On January 14, 30 members of the Young Leaders Group gathered to learn the ins and outs of one of the city’s leading Real Estate attorneys, Belinda Schwartz, Real Estate Department Chair at Herrick, Feinstein, LLP. Belinda described her personal connection to New York City, having been raised and educated in the Upper West Side and an ardent admirer of the city’s architecture. Despite her subsequent career as an attorney on Wall Street, she maintained a personal connection to the built environment, which eventually inspired her to transition into real estate law.
In the intimate setting Herrick Feinstein’s boardroom, Schwartz immediately attracted the attention of the crowded room with her charisma and sincerity. She spoke to the challenges of being a young attorney on Wall Street and the sexist remarks that were prevalent at the time. The conversation soon delved into the stages of a deal using a mock case study of a residential building. The case was presented so that the multi-disciplinary presence in the room all had something to gain including certain things to be aware of in common real estate transactions. “Good communication with your lender is key in the post-closing stages of the deal,” she advised.
Schwartz also shared her views on the state of the market including how globalization and foreign capital have changed the market indefinitely. Clients that would have never ventured into the outer boroughs, she finds, are now interested in the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. “We see tons of movement in Brooklyn and Long Island City but the Bronx and Staten Island are also a part of this now, whereas a few years ago it was a very different conversation,” she added.
Schwartz’s word of advice could not be over-stated: “Work hard. Life is long and you never know who you’ll be working with in the future, so nurture and maintain your relationships. Don’t ever give up. Keep your chin up even in challenging times and introduce your friends and clients to each other and your friends and clients to deals.”