Paul S. Rutter


Santa Monica

(310) 309-4510

(310) 594-7320

Prior to joining Cozen O’Connor, Paul co-founded Gilchrist & Rutter in 1983 and practiced law until 2006, at which time he joined a publicly held REIT client as an executive vice president. After working as an executive vice president and then as co-chief operating officer and general counsel in two publicly held real estate companies from 2006-2014, and the merger of his company into another publicly held REIT, Paul returned to his law practice in January 2014. He combines his legal and business experience to provide clients with a unique perspective on the real estate industry and the practical and legal aspects of deals. Paul represents clients in both real estate and general business transactions, including development, financing, leasing, acquisition, and disposition of office, hotel, retail, mixed-use, and industrial properties as well as business formation, private equity investments, and general business transactions.

Paul’s practice includes the formation, structuring, and documentation of business organizations involved in the ownership, financing, management, and development of real estate and operating businesses, joint ventures with private equity funds, pension funds, and other institutional capital, negotiation, and documentation of several million square feet of office, retail, and industrial leases, ground leases, development and management agreements, and consulting agreements for projects ranging from small local developments to large-scale projects involving several million square feet; representation of both borrowers and lenders on several billion dollars of real estate loans, including construction, bridge and permanent loans, and CMBS facilities; reciprocal easement agreements and CC&Rs for mixed-use and multi-phase projects; negotiation of construction, architectural, and engineering services agreements for several million square feet of retail, office, and hotel projects; development agreements and owner participation agreements with local governmental agencies; secured and unsecured loan workouts and restructuring.

Representative clients have included Maguire Properties Group, Thomas Properties Group, Inc., CommonWealth Partners, LLC, Buchanan Street Partners, J.P. Morgan Investment Management, Inc., McCarthy Cook & Co., Archon Group LP, the Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority (a JPA formed by the County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles CRA), and a regional transportation authority. Representative deals include the development, financing and leasing of US Bank Tower, Gas Company Tower, and Wells Fargo Center in Los Angeles; the acquisition of several million feet of office space in Los Angeles and Orange County; the disposition of 50 acres of entitled land in El Segundo; the acquisition and sale of several office buildings in Texas, Virginia, and Philadelphia; the creation of a joint venture with a public pension fund for the acquisition of commercial real estate, the development of hotels in Pasadena, Dallas, and San Diego; the acquisition of a large portfolio of properties in California and Colorado; the negotiation of a $100 million bank line of credit for a public REIT; the negotiation of a ground lease and development agreement for a large-scale hotel, retail, condominium, and apartment complex; and negotiation and drafting of infrastructure funding agreements.

Paul is the author of several articles, has spoken at many seminars, and has been consulted as an expert witness in matters involving real estate valuation and disputes involving real estate transactions. He has been widely recognized for his work on behalf of the real estate industry. Among his many recognitions, Paul was named a Urban Development Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by Century City Bar Association and in 2019 and 2020 was named to the LA 500 by the Los Angeles Business Journal for being among the region’s most influential leaders. He was also selected as a Leaders in Law Awards Nominee in 2018 by the Los Angeles Business Journal and has been selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer for many years. Paul is rated by Martindale-Hubbell® as AV Preeminent, the “highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards.”

Paul received his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles where he was on the Dean’s List and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Gamma Mu. He received his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law where he was topic and comment editor of the UCLA Law Review and a member of Order of the Coif.



More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers selected 201 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2020 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

Nine Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Recognized as 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers

January 15, 2020

Super Lawyers has named nine Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Better Call Paul: One of LA’s Top Lawyers Reflects on Decades of Deals

August 07, 2019

Paul Rutter was interviewed for an article in Commercial Observer regarding his 40 years of real estate experience.

Cozen O’Connor Attorney Paul S. Rutter Named the Urban Development Lawyer of the Year by Century City Bar Association

January 24, 2019

– Cozen O’Connor attorney Paul S. Rutter, a member of the real estate practice in the firm’s Santa Monica, Calif., office, has been named “Urban Development Lawyer of the Year” by the Century City Bar Association. The Association provides legal education, leadership opportunities, and a sense of community to more than 4,000 Century City attorneys. Paul is among six attorneys being recognized by the Association for distinguishing himself in his respective field of expertise.

Cozen O'Connor Leads McCarthy Cook & Co. in $179.7M Purchase of Mountain View Office Campus

September 14, 2018

Paul Rutter, a member in Real Estate, was featured in the Dealmaker Section of the Daily Journal. Paul led the Cozen O'Connor team that negotiated real estate investment and development firm McCarthy Cook & Co.'s $179.7 million acquisition of an office campus in Mountain View.

126 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 22, 2018

One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Cozen O’Connor Announces Hiring of Gilchrist & Rutter Attorneys

September 27, 2017

Cozen O’Connor is thrilled to announce that effective October 1, 2017, all of the lawyers from the Los Angeles real estate and commercial litigation boutique, Gilchrist & Rutter, will join the firm.


Coronavirus Issues for Commercial Real Estate Owners [Alert]

March 16, 2020

Paul Rutter discusses what property owners need to do now in relation to their properties and the coronavirus.

Eight Key Issues for Potential Opportunity Zone Investors [Wealth Management]

May 10, 2019

Paul Rutter and Peter Swain discuss factors that could impact investors interested in pursuing opportunity zone investments.

Legal Tools for Harnessing the Power of Arts, Sports, and Entertainment Uses to Stimulate Urban Revitalization [The Practical Real Estate Lawyer]

January 01, 2018

Paul S. Rutter, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice Group, discusses important legal issues and considerations for future artistic, cultural, and entertainment projects in the Los Angeles region in The Practical Real Estate Lawyer magazine.

Crowdfunding Is Causing Creative Disruption to Real Estate Transactions [UCLA Economic Letter]

October 01, 2014

Paul Rutter, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Real Estate Practice, discusses crowdfunding in the UCLA Economic Letter.

Lender’s Right to Waive Its Real Property Security Interest in Environmentally Impaired Property [Korek Land Company, Inc's Commentaries & Bulletins]

April 01, 2011

Paul Rutter, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Real Estate Practice, discusses a lender's right to waive in Korek Land Company, Inc's Commentaries & Bulletins.


  • University of California at Los Angeles, J.D., 1978
  • University of California at Los Angeles, A.B., magna cum laude, 1975

Awards & Honors

Urban Development Lawyer of the Year, Century City Bar Association, 2019 

LA 500, Los Angeles Business Journal, 2019-2020 

2018 Leaders in Law Awards Nominee, Los Angeles Business Journal

Southern California Super Lawyer, 2004-2007, 2015-2020

2015 Alumnus of the Year, University of California, Los Angeles Real Estate Law Association

Best Lawyers in America, 1996-2021

Who's Who in Executives and Professionals, 1993-1994, 2005-2006

Top 100 Lawyers in Southern California, selected by Los Angeles Magazine 2005

AV Preeminent Rated, Martindale-Hubbell, 2017, 2019

International Who's Who of Professionals 1997

  • California
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Fellow, American College of Real Estate Lawyers

Los Angeles County Bar Association

Urban Land Institute

Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA)

Board Member, Political Action Committee; Government Affairs Committee

Board of Directors, Los Angeles Conservancy

Member, Board of Advisors, UCLA School of Law; Chair, Facilities Subcommittee

Board of the Ziman Center for Real Estate - UCLA