Ervin Cohen & Jessup Partners Joan Velazquez and Ellia Thompson Among Inspirational Women Award Finalists


Ervin Cohen & Jessup Partner and Co-Chair of the Real Estate Department Joan B. Velazquez and Partner and Chair of the Land Use Department Ellia M. Thompson have been selected as Finalists by Los Angeles Times B2B Publishing for its inaugural ‘Inspirational Women Awards.’

“Joan and Ellia are innovative problem solvers who never lose sight of their clients' goals,” said Co-Managing Partner Barry J. MacNaughton.

Joan represents real estate owners, developers, investors, lenders, contractors and asset managers in connection with a wide range of projects, including the acquisition, financing, development, leasing, management and sale of commercial real estate. Having structured, documented and closed more than one billion dollars of financing transactions over the past years, she guides clients with distressed properties in successfully restructuring existing debt. Additionally, her tax background gives her a competitive advantage when structuring deals so she can increase the net return to her clients.

Ellia concentrates her practice in the areas of land use, planning and zoning regulations, governmental administrative law and local housing laws. Her clients come to her for her extensive experience in land use entitlements, with particular emphasis on zoning and subdivisions, governmental administrative law, community outreach, projects located in the hillside and historical areas and environmental compliance, especially in relation to the California Environmental Quality Act. Ellia also has broad experience in environmental review processes, administrative proceedings and land use litigation.

In 2021, Joan was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a ‘Woman to Watch’, and by Connect Media as a Connect Commercial Real Estate Awards winner. She was also recognized by Best Lawyers in America and SuperLawyers. She received her J.D. from the University of Southern California Law Center where she was a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Justice Otto Kaus.

The Los Angeles Business Journal named Ellia among the “Most Influential Women Attorneys” for the last three years and she's been selected by Southern California Super Lawyer every year since 2013. Ellia was awarded by Connect LA and the Junior Chamber of Commerce for her significant commitments to community service by providing pro bono land use legal services to the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) and its homeless women. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, which supports the many philanthropic and conservation efforts of the Los Angeles Zoo, and she's provided pro bono legal services to several U.S. military veterans, obtaining additional medical services and monetary awards for certain combat veterans suffering from past injuries. Ellia earned her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School.

The ‘Inspirational Women Forum & Awards’ recognizes female business leaders in Los Angeles for their noteworthy success and accomplishments during the last 24 months. The virtual awards ceremony will be held on October 26, 2021 at 1pm.  To learn more about the event, click here.



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