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CGS3 Attorneys Recognized in Legal System’s Preeminent Guide

August 19, 2021 Cheryl Nieman Brechlin, Craig Swanson, Dana Schiffman, Fernando Landa, Marjorie J. Burchett, Phil Jelsma, Ray Gliner, Robert “Bob” Bell, Sean Gaffney, Thomas Crosbie CGS3 Team


Phil Jelsma Named “Lawyer of the Year” in The Best Lawyers in America 2022

SAN DIEGO (August 19, 2021) – Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson LLP (CGS3) partner Phil Jelsma has been selected by his peers as a San Diego Lawyer of the Year for Tax  Law in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. In total, nine CGS3 partners – Robert J. Bell, Sean Gaffney, Fernando Landa, Tom Crosbie, Marjorie J. Burchett, Ray Gliner, Jelsma, Dana Schiffman and Craig Swanson – are featured in this latest edition of Best Lawyers.  Additionally, associate Cheryl Nieman Brechlin was recognized in the second edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® for Real Estate Law in Los Angeles.

A prestigious national ranking of attorneys selected through an exhaustive peer-review process, Best Lawyers® releases rankings annually.  

CGS3 attorneys have consistently been recognized in this high-profile source for legal referrals. This is the 15th year Bell has been listed under Real Estate Law and his 10th year in the Construction Law category, while Jelsma and Schiffman have been featured under Tax Law and Real Estate Law, respectively, for 12 years. This is the fifth year for both Crosbie and Gliner to be listed in the Real Estate Law section, the fourth year for Swanson, and the second year for Burchett in that same category.  Additionally, 2022 marks the first year that Gaffney and Landa has been featured in the publication – both highlighted under Real Estate Litigation.

Brechlin is also a new honoree, marking the first time CGS3 attorney has been recognized in the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch publication.

Best Lawyers® is the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed publication in the legal profession. Because of the exacting methodology involved, the annual ranking is regarded as the industry’s definitive guide to legal excellence. For three decades, Best Lawyers® has become a resource for both lawyers and clients looking for top legal talent.

Each of the recognized attorneys has extensive experience in commercial real estate and tax law:

  • Bell focuses his practice on real estate development/construction, investment and brokerage matters. His career spans the spectrum of real estate development, investment, construction and brokerage matters including multi-family, urban infill, mixed-use, hospitality, industrial, retail, office and land transactions.
  • Brechlin represents developers, property owners, homebuilders, businesses, institutional investors, and tenants in complex transactional real estate and corporate matters with a focus on retail, office, and industrial leasing, purchase and sale transactions, debt and equity financing, construction, and development.
  • Burchett specializes in mixed use, urban infill, master planned communities and condominium developments, with particular experience in subdivision processing with the California Department of Real Estate.
  • Crosbie has extensive experience in a broad variety of commercial real estate areas, including acquisitions and dispositions, financing, leasing and construction in connection with commercial, residential, industrial, retail and mixed-use projects for local, regional and national real estate developers and investors.
  • Gaffney has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in all phases of trial work and alternative dispute resolution relating to California real estate law, including distressed asset workouts, claims arising from failed real estate transactions and development projects, and landlord/tenant disputes.
  • Gliner has represented landlords in various complex lease provisions, including lease takeover provisions, extensive overlapping expansion and contraction rights, and build-to-suit work letter/construction and related commencement date issues.
  • Jelsma is chair of the tax practice team at CGS3. He is widely recognized as one of the state’s leading joint venture and tax attorneys, with a 30-year background in real estate exchange transactions, syndications, nonprofit corporations and international tax planning.
  • Landa specializes in the acquisition, development, financing, leasing and disposition of commercial real estate assets with unique expertise in distressed real estate workouts. He has represented a variety of institutional and entrepreneurial owners and lenders in the financing, leasing, purchase and sale of hotels, office, industrial, retail, and mixed-use developments. 
  • Schiffman is well-versed in a wide range of acquisition, development, leasing and financing matters for a variety of commercial real estate projects. His experience includes large portfolio sales, development agreements, CC&Rs, complex ground leases, build-to-suit leases and anchor retail leases. 
  • Swanson specializes in the acquisition, disposition, development, leasing and financing of commercial and mixed-use projects, with clients including some of the nation’s leading real estate companies.


About Best Lawyers

Since 1983, Best Lawyers® has compiled lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting extensive peer-review surveys in which thousands of top lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. Because attorneys do not pay a fee for the listing, Best Lawyers® has gained respect as the country’s most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. In addition to the print version, Best Lawyers in America® is posted online at

About Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson LLP (CGS3)

CGS3 is a new generation commercial real estate law firm with practice areas covering the full commercial real estate life cycle, including finance, acquisition/disposition, entity formation, tax, development, land use, leasing, distressed asset workouts and dispute resolution. Earning a reputation as one of California’s leading commercial real estate law firms, CGS3 has recruited some of the state’s top real estate attorneys from both large corporate firms and senior in-house positions. CGS3 is located at 12750 High Bluff Drive, Suite 250, San Diego, California 92130 and 10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2200, Los Angeles, California 90024. For more information, visit


Media Contact:
Sydnie Moore
(619) 823-8448