Fox Gains Well-Known Five-Member Land Use and Zoning Team in New York

June 20, 2013 – Press Releases

Building on recent significant additions to its real estate practice, expanding national law firm Fox Rothschild announces the addition of a prominent five-member land use and zoning team in New York City.

Joining as partners are Jesse Masyr and Karen Binder, along with associate Jodi S. Stein and Urban Planners, Ethan Goodman, who will serve as Fox’s new Director of New York Planning and Project Management, and Jerald Johnson, joining as the firm’s new Director of New York Zoning and Land Use. The team hails from Wachtel Masyr & Missry LLP.

“If you’re looking to develop a real estate project in New York City, Jesse, Karen and their team are the go-to group you want at your side,” said Michael I. Slapo, managing partner of the firm’s New York office. “Their extensive familiarity with New York regulations and approval processes – at the city, state and federal levels – is renowned.”

“Their addition is a tremendous asset to our already strong real estate presence on the East Coast and in the mid-Atlantic region, making Fox a one-stop resource for clients seeking to develop their real estate projects,” said Mark Silow, Fox’s Firmwide Managing Partner.

Fox has been strategically expanding on numerous fronts recently. The firm continues to climb up the AmLaw200 ranks, moving up from #118 in 2012 to #111 on this year’s list. Its national real estate capabilities have been growing, with this newest team as the latest additions to the burgeoning practice. In late 2012 the firm welcomed San Francisco partner Kenneth A. Kecskes and in early 2013, added a nine-lawyer group in the Roseland office. Among the New Jersey additions are Chambers USA-ranked leading real estate partners Robert A. Klausner, Deirdre E. Moore and Christopher M. Rider as well as partners Michael T. Lavigne, Grace J. Shin and Mat D. Carlson, and associates Jennifer L. Solberg, Joshua J. Franklin and Corey D. Kaplan. The Roseland group is spearheading the opening of a new firm location in Morristown, NJ, in July.

The firm’s New York office has also been a hub of growth recently, welcoming partner James M. Lemonedes, former senior counsel/trial specialist for the New York City Corporation Counsel, who now serves as chair of the firm’s New York Employment Litigation Group, as well as Leonard N. Budow, a corporate partner whose clients include some of the world’s most acclaimed fashion brands and who now serves as co-chair of the firm’s Fashion Law Practice Group. Richard Bier also recently joined the firm as a partner focusing on corporate and real estate matters. Bier will serve clients from both the New York and Roseland Offices.

Throughout his extensive career, Masyr has directed the land use issues of real estate projects for numerous clients from concept through to completion. His practice encompasses residential, commercial and industrial real estate development. He previously served as Deputy Borough President of Manhattan, where for five years he represented the Borough President on the Board of Estimate.

Masyr was the founder of the Land Use Department and a named partner at Wachtel Masyr & Missry. He earned his J.D. from Tulane University Law School in 1974 and his B.A. from Harpur College in 1971.

Binder focuses her practice in the area of land use, environmental, zoning and related litigation. She was formerly senior counsel at Wachtel Masyr & Missry, where she successfully obtained land use approvals and represented developers and nonprofit entities in judicial challenges to such approvals. She also drafted several ground-breaking community benefits agreements on behalf of community groups and developers.

Binder spent seven years as general counsel to New York City’s zoning board, the Board of Standards and Appeals. She also previously served as an assistant corporation counsel at the New York City Law Department, where she has represented agencies, such as the Department of Buildings, City Planning Commission and Landmarks Preservation Commission, in state and federal courts.

A former law intern for the Honorable Constance Baker Motley in the Southern District of New York, Binder earned her J.D. in 1986 from New York Law School and her B.A. from Brandeis University in 1982.

Stein assists real estate developers in New York through the life cycle of the construction process. She assists with procuring discretionary land use approvals through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure and the Board of Standards and Appeals. She also regularly prepares easements, development agreements and restrictive declarations.

Stein also assists outdoor advertising sign companies, which she defends against alleged violations and helps determine the legal status of their interests. Additionally, she guides clients through the New York City Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP, formerly IC1P) to help leverage tax abatements.

Stein earned her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2006 and her B.A. from Muhlenberg College in 2001. Prior to law school, she worked for a lobbying organization in Washington, DC.

Goodman possesses extensive knowledge of New York City and state as well as federal land use and environmental permitting regulations and procedures. He regularly and successfully manages permitting of residential, commercial, and community facility buildings throughout New York City. He was formerly an urban planner and project manager at Wachtel Masyr & Missry.

Goodman also previously worked at the environmental planning firm AKRF, where he guided large development projects and policy initiatives through the environmental review process. He has an M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University (1998) and a B.A. from the University of Michigan (1993).

Johnson, also a former urban planner and project manager at Wachtel Masyr & Missry, has helped guide numerous projects in New York City through to completion. As a former zoning examiner for the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals, he has extensive knowledge of New York City land use regulations and approval processes. Johnson holds a Planning Degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.