Paul Brest Hall, 555 Salvatierra Walk, Stanford, CA 94305, United States

Date and Time

Thursday, February 8 2018 - 12 PM

Event Details

On February 8th, SPIRE and the Real Property Law Section of the California Lawyers Association co-produced the Seventh Annual REAL Symposium at Paul Brest Hall at Stanford University. Over 160 professionals attended (with SPIRE members and Stanford alumni attending in healthy numbers) to hear a leading climate change scholar discuss the dramatic changes in environmental regulation under the current administration and potential impacts. Our panels of experts discussed innovations in design, construction and the law as solutions to the housing crisis, as well as the “cannabis economy,” including its wide-ranging policy implications and impacts from land use to finance. 

At the conclusion of the program, attendees enjoyed a cocktail networking reception in the courtyard adjacent to Paul Brest Hall.  We look forward to seeing more SPIRE members at the 2019 REAL Symposium and our upcoming events. 

We would like to thank the efforts and participation of the 2018 REAL Symposium Planning Committee:

Elizabeth Youngblood ('91), SPIRE Executive Director; REAl Co-Chair

Christine Gregorak ('90), Real Estate Law Group, LLP; Real Property Law Section Executive Committee Co-Chair; REAL Co-Chair

Ken Whiting ('80), Glaser Weil, LLP

Brenna Moorhead ('92), Goodwin Procter, LLP

Jill Rowe, Cooper White & Cooper LLP

Steven Cvitanovic, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP; Real Property Law Section Executive Committee

Arthur Cirulnick, Venable LLP

Joani Gregorak, Stanford Professionals in Real Estate Member

C. Danny Wang, Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C.

Jonathan Kathrein, Ragghianti Freitas LLP

Mary Kay Kennedy, First American Exchange Company, LLC

Tori Gyulassy (JD '14), Miller Starr Regalia; SPIRE Member

Jeremy Olsan, Perry Johnson Anderson Miller & Moskowitz LLP; Real Property Law Section Executive Committee


The Real Estate and Law (REAL) Symposium is a collaboration of the Real Property Law Section of the California Lawyers Association and SPIRE. Distinguished speakers addressed cutting-edge business and legal issues pertaining to the real estate industry. The REAL Symposium is designed:

  • to provide real estate professionals, academics and government personnel with critical information and perspectives from industry leaders on current and future challenges and trends;
  • to provide real estate attorneys with continuing legal education and a greater appreciation for the context in which legal services are provided; and
  • to provide real estate business professionals with current “best practices” and a greater appreciation for the legal issues involved with their properties, projects, and work.

The REAL Symposium is also designed to provide attendees with an opportunity to ask questions, to engage in meaningful discussions and to network with speakers, other leaders and attendees, both during the Symposium and at the hosted reception that follows.


12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Registration

1:00 PM – 1:15 PM: Opening Remarks: Welcome

1:15 PM – 2:30 PM: Panel I: Fixing the Housing Crisis: Innovations in Design, Construction and Law

2:30 PM – 2:45 PM:Networking Break and Refreshments 

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM: Keynote Speaker: Michael Wara (JD ’06) – Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment; Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy 

4:00 PM – 4:15 PM: Networking Break and Refreshments 

4:15 PM – 5:30 PM: Panel II: The Cannabis Economy 

5:30 PM – 5:35 PM: Closing remarks 

5:35 PM – 7:30 PM: Reception

Panel I: Fixing the Housing Crisis: Innovations in Design, Construction and Law


David Kleiman – President and Co-Founder of D2 Realty Services, Inc.


Martin Fischer – Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University

Eric Baczuk – Designer-in-Residence at Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs

Randy Miller (MS ’03) – CEO of RAD Urban

Bryan Wenter – Shareholder, Miller Starr Regalia

Panel Description:

A combination of forces – including increased gentrification, housing costs outpacing income growth, insufficient new development for projected population growth, lack of affordable housing, and the glacial pace of housing approvals – have led to a “housing crisis.”  Innovations in design, building, and the law are creating efficiencies to help address this crisis.

This panel will be moderated by David Kleiman, President and Co-Founder of D2 Realty Services, Inc., a national real estate development firm engaged in commercial development in Illinois and California.  Randy Miller (MS ’03), CEO of RAD Urban, a modular building company, will discuss  efficiencies gained from modular design; Bryan Wenter, Shareholder at Miller Starr Regalia and formerly City Attorney and Assistant City Attorney for the City of Walnut Creek, California, who will discuss the laws currently in place in California governing the residential building permitting process, as well as new legislation to promote efficiencies in residential building; Martin Fischer, Stanford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy, whose research goals include improving the productivity of project teams involved in designing, building, and operating facilities and who will offer his perspective on the importance of design and construction innovation; and Eric Baczuk, Designer-in-Residence at Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, a company dedicated to the creation of walkable mixed-use cities, and to driving down housing costs through innovations in construction methods and building design.


Keynote Speaker: Michael Wara (JD ’06)

Mr. Wara is a lawyer and scholar focused on climate change and energy policy. As Director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at the Woods Institute, Mr. Wara provides fact-based technical and legal assistance to policy makers engaged in the development of novel climate and energy law and regulation. Mr. Wara also facilitates the connection of Stanford faculty with cutting edge policy debates on climate and energy, leveraging Stanford’s energy and climate expertise to craft real world solutions to meet these challenges.  Mr. Wara’s legal and policy scholarship focuses on carbon pricing, energy innovation, and regulated industries. He collaborates with economists, engineers, and scientists in research on the design and evaluation of technical and regulatory solutions to climate and energy challenges. Mr. Wara is also an expert on international environmental law, with a particular focus on the ozone and climate treaty regimes.

Mr. Wara will be addressing the recent wildfires that have devastated both Northern and Southern California, their increasing recurrence and danger, and the overall impact on land use and real estate.


Panel II: The Cannabis Economy


Arthur Cirulnick – Partner, Venable LLP


David Dinenberg – Founder and CEO of KIND Financial

Morgan Paxhia – Founding Partner, Poseidon

Kara Ward – Venable LLP Legislative and Governmental Affairs Group

Douglas Rosenburg – Business Leader, Philanthropist, Cannabis Investor

Panel Description:

The cannabis industry is poised to inject nearly $70 billion on an annual basis into the American economy by 2021. At the same time, the new U.S. Attorney General is a hard-line anti-pot crusader whose positions – that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”, that marijuana poses a “very serious threat” to our society, and that federal prohibitions on its production, sale and use should be enforced –  represents a reversal of the Obama administration’s policies, creating  uncertainty for the future of Big Pot.  This panel, moderated by Art Cirulnick, head of Venable LLP’s cannabis practice, will discuss the challenges of operating, banking, investing, advertising and fund raising in the cannabis economy.  Our panel of cannabis industry leaders includes: David Dinenberg, founder and CEO of KIND Financial, the leading experts in finance, marketing and regulatory technology related to the cannabis industry; Morgan Paxhia, founding partner of Poseidon, a private equity fund investing exclusively in the cannabis industry; Kara Ward, an attorney in Venable’s Legislative and Governmental Affairs Group based in Washington D.C., formerly with the US Department of Treasury, who provides policy analysis and strategic advice for cannabis clients; and Douglas Rosenburg, a well-known San Francisco developer, turned philanthropist and cannabis investor.