Bernard O. Dow


Bernard Dow, Senior Counsel to the Firm, was one of the premiere real estate lawyers in Texas and the United States. Identified by the Texas Lawyer Go-To Guide as one of the top five real estate lawyers in Texas, the Go-To Guide described Mr. Dow as “The dean of Houston real estate lawyers and a wonderful person,” and praised him as a person of “very high integrity.” Mr. Dow was listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Real Estate Law for 22 consecutive years.

In 2004, Mr. Dow was awarded the University of Texas School of Law Lifetime Achievment Award. When nominating Mr. Dow, the Houston Real Estate Lawyers’ Council described him in the  following manner:


His professional accomplishments and dedicated service to the community and his profession is exceeded only by his universally recognized genteel and civil approach to all with whom he comes in contact. He honors the core values that our legal profession treasures and promotes in living his life and practicing law by way of example through his commitment, integrity, excellence and collegiality.”

The University of Texas School of Law also announced that, beginning in 2005, its continuing legal education (CLE) seminar on real estate leasing would be known as the “Bernard O. Dow Leasing Institute.”

Mr. Dow was elected to the prestigous American Law Institute (ALI) in 1998. ALI bylaws authorize an elected membership of 3,000. This membership consists of judges, lawyers, and law teachers from all areas of the United States as well as some foreign countries, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in the improvement of the law. Less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers are members.

Mr. Dow was the first attorney to receive the Annual Award for Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achievment in Real Estate Law, presented in 2000 by the State Bar of Texas Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section. Mr. Dow was also the first attorney to receive the Annual Award for Texas Lawyer Professionalism, presented in 1994 by the College of the State Bar of Texas. Mr. Dow was Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in commercial real estate and participated in preparing the certification examination given to real estate law specialization applicants.

Representative Matters:

  • Lead counsel for a department store chain, representing the chain in approximately 165 commercial lease matters.
  • Represented a Texas-based Fortune 500 homebuilder in the acquisition of the assets of a major homebuilding company in the Houston metropolitan area.
  • Represented New York Stock Exchange listed pipeline company in conveying national headquarters office building and paying significant cash to national engineering company in exchange for conveyance of engineering company’s Houston headquarters office building.
  • Represented office building developer in acquiring and blocking up approximately 200 separate residential properties in tender offer transaction (involving acquisition of properties, closing of surrounding streets, terminating easements and vacating restrictive covenants) in order to obtain sites for future office buildings.
  • Represented prominent children’s hospital in acquiring site (and receiving option to purchase adjacent property) for construction of children’s health care facility in Texas Rio Grande Valley community in transaction involving application of Texas Local Government Code statutes pertaining to pricing method applicable to property being conveyed by political subdivision and involving municipal government grants for various purposes.
  • Authored form lease contracts for general usage by department store chain (as tenant), shopping center developers (as landlord), and office building developer (as landlord).

Practice Areas: Real EstateBusiness Transactions, Wills, Trusts and Estates.

University of Texas School of Law/Texas Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Lending Institute

  • Leasehold Policies of Title Insurance (2003)
  • Current Commercial Lease Exit Routes: Assignments and Subleases (2002)
  • Texas Business Statutes: Effects of Mergers, Conversions and Share Exchanges – Can Due-On-Sale Clauses and Lease Anti-Assignment Clauses Survive? (1998)
  • Selected Commercial Lease Clauses Relevant to Mortgage Lenders (1997)
  • New Uniform Commercial Code Chapter 2A (1994)
  • Update on Assignments of Rents (1990)
  • Some Miscellaneous Aspects of the 1986 Tax Reform Act Affecting Real Estate (1987)
  • Pre-Foreclosure Considerations (1986)
  • Original Issue Discount and Imputed Interest, Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act – Withholding as it Affects Real Estate Transactions, and Tax Shelter Registration Matters (1985)
  • Assignments of Rents (1983)
  • Drafting Leases to Protect Against Inflation (1982)

Texas Wesleyan University School of Law

  • The New Broker’s Lien Act (2001)

Southern Methodist University School of Law – Real Estate Law: Leases – In-Depth

  • Leases In-Depth: New Statutory Broker’s Lien – Securing Leasing and Renewal Commissions Under the Broker’s and Appraiser’s Lien On Commercial Real Estate Act (2000)
  • Transactions In-Depth: Broker’s and Appraiser’s Lien on Commercial Real Estate Act (2000)
  • Expansion Options and Relocation Provisions in Leases (1999)
  • Assignment and Subletting In A Hot Market (1998)
  • Leases and Brokers’ Commissions (1997)
  • Retail Lease Use Clauses and Exclusives (1995)
  • Conflicts of Interest in Lease Transactions (1994)
  • Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreements (1993)
  • Leases and Brokers’ Commissions (1992)
  • Assignment, Subleasing, Expansion Option, Extension Option and Right of First Refusal Aspects of Commercial Leases (1991)
  • Casualty Damage Provisions in Commercial Leases (1990)
  • Surrender by Operation of Law: Legal Analysis and Suggested Lease Provisions (1989)

South Texas College of Law Annual Advanced Real Estate Law Institute

  • Broker’s Liens and Waivers (2003)
  • The New Broker’s Lien Law: Protecting the Broker/Client (2000)
  • Leases After Foreclosure and Subordination, Recognition and Nondisturbance Agreements (1993)
  • Trends and Update on Real Estate Broker Liability (1989)

State Bar of Texas Advanced Real Estate Law Course

  • Reciprocal Easement(s)/Operating Agreements (1996)
  • Exclusive Use Clauses: Drafting and Enforcement Issues (1994)
  • Selected Issues in Commercial Leasing (1987)
  • Some Selected Aspects of Reciprocal Easement Agreements (1986)
  • Assignments of Rents (1985)
  • Selected Income Tax Aspects of Commercial Leases (1984)
  • Clauses in Shopping Center Leases of Interest With Respect to Financing (1983)
  • Contracts With and Compensation of Real Estate Brokers (1982)
  • Shopping Center Leases: Some Miscellaneous Aspects (1981)

Forum on Renegotiating Major Tenant Leases

  • Some Selected Problems in Shopping Center Leases (1980)
  • Some Selected Problems in Shopping Center Leases (1979)

Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.

  • Commercial Lease Negotiations (1995)

State Bar of Texas Institute for Partnership and Real Estate Tax Planning

  • Selected Income Tax Aspects of Commercial Leases (1986)

State Bar of Texas Advanced Real Estate Drafting Course

  • Drafting and Enforcing the Assignment of Rentals (1995)

State Bar of Texas Legal Assistants Division Advanced Real Estate Law Seminar

  • Real Estate Law Legislative Highlights (1997)

University of Houston Law Center Advanced Real Estate Law Short Course

  • Leases and Lease Workouts (1988)

University of Houston Law Center Seminar on Real Estate Documents, Workouts, and Closings

  • Commercial Leases (1989)

University of Houston Law Center General Practice Institute

  • Commercial Leases (1990)

Houston Association of Realtors

  • Leases and Brokers’ Commissions (1997)

CLE International

  • Tenants’ Claims Against Landlords and Landlords’ Responses (1993)

Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, Houston Chapter

  • Partnership Freezes as an Estate Planning Tool (1983)
  • Some Selected Aspects of I.R.C. §§ 303, 6166 and 6166A (1981)
  • Installment Sales Revision Act of 1980 (1981)
  • Selected Freezing Techniques in Estate Planning (Corporate Freeze Transactions) (1980)

Texas Tech University Financial Analysis for Real Estate Investment Decisions Seminar

  • Selected Real Property Aspects of the Installment Sales Revision Act of 1980 (1981)

National Association of Women in Commercial Real Estate

  • Shopping Center Leases/Clauses (National Convention) (1984)
  • Selected Real Property Aspects of the Installment Sales Revision Act of 1980 (Houston Chapter) (1981)

Houston Bar Association

  • Real Estate Law Institute, Negotiating the Office Lease From Start to Finish (Including Special Aspects of Shopping Center Leases) (1980)
  • Real Estate Law Institute, Recent Developments in Real Estate Law and its Application to the General Practitioner (1978)
  • Real Estate Law Institute, Title Report, Title Policy and Closing (1974)

Houston Bar Association Real Estate Law Section

  • Real Estate Transactions and the Tax Reform Act of 1984 – Imputed Interest and Original Issue Discount Provisions (1985)
  • Shopping Center Leases: Some Miscellaneous Aspects (1982)
  • Some Selected Aspects of Legal Principles Applicable to Real Estate Brokers (1980)

International Council of Shopping Centers – University of Shopping Centers

  • Some Selected Legal and Contractual Aspects of Shopping Center Leases (1978)
  • Some Selected Legal and Contractual Aspects of Shopping Center Leases (1977)

Texas Real Estate Law Reporter

    • Assignments of Rents: Recent Developments, Butterworth Legal Publishers, Austin, Texas, Volume 7, No. 1 [1991] (1991)

Newsletter of State Bar of Texas Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law

  • Partnership Freezes as an Estate Planning Tool (January 1984)
  • Real Property Aspects of the Installment Sales Revision Act of 1980 – P.L. 96-471 (June 1980)


Professional Licenses & Admissions

Honors and Distinctions

Professional Memberships & Affiliations