FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Jay L. Paxton

Jay L. Paxton


San Francisco, CA, USA

Jay L. Paxton specializes in real estate transactions, leasing and land use planning. Mr. Paxton represents both sellers and acquirers in the negotiation and documentation of real estate sale transactions, including portfolios of properties. His experience includes representation of numerous Fortune 500 companies in acquisitions, sales, sale/leasebacks, build-to-suit developments, ground leases, financings and property acquisitions and dispositions throughout the United States. He was the lead lawyer in a complex sale/leaseback transaction for the expansion of a large corporate headquarters campus in Northern California and, quite recently, was one of the three lead lawyers in an assemblage of eleven office buildings for a new corporate campus in Silicon Valley for one of the leading technology companies in the world. He also represented Carnegie Mellon University in establishing its West Coast campus at the NASA Ames Research Park.

His extensive experience representing both landowners and users in leasing includes directing all legal aspects of ongoing leasing matters for the owners of seven high-rise office buildings in San Francisco and several suburban office projects. He also represents major users in lease negotiations for office and retail space and is well- experienced in helping landlords and tenants in restructuring troubled leases. Mr. Paxton represented the landlord in the largest office lease in the history of San Francisco and in the real estate aspects of the securitization and sale of the income stream from that lease into the bond markets, a transaction which was the first of its kind in the United States.

In addition to his transactional practice, Mr. Paxton has extensive experience in obtaining land use approvals and entitlements for major retailers, developers and landowners. His work in land use has included securing all approvals for the conversion of a former landfill at the shore of the Bay to a regional retail center, with Home Depot as the anchor tenant. That project was the most controversial land use matter to have received permits in the City where it was located.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Mr. Paxton is active in various real estate associations. He is a past Chair of the San Francisco District Council of the Urban Land Institute, and continues as a member of its Executive Committee, member of its National Corporate Real Estate Council, and Co-Chair of its Policy and Practice Committee, where he conceived and led the creation of the Council’s UrbanMap Web portal. He is also a member of the Policy Advisory Board of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at UC Berkeley and serves on the Executive Committee of the Board. He is a Director of the Golden Gate Chapter of Lambda Alpha International, a land economics honorary society.

Mr. Paxton is very active in civic and business life of the Bay Area community, currently serving as a Director of the Bay Area Council and a Trustee of the University of California Berkeley Foundation and having recently completed an eight-year term as a Trustee of the Marin Community Foundation as the appointee of the President of the University of California. He has served on the Board of Directors and as a member of the Executive Committee for the University’s International House since 1974, and is Chair of the Nominations Committee of the Board. He is a member of the State Bar of California, American Bar Association (Real Property Section), the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Marin County Bar Association.


Mr. Paxton is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He has been selected one of Northern California’s Super Lawyers eleven times from 2005 to 2016 and a Super Lawyer, Business Edition from 2011 to 2012. Most recently, Mr. Paxton was selected as a 2017 Best Lawyer in America™ in Real Estate Law, an honor he has received since 2009. Mr. Paxton is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale Hubbell and recognized as a 2014 Top Rated Lawyer by American Lawyer Media.

Areas of Practice

Real Estate 
Land Use 


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