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Deirdre Carson has more than 30 years of experience as a New York City land use attorney. She has represented developers, real estate investors and educational institutions in land use and zoning matters, with associated environmental quality reviews, before the City’s Department of Buildings, City Planning Commission, Board of Standards and Appeals, City Council, Landmarks Preservation Commission, and Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Deirdre has represented many property owners and developers in negotiating development rights purchase and sale agreements, preparing ZLDAs and other associated documentation for such transactions, including construction license agreements. She has obtained multiple rezonings to permit new residential use at higher densities with affordable housing. She has represented investors and developers in the acquisition and development of warehouse and distribution facilities.


  • Land use and zoning
  • Real estate litigation (Article 78 proceedings)



  • Represented a New York City developer in multiple approvals for construction of 4 residential towers with 1.5 million square feet on a site on the East River waterfront.
  • Represented numerous developers in obtaining special permits for adaptive reuse of landmarked loft buildings in lower Manhattan.
  • Represented multiple developers in obtaining rezonings to permit construction of new residential uses with affordable housing at higher densities. 
  • Represented a national retailer entering the New York City market in obtaining Department of Buildings interpretation of Zoning Resolution to permit broad spectrum of accessory services with principal store use.
  • Represented a national retailer in obtaining site plan approvals under City waterfront regulations on 400,000 square foot parcel.
  • Represented a national retailer in obtaining approval of a 40,000-square-foot store on Broadway in SoHo.
  • Represented New York City property owner in obtaining permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to demolish two contiguous non-contributing
    buildings in a historic district.
  • Represented a private university in obtaining land use approvals for a Master Plan for the development of 2.3 million square feet of residential, academic and dormitory space
    on the university’s Manhattan campus.
  • Represented a private university in connection with rezoning portion of its campus to permit construction of a 1500-space consolidated parking facility.
  • Represented a private university at the New York State Court of Appeals in vindicating university’s right to maintain a 400-foot antenna tower on its campus.
  • Assistant to Mayor Edward Koch, 1979-1981

Recognition & Leadership

  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Real Estate - Litigation, 2017 and 2022
  • Team Member, Chambers & Partners USA Real Estate Law Firm of the Year, 2010, 2013, 2017-2018 and 2022
  • Team Member, City & State, "Top 50 NYC Lobbyists," 2021  
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Real Estate - Land Use/Zoning, 2021-2023     
  • Team Member, a Law360 “Environmental Practice Group of the Year, 2022
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2007-2019
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Environmental Law, 2016
  • Team Member, a U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, "Law Firm of the Year" in Real Estate Law, 2015
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Real Estate Practice Group of the Year," 2011-2013, 2015, and 2022
  • Team Member, The Legal 500 United States, "Top Tier" Firm in Real Estate, 2013 and 2014
  • Listed, AVENUE magazine "Legal Elite," Real Estate, April 2011
  • Listed, Arrive magazine "Top Women Lawyers in the Northeast," 2011
  • Listed, Real Estate New York "Women of Influence," September 2009
  • Recipient, Arthur Vanderbilt Award for Service, New York University
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5.0

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Member, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
    • Land Use and Zoning Committee, 1991-1994; 2000-2003; 2021-Present
    • Real Property Committee, 1988-1991
    • Environmental Law Committee, 1996-1999
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
    • Real Property Section, 1982-present
    • Environmental Law Section, 1992-present
  • Member, ULI Housing Council, 2021-Present


  • J.D., cum laude, New York University School of Law, 1976
    • Order of the Coif
  • B.A., cum laude, Harvard University, 1972
    • Radcliffe College
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • French