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David A. Durfee is back in private practice after having been regional in-house legal counsel for K. Hovnanian Homes for seven years, handling real estate and related transactional functions for company divisions located in California, Arizona and Texas.  Prior to that, he was a partner at Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix for 26 years. 

Mr. Durfee has been an Arizona State Bar certified specialist in real estate law who has represented land developers, landlords, property managers, land bankers, real estate brokers, homebuilders, investors, lenders, borrowers, contractors, homeowner’s associations, and others associated with the commercial and industrial real estate industries.  He also has broad legal experience in all manner of business, corporate and commercial transactions, has represented a diverse spectrum of clients, has interacted with government agencies on all levels, and excels at creative legal problem solving.  To the practice of law, Mr. Durfee has added writing and speaking activities, from the experience of contributing and editing law journal articles in law school, to organizing and speaking in seminars for both business people and other lawyers, to authoring portions of a real estate transactions manual sponsored by the State Bar as well as other publications.  He has received recognition of various kinds in the legal community and, as a professional photographer, in the artistic community.  And he can give a lecture on astrophysics at a moment’s notice.

Awards and Recognition

  • AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell

Professional Experience

  • Holden Willits PLC, Phoenix, Arizona, Member (2022-Present)
  • Lake & Cobb, PLC, Phoenix, Arizona, Partner (2021-2022)
  • K. Hovnanian Homes, Phoenix, Arizona, Regional In-House Legal Counsel (2014-2021)
  • Gallagher & Kennedy, PA, Phoenix, Arizona, Partner (Shareholder) (1988-2014)
  • Wentworth & Lundin, Phoenix, Arizona, Partner (Shareholder) 1978-1988

Representative Matters

  • As regional in-house legal counsel for a top 10 publicly owned, national homebuilder, worked on all legal aspects of land acquisition and home construction, including but not limited to acquisition, financing, land banking, joint development agreements, governmental agreements, contracting and homeowner associations.
  • Represented major homebuilders and developers as outside legal counsel.
  • Represented a title insurance company in connection with responding to claims on title insurance policies, creatively solving claims and related problems and engaging in litigation as necessary.
  • Represented a developer in a $282 million acquisition and financing of land, the third largest real estate transaction in Arizona history, and in subsequent master planning and resale of parcels.
  • Represented a land banker in numerous rolling option transactions involving multi-million dollar acquisitions of property, construction of infrastructure, and creative option arrangements.
  • Represented a collection of family businesses in a $100 million transaction with major oil company involving properties with significant mineral deposits in multiple states, necessitating sophisticated and unique purchase, lease, financing, option, partnership, development and regulatory concepts, documents and solutions.
  • Participated in negotiating, creating, structuring, drafting, evaluating, revising, supervising, advocating, implementing and defending an untold number agreements and documents, frequently in particularly complex and sophisticated business transactions, with authorship ranging from individual effort most of the time to collaborative authorship as part of multi-state collections of attorneys representing various competing and aligned interests.
  • Developed primary or secondary expertise in a range of legal areas that included: new business formation, finance, real estate development, leasing, land use, natural resources, water rights, zoning, administrative, employment, and construction law and regulation.
  • Worked in various capacities with or on matters before State of Arizona regulatory agencies and departments that have included: Attorney General, State Bar Association, Department of Commerce, Corporation Commission, Department of Environmental Quality, Office of the Governor, Housing, Land, Mines and Mineral Resources, Department of Real Estate, Registrar of Contractors, Department of Revenue, and Department of Water Resources; and before the regulatory boards and departments of numerous cities and counties that have included: Offices of Mayor, City Manager, City Clerk, City Counsel, Finance, Planning and Development and Zoning.
  • Developed good research skills, interests and temperament; and developed problem identification and problem solving skills necessary to work with difficult attorneys, unrealistic clients, and understaffed government agencies to craft win-win transactions and then hold them together when unlikely crises appear with predictable regularity

Publications

  • Contributing Author, Commercial Real Estate Transactions Manual (State Bar of Arizona)
  • Contributing Author, Finding the Uncommon Deal (Wiley)

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • Mr. Durfee has lectured locally before professional and trade organizations regarding transactional law and related matters.