Mr. Meza is currently a partner and head of the energy practice in the law firm of Halling Sokol + Meza LLP, a boutique law firm specializing in complex and sophisticated real estate, corporate, and project finance transactions, as well as real estate litigation, where he has practiced since October 2006. Mr. Meza is also Petroleum Capital Advisors' general counsel. Prior to joining the firm, he was with the Los Angeles office of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy practicing in the corporate, real estate and project finance groups. He brings his large firm experience to a small firm setting, where he is able to deliver more personalized and cost-effective service to his clients. His clients include real estate investors, operators, developers, hedge funds, lenders, servicers and national credit tenants. His practice encompasses a wide range of property types including gas station and convenience store, renewable energy, multifamily, retail, and hospitality. Mr. Meza received an A.B. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Since 2004, when he represented the buyer of a 50-unit portfolio of gas stations from a major oil company, Mr. Meza has devoted a meaningful portion of his practice to assisting clients purchasing, financing, leasing and selling gas stations, convenience stores and car washes in large portfolio transactions and in smaller one-to-five unit transactions. During this time, Mr. Meza has been involved in the acquisition, disposition and financing of more than 400 stations with a value in excess of $500 million. The stations he has bought and sold are branded Conoco, 76, Chevron, Valero and Shell, as well as jobber owned sites and independents. Mr. Meza also has experience with the delicate issue of de-branding a site and re-branding or taking it independent.
Mr. Meza has handled and supervised all aspects of such transactions including negotiating the purchase and sale agreements, conducting title, survey and contract due diligence, addressing permitting issues, reviewing environmental compliance issues and liquor license issues, and negotiating and documenting the acquisition financing documents. Capital providers in the portfolio transactions have included local banks, Wall Street lenders and private equity firms. Mr. Meza has also assisted a client in organizing a California Finance Lender, who specializes in making loans secured by gas station and C-Store properties.
Having represented buyers, sellers, lenders and borrowers—basically every side of a gas station transaction—Mr. Meza is able to hone in on the issues unique to gas station properties. As such, Mr. Meza and the other lawyers in his firm are able to assist lenders in all phases of the life cycle of a distressed loan secured by a gas station, C-Store or car wash. They can assist a lender prior to the enforcement of remedies by negotiating and documenting a loan modification or a note sale transaction. Should the lender wish to enforce remedies, they can assist with a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or provide guidance through each phase of the complicated California foreclosure process, which can present traps for the unwary. If a lender takes a property back (or has a receiver appointed), Mr. Meza can help with the operation and maintenance of the property by negotiating leases and vendor contracts as well as working with fuel suppliers to help ensure a steady supply of fuel and merchandise. When the lender (or the receiver pursuant to court authority) is ready to sell a property, Mr. Meza can negotiate and prepare the purchase and sale agreement and closing documents, clear due diligence and title issues, arrange for transfer of the liquor license, handle UST registrations, and close the sale.
With the experience and expertise of a large law firm, and the flexibility and lower costs of a small law firm, Halling Sokol + Meza LLP is committed to ensuring that all of its clients, large and small, have access to competent representation, lawyers with business sense, and highly predictable pricing and billing at rates that are reasonable and affordable. One unnecessary expense clients do not have to worry about is an inflated legal fee caused by the bloated overhead typically associated with large law firms. The firm understands that cost matters in even the largest undertakings and is able to keep its fees lower than big law firms because it keeps its overhead low. The result is that clients get the benefit of numerous years of experience in gas station matters, at rates that make sense. In addition, unlike most traditional law firms, the firm doesn't bill all of it's work on an hourly basis. Instead, we talk to our clients and discuss which fee structures work best in any given case. We offer flat fees, capped fees, success fees, hourly, and mixed fees where appropriate.
Wilshire Bundy Plaza
12121 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite1120
Los Angeles, 90025
Matthew S. Meza