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 real estate development, 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, funds 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 investments and debt financings, including with respect to 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:

    • Served as deal counsel for the sponsor of a series of real estate investment funds in connection with the investment of over $4.5 billion of assets in 43 states involving distressed loan portfolios, REO properties and multifamily, office and industrial assets.
    • 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 the fee owner of a development site in lower Manhattan in connection with a 99 year ground lease of the site to an office developer.
    • 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 leasehold 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.
    • 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 mortgage 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

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Elects New Managing Partner and Executive Committee to Lead Firm

          Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce the election of Joe Krasovec as the firm’s next managing partner, effective February 8, 2021.

          News Release

          Schiff Announces Election of Executive Committee

          Schiff Hardin LLP today announced the election of attorneys who will serve on the firm’s executive committee.


          Five Tips for Landlords of Cannabis-Related Businesses

          As more states take steps to legalize cannabidiol (CBD) and marijuana, there are many outstanding questions for potential landlords of cannabis-related businesses.

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Achieves Mansfield Certified Plus Status for Diversity

          Schiff Hardin LLP is proud to announce the firm has achieved Mansfield Certified Plus status for 2019, solidifying our commitment to increasing diversity within the firm’s leadership ranks.


          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.

          Speeches & Presentations

          • “Leasing to a Cannabis-Related Business: Banking, Permitting, Zoning, Rent, Indemnification, and Insurance,” Strafford Publications, Inc., Webinar (May 18, 2020)
          • “State of the Market and Purchases, Sales and Closings,” Practising Law Institute, Chicago, Ill. (Oct. 23, 2019)
          • “Advancement of Women in the Law,” (panelist) Fordham University School of Law, New York, N.Y. (Mar. 28, 2019)
        • 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