Lane started and grew their firm Lane & Edson. The current iteration of the group solidified in Washington, D.C. in 1993, and has branches in Los Angeles and Boston as well as a strong presence in New York City. Since this time, the Nixon Peabody affordable housing group has not only established itself as a national leader, but made affordable housing a truly viable practice area for emerging attorneys.
Each member of the Nixon Peabody team brings a level of expertise that enables them to work together to suit a wide range of client needs. Many members of Nixon Peabody’s affordable housing group started at housing practitioners, either at a city agency or in the affordable housing sector before and after law school. Nixon Peabody is one of the first practices of its kind to hire non-lawyers in order to better understand the policy side of law and better advise clients. Their innovative approach is strengthened by a highly collaborative environment.
“There are so many things that we do together, and although we are all bright in our own ways and have our own particular areas of expertise, the problems in affordable housing are pretty complex,” explains partner Stephen Wallace. “You always have to keep up with changes and you can’t do that as an individual, you need a working group of people, and we have that here,” Wallace continues.
“The most rewarding aspect of our job is creating units for affordable [housing] residents,” says Lynch. “The bottom line is we are making units and developing affordable housing for people who need it, and we take pride in working with clients who take on some of the toughest deals.” While at times underestimated, the role of attorneys in moving affordable housing developments forward, and navigating complicated legal terrain, is crucial.