Amy M. Williams leads the Williams Legal Advisory Group, LLC as its remaining founding member, and current managing member. In September of 2008, Amy left big law firm practice to pursue her vision of combining her transactional and litigation experience into a unified practice, and launching WLAG as a small, specialized law firm that would serve the needs of primarily commercial real estate and construction clients. In advancing those objectives, since 2008 Amy has continued to build the firm and, among other things, created a niche practice for herself, often acting as “outside in-house counsel” for various clients. In that role, she has counseled clients in the operation, leasing, construction and redevelopment of their real property assets and provided risk and asset management guidance for their portfolios of commercial properties throughout the United States.
These roles, while legal, are often deeply entrenched in operational concerns given the wrap-around approach and breadth of Amy’s representation of many of the firm’s clients. She has developed an understanding, unique among commercial real estate and construction lawyers, of the day-to-day operations of commercial properties, business and investment goals of clients, property management policies and procedures, and in-the-field construction realities associated with the ownership and administration of large commercial projects. This experience includes assisting clients as they navigated restructuring, reorganization, and repositioning during economic downturns associated with both the 2008 recession and the COVID-19 economic crisis, as well as advising clients in connection with tenant bankruptcies and other insolvency actions and liquidation and wind-down events.
Amy first began her career in commercial real estate in the mid 1990’s at a boutique Chicago law firm before moving to New Jersey and working at what is now Sills Cummis & Gross, in Newark, where she was involved in the acquisition, leasing, and disposition of commercial real property, as well as the real estate aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Thereafter, Amy transitioned to a litigation practice at the firm now known as Riker Danzig in Morristown, New Jersey, litigating a wide variety of real estate and construction-related disputes, before returning to a transactional practice when she joined the New York City office of the firm, now known as Eversheds Sutherland, representing clients in the leasing, acquisition, financing, and development of commercial real estate.
Amy served as a judicial law clerk to The Honorable Katharine S. Hayden, U.S.D.J., and a judicial intern to The Honorable Harold A. Ackerman, U.S.S.D.J., both of the District of New Jersey. For four years, Amy served on the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts and under Amy’s direction, Williams Legal Advisory Group has been certified since 2010 as a women-owned business enterprise by both the State of New Jersey and State of New York. Amy has been a course lecturer at Rutgers University School of Law – Newark, is an accredited continuing legal education instructor, and is a regular panelist, speaker, and articles author on topics ranging from real estate, to bankruptcy, to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Amy is a member of the American Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is admitted to practice in New Jersey, and has appeared pro hac vice in various state and federal courts throughout the country.
Barbara A. Schwartz focuses her practice on all facets of commercial leasing, with a particular emphasis on retail and office leasing. She is critical to the comprehensive leasing objectives of the firm’s national real estate clients, providing a seamless and strategic platform for their leasing processes and pipeline. Barbara drafts and negotiates leases and related agreements for both landlords and tenants of shopping centers of all sizes, mixed use developments, free standing sites, and office buildings. Her representation starts with advising clients on letters of intent and term sheets, continues through the drafting, negotiation, and final documentation stages of leasing, and goes beyond that to tracking lease term progression and advising clients on premises build-out, lease administration and property management, lease enforcement, and tenancy exit issues. Barbara also advises clients in the coordination of their leasing efforts with overall asset management and operational activities such as property repositioning and redevelopment, phased renovation, construction, and relocation of tenants. Although Barbara primarily focuses her practice on commercial leasing, occasionally Barbara will be involved in transactions relating to the acquisition, disposition, or financing of real property.
Prior to joining the firm, Barbara worked for several regional, national, and international law firms for nearly twenty-five years where she represented a wide variety of clients, advising them on business and legal matters relating to their real estate holdings and interests. Specifically, Barbara spent nearly six years working in the New Jersey office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, where she represented both landlords and tenants in office and retail leasing transactions and acted as lead leasing counsel for a shopping center landlord’s redevelopment of a regional mall in southern California. Barbara also worked at three law firms in New York, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, Stroock Stroock & Lavan, and Cyruli Shanks Hart & Zizmor, where she represented major metropolitan New York City landlords in their office and retail leasing transactions, tenants in leasing transactions, and purchasers and sellers of commercial properties, as well as conducted closings for multi-property and portfolio transactions. Barbara began her legal career following law school (and returned for a second four-year stint later in her career) at what is now Sills Cummis & Gross in Newark, New Jersey where she represented landlords and tenants in office and retail leasing transactions and purchasers and sellers of commercial property, including shopping malls, as well as conducted title reviews and advised clients and conducted closings in connection with a multitude of real estate transactions.
Before attending law school, Barbara earned a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University and worked as a land use planner at T&M Associates, a major planning and engineering consulting firm in Middletown, New Jersey. Prior to that, she received her undergraduate degree from Colgate University.
Barbara is a member of the American Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association. She is admitted to practice in both New Jersey and New York.
Tracy M. Nilmeier is a non-attorney Real Estate Specialist with the Williams Legal Advisory Group, whose years of business, accounting, and real estate asset management experience complement the legal background of the firm’s real estate and construction lawyers. Tracy’s unique perspective, as a former client of the firm, brings an insider’s view and understanding to each project, transaction, and document on which Tracy works. During her time with the firm, Tracy has become a valuable member of our team, assisting with the documentation and roll-out of a portfolio-wide electric vehicle charging station installation program throughout the Northeast United States by a publicly-traded REIT client of the firm, contributing to the firm’s real estate and leasing practices, and providing valuable insight into the operational priorities of real estate owners, managers, and developers.
Prior to joining Williams Legal Advisory Group, Tracy had been promoted from analyst, through associate, to vice president at a national real estate asset management firm, where she was responsible for the strategic execution of asset business plans and the coordination of both internal and external leasing, operations, construction, and capital markets teams, including the management of third-party vendors providing property management, leasing, accounting, construction, lending, and marketing services. Tracy had also been directly involved, in a lead capacity, in the disposition of both retail and office projects, negotiating, as a business counterpart, complex purchase and sale agreements and escrow agreements, and facilitating closings. She also provided oversight of asset management functions across 4.8 million square feet of value-add retail and mixed-use projects, creating and managing detailed and dynamic proforma underwriting and financial models, used for both investment and valuation purposes, as well as prepared, assessed, and approved operating, capital, construction, and leasing budgets, as well as multi-tenanted cash flow projections. From this background, now at Williams Legal Advisory Group Tracy is able to provide deep and profound insight and understanding to the firm’s representation of its real estate and construction clients, particularly when we provide wrap-around, operational representation for the stabilization of distressed assets or during the redevelopment of properties in transition.
Tracy has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Accounting from Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business.