Maria Z. Cortes is a real estate attorney in Holland & Knight's Philadelphia office, where she handles all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including the acquisition, disposition, leasing, development and financing of commercial real estate. Employing a zealous and no-nonsense approach to her practice, Ms. Cortes advises institutional lenders in a broad range of financing transactions for multifamily and commercial properties. She also represents owners, developers and investors in the purchase, sale and development of real property from agreement through closing.

Ms. Cortes led the diligence and documentation of securing two broadly syndicated (100-plus lenders) facilities for a publicly traded C corporation, with mortgages encumbering 55 properties (fee and leasehold) valued at approximately $1.7 billion in 16 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming. The transaction, which she handled with several Holland & Knight colleagues, received the Restructuring of the Year Award from The M&A Advisor in 2023.

Utilizing a pragmatic approach, Ms. Cortes negotiates the structuring of leases, modifications and amendments in Chapter 11 bankruptcies and out-of-court restructurings with the goal of improving the client’s asset value. Not afraid of the courtroom, she also represents and counsels landlords in commercial eviction matters.

Ms. Cortes has most recently represented a national drugstore chain and its affiliates in connection with their Chapter 11 bankruptcy and worked with landlords at locations across the United States to amend the client’s leases and reduce their overall debt.

In addition, Ms. Cortes is an alumna of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Pathfinders Program, which consists of more than 300 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners who are committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Cortes was an associate at a national law firm. She previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Julio L. Mendez for the Atlantic and Cape May Superior Court of New Jersey and as a judicial extern to the Honorable Carol E. Higbee of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

During law school, Ms. Cortes was the managing notes editor for the Rutgers Journal of Law & Public Policy.

Community Commitment

Recognized as one of the Top Young Latino Leaders of South Jersey, Ms. Cortes strives to make a difference in the community where she grew up. To this end, Ms. Cortes mentors young people at her former high school in Atlantic City through the American Dream Pipeline Mentorship Program of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ). 

With a commitment toward attorney mental well-being and awareness, Ms. Cortes is the co-chair of the Attorney Wellness Committee for the Hispanic National Bar Association and is the co-chair of the Mental Education & Nurturing Through Engagement Conference for the HBA-NJ.


  • Rutgers Law School, J.D., cum laude
  • Stockton University, B.A., Political Science
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law; Fellow, 2022-2024
  • Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, Trustee, 2019-Present
Honors & Awards
  • Restructuring of the Year ($1B to $5B), 17th Annual Turnaround Awards, The M&A Advisor, 2023
  • 30 Under 35 Top Young Latino Leaders of South Jersey, Front Runner New Jersey, 2022
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), Pathfinder Program, 2022
Spoken Languages
  • English
  • Spanish


Speaking Engagements