The 2009 Information Management Network's U.S. Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund Investing Forum, the largest gathering of its kind in the nation, will focus on shifting market conditions within the real estate and fund industries. As a recognized leader in distressed real estate law, Ballard Spahr attorneys will play a major role.

Four partners in the firm's Distressed Real Estate Initiative will serve as panelists or session chairs at the conference, which will be held June 11-12 at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Manhattan. More than 1,000 industry leaders, including fund developers, real estate attorneys, investors, and market strategists, are expected to attend. Most sessions will address the opportunities created by distressed real estate and frozen capital markets and the effective management of troubled legacy assets.

"Ballard Spahr was fortunate to have gotten out early with our Distressed Real Estate Initiative, largely because lawyers in our Phoenix and Las Vegas offices saw this coming," said Michael Sklaroff, Real Estate Department chair. "We were ahead of the curve."

Roger Winston, chair-elect of the 30,000-member Real Property, Trust and Estate Law division of the American Bar Association and a partner at Ballard Spahr, will discuss the distressed for sale market. David Barksdale, co-chair of the Distressed Real Estate Initiative at Ballard Spahr, is a panelist for a program on project level workouts. David Pollack, head of Ballard Spahr's national bankruptcy practice, will chair a discussion on distressed retail. John Ruppert, a partner in the firm's Denver office, will chair a session focusing on investor relations.

The Distressed Real Estate Initiative was formed in early 2008 to address the changing marketplace and clients' evolving needs. The firm's 130-lawyer Real Estate Department is a national leader in distressed property transactions, FDIC portfolio and private equity transactions, real estate financing and loan syndications, and bankruptcy. The firm has a dozen offices nationwide, including many in key markets for distressed real estate transactions.