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CGS3’s Partners Lauded as Veteran Business Leaders of Influences

November 6, 2023 CGS3 CGS3 Team

Local Publication Honors Steven Otto, Sean Southard

SAN DIEGO – Former U.S. Navy Officers Steven Otto and Sean Southard, both partners with Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson (CGS3), have been recognized by the San Diego Business Journal as Veteran Business Leaders of Influence.

According to the publication, this awards program was launched to honor San Diego’s most influential veteran business leaders, supporting those leaders by acknowledging their contributions and commitment in the local business community.

Both Otto and Southard served as surface warfare offices in the U.S. Navy and each has played an essential role in the continued growth and success of CGS3.

Since founding CGS3 more than ten years ago, Southard has worked tirelessly to establish the firm as a leader among breakout commercial real estate law firms, by recruiting more with thirty legal professionals who work collaboratively in completing some of the highest-profile real estate deals throughout Southern California and the United States.

Following graduation from University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations, Southard was commissioned by the U.S. Navy and served tours in Iraq and Somalia.  Training as a U.S. Naval Officer honed his decision-making skills, judgment, and ability to balance competing priorities and client demands making him well suited for the complex world of commercial real estate law.

Along with being an accomplished business leader, Southard is a top attorney in his field.  Over the past 23 years he has successfully completed major leasing transactions totaling more than 15 million square feet of space across all sectors of commercial real estate, including retail, industrial, and office, with special leasing expertise in life science and retail asset types.

Prior to joining CGS3 as a partner, Otto acted as a senior in-house attorney for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and was associated with several top tier San Diego law firms, including Latham and Watkins and Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps (now Dentons), where he became a partner.

With special expertise in structuring complex transactions, his experience spans the acquisition, development, leasing, licensing and sale of office, industrial and retail portfolios, and mixed-use office/retail projects.

Otto has successfully negotiated numerous master developer and merchant builder agreements as well as private party development agreements for retail shopping complexes and residential developments.  His clients have included international firms and public companies, REITs, developers, and private joint ventures, and he has played a key role supporting one of the largest nuclear power generating sites in the country.

With a unique ability to handle out-of-the-box transactions and special expertise in assisting clients in the energy sector, he frequently draws on his engineering degree from the United States Naval Academy, as well as his military service – which includes two deployments to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield – to develop solutions to complex issues and deal structures.  With keen insight and a wealth of experience, he understands the real estate related legal issues as well as the impact of the operational technology, including the overall economics of the transaction.  His experiences in the Navy have provided him with an ability to focus in dynamic and fast-moving situations and allow him to quickly make sense of the multi-faceted aspects of a transaction.


About Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson LLP (CGS3)

CGS3 is a recognized leader among a new generation of commercial real estate law firms with practice areas covering the entire 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 continues to recruit some of the state’s top real estate attorneys from both large corporate firms and senior in-house positions. For more information, visit