Ballard Spahr has been doing substantial business in recent years helping broker transactions involving commercial buildings in financial distress. Now, in an effort to help clients prepare for an uptick in the real estate market, the firm has formed the Commercial Real Estate Recovery practice.

"We are now seeing transactions that we have not seen in the last three and a half years, and lenders are beginning to lend," said Michael Sklaroff, who leads the firm's Real Estate Department.

Partner Dominic De Simone, who will lead the practice with partners David Barksdale, Jeff Pitcher, and Kelly Wrenn, said signs of recovery are very uneven and occurring in discreet segments such as New York and Washington, D.C.