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Real estate law, business leaders explore California’s future

Kaitlyn McQuown • May 4, 2023
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Leading experts address industry trends at the 2023 Real Estate Law and Business Forum

Stan Kasten

The USC Gould School of Law 2023 Real Estate Law and Business Forum drew hundreds of real estate professionals to hear from Stan Kasten, CEO and president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as other industry experts, to explore real estate trends and changes due to recent legislation.

“Unraveling the Many Challenges Facing California Real Estate,” a one-day continuing legal education event, took place March 2 at the Jonathan Club in Downtown Los Angeles as well as online.

In his luncheon keynote, Kasten outlined the principles that guided his development of a winning baseball team after taking over leadership of the Dodgers in 2012, and how those principles can apply to successful companies.

“The first focus was our team, the second was our stadium experience and the third was our community relations,” said Kasten. “If you’re running a company, it’s the same three things: it’s your product, it’s your customer, it’s your brand. If you focus on those three things, you’re going to succeed no matter what your business is.”

The forum began with a comprehensive overview of the current state of the real estate economy, including the recent trend of businesses relocating from California.

In “True or False: California Is Becoming More Business Friendly?” Brian Brennan, executive director of 21st Century Alliance, said the top-tier talent in cutting-edge industries is what keeps businesses here.

“It’s the dynamism of this place,” said Brennan. “If you’re talking about these industries that are going to really drive the future and determine the future — not just of California but the country — that’s still happening here. I don’t see that changing.”

Panels throughout the day focused on the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles and highlighted the need for collaboration between service providers, real estate developers and legislators to create affordable housing.

G. Michael Arnold, president and CEO of The Midnight Mission on Skid Row, explained the importance of understanding how these entities interact.

“We have to understand how these systems work before we start drawing conclusions around success and failures, particularly when the ultimate solution for homelessness is housing,” he said. “If there’s no housing for people to go into, how are any of these other programs going to achieve success?”

Concurrent breakout sessions throughout the day offered attendees a deeper look into shifts in real estate, including how commercial real estate is adapting to hybrid and remote work, the impact of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and new developments in adaptive reuse.

The Real Estate Law and Business Forum, founded in 2003, is widely recognized as Southern California’s premier gathering of real estate professionals. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the forum is a leading platform for industry experts to discuss local and national issues shaping the real estate landscape.

USC Gould School of Law offers continuing legal education opportunities for professionals who want to learn and network with leading experts in their industries. A fixture of the Los Angeles legal community since 1948, USC Gould Continuing Legal Education hosts six annual conferences for professionals at every level to learn from, and network with, the biggest players in entertainment, estate planning, business, tax and intellectual property. To learn more, visit or subscribe at – and follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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