- University of Illinois Law School, J.D., 1980
- North Central College, B.A., cum laude, 1977
Bar & Court Admissions
- State of Illinois
As co-chair of the Firm's Real Estate Group, Suzanne concentrates her practice on commercial real estate and related corporate, securities and business planning matters. Her practice includes a particular emphasis on publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). She also has significant experience in both (a) the formation of joint ventures that combine developers and other real estate professionals with institutional financial partners and (b) commercial development, including build-to-suit projects and related financing activities. Additionally, Suzanne’s practice includes experience with Shari’ah-compliant financings, multi-jurisdictional portfolio financings, tax-deferred exchanges, leasing, acquisitions and dispositions. Suzanne also is a member of the boards of several not-for-profit organizations and works with those organizations on a pro bono basis.
In 2012, clients raved to Chambers USA that they have "the highest regard" for Suzanne. She also was selected for inclusion in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.
- Alliance Partners HSP, LLC
- Duke Realty Corp. (NYSE: DRE)
- First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: FR)
- Alliance Partners HSP, LLC
Acquisition and financing of central business district office buildings in Chicago, Charlotte, Nashville and Columbus (Ohio), including, in one instance, the assumption of an ongoing construction project and TIF financing.
Financing of multiple “credit tenant” leases with loans made by institutional investors that fund the loans through the purchase of rated certificates.
Acquisition, financing and redevelopment of distressed commercial properties, include a portfolio of REO industrial/office/distribution properties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Negotiation of $100,000,000 revolving credit facility.
Restructuring of TIC ownership of Midwestern medical office building and refinancing of that property.
- First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc.
Negotiation of company’s primary revolving credit facility.
Coordination and acquisition of an assemblage of 12 contiguous parcels in California for redevelopment for industrial purposes.
Negotiation of numerous single tenant sale and leaseback transactions.
Negotiation of single tenant, 15 year, triple net lease for 692,000 square foot project.
Negotiation of numerous joint venture relationships, together with the acquisition and financing of properties by those joint ventures, some of which acquisitions involved Shari’ah-compliant financing.
- Duke Realty Corp.
Development of lease for utilization in solar leasing project.
Acquisition and development of Northeastern site.
Professional Activities and Honors
- Selected, Real Estate Law, Best Lawyers in America® (2008-2017)
- Selected, Illinois Super Lawyers (2007-2017)
- Ranked, Illinois Real Estate, Chambers USA (2008-2016)
- Selected, Leading Lawyers Network (2004-2016)
- Top Ten Women: Real Estate (2015-2016)
- Real Estate Law: Commercial
- Real Estate Law: Finance
- Top 100 Women Business Lawyers, Women's Edition (2012)
- Member, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)
- Instructor, Advanced Real Estate Transactions, Northwestern University School of Law (2001-2008)
- Barack Ferrazzano Attorneys Named 2017 Illinois Super Lawyers & Rising Stars
- Barack Ferrazzano Recognized by U.S. News Best Law Firms 2017
- Barack Ferrazzano Represents The Shidler Group in $134M Seattle Deal
- Twelve Barack Ferrazzano Attorneys Named 2017 U.S. News - Best Lawyers®
- Chambers USA Recognizes Barack Ferrazzano as Top Illinois Law Firm for 9 Consecutive Years
- Three Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg Partners Named 2016 Top Ten Real Estate Lawyers in Illinois
- Barack Ferrazzano Attorneys Named 2016 Illinois Super Lawyers & Rising Stars
- Barack Ferrazzano Recognized by U.S. News Best Law Firms 2016
- Eleven Barack Ferrazzano Attorneys Named 2016 U.S. News - Best Lawyers®
- Chambers USA Recognizes Barack Ferrazzano as Top Illinois Law Firm For 8 Consecutive Years
- Real Estate Co-Chair Suzanne Bessette-Smith Shines in Leading Lawyers
- Barack Ferrazzano Welcomes New Attorneys
- Three Barack Ferrazzano Partners Named 2015 Top Ten Leading Lawyers in Real Estate
- Barack Ferrazzano Attorneys Named Illinois Super Lawyers & Rising Stars
- Barack Ferrazzano Recognized in U.S. News 2015 Best Law Firms Ranking
- Eight Barack Ferrazzano Attorneys Named 2015 U.S. News - Best Lawyers®
- Chambers USA Names Barack Ferrazzano Top Illinois Real Estate Law Firm For 7 Straight Years
- Barack Ferrazzano Named in U.S. News 2014 Best Law Firms Ranking
- Chambers USA Names Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg Top Illinois Real Estate Law Firm For 6th Consecutive Year
- Five BFKN attorneys named 2013 "Best Lawyers"
- Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg Once Again Ranked Top Illinois Real Estate Firm by Chambers USA 2012
- Suzanne Bessette-Smith named to two Real Estate Top 10 lists by Leading Lawyers
- Eighteen BFKN attorneys named 2012 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
- Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg ranked #1 Illinois Real Estate Firm by 2011 Chambers USA
- Eighteen BFKN attorneys named Top 5% in Illinois by Leading Lawyers
- Seventeen BFKN attorneys named 2011 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
- Thirteen BFKN attorneys named 2010 Leading Lawyers
- Fifteen BFKN attorneys named 2010 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
- Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg ranked #1 Illinois Real Estate Firm again by 2009 Chambers USA
- Thirteen BFKN attorneys named 2009 Leading Lawyers
- Barack Ferrazzano ranked #1 in Illinois Real Estate by 2008 Chambers USA