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Probate & Property

Jul/Aug 2023

Young Lawyers Network: Resources for Those New to Commercial Leasing

David Joshua Crowfoot


  • Participate in the RPTE Leasing Group The Section's Leasing Group is one of the most active groups in the Section with six sub-committees.
  • With over 70,000 members, the ICSC (formerly the International Conference of Shopping Centers), is a trade association for shopping centers, shopping malls, and all other retail real estate.
  • Consider RPTE Section's books on commercial leases which can be extremely valuable to your practice.
Young Lawyers Network: Resources for Those New to Commercial Leasing
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If you are a young lawyer or in-house counsel new to commercial leasing, this article is for you. Below, Young Lawyers Network describes actions you can take to improve your knowledge, understanding, and skills related to drafting and negotiating commercial leases.

Purchase a Subscription to Commercial Lease Law Insider

Commercial Lease Law Insider (CLLL) is a great trade publication for commercial leasing professionals. Owners, managers, leasing attorneys, and other real estate professionals all subscribe to its monthly newsletter. The newsletter contains practical tools that the reader can use when drafting and negotiating commercial leases. For example, CLLL’s February 2023 newsletter contained a featured article titled “Get 14 Lease Protections When Letting Tenants Install EV Charging Stations: Jump-start your leases to prepare for tenant demand and legal compliance.” The article then goes through leasing considerations when an EV Station is located on commercial property. And the article ends with a sample model lease clause that sets rules for tenant installation of electric vehicle charging stations. In addition, the newsletter has columns titled “Traps to Avoid,” “Plugging Loopholes,” and “Recent Court Rulings” with other actionable and practical content. A yearly subscription runs about $524. CLLL also does a great job archiving its material for subscribers. So even if you were not a member a year ago, five years ago, or 10 years ago, when you purchase a subscription to CLLL, you get access to all the content that CLLL has ever produced, which equates to a sizable form bank of model lease clauses and other content. CLLL’s parent company, The Habitat Group, also publishes two great books on commercial leasing: Best Commercial Lease Clauses (geared toward landlords) and Best Commercial Lease Clauses: Tenant’s Edition. Each of these books contains numerous sample lease clauses along with explanations for why the clauses are drafted the way they are.


ICSC (formerly the International Conference of Shopping Centers) is a trade association for shopping centers, shopping malls, and all other retail real estate. It has over 70,000 members in over 100 countries, including shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers, brokers, academics, and public officials. In July 2021, ICSC rebranded itself in term of its initials alone, and adopted the tagline “Innovating Commerce Serving Communities.” Because of ICSC’s size, the organization has several conferences throughout the year based on different real estate markets in the country. They also have conferences geared toward specific member groups. For example, they have a North American Law conference every October. If you are a commercial leasing attorney focusing on retail space, this is an excellent conference to attend. You will get to meet industry peers who serve as outside counsel and inside counsel for various organizations in retail and real estate. The quality of the CLE programming is top notch. Registration for ICSC’s law conference runs about $1500 each year but is well worth the price.

Subscribe to PLI

The Practising Law Institute (PLI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the highest-quality, accredited, continuing legal and professional education programs in the legal industry. PLI offers CLE in 32 practice areas. It offers live programs and publish numerous publications—treatises, course handbooks, forms, and journals. PLI’s commercial leasing programs are done very well, and participants receive top notch materials and forms as part of their attendance with such programs. Many Big Law firms have a subscription to PLI. If your law firm or company does not have a subscription to PLI, individual memberships can be purchased for an annual fee of $3,495.

Participate in the RPTE Leasing Group

The Section’s Leasing Group is one of the most active groups in the Section with six sub-committees: Assignment and Subletting, Ground Leasing, Industrial Leasing, Office Leasing, Retail Leasing, and Emerging Issues and Specialty Leases. The Leasing Group puts on a commercial leasing series called Nuts & Bolts each year that offers a program on some key area of commercial leases. The series is free with your membership in the Section. In addition, the Leasing Group also puts on a Commercial Leasing Bootcamp, which is more comprehensive than the Nuts & Bolts series. In addition, the Leasing Group offers other CLE programming throughout the year.

Purchase Books on Commercial Leasing

In my time as a practitioner, three books on commercial leases have been extremely valuable. The first book is April Condon & Rodney J. Dillman, The Lease Manual: A Practical Guide to Negotiating Office, Retail, and Industrial/Warehouse Leases, Second Edition (American Bar Association 2d ed. 2022). If you are brand new to commercial leasing, this is a great book to start with. Each chapter in the book is dedicated to a specific paragraph in a commercial lease (for example, Term, Base Rent, Additional Rent, Assignment or Sublease). Each chapter presents model language that you can use for your commercial lease. The book lays out the landlord’s perspective as well as the tenant’s perspective for the model language that is contained in the lease, and the book suggests common compromises between the parties. In addition, the book indicates which areas of the lease tend to get most heavily negotiated. The second book is Mark A. Senn, Commercial Real Estate Leases: Preparation, Negotiation, and Forms (Wolters Kluwer). I purchased this book as part of a commercial leasing course for the LL.M. program in real property development at the University of Miami. It’s a treatise, and it has a wealth of information for each area of a commercial lease as well as sample form language. If I need a comprehensive resource for a commercial leasing question, I consult this book first. The third book is Best Commercial Lease Clauses published by The Habitat Group. It contains sample language for heavily negotiated provisions in a commercial lease and has excellent explanations and tips for negotiating such provisions.


If you are new to commercial leasing, there are many resources available to you to help you hone your drafting skills. Getting a subscription to Commercial Lease Law Insider and PLI, joining ICSC, participating in the Section’s Leasing Group, and buying the books above are a great start. I wish you the best as you embark on a fun practice area.