Jonathan Sears



Jonathan provides strategic advice to clients in structuring complex finance and commercial real estate transactions. As chief finance and real estate counsel to several publicly held REITs, he has closed more than $3 billion in debt, equity and other finance transactions since 2010.  Jonathan advises developers, owners, sponsors, and institutional investors in obtaining credit facilities, construction and mortgage loans, and other types of financing for real estate projects and investments throughout the United States.

Market Knowledge And Depth Of Experience In Finance

Clients value Jonathan's reputation as a creative dealmaker and seek his market knowledge and experience with lenders, loan syndicators, servicers, and their counsel to successfully complete their finance transactions. He often helps clients evaluate loan applications and term sheets and assists them in structuring, negotiating, documenting, and consummating complex real estate finance transactions of all kinds.

Expertise With Structured Finance, Servicers, And Work-Outs 

Jonathan has in-depth knowledge and understanding of conduit and mezzanine loans and other types of structured finance transactions, having represented a wide range of clients in such transactions through several real estate cycles. He understands the special requirements of rating agencies and loan servicers and how to effectively represent clients in loan assumptions, loan modifications, defeasance transactions, and loan servicing issues. He is also sought out for advice in structuring and documenting successful work-outs of troubled real estate projects and in connection with loan and servicing disputes, loan modifications, deed-in-lieu transactions, discounted payoffs, foreclosures, receivership, and related litigation.

Broad Experience In Sophisticated Transactions

Jonathan has broad experience in sophisticated real estate and business transactions. He is a seasoned real estate lawyer who often represents commercial developers, owners, and investors in the acquisition, development, construction, leasing, and sale of commercial real estate of all kinds. He is experienced advising real estate companies engaging in initial public offerings and joint ventures and has represented numerous REITs, commingled funds, pension funds, investment companies, institutional investors, commercial developers, and entrepreneurs in connection with their diverse real estate businesses, investments, and transactions.


Represented Douglas Emmett in obtaining a $580M syndicated loan to finance the acquisition of a $1.34 billion commercial real estate portfolio.

Represented a public company in closing over $2.6 billion of commercial finance transactions in 2010-2012.

Represented a joint venture investor in connection with a $200 million syndicated credit facility to construct an R&D project in New England.

Represented a public company in securing a $55 million syndicated credit facility to construct an R&D project in Northern California.

Represented a joint venture investor in connection with a $121 million credit facility to construct a mixed-use development in Santa Monica, California.

Represented a commercial developer in obtaining a $27.5 million credit facility to construct a build-to-suit office development in Silicon Valley and subsequent takeout permanent financing.

Represented a commercial developer in securing credit facilities to construct new shopping centers and retail projects in California, Texas and New Jersey.

Represented a public company in connection with a $385 million refinancing of a multi-family portfolio in California and Hawaii.

Represented a client in connection with the replacement of a $75 million direct pay letter of credit facility.

Represented an operating company in the formation of a joint venture to acquire and reposition a $200 million distressed office building in San Francisco, California.

Publications &
Speaking Engagements

Recent Publications

Updates Author & Editor, "Chapter 10: Workouts of Problem Loans," California Mortgages, Deeds of Trust, and Foreclosure Litigation, 4th edition, The California Continuing Education Of The Bar (CEB), 2010-2011

Awards &

Awards & Recognition

  • Recommended Attorney, Real Estate, Legal 500 USA, 2018
  • Best Lawyers in America - Real Estate Law, 2018
  • Southern California Super Lawyers,  2008-2018
  • Press mention in the Daily Journal (Dealmakers) for the financing of a $1.34 billion commercial real estate portfolio acquisition, March 29, 2016
  • Profiled by the Daily Journal as a leading real estate practitioner in "Top Southern California Law Firms," November 13, 2006
  • Listed as a leading practitioner in real estate transactions and finance by The Legal 500 United States,  2007
  • Press mention in the Daily Journal for the bankruptcy approved acquisition of Wilshire/Bundy Plaza, October 28, 2010

Professional Affiliations

  • California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), Real Property Advisory Committee, 2010-2013
  • London School of Economics Global Real Estate Group, Los Angeles Chapter Leader, 2009-2013
  • UCLA Real Estate Alumni Group (REAG), Mentor
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California


  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, 1989
  • B.A., University of California, San Diego, 1984, cum laude, phi beta kappa