Partner, Barclay Damon LLP
Years in current role: 12
What do you enjoy most about practicing real estate law?
As a transactional lawyer, I enjoy managing complex projects and working collaboratively with a team of lawyers from multiple practice areas (and with other professionals) to overcome obstacles and achieve creative solutions for our clients to bring transactions to timely and successful conclusions.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
Dealing with the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the virtual workplace on working relationships (both within Barclay Damon and with clients and others). I choose to work in my office each day and much prefer actual human interaction. We have all learned to adapt to this new world order and I have become quite proficient at it, but I also believe it hinders our ability to mentor younger lawyers, the exchange of ideas and the sense of camaraderie that is so essential to the practice of law.
What do you see as the biggest changes in real estate law in the next 3-5 years?
The pandemic will continue to shape and change real estate markets. As retail and office sectors are likely to continue to decline and assets become obsolete, owners will be challenged to determine how these assets can be repurposed. Labor and material shortages will continue to negatively impact constructions costs and project completion schedules. The industry will continue to address the effects of climate change through the development of performance-based standards in energy efficiency and zoning and land use regulation. Government support for, and investment in, badly needed affordable housing (a significant part of my practice) will continue. Competition from non-attorney service providers and AI will continue to grow and stress real estate practitioners and the profession.
What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?
I am pleased to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership, a nonprofit lending organization dedicated to the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the Rochester region. Joining the Board of GRHP was a natural extension of my experience working with nonprofit developers of affordable/supportive housing. Since 1985, I have been involved in the music ministry of Corpus Christi (now Spiritus Christi) Church. Music has always been a passion in my life and I’m humbled when I’m able to connect with people in ways far beyond the practice of law.
What is one personal goal you have for the next year?
To stay connected to the very talented lawyers with whom I practice and the clients we serve as we continue to work in challenging times, and to mentor young lawyers and by my example show them the importance of maintaining their humanity (and humor) in an increasingly difficult and demanding profession.