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Press, Corporate, Real Estate
Lawyers launch transactional boutique

In hopes of tapping into the Los Angeles transactional market, attorneys Jeffrey A. Sklar and Andrew T. Kirsh recently opened Sklar Kirsh LLP, a Century City firm that has grown quickly to eight attorneys.


The men formed the new firm after Kirsh joined Sklar’s previous firm, Sklar Law PC from Beverly Hillsbased Raines Feldman LLP.


Sklar, a corporate attorney and Kirsh, a real estate transactional lawyer, said their books of business are “synergistic” and will effectively serve the Los Angeles business community.


“The goal of the firm is to really focus on the middle-market businessperson; that’s the predominant business force in Los Angeles,” Sklar said. “We are ideally positioned to provide services in that range.”


Kirsh said that while the corporate practice has historically relied on the real estate practice for a variety of reasons, regardless of a company’s industry, real estate requires more corporate help than ever before.


The real estate industry is a lot more sophisticated in how they structure deals from the corporate side, which really necessitated me to do a joint venture,” Kirsh said. “The industry is getting into various corporate matters, such as fund formation, syndication and joint ventures.


The attorneys said they are confident in being able to serve mid-market corporate clients because all of the attorneys on staff have a big-firm pedigree and can now offer lower rates than their colleagues at larger firms.


“Los Angeles is more of an entrepreneurial, middle market business climate, and while they demand sophisticated lawyers, they don’t have the budget to pay [big firm] legal fees,” Sklar said. “New York might have one model and Chicago another, but Los Angeles is an entrepreneurial path.


Kirsh said the firm plans to add a ninth lawyer soon. The attorneys said their practices are booming, requiring the additional help.


Despite significant growth early in the firm’s history, Sklar and Kirsh said they want to remain a transactionalbased firm, which they said is rare


“You don’t see that as much in the boutique firms,” Kirsh said. “You get small litigation shops and some small full-service shops, but we’re going to focus on transactions.”


“From the corporate side, it’s an exiting time to be in Los Angeles,” Sklar added. “We’re very positive about the prospects of our firm, and we are confident towards the business community in Los Angeles.”

Press, Corporate, Real Estate
Sklar Kirsh Fills Price Gap

LOS ANGELES-Corporate transactional attorney Jeff Sklar and Andrew Kirsh, former partner with Beverly Hills, CA-based firm Raines Feldman, have founded Sklar Kirsh LLP, a corporate and real estate transactional firm here. The firm aims to provide a full slate of corporate, securities, M&A, real estate and finance capabilities that combine sophisticated legal services and exceptional value.


Kirsh, an experienced commercial real estate transactional attorney, tells GlobeSt.com that while it was difficult to leave Raines Feldman, he and Sklar were noticing a demand in the market that wasn’t being met by the larger law firms. “The last year was a very, very active year, culminating with an extremely active fourth quarter. With that, we’ve noticed that our clients, a growing number of them, were demanding sophisticated legal services—more so now than ever, given a lot of change in laws and changing ways to structure deals. But with the rates of law firms increasing every year, our clients and real estate companies just simply can’t afford that size legal fees any more. They don’t want to sacrifice in their legal services, but they don’t want to be paying the large rates that the large firms are charging.”


Sklar’s clients come from around the country and range in size from individuals and start-ups to emerging and middle-market companies. His expertise covers a wide range of industries, including alternative energy, automotive, banking, consumer products, digital media, entertainment, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, logistics, private equity, professional services, public relations, real estate and technology.


Kirsh and Sklar decided to merge their practices, forming a premier transactional-based law firm filled with lawyers that come from nationally and internationally recognized law firms and who have the pedigree of the top 10 or 20 law schools that clients expect for much better value. “Our client base ranges from national institutions to regional family offices, local operators and syndicators and high-net-worth individuals,” says Kirsh. “We’re doing deals that large law firms would be doing, and we go up against large law firms in JV agreements all the time. These are transactions that have purchase prices of $10 million to $50 million—they’re not small deals. With that said, we’ll also be able to handle deals for under $10 million that larger firms would not be able to work on.”


Sklar Kirsh will focus on the middle-market real estate industry in L.A., Kirsh adds. “The large financial institutions, banks and the largest of private-equity firms are going to continue to use large international law firms, but the vast majority of real estate players in this community are middle market.”

Press, Real Estate
Large Institutions JV with Smaller Players

LOS ANGELES-At a time when there are more players chasing deals than there are deals to chase, a trend toward large institutions and private-equity firms partnering up with smaller or “middle-market” players is emerging, Andrew Kirsh, founding partner of newly formed corporate and transactional real estate law firm Sklar Kirsh LLP here, tells GlobeSt.com. Kirsh says most players in the L.A. real estate market are classified as middle market, but the deals they do are just as sophisticated as those done by the larger firms.


“Where these middle-market players are partnering up and JVing with those large institutions, they need someone to represent them—particularly when partnering up with large capital providers.”


That’s where Kirsh says he and partner Jeff Sklar come in with their new firm, which, as GlobeSt.com reported earlier today, focuses on the middle-market players. “The private-equity companies are flush with a lot of capital. They have a lot of dry powder and they have to push it out and invest, but they’re having trouble finding deals. They’re relying on local operators, experts in their asset class, to partner up with them. The institutions would provide a large majority of capital, and my clients are closer to the ground, able to find the deals and need their capital to take advantage of these opportunities.”


Kirsh says deals are hard to find for these private-equity groups, so they’re relying on partners with boots on the ground in their respective markets to find them. “There are a lot of private-equity companies sitting on a lot of cash who need to find deals and are aggressively pursuing those deals by partnering up with local operators. They are asking attorneys, CPAs and other contacts of theirs to make introductions to these more middle-market real estate operating companies.”


Kirsh adds that after not doing a great number of deals between 2008 and 2011, “this pent-up demand had to get released, and the investors of the private-equity companies are insisting that their money be allocated, but the private-equity companies don’t want to make a mistake and lose investors’ money. They’re being diligent in finding these local deals. They’re relying on a narrow subset within their specialty. They’re not looking for a general practitioner—they’re looking for a heart surgeon.”

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