Practice Areas

Cohen, Salk & Hoffman represents banks, specialized lenders, entrepreneurs, property owners, businesses and business owners, developers, landlords, tenants, and buyers and sellers of businesses. Our major emphasis is real estate transactional work, secured lending and commercial litigation. We work collaboratively on matters that can benefit from varied perspectives. For convenience, we summarize our main areas of expertise as falling within the following areas:


Cohen, Salk & Hoffman advises many small business owners and organizations. We recommend organizational structures, form new entities and prepare shareholder, partnership and operating agreements to allocate the rights and duties of new owners. We have consulted on asset sales and purchases and on many forms of joint ventures and limited liability companies.


Cohen, Salk and Hoffman offers our clients the experience and sophistication of a big firm litigation practice, but without the layers of staffing and overhead that can make litigation prohibitively expensive. We recognize that litigation is usually not our clients’ first choice; often it is not their choice at all. Our primary focus is to help our clients navigate legal and procedural hurdles as efficiently and effectively as possible, always keeping in mind that while litigation is our business, it is not our clients’ business.

We have extensive experience in a wide range of commercial litigation, from simple breach of contract claims, to complex, multi-party or class action litigation. We have experience in breach of contract cases, business torts, partnership disputes, statutory claims, class actions, arbitrations, mediation and appeals. We have practiced in state and federal courts around the country and have represented both plaintiffs and defendants. We also have extensive experience in real estate litigation, including mortgage foreclosures, lease disputes, mechanics lien claims and construction disputes.

Real Estate

Cohen, Salk & Hoffman provides a comprehensive suite of legal services for real property transactions. We represent private and institutional clients needing assistance with acquisitions, leasing, and the drafting of covenants and easements. We have represented developers from beginning to end: acquisition of a site, zoning and special use approvals, construction and mezzanine loan financing, negotiation of construction contracts, syndication and investor financing, organization of joint ventures, preparation of developer entity organizational documents, preparation of condominium documents, compliance with property disclosure laws, leasing and operation of commercial space, and sale or final disposition. Our clients own and manage corporate office centers, shopping centers, medical office buildings, apartments, and hospital and university campuses.

Our expertise with real estate lenders allows us to negotiate loan provisions on behalf of our clients with a true understanding of the lenders’ motives and constraints. On the lender side, we have had an active practice for many years representing Chicago area banks and documenting their commercial loans. It is not unusual for our firm to appear alongside large Chicago law firms on a bank’s list of approved lending counsel.

Secured Lending

Since 1946, Cohen, Salk & Hoffman has enjoyed a substantial practice in representing large and medium-sized banks, finance companies and other financial institutions. The firm has long enjoyed a reputation for lender expertise in the structuring, documentation and closing of commercial loans to businesses. Over much of this time, the firm served as general counsel to the Midwest Association of Secured Lenders, a trade association of over eighty banks and finance companies. We have experience in securing loans with multiple borrowers, senior and subordinate lender positions, and complex cross-default and collateral situations. We also have knowledge of specialized fields relating to commercial equipment lease financing and factoring transactions.

We have developed a significant concentration in mortgage lending. Our clients include lenders and borrowers in connection with construction and permanent loans. Our extensive expertise in documenting mortgage loans for lenders allows us to provide focused assistance to borrowers, since we understand the needs and expectations of lenders. We have also assisted our lender clients in workout situations and represented them during the institution of foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure proceedings.