Frank J. Cerza


Frank J. Cerza is a partner in the New York office of Lewis Brisbois and is chair of the Italy Practice and a vice-chair of the Commercial Lending Practice. His practice focuses on corporate and real estate business transactions and commercial finance. Mr. Cerza represents American and Italian companies and individuals in cross-border transactions between the U.S. and Italy in connection with mergers & acquisitions, corporate and real estate transactions, commercial contracts, employment, privacy, tax, economic development and regulatory, litigation, and intellectual property matters. In addition, he serves as outside general counsel to Italian and international companies doing business in the U.S. and assists American companies in their business endeavors in the U.S. and Europe.

Mr. Cerza’s experience includes business and strategic planning, joint ventures; formation of U.S. companies and partnerships; acquisitions and sales of businesses, financial restructuring and work-outs, leasing and sales of retail stores, offices, showrooms, and other commercial properties; land use and regulatory, and negotiation of contracts of employment, sales representation, distribution, franchising, and licensing.

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • Corporate
  • Real Estate & Land Use
  • Italy Practice
  • COVID-19: Contracts & Force Majeure

Additional Experience


New York

New Jersey

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey


  • American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, Representative for the State of New York
  • Italy-America Chamber of Commerce of New York, Director and Vice President
  • Italy-America Chamber of Commerce of Texas, Director National Italian American Foundation, Member

Awards & Honors

Received honors from VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired for his pro bono work dedicating more than 100 hours of legal services to assist VISIONS, at the VISIONS Manhattan Advisory Board Awards Ceremony hosted by AIG, September 22, 2016. 

Professional Presentations

  • Workshop leader, “The Clash of the Clauses - Which Clause Controls? Avoiding Inconsistencies in Documents,” International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference, Virtual Conference, 2020.
  • Workshop leader, “Maintenance and Repair Obligations under Commercial Leases,” International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference, San Diego, California, 2019.
  • Speaker, “Economic Development Incentives and Investing in the United States,” Conference for Members of the Ordine dei Commercialisti Monza e Briana at the Italian Trade Commission, New York, New York, October 2018.
  • Roundtable leader, “Economic Incentives and Retail Development.” International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference, Orlando, Florida, 2018.
  • Speaker, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gross Sales, But Were Afraid to Ask” International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2017.
  • Speaker, “Attracting Foreign Investment into the United States,” Conference for Members of the Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori Commercialisti, New York, New York, November 2016.
  • Workshop leader, “Don’t Get Burned on the Boilerplate,” ICSC Law Conference, Hollywood, Florida, 2016.
  • Speaker, “Key Sublease Issues to Consider When Downsizing Your Business,” ICSC Law Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, 2015.
  • Panelist, First Annual Fashion Law Society CLE, Villanova University School of Law, 2015.
  • Workshop leader, “Navigating Commercial Sublease Clauses,” ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, 2014.
  • Discussion leader, “Negotiating Commercial Leases in Mixed Use Projects,” ICSC U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, 2013.
  • Panelist, “Retail Issues”, Real Estate Forum - A Market Update, European American Chamber of Commerce, New York, New York, 2013.


Villanova University School of Law

Juris Doctor, 1980

University of Pennsylvania

Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, 1977

Published Opinions

  • “Leasing Retail Stores in New York City,” Expect Focus International, 2017
  • “Using Independent Sales Representatives to do Business in the United States,” Expect Focus International, 2016 
  • Co-Author, “TTIP’s Impact on U.S. and EU Trade Relations,” Expect Focus International, 2015
  • “Navigating Commercial Lease Assignment Provisions: Tenants Beware,” Pepper Hamilton, 2013