Cullen, Dan

Daniel F. Cullen

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Daniel Cullen has over 20 years of experience in tax planning for structured real estate transactions, related fund formation, and securities law matters. Mr. Cullen is viewed as a leading professional in the taxation of real estate funds, REITs and related structures. Chambers USA recognizes his contributions as REIT counsel. Mr. Cullen serves as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law, teaching the Taxation of Structured Real Estate Transactions. In addition, Mr. Cullen has served as a REIT columnist for the Journal of Passthrough Entities and has received industry recognition for his work relating to Section 1031 like-kind exchange matters. Mr. Cullen is a member of the Firm's North American Tax Practice Group Management Committee and previously served as Chair of the Firm's Chicago Tax Practice Group.

Practice Focus

Mr. Cullen has experience in all aspects of structuring inbound and outbound real estate projects, including: REIT transactions (UPREIT, Down-REIT, internalization and REIT-DST private offerings), real estate investment funds, leveraged partnerships, joint ventures, QOZ funds and Section 1031 structures such as tenancy-in-common arrangements and Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) offerings. In addition, he handles tax matters related to lease financings of real estate, cell towers and other equipment, synthetic lease structures and the related tax aspects of derivatives and financial products.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Special tax counsel to Griffin Capital in connection with REIT self-administration and merger transactions between Griffin-American Healthcare REIT III, Griffin-American Healthcare REIT IV and their respective external advisors in connection with the formation of American Healthcare REIT, a USD 4.2 billion REIT. 

  • Special tax counsel to Griffin Capital Essential Asset REIT, Inc. in connection with USD 1.2 billion stock-for-stock acquisition of Cole Office & Industrial REIT (CCIT II), Inc.

  • Counsel to Resource Real Estate, LLC and C-III Capital Partners, LLC in connection with REIT self-administration and merger transactions to create a USD 3 billion REIT.

  • Special tax counsel to Unity (Nasdaq: UNIT), a publicly traded REIT, in a tax-free spinoff of select telecommunications network assets from Windstream Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN) and subsequent REIT tax opinion and related lease transaction matters.

  • Special tax counsel to NexPoint Hospitality Trust / Highland Capital in connection with structuring and tax opinion for public REIT listing on TSX Venture Exchange.

  • Special tax counsel to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) in pre-paid master lease transaction of 9,100 cell towers to public REIT operator, Crown Castle International Corp., for USD 4.85 billion.

  • Special tax counsel to Griffin Capital, as external advisor, in connection with Northstar Realty Finance Corp.’s acquisition of Griffin-America Healthcare REIT II, Inc. for approximately USD 4 billion in cash and stock.

  • Counsel to Griffin Capital in connection with REIT self-administration and merger transactions with Griffin Capital Essential Asset REIT, Inc.

  • Counsel to Griffin Capital in connection with DST equity private placement and CMBS debt financing for commercial real estate, coupled with UPREIT call option component and PILOT structure for local property tax purposes.

  • Counsel to major Boston real estate fund in connection with private REIT-blocker structure.

  • Counsel to major Chicago private capital company in connection with numerous DST structures and offerings.

  • Counsel to Griffin Capital Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund, L.P, in connection with fund formation, private placement offering and related tax opinions, finance matters and each of the Fund's project joint ventures.

Professional Honors

  • Chambers USA, Recognized Practitioner in REITs (2021)
  • Legal 500, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), 2020
  • Listed, Top 25 OZ Influencer and Counsel, Opportunity Zone Magazine, 2020
  • Listed, Opportunity Zones Power 100 List, 2019
  • Outstanding Service Award, Institute for Portfolio Alternatives (IPA), for REIT and section 1031 tax reform efforts, 2018
  • Best Panel Award, An In-Depth Look at DSTs and UPREITs at the 2013 ADISA Annual Conference

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Alternative & Direct Investment Securities Association (ADISA) - Past Vice-Chair, Legislative & Regulatory Committee
  • American Bar Association - Member, Section on Taxation and Real Estate
  • Chicago Bar Association - Past Chairman, Federal Tax Committee Partnerships and Pass-through Entities Division
  • Institute for Portfolio Alternatives (IPA) - Past Director, and current Co-Chair, Policy, Regulatory and Legal Affairs Committee
  • National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) - Member


  • New York~United States (2013)
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims~United States (2000)
  • U.S. Tax Court~United States (2000)
  • Illinois~United States (2000)
  • U.S. Court of International Trade~United States (2000)
  • Ohio~United States (1998)


  • New York University School of Law (LL.M. Taxation) (1998)
  • American University, Washington College of Law (J.D., cum laude) (1997)
  • State University of New York (B.A., magna cum laude) (1994)


  • English


Co-author, Taxation of Securities Transactions, Mathew Bender (legal treatise covering a comprehensive explanation of income taxation of securities, including REITs) 

Co-author, "Externally Advised REITs Take Notice: IRS Ruling Sanctions Overlap Between Eligible Independent Contractors and Hospitality REIT Managers," Real Estate Taxation (publication pending, 2020)

Co-author, "ROFO Payment is Held as REIT Qualifying Income," Journal of Passthrough Entities, January-February 2019

Co-author, "UPREITs: Vertical Slice Guaranty Agreements," Journal of Passthrough Entities, September-October 2017

Co-author, "The ABCs of DSTs Revisited – Rev. Rul. 2004-86 at Ten Years," Real Estate Taxation, 2nd Quarter 2015