Harriet Tabb


Practice Groups

Harriet Tabb has worked in the area of retail and mixed-use development for nearly 30 years. Almost all of her new clients have hired her after being across the table from her, the greatest compliment any lawyer can receive. They like her extensive knowledge and experience and her reputation as being “tough, but fair.” They also appreciate her familiarity with non-legal issues that arise in retail and mixed-use development.

With broad knowledge and experience at the intersection of retail, mixed-use, real estate, and law, Harriet’s work creates enormous value for her clients. Unlike many lawyers, she is able to give development planning help that saves money and misery. In fact, many property/shopping center management and owner-developers prefer to hire her early in a project so that she can provide smart and proactive counsel. Her lease negotiations result in clearly-written leases that both protect her client and help make the landlord and tenant relationship run smoothly. And her planning and drafting can save money. She saved one client more than $100,000 in late-delivery fees based on her well-written force majeure clause (if you can believe it) and another client much more than that by recommending a specific way to structure loan documentation.

She has represented commercial landlords of both established and new shopping centers and mixed-use developments. She generally handles her projects alone or with one associate and a paralegal. In the retail sector, Harriet observes that business is coming back strong, having weathered the 2008 downturn, lingering concerns about consumer confidence, and retailer fears concerning competition from on-line sales.

In 2014, Harriet was elected as a fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), the premier organization of real estate practitioners in the United States. Selection for ACREL is based on peer nominations followed by a rigorous screening process to identify lawyers with strong practices, positive reputations, and a demonstrated commitment to improving the practice of real estate law. In addition, Harriet is an adjunct professor at SMU Dedman School of Law, where she teaches “Real Estate Transactions” with Susan Mills Cipione, also at MCS.

Representative Experience

  • The sale of a long-term shopping center client that was featured in the Wall Street Journal as the “Deal of the Week.”
  • The development of one of the first and most successful mixed-use developments in Dallas.
  • The successful efforts of a large city in Texas to bring retail to its downtown area.
  • The re-development of a shopping center into a large mixed-use development.
  • And, not to leave the tenants out, representing a national retailer in its East Coast expansion.


  • J.D., Stanford Law School, J.D., 1985
  • B.A. in History, Emory University, B.A, 1981 (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)

Honors and Distinctions

  • Adjunct Professor at SMU Law School, teaching “Real Estate Transactions” in the Spring of 2016 term (team teaching with Susan Mills Cipione of McGuire, Craddock & Strother, P.C.)
  • Elected a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, Class of 2015
  • Elected to the 16-member governing body of the Real Estate Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, the largest of the State Bar sections.
  • AV Preeminent by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 1997 – 2016
  • Legal Leaders/Top Rated Lawyers, ALM and Martindale-Hubbell, recognized 2013 – 2016
  • Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, published in Texas Monthly, 2005 – 2007

Speaking and Writing

  • 2014 – Co-Author, Winning Ways in Commercial Real Estate: 18 Successful Women Unveil the Tips of the Trade in the Real Estate World
  • 2014 – Particularly-Problematic Use Issues in Retail Leasing (“Permitted” Use; Continuous Operation; Exclusives and Radius Restrictions; and Co-Tenancy) (Advanced Real Estate Law Course)
  • 2014 – Who is Going to do What by When: The Lawyer’s Role in Drafting Construction Agreements for Commercial Lease (Advanced Real Estate Drafting Course)
  • 2014 – Bringing Order out of Chaos:  The Lawyer’s Role in Drafting Construction Agreements (Advanced Real Estate Drafting Course)
  • 2012 – Bringing Order out of Chaos:  The Lawyer’s Role in Drafting Construction Agreements (Jim Wallenstein’s breakfast group meeting)
  • 2011 – Bringing Order out of Chaos: The Lawyer’s Role in Drafting Construction Agreements (Bernard O. Dow Leasing Institute)
  • 2009 – Struggling Tenants: A Landlord’s Guide to Evaluating and Responding to Requests for Modification or Termination of Leases (Bernard O. Dow Leasing Institute)
  • 2007 – Short But Not Sweet: The Landlord’s Subordination Agreement (The University of Texas’s Mortgage Lending Institute)
  • 2007 – Real Estate Strategies Program (panel discussion, sponsored by the State Bar of Texas)
  • 2001 to Present – Planning Committee (The University of Texas’s Mortgage Lending Institute)
  • 2000 – Updating the Landlord’s Retail Lease Form (Advanced Real Estate Drafting Course)
  • 1997 – Moderator of Leasing Panel (Advanced Real Estate Transaction Course)
  • 1996 – Mock Negotiation of Commercial Real Estate Leases (CLE International)
  • 1996 – Negotiating Subordination, Non-disturbance, and Attornment Agreements: Lender and Tenant Perspectives (Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Lease Conference)
  • 1995 – Subordination, Non-disturbance, and Attornment Agreements from the Tenant’s Point of View (Advanced Real Estate Law Course of the State Bar of Texas and Advanced Real Estate Law Course, University of Texas School of Law)