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Together with his decades-long commercial real estate and finance legal practice, Michael Capaldi’s experience as an entrepreneurial real estate developer has built his reputation as a respected business strategist.

Michael specializes in complex, high-stakes real estate transactions. Through his practice, he has guided financial organizations, institutional and entrepreneurial developers, property owners, and investors through complex asset acquisitions and dispositions, the highly-sensitive planning and entitlement stage of real property development, commercial leasing and leasing strategy, a broad variety of sophisticated equity and debt financings, and challenging workouts and restructurings.

Michael plans, organizes, and manages teams of lawyers, financial analysts, architects, engineers, lobbyists, political strategists, and contractors for the execution of ground-up real-property entitlement and development projects on an institutional scale in diverse California markets.

Michael has deep experience with the negotiation and drafting of financing and credit facility documents, a broad variety of commercial and industrial leases, real property and portfolio purchases and disposition documentation, debt instrument sales and participations, development and land use entitlement strategy, title insurance issues, easements and covenants, loan restructuring and workout documentation, and foreclosure and deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure strategies.

Michael's Relevant Experience

Commercial Real Estate & Finance

Michael’s clients include major homebuilders, office portfolio owners, land development companies, and some of the largest commercial and institutional property owners and operators in southern California. He is known for developing legal and business strategies that accelerate their growth during real estate upturns and allow them to emerge stronger after the inevitable downturns.

Michael’s practice also focuses on commercial leasing, having represented major retail, office, and industrial landlords and tenants. He understands the issues arising in office, retail, ground, agricultural, and build-to-suit leases, both from the landlord’s and the tenant’s perspectives.

Highly valued by Michael’s clients is his work as an entrepreneur and the founder of a real estate development company, which have added to his deep legal expertise a strong, practical business sense unique among even the most experienced attorneys.

Public Policy & Government Relations

Michael is known nationally in politics and government. He served two terms as president of The Lincoln Club of Orange County and is a Chairman Emeritus of that organization. Michael has been active in campaigns for President of the United States, a California state-wide ballot initiative, and Senate and Assembly offices. He has had significant impact on public policy in Orange County, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C.

Michael has appeared in national news reports, including in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Businessweek, and Politico. His own articles have been carried by National Review Online, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, and many other print and online outlets. Michael speaks frequently about business, government, and politics on panels, in debates, and in formal addresses in settings ranging from private forums and legislative bodies to university campuses. Michael has appeared frequently on television in a variety of public policy programs.

Other Info About Michael

Work History

Prior Work Experience

Before joining Frost Brown Todd, Michael was a long-time partner in the Newport Beach, California office of the litigation and transactional firm Spach, Capaldi & Waggaman, LLP, and he was an associate in the Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California offices of the international law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP.


Legal Work Highlights

Select transactional work includes:

  • Organizing and executing development planning and entitlement of three institution-sized multifamily development projects (each ranging from 250 to 330 units) in southern California.
  • Planning, negotiating, documenting, and closing acquisitions and dispositions of residential, office, industrial, hospitality, apartment, condominium, retail, hospital, and medical office building complexes.
  • Planning, negotiating, documenting, and closing many real-property-secured credit facility and loan transactions involving multifamily, office, retail, hotel, industrial, and movie studio projects with CMBS, insurance companies, regional banks, money-center banks, and other institutional lenders.
  • Negotiating and drafting office, retail, solar, agricultural, industrial, and ground leases for major income-property owners and tenants.
  • Planning, negotiating, documenting, and managing staff for the acquisition of a portfolio of commercial real property projects located in four states for two national real estate investment funds.


Law School

University of Southern California, J.D.

Undergraduate School

University of Southern California, B.A.

Bar Memberships

Michael is licensed to practice in the following state(s):


Professional Affiliations

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

California Bar Association

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