Shareholder | Seattle
Serena’s practice encompasses a vast range of real estate and related business transactions.
Her commercial real estate practice focuses on acquisitions, dispositions, development, construction and leasing. She has structured complex real estate transactions for office, hotel, retail, multifamily and industrial projects across the United States. Her clients include real estate investment trusts, public and private pension plans, tax-exempt investors, developers, and other businesses. She also has substantial experience in the negotiation of purchase and sale agreements, office and retail leases, and joint venture documents. In addition, she provides counsel to clients in multimillion-dollar development and construction transactions involving drafting and negotiating development, design, construction and other related agreements.
Serena has achieved accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as a LEED Green Associate in connection with sustainable development and operation of real estate projects. The LEED rating system is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, constructions and operation of high-performance green buildings.
Serena regularly presents at legal education seminars on real estate development, construction and leasing.
- Washington, 2005
- New York Law School, J.D., magna cum laude (2005)
- University of Western Ontario, B.A.C.S. (2002)
Recognition & Honors
- The Best Lawyers in America - Real Estate Law (2022)
- Rising Rock Star, CREW Elevate Awards (2019)
- Up-and-Coming CRE Attorney, Puget Sound Business Journal (2019)
- John Marshall Harlan Scholar & Recipient of Merit-Based Dean’s Scholarship
- Representation of an equity sponsor, developer, contractor and architect in a $75.5 million joint venture partnership and development, and $45 million construction loan, of multi-family opportunity zone project in Washington.
- Representation of equity sponsor and developer in a $23 million financing of a multi-family project in Washington.
- Representation of a developer in a $33.5 million refinancing of a multi-family project in California.
- Representation of purchaser of a $16 million acquisition and financing of office building in Bellevue, WA.
- Lease of 285,000-square foot office building to national credit tenant in Denver
- Recapitalization and Joint Venture of $105 million multifamily portfolio in Washington and California
- Recapitalization and Joint Venture of $95 million multifamily portfolio in Oregon and California
- Asset Sale and Membership Interest Sale of $53 million design and manufacturing company in Washington.
- Acquisition of $160 million new construction apartment project in Washington, D.C.
- Development of $65 million apartment project in Pennsylvania
- Lease of 75,000 square feet of office space to national credit tenant in San Francisco
- Lease of 30,000 square feet of retail space for national retail chain in Los Angeles
- Participating secured $78 million loan for construction of office project in Seattle
- Membership interest purchase and financing of $50 million apartment portfolio in California and Washington
- Joint venture in $15 million predevelopment project
- Lease of 4,000-square foot restaurant/bar to local chain owner/operator in Bellevue
Professional & Community Activities
- Board of Governors, Washington State Bar Association
- Member, Washington State Bar Association Diversity Committee
- Member, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of Stokes Lawrence, P.S.
- Board Member, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW)
- Co-chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, NAIOP
- Member, Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon Committee, King County Bar Association
- CREW Mentor (2018 - 2019)
- Attorney Mentor-Coach for Mercer Island High School Mock Trial Team (2018 - 2019)
- University of Washington School of Law mock trial competitions, judge
Publications & Presentations
- “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: The Business Case and Positive Effects on Business,” Lawyers Associated Worldwide Annual Conference, Monterrey, Mexico (April 2022)
- "E-Signing in a Virtual World," co-author with Kathleen Burton, blog post, StokesLaw Briefs (March 2020)
- "The LLC Escape Door: The Importance of an Exit Strategy in Your Operating Agreement and the Mechanics of the Buy/Sell," author, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (March 2021)
- “The Time for Change is Now: Developing & Promoting Leaders of Color,” panelist, Women in Legal & Corporate Leadership virtual summit (October 2020)
- “Race and Real Estate: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going?” moderator, NAIOP Washington (July 2020)
- "Proper Usage of Endorsements and Exceptions," co-presenter with Julia Clark, East King County Bar Association Real Property Section meeting (July 2020)
- “Contracts vs. COVID-19: Force Majeure to the Rescue?,” co-author with Eric Robinson, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (March 2020)
- “Co-Tenancy Clauses, COVID-19 and Force Majeure,” author, blog post, StokesLaw Briefs (March 2020)
- "Commercial Real Estate Leasing - The Top 10 Things You Must Know," co-presenter with Erin Howshar, NBI audio presentation (December 2019)
- "Amazon is behind the quick-changing CRE landscape," author, opinion article, Puget Sound Business Journal (August 2019)
- "Real Estate Leases: Negotiating Key Provisions," co-presenter with Erin Howshar, NBI CLE (June 2019)
- "Deal Maker: Connections Meet Success," panelist, 2019 Mentor NAIOP Program Panel Discussion (June 2019)
- "Operating Expenses: Overlooked Concepts to Consider in Triple Net Leases," co-author with Erin Howshar, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (February 2019)
- "Negotiating Triple Net Leases," co-presenter with Erin Howshar, NBI Seminar (January 2019)
- "Avoiding Pitfalls in Construction Lending," co-presenter with Erin Howshar, Client Seminar (September 2018)
- "Youth and Justice Forum," panelist, Heritage University ( June 2018)
- "Hot Button Issues in Negotiating PSAs," co-presenter with Erin Howshar, KCBA Real Property Section (January 2018)
- "The Growing Importance of the 'Continuous Operations' Clause in Retail Leases," author, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (December 2017)
- Retrofitting Office Buildings to Be Green and Energy-Efficient, associate editor, Urban Land Institute (2009)
- “Commercial Real Estate A to Z,” presenter, NBI Seminar (2016)
- “UBIT and REIT Leasing Considerations,” presenter, Client Seminar (2016)
- “Structuring REIT Transactions,” presenter, Client Seminar (2016)
- “Analyzing Lease Issues in the Chain of Title,” presenter, NBI Seminar (2015)
- “Construction and Development Issues” presenter, Client Seminar (2014)
- “Retail, Office and Restaurant Leases: Key Provisions and Warranties,” presenter, NBI Seminar (2013)
Background & Interests
After graduating from law school, Serena was employed at Shulkin Hutton, where she worked with corporate and individual debtors involved in bankruptcy proceedings under Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Prior to joining Stokes Lawrence, she was part of the Real Estate and Capital Markets group at McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren.