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Biography

Warren “Skip” Kessler is known for his creativity in structuring complex transactions in the real estate space while still “painting within the lines.” Whether a partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, he is able to structure real estate transactions to maximize their tax efficiency for his clients.

His capabilities extend to partnership restructuring and M&A transactions. He is a national expert when it comes to structuring Section 1031 forward and reverse exchanges as well as structuring dispositions where some partners or members want to exchange separately or where some partners or members want to exchange and others want to cash out. Likewise, his expertise extends to the complex California property tax rules. When the Qualified Opportunity Zone statute was recently enacted, he became an expert in that area as well. His expertise also extends to successfully representing his clients in front of the Franchise Tax Board and Internal Revenue Service when they are audited.

Part of why he has been so successful is that he has a deep understanding of the underlying real estate, partnership, limited liability company, and finance issues. His clients include institutions, large real estate portfolio owners, private businesses, and ultra-high net worth individuals.

Skip is a frequent speaker on cutting-edge Section 1031 topics, regularly speaking at high-level national seminars. He has been selected as a Super Lawyer every year since 2006 and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® every year since 2013.

Skip received his A.B. degree in Government from Cornell University and is an officer of his class. He received his J.D. degree, cum laude, from The University of Michigan Law School. Skip is also involved in numerous charitable and pro bono activities. He is a former chair and director of the California Housing Partnership Corporation. He previously served as the General Counsel to Wilshire Boulevard Temple and is now a trustee of the Temple.

He is a founding Director of Genesis Bank located in Newport Beach, California. Genesis Bank is one of approximately 140 FDIC-chartered banks that has been designated by the FDIC as a Minority Depository Institution and the Bank is one of only two MDIs that are minority-controlled. The Bank’s mission includes providing loans and other banking services to the underserved business located in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties and also providing its constituency with financial literacy training.

When Skip is not advising clients, working on his charitable and other pro bono activities, or working on Bank matters, he spends time with his grandchildren. He also collects Bordeaux wine and is a very amateur photographer. He has two classic cars which he supports and occasionally drives. He hopes that in the near future he and his wife, Joan, will be able to resume their national and international travels.

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Founding Board of Directors, Genesis Bank
  • Trustee and Former General Counsel, Wilshire Boulevard Temple Board of Trustees
  • Former Chair and Director, California Housing Partnership Corporation

Awards

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for Tax Law, 2013 - 2022
  • Listed in Southern California Super Lawyers, 2006 - 2022
  • Rated in Martindale-Hubbell: AV Rating of 5.0 / 5.0

Bar Admissions

  • California

Education

  • University of Michigan  (J.D., cum laude)
  • Cornell University