FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Richard S. Fries

Richard S. Fries

Sidley Austin LLP

New York, NY, USA

RICHARD FRIES is a co-leader of Sidley’s global real estate practice and is well-known throughout the New York and national legal, real estate and finance communities. According to Chambers USA, “true master negotiator” Richard Fries is a “superstar” who is regarded as “one of the premier real estate litigators in the City.” Chambers notes that he is “extremely well respected for his collaborative approach and expertise in complex workout and restructuring matters.” In 2014 and 2015 Who's Who Legal acknowledged Richard as one of the 10 "Most Highly Regarded" real estate lawyers in all of North America.

Richard focuses his practice on a wide array of complex real estate financing and workouts transactions, in which he represents national and global institutional lenders, investment banks and private equity firms.

Richard has been involved in the financing, foreclosure and restructuring of permanent, construction, acquisition, bridge and mezzanine loans of all types, including agented and syndicated facilities, secured by office buildings, land development projects, healthcare complexes, hotels, mixed-use projects, condominium and rental apartment buildings, shopping centers, franchise operations and automobile dealerships, among other real estate and business assets.

Richard is particularly distinguished for his work in high-profile distressed commercial loan workouts and restructurings, mortgage foreclosure, distressed portfolio and asset sales, creditors’ rights and insolvency. With a keen understanding of the “last day” of a defaulted loan workout, Richard has developed a unique market-leading practice using litigation tools to restructure real estate loans, projects and businesses. His experience and reputation in loan workouts has been acknowledged by Chambers as “legendary.”

He also has extensive experience representing private equity investors, property owners and developers in real estate joint ventures, commercial real estate litigation, construction, hospitality and partnership disputes, asset disposition, loan portfolio sales and project development.

Richard also represents national lending institutions in the purchase and sale of performing and underperforming loan portfolios, real estate assets and participation interests in loans, and the implementation of national standard loan and workout programs and documentation for real estate, commercial and private banking loan products.

Richard has been highly recognized by Chambers USA as one of the country’s leading real estate lawyers. He has been ranked by Chambers in “Band 1” in Real Estate Nationwide for 2013 (the year such rankings began) through 2016 and in “Band 1” for Real Estate Finance in New York each year from 2009 through 2016. He has also been recognized as a Leading Lawyer in The Legal 500 for Real Estate and was named by Best Lawyers as its Real Estate Litigation Lawyer of the Year in New York City in 2013.


  • Chambers USA, Real Estate Finance, New York, Band 1 (2009–2016)
  • Chambers USA, Real Estate, Nationwide, Band 1 (2013–2016)
  • The Legal 500, Real Estate (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016)
  • Best Lawyers, New York City Litigation - Real Estate Lawyer of the Year (2013)
  • Best Lawyers, Real Estate (2008, 2010–2017)
  • International Who’s Who of Real Estate Lawyers (2010–2014)
  • Who’s Who Legal, Real Estate (2010–2016) (“Most Highly Regarded,” 2014 and 2015)
  • Law360, Real Estate MVP (2011)
  • NY Super Lawyers, Top 100 list (2011–2016)
  • NY Super Lawyers, Real Estate (2006–2016)
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Real Estate Lawyers (2008, 2010, 2012)
  • Real Estate Weekly’s “All Stars in Real Estate” (2008)


Recent Representative Transactions Include:

  • Representation of several financial institutions in the origination and syndication of numerous high-profile and newsworthy acquisition, construction, development, bridge and mezzanine loans to owners, developers and their joint venture investors secured by office buildings, condominium and rental apartment complexes, hotels, other real estate projects and new ground-up construction sites located throughout the New York metropolitan area and nationally.
  • Representation of a syndicate of European financial institutions in the recapitalization and restructuring of a multi-tranche $1 billion real estate loan secured by a high-profile office building located in San Francisco. 
  • Representation of a private equity investor in the recapitalization of more than $2 billion of distressed multi-site development projects, mezzanine loans and joint venture interests located in Southern and Central California (each consisting of several thousand residential land development lots), as well as hotels and apartment complexes located nationwide, including repositioning a New York City residential apartment complex known as Riverhouse (one of the largest  “green” development residential projects in the country) and the restructure of partnership interests and real estate indebtedness in connection therewith. 
  • Representation of several financial institutions in distressed real estate loan workouts, mortgage foreclosures, restructures and insolvency proceedings involving office buildings, apartment complexes, new construction sites, assisted living facilities, undeveloped land assemblages, shopping centers, oil and gas and fast food franchise locations, hotels and related hospitality assets located throughout the country.
  • Representation of a lender syndicate, as senior lender, in the foreclosure, workout and ultimate disposition of a multi-tiered, multi-lender loan secured by The Ritz Carlton Club and The Residences at Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, a development consisting of hundreds of condominium units and fractional time shares managed, operated and controlled by Ritz Carlton.
  • Representation of a financial institution in the workout, through a future transfer (secured by springing guaranties, a consent judgment of foreclosure and a consensual sealed bid auction) of title in lieu of foreclosure, of a first mortgage loan on the Verizon Building, a vacant 800,000 square foot property located in lower Manhattan now used as a major East Coast data center and technology building.
  • Representation of a life insurance company, as the first lienholder, in a contested foreclosure action, repositioning of the underlying indebtedness and a loan sale through a consensual foreclosure process involving a major hotel located in New York, New York and the rights and interests of a ground lessor, several tranches of debt and equity, a hotel management company and numerous hotel suppliers.
  • Representation of the purchaser and holder of a distressed real estate loan on commercial property located in Tribeca, New York including the acquisition of the loan, the commencement and prosecution of the mortgage foreclosure of the real estate and the workout of the defaulted loan through a deed in lieu of foreclosure delivered by the owner to an affiliate of the purchaser of the loan.
  • Representation of a global financial institution in the sale, disposition and liquidation, over the past several years, of several portfolios of commercial real estate loans and hundreds of individual loans, each secured by real estate assets located throughout the country.
  • Representation of private equity firms in the acquisition of distressed real estate loans and the subsequent enforcement of remedies to facilitate the transfer of ownership of the loans into ownership of the underlying assets.
  • Representation of several global financial institutions in the origination and workout of numerous separate multi-jurisdictional commercial franchise finance loans secured by fast food (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s, among others) restaurants, hospitality facilities and oil and gas (Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Sunoco, Valero, among others) service stations and convenience stores located throughout the United States.


  • Co-author, “What’s New and Different, and What Isn’t,” New York Commercial Observer (September 9, 2016).
  • Co-author, “Appellate Decision Unwinds Foreclosure Purchase,” NYLJ, (August 23, 2015).
  • Author, “Commercial Division’s Rocket Docket,” New York Law Journal (August 18, 2014).
  • Co-author, “Distressed Real Estate Loan Dispute Resolution in 2012: Latest Developments, Trends and Strategies,” Inside the Minds: Real Estate Dispute Resolution (April 2012).
  • Co-author, “Residential Mortgage Foreclosure: It’s A Whole New Ballgame,” NYLJ (March 14, 2011).
  • Co-author, “A Primer on Today’s Commercial Loan Forbearance Agreement,” NYLJ (March 15, 2010).
  • Preparation of Practice Commentaries on New York’s Non-Judicial Foreclosure Statute Matthew Bender (May 2005).
  • Non-Judicial Foreclosure Legislation in New York (enacted July 7, 1998).
  • “Legal Counsel” (formerly known as “It’s The Law”), Real Estate Forum, monthly, and then quarterly, column (1982–2000).
Richard S. Fries is associated with the following items:
CHB Chapters  CHB Chapters Commercial Real Estate Loan Workouts and Enforcement—Distressed Loans and Lender Remedies - Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2017, Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Web Segment  Web Segment Distressed Loans and Lender Remedies - Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2017, Monday, June 19, 2017
MP3 Audio  MP3 Audio Distressed Loans and Lender Remedies - Distressed Loans and Lender Remedies, Monday, June 19, 2017
Transcripts  Transcripts Distressed Loans and Lender Remedies - Distressed Loans and Lender Remedies, Monday, June 19, 2017
MP4 - Mobile Video Seg  MP4 - Mobile Video Seg Distressed Loans and Lender Remedies - Distressed Loans and Lender Remedies, Monday, June 19, 2017
On-Demand Web Programs  On-Demand Web Programs Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2017, Monday, June 26, 2017, New York, NY
Live Seminar  Live Seminar Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2018, Thursday, June 21, 2018, New York, NY
Live Webcast  Live Webcast Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2018, Thursday, June 21, 2018, New York, NY
PLI Grpcast-Live Web  PLI Grpcast-Live Web Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2018, Thursday, June 21, 2018, New Brunswick , NJ
Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2018, Thursday, June 21, 2018, Nashville, TN
Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2018, Thursday, June 21, 2018, Atlanta, GA
Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2018, Thursday, June 21, 2018, Indianapolis, IN

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