Clifford J. Risman



Cliff Risman is a veteran real estate lawyer who represents companies that develop, own, operate, and finance hotels and resorts around the world. As co-chair of the firm's Hospitality & Leisure Industry Team and a member of the Real Estate Practice, Cliff is described by clients in Chambers USA as “very practical and always accessible.” Clients choose Cliff over competitors because he speaks the language and fully understands every aspect of their business — from securing capital, structuring deals, and negotiating management contracts, to guiding clients through labor, tax, food and beverage and operational matters and disputes.

Cliff represents luxury and boutique hotel and resort owners, developers, brands, operators and management companies, private equity firms, family offices, and other investors in their highest profile projects around the world.

He understands how to best tackle the various agreements that arise in real estate law, he knows the hospitality industry and its unique business and economic issues, and he has guided clients through many complex development, acquisition, financing, and operating matters, receiverships, workouts, and dispute resolutions. Cliff ensures that clients are protected, focuses intently on their broader business goals, and knows how, where, and when to push to get the deal done as quickly as possible.

He also represents leading marketing, technology and other vendors and service providers that provide important services to the hospitality industry and has represented the following clients throughout the United States and abroad:

  • Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Archtower Capital
  • Belmond Hotels (f/k/a Orient Express)
  • Brook Partners
  • Canyon Equity
  • Capella Hotel Group (f/k/a West Paces Hotel Group)
  • Caydon USA
  • Centurion American
  • Colony Capital
  • Coury Hospitality
  • Gencom Group
  • Grupo Inmobiliario Mosa 
  • Grupo Posadas
  • Hall Group
  • HCW Development Company
  • Hines
  • Hixon Properties
  • HN Capital Partners
  • Hudson Advisors
  • Invited (f/k/a ClubCorp)
  • KSL Capital Partners
  • Lone Star Funds
  • LW Hospitality Advisors
  • Morgans Hotel Group
  • Mosaic Real Estate
  • Nexus Luxury Collection
  • NYLO Hotels
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts 
  • Revolution Resorts
  • Ryman Hospitality (f/k/a Gaylord Entertainment)
  • Spire Hospitality 
  • Texas Central Partners
  • Traditions Management
  • Vail Resorts
  • Veritex Bank
  • Westdale Real Estate

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, International Society of Hospitality Consultants
  • Member, Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys
  • Member, Global Alliance of Hospitality Attorneys
  • Director and Past President, Hospitality Industry Bar Association
  • Member, Urban Land Institute
  • Member, State Bar of Texas
  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Member, Real Property Section
  • Member, Dallas Bar Association
  • Member, International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate
  • Member, The Real Estate Council

Community Involvement

  • President and Chairman of the Board, Dallas Contemporary Museum
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dallas Art Fair Foundation
  • Co-Chair, Tribute to Fallen Heroes

Honors & Awards

  • Honored, Anthony G. Marshall Hospitality Law Award, presented by (2018)
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of:
    • Leisure and Hospitality Law (2013-2024)
    • Real Estate Law (2013-2024)
  • Recognized, Chambers USAAmerica’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Tom Wicker ed., Chambers & Partners)
    • Leisure & Hospitality (Nationwide) (2009-2023)
    • Real Estate (Texas) (2009-2015, 2018)
  • Recognized, The Legal 500 United States
    • Real Estate (2013)
  • Recognized, Texas Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters business, as published in Texas Super Lawyers Magazine
    • Real Estate (2003-2017)
  • Recognized, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ system


  • Syracuse University College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 1984)
  • Syracuse University Whitman School of Management (B.S., magna cum laude, 1980)


  • Texas (1984)

Representative Matters

Showing of
Foley represented Cacique Hotel La Penca in the negotiation of the first Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts property in Costa Rica. Cacique Hotel La Penca is the developer of a large mixed-use resort including several hotels and residential developments in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, which is located on a peninsula with unobstructed ocean views. Waldorf Astoria Guanacaste (expected to open in 2025) will offer 190 guest rooms and 25 Waldorf Astoria-branded residences. Foley attorneys Cliff Risman and Dan Bachrach handled the negotiations with Hilton on all aspects of the Branding and Management Agreement and Residential Marketing License Agreement. In addition, the Foley team negotiated a separate broker and marketing agreement with the selected real estate marketing firm. Cacique Hotel La Penca is a cross border joint venture with multiple US-based and international groups including Revolution Resorts.
Represented an opportunistic private investment manager in providing rescue capital to, an acquiring a controlling interest in the owner of a luxury boutique hotel as well as the negotiation of a new management agreement for the hotel and the repositioning and rebranding of the hotel and preparations for the re-opening of the hotel.
Represented a family office in the formation and capitalization of a new experiential boutique hotel brand and management company as well as related brand intellectual property protection work and the two initial management and branding transactions for existing hotels in Mexico.