Friday, August 3, 2007

Knowing your client's business

I wonder how many lawyers think they really know the business of their clients, and how many really do know that business.

I like to think I know the business end of real estate to get by and then some, but I also know there is always plenty to learn. So I try to take time from my schedule to attend business-side meetings when my clients don't mind my doing so. Of course, I don't charge for my time, because I consider it a good education for myself and a way I can add value for my clients down the road. (While clients are usually happy to have me there in any event, it is even more appreciated when they know the meter is not running.)

One of my clients was good enough to let me sit in on a two-hour development meeting yesterday, and it did confirm that the learning curve on the business side of real estate is almost continuous, especially in this field. I learned plenty about pending deals and changing strategies, and I know it will pay off down the road when I have to jump in on a deal and get it done, if for no other reason than (with apologies to Meredith Willson) that I will know the territory. That's my job, and it is fun, though there are times when the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence....