In a Q&A with co-managing partner Robert Steeg, Steeg Law’s newest partner, Margaret Glass, discusses why she decided to become an attorney, who has mentored her along the way and what she finds rewarding about practicing law.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a lawyer? Tell us about the path that got you to that point. Were there any specific individuals who gave you counsel or guidance along the way?
A: I have always been a bookworm, and therefore, a career in reading just made sense. Chuck Stern was my primary mentor as a young lawyer right out of law school, when I worked for Steeg Law as a litigator before my career took me to Houston for a time. I cannot think of a better lawyer to learn from. He always maintained the highest ethical standards and set an example of how a respectable attorney should behave, even while working on challenging cases or with difficult people.
Q: What do you think that you, the bookworm, would have done as a career after college, if you hadn’t gone to law school?
A: In true bookworm fashion, I probably would have become a librarian; I love libraries and bookstores!
Q: Long ago, you were a litigator. You changed to transactional work, and it obviously works well for you. What attracted you to transactional work?
A: I like the idea of working together with opposing counsel to achieve the common goal of the parties, whether that is to close a sale, lease a space or create a company. Even though disputes still come up on the transactional side, I enjoy trying to find practical solutions that can meet the needs of all parties involved. I also love that our clients’ projects often create jobs and otherwise positively impact the community.
Q: Steeg Law is a small firm, a “boutique” firm as some would call it. What do you see as the advantages of this kind of firm, and why does that appeal to you?
A: The group at Steeg Law is truly like a family. Most of our attorneys and staff have been at the firm for many, many years, and you can really feel that everyone at the firm is deeply invested in our clients and each other. As I was learning to do transactional work, it was also invaluable to have easy access to the senior lawyers here at Steeg Law, who have decades of experience to share.
Q: What are the aspects of your law practice that you find most rewarding or fulfilling?
A: Nothing is more rewarding than an email or a call from a client thanking us for our hard work after a deal closes. Beyond that, I really enjoy my relationships with others in the industry and the positive impact our clients’ projects often have on the local community.
Q: Are there any specialties or concentrations within the overall real estate/business field that you feel that you particularly excel in, or particularly enjoy?
A: I am fortunate to experience a great variety of work within the transactional real estate field. I love putting together a deal from purchase agreement to due diligence to closing to opening the space for business. This involves traditional transactional work such as preparing sales, leases and mortgages, but we also get to provide land use, construction and property management guidance. In our condominium practice, we also get to prepare condominium documents and create the regime on the front end, and then we will often assist the association in actually running the condominium on the back end. The variety really keeps things interesting.
Q: Do you have any thoughts about the role of women in our field of law – real estate and business transactions. Are there more and/or better career opportunities for woman in this field than in other areas of law practice? What difficulties or problems have you encountered in our field of law?
A: My personal experience has been that this field is friendly toward women and that women are thriving in this space even though men still seem to outnumber women. My participation in groups like Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) has allowed me to connect with so many unbelievably talented women in this field, and the work I see these women do is always of the highest quality. I think the primary difficulty for women in this space is making it to the highest positions (CEOs, equity or managing partners, etc.) while also balancing the challenges of life outside of work, but I am seeing more and more women in my age group with these kinds of goals, which is encouraging.