Coblentz teamed with Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP in advising Sky Holding Company, LLC in the recent formation of Jackson Square Aviation, LLC, and in connection with the commitment of $500 Million to Jackson Square Aviation's parent company by investment funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management. Coblentz partners, Richard Patch, Paul Tauber and Sara Finigan, together with tax counsel Joseph Radovsky and Ronald Garrity of Greene Radovsky represented Sky Holding in the transaction. Richard Patch described the deal as "providing Jackson Square Aviation with the resources and outreach to become a major force in the financing of commercial aircraft acquisitions and the execution of long-term sale and leaseback transactions." Jackson Square Aviation has already entered into transactions with Avianca and Air Berlin for ten A320 and B737NG aircraft.

Jackson Square Aviation will be a full-service aircraft leasing company emphasizing sale/leasebacks of next-generation technology. It is based in San Francisco with offices in Seattle, Miami, Buenos Aires, and a European office to open in 2010. Previously, through Pegasus Aviation and Sky Holding, the management team, led by Richard Wiley, Toby Bright, and Scott Weiss, has acquired over $10 billion of aircraft and purchased and/or remarketed over 400 aircraft. Sky Holding, a full-service aircraft leasing platform, will continue to operate separately from Jackson Square Aviation. Oaktree Capital Management, headquartered in Los Angeles, is a global alternative and non-traditional investment manager with approximately $73 billion in assets under management.

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Coblentz Partner Sara Finigan Receives Award from Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 3, 2010 – Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP Partner Sara Finigan has been honored with the James T. Caleshu Award from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR) of the San Francisco Bay Area for her extraordinary pro bono contributions to the LCCR’s Legal Services for Entrepreneurs Program (LSE).

At the award ceremony, Finigan spoke about the duty of each lawyer to provide pro bono services and recognized the challenges of balancing this duty with professional and family needs.

“We congratulate Sara on this much-deserved recognition of her dedication, leadership and outstanding contributions to the LSE program,” said Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass Managing Partner Danna Kozerski.  “Sara’s pro bono work is a reflection of our firm’s long and rich history of promoting the ability of all citizens to have access to the legal system and of our dedication of time and talent to that end.“

The James T. Caleshu Award, presented Jan. 28 at LCCR’s 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon in San Francisco, honors those who have made extraordinary pro bono contributions to the Committee, an organization devoted to advancing the rights of people of color, the poor, immigrants and refugees, and its LSE program.  Finigan serves as a member of the applicant screening committee for LSE.  Having first volunteered with the program nine years ago, Finigan has helped establish a variety of small businesses and has been critical in engaging other members of her firm to take on clients from the LSE program.

Finigan’s law practice encompasses general business transactions and securities issues.  Her corporate transactional experience includes business formations, financings, mergers and acquisitions, and employee and executive compensation.  Finigan also helps clients develop and implement successful business strategies by counseling start-ups and existing companies in corporate formation, structuring, governance, compensation and finance.

Finigan earned her J.D. from Santa Clara University in 1997 and her B.A. from the University of Florida in 1994.

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William Hutton gives his views on receiving Lawyer of the Year honors by Best Lawyers, trends during his decades of tax practice, and future issues with conservation easement transactions.


Clifford Yin was inducted to the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society established to reflect the new face of the American bar.  Fellowship is by invitation only and represents the best in law among its membership.

Click here for information regarding the Litigation Counsel of America.

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William Hutton was responsible for the tax planning on the conveyance of two conservation easements by Ulupalakua Ranch to Maui Coastal Land Trust, representing the largest private land conservation transaction ever done in the State of Hawaii.

For more details regarding the transaction, click here.

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Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has awarded San Francisco Lawyer of the Year honors for 2010 to William K. Coblentz for Land Use & Zoning Lawyer of the Year, Pamela S. Duffy for Real Estate Lawyer of the Year, and William T. Hutton for Tax Lawyer of the Year.  These Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass attorneys received three of the sixteen Lawyers of the Year honors awarded by Best Lawyers.  Managing partner Jeffrey Knowles conveyed, "This honor attests to the excellent work and dedication of these partners.  Three of the sixteen recipients of this honor are lawyers from Coblentz—more than any other law firm in San Francisco."

After more than a quarter of a century in publication, Best Lawyers is designating “Lawyers of the Year” in high-profile legal specialties in large legal communities. Only a single lawyer in each specialty in each community is being honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.”

Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current, 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2010), is based on more than 2.8 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.

The lawyers being honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings in our surveys by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.

Steven Naifeh, Managing Editor of Best Lawyers, says, “We continue to believe – as we have believed for more than 25 years – that recognition by one’s peers is the most meaningful form of praise in the legal profession. "

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Jeff Bernstein gives his views on the significance of receiving the Garvey Award, trends during his decades of tax practice, and future issues in taxation in California and at the federal level.

Coblentz congratulates clients, Tejon Ranch Inc. and DMB Associates, for receiving the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in recognition of the historic conservation pact signed by Tejon Ranch Company and America's leading conservation and environmental organizations.

The Governor's Award, California's highest and most prestigious environmental honor, recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California's resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships.

The unprecedented conservation pact is the largest private conservation agreement in California history and will permanently preserve up to 240,000 acres - 90% of the historic Tejon Ranch.  The agreement protects and expands foraging habitat for the California condor, safeguards other threatened or endangered species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, the blunt-nosed leopard lizard and the Tehachapi slender salamander.  It permanently protects an unbroken expanse of open space more than seven times the size of San Francisco, open space that's home to native grasslands, oak woodlands, Joshua trees and conifer forests.

The agreement between Tejon Ranch Company and Audubon California, Endangered Habitats League, Natural Resources Defense Council, Planning and Conservation League, and the Sierra Club, also created the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, an independent non-profit organization that recently concluded its first year overseeing continued stewardship of the conserved lands.

Tejon Ranch is currently engaged in the development of the communities of Tejon Mountain Village and Centennial. Tejon Mountain Village, a mountain resort development in the Tehachapi Mountains is one of the greenest, most ecologically sensitive communities of its type ever proposed in California.  Centennial, a master planned new town in northwest Los Angeles County, likewise places a strong emphasis on sustainability and environmental sensitivity, evidenced by the fact that Centennial will be the first major development in Los Angeles County to comply with both the state's greenhouse gas reduction goals and the county's green building ordinance. In addition to the aforementioned Pardee Homes, Tejon Ranch Company's partners in the development of Centennial include Lewis Investment Company and Standard Pacific Homes.

About the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award


The Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards program was established in 1993. The award program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Resources Agency in collaboration with the State and Consumer Services Agency, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

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SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 16, 2009 – The California State Bar Tax Section will honor Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP Partner Jeffry Bernstein with the Garvey Award for his lifetime achievement and contributions in the area of tax at its annual November meeting.

For more than 31 years, Bernstein has specialized in income, estate and property tax matters.  He has lectured extensively on taxation and taught at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Puget Sound School of Law, and in the Master of Laws Taxation Program at Golden Gate University.  He served three years on the Executive Committee of the California State Bar Tax Section and organized the successful annual joint conference of the State Bar Tax Section and Los Angeles County Bar Tax Section, presenting policy and legislative papers to members of the IRS, Senate Finance Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, and Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.  Thereafter, he acted as special advisor to the Executive Committee with regard to this joint program.

"We are so proud of Jeff for receiving this honor and recognition,” Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass Managing Partner Danna Kozerski said.  “The partnership applauds him for his contributions and service in tax law, but even more importantly are Jeff’s clients and their businesses that benefit from his deep involvement in this highly technical specialty. "

In his practice, Bernstein represents clients in multifaceted tax issues arising in complex transactions, including real estate development, mergers and acquisitions.  He counsels start-up companies and advises on partnership, LLC and corporate income tax implications, as well as represents individuals on federal and California income tax issues, California sales and property tax considerations, estate and charitable planning, and the effect of transactions on overall family financial planning.  Bernstein has actively represented clients in IRS audits, California FTB and SBE audits, and before the U.S. Tax Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  He has successfully litigated property tax appeals resulting in significant valuation reductions for clients such as San Francisco Shopping Centre, Catellus Development Corp., JCDecaux and Costco.

Bernstein is a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, a member of the committees on Pass-Through Entities and Partnerships of the American, California and New York State Bar Associations, and a member and former chair of the Western Region Bar Association IRS Liaison Committee.  He has been ranked among The Best Lawyers in America for more than 20 years.

Bernstein earned his J.D. and LL.M. in taxation in 1971 and 1975, respectively, from New York University School of Law, where he served as an editor of the New York University Law Review.  He received in B.A. from Queens College in New York in 1967.

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Pamela Duffy and Douglas Sands named as Dealmakers of the Year by California Real Estate Journal for negotiating a redevelopment agreement that will transform the San Francisco's historic Presidio section into a mixed-use community and national park.

September 14, 2009
California Real Estate Journal
Dealmakers of the Year
by Greg Kane

Redevelopment is tricky. Redeveloping portions of a 200-plus-year-old historic U.S. Army base in San Francisco is trickier. Doing so in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression? Even more so.

Pamela Duffy and Douglas Sands managed to accomplish all three in the past year. The attorneys from San Francisco-based Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP shared the lead on a redevelopment agreement that will transform the city's historic Presidio section into a mixed-use community and national park.

The deal between Presidio Trust and Cleveland-based developer Forest City Enterprises involves 42 acres of federal trust land and includes the conversion of a 77-year-old hospital into 154 rental apartments. Duffy and Sands were able to shepherd the deal to closure despite the unique challenges - and opponents - to such activity on historic property.

"There's a built-in fight," Duffy said. "Preserve the environment, preserve the historic buildings, but make enough money to run the place."

The attorneys' challenges to bringing the redevelopment deal together included observing the property's legal protections, managing the public-private partnership with a stake in the project and achieving financing during the October 2008 stock market collapse. Communication and understanding among all involved parties was an important tool in shepherding the deal to completion, Sands said.

"It's essential that you have folks on both ends that understand the challenges they're facing and help cooperate for a win-win for everyone," Sands said.

The deal closed on Halloween 2008, Duffy recalled, and lender Wachovia was in the process of being bought out by Wells Fargo.

"To hold the deal together took a lot of creativity and cooperation among the parties," she recalled.

Duffy points to experience as a major reason why she and Sands were able to help complete the Presidio deal despite multiple obstacles. In today's economy, with credit markets tightened, standards higher and deals fewer and further between, the attorneys involved with a deal need to be able to understand and anticipate all potential roadblocks so they don't become a problem down the line.

"It takes a level of experience and an understanding of the fundamentals that it didn't take before," Duffy said. "It used to be, if you had a hammer, you could pound a nail. Now you really need to understand the architecture."

Click here to view California Real Estate Journal ad.

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