Melissa Copley is a vice chairman in Newmark’s Chicago office. Since 1988, Ms. Copley has specialized in tenant representation with expertise in managing corporate and law firm client relationships, portfolio strategic planning, and negotiating large, complex transactions. Her rigorous and strategic processes are designed to achieve meaningful cost savings, a wide range of flexibility, brand identity, and other high-value results for her clients. As a result of decades of client portfolio work, she is known in real estate markets across the U.S., where she has demonstrated strong leadership skills and beneficial transactions for her clients throughout her career.
Ms. Copley has completed a wide range of real estate transactions, as large as 500,000 square feet, including leases, sale/leasebacks, subleases, assignments, building dispositions, build-to-suits, land acquisitions and dispositions, and incentives agreements. Ms. Copley provides portfolio strategic planning from which workplace strategies and metrics are derived for her portfolio clients. These strategic activities and transactions have resulted in tremendous cost savings (in one case, a $76MM reduction in total occupancy costs over a 15-year lease term by exercising termination under one large lease and relocating under another large, but 33% smaller lease) and other benefits for her clients (i.e. significant concessions packages, contraction and termination rights, rights of first offer and refusal, expansion and renewal options, minimal capital risk and cost containment provisions, interruption of services protection, prominent building signage in some cases where none existed previously, and non-disturbance in the event of landlord default). Her detailed terms letters and lease comments until the transaction is completed ensure the negotiated terms are secured. Ms. Copley has completed $3B in real estate transactions. Ms. Copley has led assignments in over 40 cities worldwide, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia.
Ms. Copley began her career in 1983 at Citibank N.A. in pension funds in New York City. She then moved into venture capital in Chicago, while she studied for her MBA in Northwestern University’s Evening Program. In 1988, she was recruited by LaSalle Partners, now JLL, where she became an equity partner and international director. She was a top producer and leader of JLL’s largest tenant representation team (35 people), which closed assignments totaling over 20 million square feet, and she founded and chaired JLL’s law firm practice, having represented some of the largest law firms in Chicago (examples: Seyfarth, Katten, and Jones Day) as well as Foley nationwide, alongside her other corporate portfolio clients, including GATX Corporation, UnitedHealth Group, and Sprint, among others . In 2005, she founded Copley Advisors, which she led for five years. In 2010, she merged her company with Mohr Partners, where she was a managing partner of the downtown Chicago office and led the firm’s law firm practice. In 2014, Ms. Copley was recruited to join Newmark as a vice chairman in the firm’s Chicago office.
Ms. Copley has been an industry speaker at numerous conferences (CoreNet Global, Crain’s Chicago Business, Law Seminars International, Executive Women in Corporate Real Estate (EWCRE), Bisnow and the International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate (AECRE). She led the downtown Chicago office panel discussion at the Illinois Real Estate Journal’s Chicago Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference for five years. Ms. Copley has written about the commercial real estate market for various publications; has taught courses, including “Negotiations” at CoreNet Global and “Real Estate Finance” at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management from 1990 to 1992; and has lectured in real estate economics at Northeastern Illinois University. Her white paper “How Covid and the Remote Working Explosion Will Impact the Legal Industry” can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-covid-remote-working-explosion-impact-legal-industry-copley
Partial Client Assignment List
- Baker & Hostetler*
- Foley & Lardner**
- Fox Rothschild
- Jones Day
- Katten Muchin Rosenman*
- McDermott Will & Emery**
- Seyfarth Shaw**
- Squire Patton Boggs
- American Steamship
- BlueCross BlueShield of Missouri*
- GATX Corporation**
- The Prudential Insurance Company of America*
- Sahara Enterprises, Inc.
- UnitedHealth Group**
**Strategic alliance, portfolio client
Professional Achievements and Affiliations
- Chairman’s Circle and Top Producer, Newmark
- Most influential Commercial Real Estate Brokers in Chicago, Crain’s Chicago Business
- Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame Award, Midwest Real Estate News
- 50 Most Powerful Women in Commercial Real Estate, Bisnow
- Elite Women of Influence, Tenant Representation, Globe Street
- CoStar Power Broker
- Hottest Brokers, Commercial Property News
- Founding Member, Executive Women in Corporate Real Estate (EWCRE)
- Member, CoreNet Global
- Member, Lambda Alpha International
- Past Chairman and Board Member, International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate (AECRE)
- Member and Past President, the Realty Club of Chicago
- Supporter and Past Corporate Board Member, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago
Ms. Copley earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a major in finance and marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Michigan
She is a state licensed real estate broker in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the states of Illinois, New York, Georgia, North Carolina and Wisconsin.