Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick MacQueen and Benjamin Gottlieb.
Firm has grown from 4 to 13 Employee Since Founding in October 2016; Currently Hiring Two More.
When Patrick MacQueen and Benjamin Gottlieb founded their new real estate law firm in October 2016, of course, they expected it to grow. But neither of them had in mind the kind of growth they’ve seen over their firm’s initial 18 months.
“We were optimistic that the market was there for a firm with our skill set,” said MacQueen, who just turned 40. “Ben and I both have a passion for real estate law and thought we’d be able to carve out a niche in the market and make a name for the firm. We just didn’t see it happening quite as fast as it has.”
The numbers are astounding, especially in a market already crowded with real estate attorneys. Since opening its doors, MacQueen & Gottlieb has grown from two attorneys, an office administrator and a paralegal to five attorneys, three paralegals, two law clerks and three support staff. The unprecedented nature of their start isn’t lost on Gottlieb.
“Patrick and I thought there was a space in the Phoenix market for a firm that does things the way we are doing them,” Gottlieb said. “But the growth we’ve realized, and especially the speed at which we’ve risen to the top tier of real estate firms in Arizona, has been well beyond our expectations. We expected to get to these kinds of numbers, but frankly, we saw them being in five or more years into the process. No one realistically envisioned 350 percent growth in the first year and a half.”
In a market the size of Phoenix, law firms are founded daily; there could be a hundred factors that determine which firms take off versus flounder. MacQueen believes the reason for their firm’s success is the attitude of the people in the firm.
“We pride ourselves on being “normal and relatable” human beings who just so happen to have a lot of experience in real estate law,” MacQueen said. “This has translated into clients wanting to retain us as they see us as energetic, approachable and engaging. We speak to clients and their needs, do not have billable hour requirements, and try to do things in non-traditional ways.”
One of the ways that non-traditional vibe manifested itself was in the gifts the two founding partners received from the staff on the firm’s first anniversary. The traditional watches, crystal, or plaques were not even an option – the partners each received a bobble-head doll of himself. And loved them. That says as much about the firm as anything, MacQueen said.
“Our firm just isn’t like most other firms,” he said. “The office is a hybrid between a lounge, a coffee bar and a law firm, which puts our clients at ease. All these factors translate to more clients, which in turn gives us the ability to hire very qualified attorneys and team members.
According to Gottlieb, the firm’s growth shows no signs of slowing. MacQueen & Gottlieb currently is looking to hire more attorneys. “I’d like to see us add two to five attorneys a year for the foreseeable future. I’d see that as a very manageable level of growth for us.”
While they share a vision for the firm’s growth and success, MacQueen and Gottlieb are an example of how two people with the same goal can contribute to their firm’s growth in very different ways, making the final product even stronger. MacQueen uses his experience in both life and the law to grow the firm and groom the staff so that they can control their own destinies while Gottlieb leads more by example, letting his passion for the law and their firm permeate through the firm.
“I enjoy taking the time to actually coach the team members on legal and business issues with the goal to get them where they want to be in their business and personal lives,” MacQueen said. “I would love nothing more than to have my folks here in the firm replace me, be more successful than me and to determine their own futures within the firm.”
Gottlieb, who is a bit younger at 32, is a litigator at heart and sees his passion for the law adding a certain level of fire to the firm. “I’m passionate about my work, and once I take on a litigation client, I am 100% dedicated to getting the best possible verdict for my client,” he said.
“That passion, the conflict, the matching wits and legal knowledge with the opposing side, really fuels me. And that’s part of what will help the firm grow and succeed – when potential clients see the results we’re delivering for our clients.”
As a litigator, Gottlieb has prevailed in each of his cases that have gone to a jury trial, including a 6-day jury trial that concluded in April in which his clients prevailed. He also successfully handled a 2-day bench trial for clients who were awarded significant compensation for a private taking of an easement and prevailed at the Arizona Court of Appeals, affirming a trial verdict obtained in a landlord-tenant case.
Recently, Gottlieb has served as lead counsel in major residential flooding litigation; complex litigation cases involving homeowners’ associations; easement/private condemnation litigation concerning homes in Cave Creek; and commercial landlord-tenant litigation on behalf of the owner of an urgent care facility. He was selected to the Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Stars list in 2017 and 2018. He is also an approved Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE) instructor.
MacQueen’s career has been highlighted by work primarily in the areas of real estate transactional law and real estate litigation. He recently prevailed in several Arizona Court of Appeals matters and one with the Arizona Supreme Court and served as local counsel in the $129 million acquisition of the City North development adjacent to Desert Ridge Marketplace in North Phoenix. He also is admitted to practice law in Michigan and is an approved Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE) instructor.
He was selected to the Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for the seventh consecutive year in 2018. Gottlieb summed up the firm’s growth – and future plans – this way: “If we keep getting the results we’re getting for our clients, and they keep coming our way at the current rate, we’ll need those two to five new attorneys a year just to keep up with the business.”
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
MacQueen: “The toughest thing was resisting the temptation to grow too fast. The opportunity was certainly there as we had plenty of work and qualified people looking to come on board. But we had to weigh the benefits of growth against the need to continue providing the impeccable client service that drew people to us in the first place. I think we’ve done a great job of keeping the growth at a manageable rate while continuing to exceed our clients’ expectations.”
So, as you know, we’re impressed with MacQueen & Gottlieb, PLC – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
MacQueen & Gottlieb, PLC (M&G) is a top ranked real estate law firm. Our skilled and nationally recognized attorneys specialize in four main practice areas: real estate law, litigation, business law, and estate planning. Whether our clients are facing a legal issue that may go to trial, are working to negotiate a contract, or are interested in family succession planning, we have accomplished attorneys to help. The firm serves clients of all types helping them navigate legal matters and take the best steps for them or their business.
We are most proud of the growth the firm has experienced – 350% in our first year – and the ability to achieve that without compromising the quality of service we provide:
MacQueen: “In addition to the growth or our staff and client base, I’m most proud of being able to share my knowledge with the M&G team and educate them about real estate and business law.”
Gottlieb: “I’m most proud of being a founding partner of my own law firm at age 30 and the successes I’ve had in the courtroom. Litigation is where my passion lies, and those victories are what continues to fuel my desire to be the best attorney I can be.”
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are looking to continue our growth at a manageable rate, which we feel is adding two to five attorneys per year along with the accompanying support staff. But just as important is continuing to provide the quality of service that clients seek us out for. We have developed a reputation for doing great work and we won’t ever sacrifice that for the sake of growth.
Clients are attracted to our firm in part because we have a culture that is different from most law firms. If someone walked into our firm by mistake, they’d never guess they had stumbled into a law firm. It’s a young, energetic and team-oriented environment and we want to keep it that way. Our physical space mirrors the energy of the partners, who are both young for the profession, yet very accomplished.
While we have established our reputation in our core practice areas: real estate, litigation, transactional law and estate planning, we also are always open to adding practice areas that our clients have shown a need for.