"consummate attorney" ... "very prepared, very detail-oriented"
Chambers USA


Brian Davis is a partner in the Real Estate practice in Mayer Brown's Chicago office. He focuses his broad-based real estate practice on providing counsel to equity investors and corporate users of real estate in all facets of real estate investment, including joint ventures, acquisitions, dispositions, and financing. He is adept at handling any real estate asset class, with particular emphasis in the areas of hospitality, retail, office and industrial.

Brian’s diverse practice carries into some of the most complex areas of real estate investment. Brian has assisted clients in developing programmatic joint ventures and other platform-style investments. He has developed and employed innovative structures for build-to-suit industrial developments that capitalize on the respective strengths of each stakeholder in the transaction. Brian also has extensive experience in distressed debt and equity transactions, including restructuring CMBS loans, acquiring distressed debt, and navigating complex capital stacks with the objective of maximizing value in distressed real estate. In addition, he has structured and restructured complex sale-leaseback, leverage lease and synthetic lease arrangements and has lectured and written in the areas of distressed real estate.

Brian is listed in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions of Chambers USA and is recognized as "a diligent attorney who can comb through complex documents and reduce the material to easy-to-understand business points." He has been called the "consummate attorney" and clients enthuse that he is "very prepared, very detail-oriented and excellent at synthesizing long, complex agreements into plain English."

Areas of Focus

Regional Capabilities


  • Represented a core property fund in a 50/50 investment in a signature office tower in Denver.
  • Represented a private equity fund in a mezzanine and senior equity investment in a regional mall in Ft. Worth.
  • Represented an insurance company in a investment in a portfolio of hotels.
  • Represented a group of Thai investors in an investment in a luxury hotel brand.
  • Represented a government pension fund in the acquisition of multi-family property Austin.
  • Represented a Canadian firm in the acquisition of a signature mix-use property in the loop district of Chicago.
  • Represented a private equity firm in acquisition and simultaneous sale-leaseback of theater portfolio.
  • Represented private equity firms in the acquisition and financing of $665 million in face value of distressed debt.
  • Represented an operator in $400 million build-to-suit program for the development of distribution facilities throughout North America.
  • Represented a private equity firm in the development and financing of a 1,000 room hotel and a 500 room hotel and accompanying golf course in Orlando, Florida.
  • Represented a private equity firm in the $625 million acquisition of eight hotels.
  • Represented a private equity firm in $250 million sale-leaseback of 186 bowling centers in conjunction with acquisition of business.
  • Represented a private equity firm in $175 million sale-leaseback of 65 restaurants in conjunction with acquisition of business.
  • Represented a private equity firm in $1 billion leveraged acquisition of department store chain and contemporaneous sale-leaseback of real estate portfolio.
  • Represented a private-equity firm in sale-leaseback of ski resort business.
  • Represent an operator in $400 million build-to-suit program for the development of distribution facilities throughout North America.
  • Represented a publicly-traded client in $200 million in various sale-leaseback transactions of industrial warehouse and distribution centers.
  • Represented an operator in $150 million leverage lease of corporate headquarters.
  • Represented various clients in more than $200 million in synthetic lease transactions.
  • Represented a theater operator in restructuring of $100 million leverage lease facility in connection with Chapter 11 reorganization.
  • Represented a pension fund in formation and investment in joint venture for the development of multifamily apartment residence communities.
  • Represented a pension fund in joint venture and securitized financing for industrial property portfolio.
  • Represented a publicly-traded REIT in joint venture for the development of various industrial parks in Wisconsin and Illinois.
  • Represented a publicly-traded REIT in formation of joint venture for development of industrial campus.
  • Represented a hotel operator in joint venture in the development of a hotel condominium and residential condominium project in Southeast Florida.
  • Represented a hotel operator in acquisition of a brand of extended-stay hotels.
  • Represented a developer in development of DePaul University dorms.
  • Represented a theater operator in portfolio sale of theaters in Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • Represented an airline in successful recharacterization, settlement and discharge of over $1 billion in principal amount of special facility bonds.


  • Spring 2007

    Sale-Leaseback Transactions in Today's Private Equity Environment (Co-author)

  • November 25

    Sale-Leaseback Offers Compelling Alternative

  • November 25

    Lease Recharacterization in Bankruptcy: United Air Lines Recharacterization Cases Bolster the Debtor-Tenant's Cause



University of Pittsburgh School of Law, JD, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif

Ball State University, BUPD, cum laude


  • Illinois
  • Pennsylvania


  • Urban Land Institute, Advisory Board Member of the Chicago Chapter
  • CoreNet Global
  • Adjunct Professor, Chicago-Kent College of Law, 2010-Current
  • Adjunct Professor, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, 2008-2009