Philadelphia and New York, NY – March 8, 2021 – Cozen O’Connor announced it has made a significant addition to its Real Estate Practice with the hiring of former Silverstein Properties Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jonathan W. Knipe. Knipe has spent the past 15 years with Silverstein Properties, serving in the capacity of chief legal officer and corporate secretary, and was instrumental in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center properties after 9/11. He has overseen numerous joint ventures and strategic partnerships, and as a part of the organization’s investment and management committees, he has been instrumental in the strategic, legal, and business decision making process at Silverstein.
“Now more than ever, given the seismic shift in the commercial real estate world, having someone who has been at the forefront of real estate development and has such an incredibly keen insight into the business and legal aspects involved in creating and executing successful mega-projects and public-private partnerships makes Jon’s addition a real win for Cozen O’Connor,” said Jeffrey A. Leonard, co-chair of the Business Law Department. “It goes well beyond simply having a distinguished career. Jon oversaw the complexities of the planning and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center campus in downtown Manhattan, among many other significant projects around the country and across the globe. He is a tremendous asset for Cozen O’Connor and our clients.”
As a trusted adviser to Larry A. Silverstein, the chairman of Silverstein Properties, Knipe was essential in helping bring Silverstein’s vision of the reborn World Trade Center campus in downtown Manhattan to fruition. He had a wide range of responsibilities that included everything from helping analyze and negotiate the appropriate financing to establishing strategic partnerships that helped bring the $20 billion-dollar development project to completion.
“Jon has been a member of our Silverstein Properties family for 15 years, and I am sorry to see him go,” said Silverstein. “He was intimately involved in our efforts to rebuild the World Trade Center after 9/11, and I have tremendous respect and admiration for him and the work he does. I am delighted that he will be joining Cozen O’Connor, a law firm we work closely with, which also has offices at 3 World Trade Center. I wish Jon, his wonderful family, and the firm, all the very best, and look forward to working with Jon in the future.”
Cozen O’Connor recently moved into its new state-of-the-art offices occupying the 55th and 56th floors of 3 World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan that was developed and is managed by Silverstein Properties. The 15-year lease of over 77,000 square feet highlights the significant growth the law firm has experienced in recent years.
The Real Estate Practice has also experienced steady growth over recent years, most recently welcoming Mitchell Poole, an award winning California real estate attorney, to the firm’s Los Angeles office. Consistently ranked among the top real estate firms in the country, the Real Estate Practice includes more than 70 attorneys in 10 offices who provide comprehensive, integrated service to some of the largest real estate organizations in the country.
“It is uniquely thrilling to join such a prominent firm as Cozen O’Connor,” Knipe commented. “The current real estate and development cycle presents a set of extraordinary challenges. I am confident that my track record of establishing strategic relationships and being a trusted adviser in some of the most complex development projects will be a benefit for Cozen O’Conner clients.”
Prior to his tenure at Silverstein Properties, Knipe served as general counsel for Fisher Brothers, a multibillion dollar, New York based real estate development and finance company responsible for the development and management of several iconic buildings in the Manhattan skyline. Knipe also served as a vice president at the Related Companies, the largest privately owned real estate development company in New York. In his capacity as a member of the development team at Related, his collaborative efforts and ability to link strategic partnerships played a significant role in the completion of the iconic Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. Prior to Related, Jon was a real estate lawyer at Battle Fowler and Paul Hastings LLP.
Knipe also has experience in the music and entertainment industry. He was a catalyst in the rebirth of Forest Hills Stadium, the former home of the U.S. Open tennis tournament and where the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix played in the 1960s. Knipe played the role of aligning interests between the visionaries, financing partners, promoters, developers, and the private tennis club that owns the land and the stadium. As a result of these efforts, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty, Drake, The Chainsmokers, Dolly Parton, The Who, Zac Brown, and many others have played Forest Hills over the course of the last several years.
His propensity for collaboration and team building has translated over to his charitable endeavors and Knipe has taken an active role in numerous nonprofits and educational programs. He has served on the board of trustees of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) for over a decade, and as a member and former chairperson of the Penn State Smeal College of Business Real Estate Advisory Board. He currently teaches a seminar at New York Law School encompassing real estate joint ventures in the public and private sectors.
Knipe, a native of the Philadelphia suburbs, is moving back to Bryn Mawr, Pa., with his family, and will be splitting his time between the firm’s Philadelphia and New York City offices.
About Cozen O’Connor
Established in 1970, Cozen O’Connor has over 800 attorneys who help clients manage risk and make better business decisions. The firm counsels clients on their most sophisticated legal matters in all areas of the law, including litigation, corporate, and regulatory law. Representing a broad array of leading global corporations and middle-market companies, Cozen O’Connor serves its clients’ needs through 32 offices across two continents.