Robyn Minter Smyers
Robyn is a member of Thompson Hine's Executive Committee, as well as the former Cleveland office Partner-in-Charge, and the former Chair of the firm's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative. She is a partner in the firm's Real Estate, Construction and Corporate Transactions & Securities practice groups. Robyn’s practice focuses on commercial real estate and corporate transactions, particularly shopping center, urban redevelopment, multifamily housing, manufacturing plant, distribution center, hospitality and public-private-partnership (P3) deals. Her forte is coordinating complex transactions, particularly multi-site, multi-state acquisitions and divestitures and ground-up developments. Her practice also focuses on counseling corporations on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives, real estate strategies, dispositions of environmentally contaminated assets, facilities management and domestic sourcing and procurement transactions. Robyn brings a commitment to efficiency and predictability through value-based pricing and legal project management to her representation of leading public and private companies.
Robyn was honored as the 2018 Black Professional of the Year by the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation. She is included on numerous lists of top lawyers, including the Lawyers of Color 2020 Power List, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America©. According to Chambers USA, Robyn is a skilled negotiator and “thoughtful, creative and smart.”
In 1995, Robyn clerked for Justice Albie Sachs on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. From 1991 to 1992, she was a Benjamin Trustman Traveling Fellow in South Africa, where she worked for Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
- Leading numerous client relationships with global and U.S. public and private companies, including supervising the delivery of multi-disciplinary legal services.
- Advising a NYSE-listed national real estate company for over 20 years in connection with corporate governance and restructuring transactions and dozens of office building, shopping center, apartment and mixed-use developments.
- Advising a NYSE-listed public company in connection with contribution of over 40 assets to an innovative joint venture real estate investing platform.
- Advising a NYSE-listed public company on over 50 acquisition and disposition transactions involving more than 150 properties over nearly 20 years.
- Counseling global and national companies on real estate strategies and risk management best practices, including designing processes for the disposition of complex, environmentally contaminated assets.
- Advising clients on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.
- Representing a NYSE-listed S&P 400 U.S. retailer and a NASDAQ-listed S&P 500 U.S. retailer in connection with the development of 1 million sq. ft. distribution centers across the U.S.
- Serving as legal advisor to the Cleveland Innovation Project, a public-private partnership involving 150+ business, entrepreneurial, institutional and non-profit leaders working to create a technology-focused innovation hub/campus.
- Serving as legal advisor on community impact projects, such as the redevelopment of Cleveland’s Public Square, the $270 million Hilton Downtown convention center hotel and Shaker Heights’ Van Aken District.
- Coordinating and guiding the development of contract forms and playbooks for supply agreements, tolling agreements, servicing agreements, purchase agreements, letters of intent and leases.
- Counseling a NYSE-listed real estate company in the ground-up development of a community shopping center, including negotiating site development agreements with multiple national retailers and drafting development agreements with a municipality regarding tax increment financing.
- Representing a global manufacturing company in connection with the sale and separation of operating plants, including negotiating complex plant separation agreements and reciprocal easements.
- Advising a leading private multifamily housing developer on the creation of a real estate private equity fund.
- Representing an institutional lender in the sourcing of leasing and property management functions for more than 400 properties.
- Representing a NYSE-listed lodging REIT in the restructuring of a $400 million hotel lease portfolio.
- Counseling a NYSE-listed REIT in connection with the acquisition of numerous shopping centers involving CMBS loan and life company loan assumptions.
- Representing a leading global investment bank on commercial loans, including whole loans, mezzanine loans and bridge loans.
- “Personal View: In the next room,” Crain’s Cleveland Business, June 2020
- “What Developers Must Know About New Ohio Brownfield Law,” Law360, August 2020
- “New Ohio Law Provides Legal Protections to Brownfield Developers,” Thompson Hine Real Estate & Environmental Law Update, June 2020
- “Engaging the Community, Inspiring Change: The African-American Philanthropy Summit,” Kaleidoscope Magazine, 2014
- "Gallery Celebrates Anniversary with WPA Show," The International Review of African American Art, 2001
- "A Museum Grows in Brooklyn," The International Review of African American Art, 2001
- "Remaking the Past: The Storytelling Tradition in Contemporary Black Art," The International Review of African American Art, Fall 2000
- "The Changing Market for Legal Employment: What Will Employers, Clients, and Society Want from Law Graduates," Panel Discussion, Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and The University of Akron School of Law, February 19, 2021
- "My Way or the Highway, or Meet Me Halfway Hotly Contested Letter of Intent and Purchase Agreement Issues” ICSC Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania Retail Development and Law Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, February 2020
- “Deal or No Deal: The Most Hotly Contested Provisions in PSA Negotiations,” ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, San Diego, CA, October 2019
- “Tips and Traps: Navigating Loan Assumptions in Today’s Choppy Waters,” ICSC OH,KY,IN,MI,PA Retail Development & Law Symposium, Columbus, March 2018
- "Picking Your Battles: Efficient And Effective Purchase And Sale Agreement Negotiations," U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, San Antonio, TX, October 2017
- “Let’s Make a Deal! The Market for Shopping Center Sales and Sticking Points in Negotiations” ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, October 2015
- “Cleveland on the Rise: Public and Private Financing Tools for Development Projects,” Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, November 2014
- “Baskets, Floors and Ceilings, Are We Negotiating a Deal or Decorating a House?: Key Negotiating Points in Shopping Center Purchase Agreements,” ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, Orlando, October 2014
- "Going Once, Going Twice...Selling Real Estate at Auction," ULI Cleveland, Cleveland, March 2013
- "Going Once, Going Twice...Sold – But What Did You Just Buy? Issues in Auctions and Distressed Asset Sales," ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, Orlando, October 2013
- "Going Once, Going Twice...Auctions and "Loan-to-Own" Acquisition Strategies – Gambling or Smart Investing?", ICSC Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania Retail Development and Law Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, March 2012
- "TechnologyforLawyers.com," ICSC Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania Retail Development and Law Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, March 2011
- "Outparcels: Basics and Beyond," ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, San Diego, January 2008
- "The In's and Out's of Outparcels," ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, Orlando, October 2006
- "Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Gain: Selling Shopping Center Outlots and Excess Land," ICSC Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan Retail Development and Law Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, April 2005
- "Basic Real Estate Transactions," Professional Education Systems Institute, Cleveland, March 2005
- "Real Estate Lending Requirements and Loan Documentation in Ohio," Lorman Education Services, Cleveland, September 2004
- "Leasing Basics - Pitfalls in Boilerplate," ICSC Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan Retail Development and Law Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, March 2007
- Panelist, “The Growth of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in Philanthropy: Are we setting investment standards as a driver for corporate giving? Are we considering the sustainability and social impact of our investments?” African American Philanthropy Summit sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation, April 30, 2022
- "4th Annual Next Generation of Women," presented by The Sherwin-Williams Company, March 2021
- "A Conversation on Women and the Future of Leadership," Cuyahoga Community College, March 2019
- “The Benefits of Non-Profit and For–Profit Board Service: How Can Service at Each Level Contribute to Your Professional Development?” Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity/Tau Boulé, Professional Development Series, September 2018
- “A Celebration of Women’s Leadership,” Flora Stone Mather Center for Woman at Case Western Reserve University, March 2018
- “Carry As You Climb,” Thompson Hine's Spotlight on Women, March 2018
- “Carry As You Climb,” CBRE Cleveland and E&Y Cleveland – Professional Women’s Network Event, January 2018
- “Executive Speaker Series,” Friends of the Cleveland Public Library, September 2015
- “Women of Note,” Sound of Ideas on Ideastream, July 2015
- “Leadership and The Next Generation,” Crain’s Women of Note Summit, July 2015
- “Women of Excellence,” Executive Caterers Corporate Club, March 2015
- Reflections on “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg,” Women in Leadership Symposium, September 2013
- "Visiting Museums with Kids," Warner Girls' Leadership Academy, Cleveland, February 2013
- "Leading with Confidence," Warner Girls' Leadership Academy, Cleveland, January 2013
- "Tips for Success," WMACCA Diversity Reception, Washington, DC, May 2012
- "Impactful Diversity Strategies," Eaton Vehicle Group Global Diversity Conference, Cleveland, December 2011
- "Pipeline to Leadership," 21st Century Leadership Forum, Cleveland, June 2010
- "The Next Big Thing, a New Vision for the Region," Thompson Hine's Spotlight on Women, Cleveland, May 2010
- "What Partners Can Do to Keep Minorities and Women in Their Law Firms," CSU Third Annual Diversity Management Conference, Cleveland, May 2010
- "Embarking on a Diversity/Inclusion Initiative," Invacare Diversity Council, Cleveland, April 2010
- "Managing Life, Work and Family ... Dispelling the Myth of the Superwoman," 8th Annual Women of Color Conference, University of Akron, April 2010
- "Work/Life Demands - Striking a Balance," Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce/KNOW Meeting, Akron, Ohio, July 2008
- Honored as the Black Professional of the Year by the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation, 2018
- Recipient of AJC (American Jewish Committee) Cleveland 2021 Richard H. Adler Community Leadership Award
- Recipient of 2021 Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award on National Philanthropy Day from Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Cleveland Chapter
- Named to Lawyers of Color 2020 Power List
- Listed in Savoy magazine’s “Most Influential Black Lawyers,” 2015 and 2018
- Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Real Estate, Ohio, 2015-2022
- Recognized as a Woman of Achievement by the YWCA of Greater Cleveland, 2016
- Selected as an Acritas Star, a “client-nominated, stand-out lawyer”
- Named to the 2018 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America list
- Listed in “The Power 100 – Northeast Ohio’s Most Influential CEOs, Politicians & Civic Leaders,” Community Leader magazine
- Received the Del de Windt Leadership Award for Civic Engagement, The First Tee of Cleveland, December 2015
- Selected for Crain's Cleveland Business "Women of Note," 2015
- Included in the Inside Business "2014 Power 100 List" of the 100 individuals who most influence Northeast Ohio's economy
- Selected for Crain's Cleveland Business "Who to Watch in Law," 2014
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2011-2022 for Real Estate Law
- Listed in Legal 500 in Real Estate, 2014-2021
- Selected to the Top 25: Women Cleveland Super Lawyers list, 2022
- Selected to the Ohio Super Lawyers list, 2013-2022
- Selected to the Ohio Rising Stars list, 2007, 2009
- Honored with the Ohio Leadership Excellence Award from the National Diversity Council, 2013
- Received a Woman of Professional Excellence Award from the YWCA of Greater Cleveland, 2006
- Selected as a member of the Kaleidoscope Magazine 40/40 Club, Class of 2003
- American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), member, 2013 to present
- International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), member
- ICSC Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania Retail Development & Law Symposium Planning Committee, member, 2007 to present; co-chair, 2012; lead co-chair, 2013
- Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, member
- City Club of Cleveland, board member, 2010 to present; board president, 2018-2021
- The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, board member, 2009 to present
- The Codrington Foundation, board member, 2016 to present
- Cleveland Foundation African-American Philanthropy Committee, member, 2012 to present
- The Links Incorporated, Western Reserve (OH) Chapter, member, 2012-present
- KnowledgeWorks Foundation, board member, 2020 to present
- The Treu-Mart Fund, board member, 2020 to present
- Case Western Reserve University President's Commission on Student Success, member, 2020 to present
- The George Gund Foundation, board member, 2012 to 2017
- Cleveland Foundation, Strategic Planning Committee, 2020-2021
- Cleveland Heritage Medal Selection Committee, 2020 and 2021
- Center for Population Dynamics, Cleveland State University, 2015 to 2019
- Museum of Contemporary Art - Cleveland (MOCA), board member, 2010 to 2017
- Leadership Cleveland, member, Class of 2016
- The Sherwick Fund, board member, 2012 to 2015
- Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University, member, Advisory Committee to Albert A. Levin Chair of Urban Studies, 2001 to 2011
- Shaker Heights Economic Development Task Force (previously Economic Development Committee), citizen member, 2001 to 2011
- Campaign for Issue 6 (Cuyahoga County Reform), co-chair, 2009
- Cleveland Housing Network, Inc., secretary and board member, 2001 to 2006
- Cleveland Bridge Builders, member, Class of 2003
- Karamu House Inc., board member, 2001 to 2003
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