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Herrick Feinstein Snags 2 New York Affordable Housing Pros

By Andrew McIntyre · May 7, 2021, 5:32 PM EDT

Karol Robinson
Karol Robinson
Brett Gottlieb
Brett Gottlieb
Herrick Feinstein has bolstered its affordable housing practice in New York with the addition of two lawyers who have decades of experience working in the sector as well as a keen understanding of the market in the Big Apple, Law360 has learned.

Karol Robinson has joined the firm as a partner and Brett Gottlieb as special counsel. Robinson is leaving Anderson Kill PC to join Herrick Feinstein LLP, while Gottlieb departs from Tuchman Korngold Weiss Liebman & Gelles LLP.

The lawyers told Law360 in an interview Friday they chose Herrick Feinstein for its deep bench, eyeing opportunities to work with attorneys in various other practice groups to better serve their affordable housing clients.

"Here at Herrick, I'm joining a team of really well-respected lawyers who have a breadth of experience in the affordable world. It was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up," Robinson told Law360 in an interview on Friday.

"Now, I have access to land-use and zoning and Low Income Tax Credit attorneys, and I've been able to partner with my colleagues in those groups. Before, I would have had to look outside," she added.

Robinson noted that Herrick has attorneys who work in the employment realm as well as trusts and estates, adding there's sometimes overlap between those groups and affordable housing.

During the pandemic, she said she's spent a good deal of time advising clients on various health and safety matters, and has worked with affordable housing boards as well as government agencies. Robinson noted that building owners have increasingly been trying to figure out how to keep their properties affordable while also finding capital for necessary repairs and upgrades.

Gottlieb, for his part, had been at Tuchman Korngold for nearly 15 years prior to making the move to Herrick.

"I made the move because Herrick Feinstein really offered a tremendous platform for my work and my clients," Gottlieb told Law360 in an interview Friday.

Gottlieb said the firm's expertise in the 421a tax exemption and its knowledge of ongoing local zoning issues in New York were also attractive to him.

Builders of affordable housing in New York can qualify for tax breaks under the 421a program if they set aside a certain number of units as affordable.

One of the key concerns for clients, Gottlieb said, is the rezoning of Brooklyn's Gowanus neighborhood, which is being zoned to allow for residential use. Clients, Gottlieb said, are trying to do 421a deals there — but the timing is tricky since it's unclear how soon the rezoning will be wrapped up.

He said at Herrick Feinstein, he's already been able to draw on the breadth of its expertise to devise strategies for how clients can deal with the uncertainties around the timeline for rezoning.

"Herrick really has a deep bench," Gottlieb said.

Herrick Feinstein has offices in New York and Newark, New Jersey, and also has an office in Istanbul, Turkey.

--Editing by Philip Shea.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.