Melissa Copley is a vice chairman in Newmark Knight Frank’s Chicago office. Since 1988, Ms. Copley has specialized in tenant representation with expertise in managing corporate and law firm client relationships, portfolio strategic planning and negotiating large, complex transactions. Her rigorous and strategic processes are designed to achieve meaningful cost savings, a wide range of flexibility, brand identity and other high-value results for her clients. As a result of decades of client portfolio work, she is known in real estate markets across the U.S., where she has demonstrated strong leadership skills and beneficial transactions for her clients throughout her career.
Ms. Copley’s distinguished clients have included several AmLaw100 law firms: Baker & Hostetler, Foley & Lardner, Fox Rothschild, Jones Day, Katten Muchin Rosenman, McDermott Will & Emery, Seyfarth Shaw and Squire Patton Boggs, several of which were multiple assignments or portfolio relationships. Ms. Copley currently represents both McDermott Will & Emery and Seyfarth Shaw across their portfolios. Her corporate clients have included GATX Corporation, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, UnitedHealth Group, Sprint and thyssenkrupp. Her transaction experience includes a wide range of sizes up to 500,000 square feet. Ms. Copley also leads portfolio strategic planning and provides workplace strategies and metrics for her portfolio clients, which has resulted in tremendous cost savings and other benefits. Ms. Copley has completed $3 billion in real estate transactions.
Ms. Copley began her career in 1983 at Citibank N.A., pension funds, in New York City. She then moved into venture capital in Chicago. She studied for her MBA at night at Northwestern University while working full time. In 1988, she was recruited by LaSalle Partners, now JLL, where she became an equity partner and international director. She was the leader of JLL’s largest tenant representation team (35 people), which closed assignments totaling more than 20 million square feet, and she chaired JLL’s law firm practice. In 2005, she founded Copley Advisors, a company that provided strategic advisory and transaction services to corporate and law firm clients, which she led for five years. In 2010, she merged her company with a 20-office real estate portfolio services company, Mohr Partners, where she was a managing partner of the downtown Chicago office. She also led the firm’s law firm practice. In 2014, Ms. Copley joined Newmark Knight Frank.
Ms. Copley has been an industry speaker at numerous conferences, including CoreNet Global, Crain’s Chicago Business, Law Seminars International, Executive Women in Corporate Real Estate (EWCRE), Bisnow and the International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate (AECRE). She led the downtown Chicago office panel discussion at the Illinois Real Estate Journal’s Chicago Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference for five years. Ms. Copley has also written about the commercial real estate market for various publications; taught courses, including “Negotiations” at CoreNet Global and “Real Estate Finance” at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management from 1990 to 1992; and lectured in real estate economics at Northeastern Illinois University.
Achievements and Affiliations
- Chairman’s Circle and Top Producer, Newmark Knight Frank, 2017 and 2018
- Most Influential Commercial Real Estate Brokers in Chicago, Crain’s Chicago Business
- Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame, Midwest Real Estate News
- 50 Most Powerful Women in Commercial Real Estate, Bisnow
- CoStar Power Broker
- Hottest Brokers, Commercial Property News
- Founding member, Executive Women in Corporate Real Estate (EWCRE)
- Member, CoreNet Global
- Member, Lambda Alpha International
- Past chairman and board member, International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate (AECRE)
- Member and past president, the Realty Club of Chicago
- Supporter and past corporate board member, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago
Ms. Copley earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a major in finance and marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Michigan. She is a licensed real estate broker in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the states of Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin.