Christine A. McGuinness, leader of Schiff Hardin's Real Estate Group and member of the firm's Executive Committee, is a skilled real estate and corporate finance lawyer and one of two coordinating partners for Schiff Hardin’s New York office. Her 25 years of experience includes proficiency in matters involving corporate finance, commercial lending and financial institutions.

Chris is first and foremost a business lawyer, combining her knowledge of real property and other commercial assets with on-the-ground experience. Clients benefit from her ability to balance the economics of a transaction with the legal protections needed to get it done.

Chris represents real estate developers and lenders in all aspects of commercial real estate, as well as individuals and corporations in the acquisition, leasing and financing of corporate jets and fractional aircraft interests. When working with clients, she ensures they are performing effectively in their role within the business, helping to protect the business as well as themselves.

  • Experience

    Chris’s practice focuses on equity and debt financings, including real estate, aircraft interests, and other asset-based financings, partnership and joint venture agreements, complex asset and portfolio acquisitions and sales, and leasing transactions. Highlights include:

    • Represented public office/industrial REIT with 50 assets in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware in connection with the initial formation of an UPREIT structure and the ongoing acquisition, disposition, and financing of the portfolio.
    • Represented owner of a luxury high-rise in connection with sale of more than 50,000 square feet of development rights to developer of adjacent property including the negotiation of a zoning lot development agreement and related air and light easements.
    • Represented regional developer of office medical assets in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island including negotiation of the acquisition agreements, review of title, and other due diligence issues related to the to-be acquired assets, negotiation of acquisition financing documents including a leashold mortgage; preparation of subscription agreement and other syndication documents.
    • Represented owner of a ground lease position in a Manhattan office property in connection with the potential sale of the ground lease position.  
    • Represented established New York City developer in the acquisition and financing of nine separate multifamily/mixed use assets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, as part of a tax-free forward and reverse exchanges under IRC 1031.
    • Represented Toronto developer in connection with the acquisition of potential residential development sites in New York City including acquiring development rights and inclusionary air rights.      
    • Represented the U.S. Treasury in a program put in place under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help homeowners with underwater mortgages. Chris was instrumental in completing and submitting the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) application, which gave Schiff Hardin the ability to bid on GSA contracts.
    • Advised on two separate transactions in 12 months involving the acquisition and financing of a corporate jet for existing clients of the firm. One of the acquisitions involved an aircraft that was registered overseas, thereby complicating the FAA registration process.
    • Advised on a national opportunity fund in the $331 million acquisition and financing of an office portfolio in the California Bay Area.
    • Represented a developer in connection with the sale of a downtown Manhattan office building and the subsequent purchase of an industrial portfolio in a tax-deferred exchange.
    • Represented a publicly traded REIT in a first mortgage loan secured by a portfolio of industrial properties in Houston, Texas.
    • Represented a Manhattan developer in the acquisition of a tenancy in common interest in an office/medical condo unit in Garden City, N.Y., including, without limitation, reviewing the proposed condo declaration; obtaining for IDA benefits for the property; closing the acquisition loan; and attending to 1031 aspects of the deal.
  • Credentials


    • Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 1988
    • Fairfield University, B.A., 1985

    Bar Admissions

    • New York
      • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
      • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
        • Insights


          Update: FinCEN Issues Revised Regulations that Aim to Discover and Prevent Money Laundering

          On November 15, 2018, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued its sixth Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) aimed at preventing money laundering in all-cash residential real estate purchases made by legal entities.

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Joins Pro Bono Initiative in New York to Ensure Detained Migrant Children’s Safety

          Schiff Hardin is participating in a pro bono effort organized by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) to provide legal assistance to ensure the safety and well-being of migrant children who have been separated from family members after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Announces New Executive Committee, Eisenstein Re-Elected as Managing Partner

          Schiff Hardin LLP has announced the election of its new executive committee.

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Announces New Diversity Committee Leadership

          Co-Chairs Sailesh K. Patel and Christine A. McGuinness to Focus on Promoting Inclusion, Retention, and Sponsorships

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Announces New Executive Committee
          Marci Eisenstein elected to third term as firm’s managing partner

          In addition to Eisenstein, the seven-member executive committee includes Gabriel M. Rodriguez and Christine A. McGuinness, both of whom are new to the committee.


          Changes to Partnership Audit Rules Will Affect Real Estate Investors Utilizing Partnerships and LLCs

          The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 means that adjustments made at the partnership-level are assessed against the partnership rather than against the partners.


          FinCEN Regulations Will Aim to Discover and Prevent Money Laundering

          On January 13, 2016, the Department of Treasury issued temporary regulations aimed at preventing money laundering.

        • Citizenship

          Pro Bono Activities

          Chris represents The Leviticus Fund in connection with the financing of low-income housing and day care centers.

          Civic and Charitable Memberships

          • Habitat for Humanity — New York City, Leadership Counsel, Chair