J. Steven Kirkham

Clients with challenging development schedules or complex acquisitions rely on Steve Kirkham to bring their transactions to successful closings. Steve efficiently handles the high-value and high-transaction portfolios for clients that operate hundreds of retail outlets across the country. Despite the heavy development schedules set out by these clients, Steve maintains their timeline and gets the deals done. Described as "unflappable," Steve confidently solves problems with a persistent, yet pleasant style.

Steve is also the top-of-mind attorney for owners and developers of apartment complexes across the country, regardless of whether the project is to acquire new property or assist with complex ownership structures and securitized lending. Steve often oversees his client’s broader legal needs, assisting C-suite executives with corporate finance, litigation management, corporate governance and other matters and supervising multi-disciplinary legal teams.

Steve’s experience includes:

  • Shopping center and retail development, including preparation of reciprocal easement agreements and other shopping center governance documents
  • Acquisition, financing and deal structure of multi-family projects
  • Lease transactions
  • Acquisitions and dispositions
  • Financing, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD transactions
  • Reverse build-to-suit transactions

Best Lawyers recognizes Steve in the area of Real Estate, and he is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Additionally, American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell have selected Steve as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Land Use And Zoning.


  • Member, Nashville, Tennessee, Kentucky and American Bar Associations
  • Member, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

Prior Affiliations

  • Member, Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, 1995-2001
  • In-house Bank Counsel, Dominion Bankshares Corporation


  • J.D., University of Kentucky, 1989
  • B.S., University of Kentucky, 1986

Legal Services

Industries Served

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky

Up Close

In his free time, Steve can be found coaching youth sports, running, cycling or working on a car.