Booming Real Estate Firm Is Growing Business, Reputation
By Creating A Culture Very Different from Traditional Firms
Close your eyes and picture the most successful law firm you know. The image is quite clear, right? Dark, wood-paneled walls, volumes of scholarly legal tomes lining the walls, men and women in dark suits and freshly-shined shoes traversing the halls at breakneck pace, striving to get more out of their 100-hour week than is seemingly possible.
Now open your eyes and take a look at the most successful new real estate law firm in Arizona, MacQueen & Gottlieb. Please note the differences, which are dramatic both in number and degree. The office space is open, bright and airy. There is rarely a necktie to be found. The partners are young (MacQueen is 40, Gottlieb 33). And most importantly, the attorneys, legal staff and support team move about the office doing what many in the industry thought was merely a myth in a successful law firm – smiling.
That culture and the skills of named partners Patrick MacQueen and Benjamin Gottlieb are what have propelled this dynamic young firm to the top of the list of best real estate firms in Arizona in just its first two years. The firm celebrates its 2nd anniversary this month, and the partners are quick to point out that they believe the atmosphere they have created is just as responsible for their success as the skills of the attorneys. Make no mistake, this culture is no accident – MacQueen and Gottlieb set out to make their firm this way when both left larger, more “traditional” firms to start their own.
“Our firm simply isn’t like most other firms,” MacQueen 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, letting us grow both the client base and the firm.”
While Gottlieb and MacQueen shared the goal of having a loose, easy-going culture when they started the firm, the partners definitely do not have the same personality. However, they both have the ability to put the firm’s other attorneys and staff at ease and create a mood that encourages interaction among all levels of the firm.
“Patrick is naturally funny and easy going,” said Gottlieb. “I’m a little more outwardly reserved, but something about being around Patrick loosens me up. He’s got a great sense of humor and puts people at ease, but he also has a great sense for when it’s time to get down to business.”
“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.”
Of course, a unique culture and lighthearted atmosphere around the office is great, but it doesn’t mean much unless the firm is getting results for its’ clients. And that is the other area in which MacQueen & Gottlieb excel.
Some of the highlights in just two years include:
– Gottlieb prevailing a precedent-setting monsoon law case that defined what homeowners can do in terms of protecting their home from monsoon flooding;
– MacQueen successfully arguing cases before the Arizona Supreme Court and multiple times in the Arizona Court of Appeals;
– Gottlieb served as lead counsel in major residential flooding litigation where he prevailed in a 6-day jury trial, establishing himself as a force in the industry in Arizona in monsoon and flooding litigation;
– Gottlieb also prevailed before the Arizona Court of Appeals, affirming a trial verdict obtained in a landlord-tenant case;
– MacQueen represented an Alabama private equity firm, Harbart Management Corp., in its purchase of High Street Development (formerly City North) I a $129.5 million transaction;
– The firm was retained by Dunn & Gibson out of New York as their local counsel in a $180 million transaction.
Another hallmark of the firm’s first two years has been explosive growth. Both Gottlieb and MacQueen acknowledge that the firm’s culture has been a factor in that growth. The firm has grown about 350 percent, from four to 14 people, and now boasts five attorneys with a sixth having passed the bar and awaiting licensing from the state. According to Gottlieb, the firm’s growth is likely to continue – MacQueen & Gottlieb currently is once again 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,” Gottlieb said.
As it is with their contributions to the firm’s culture, the partners also share a vision for the firm’s growth and success. And like the culture, they each contribute to the 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 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 result 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.”
So, to recap, in its’ first two years MacQueen & Gottlieb has created a culture unique in its’ industry; successfully argued precedent-setting legal cases in the highest courts in the state; and has grown 350% and is looking to continue that trend. That doesn’t sound like a “traditional” law firm at all; and perhaps that’s why they have enjoyed such unprecedented success in such a short time.
MacQueen and Gottlieb formed M&G to create a different kind of firm that uses state of the art legal software and technology combined with award-winning legal minds to provide the best real estate representation available. In a reflection of that commitment, the firm was voted the #3 real estate law firm in Arizona in the 2018 Ranking Arizona survey in just its first year of practice. In addition to real estate law, the firm also offers services including litigation, business law and estate planning. M&G is located at 2 N. Central Ave., Suite 1800, Phoenix, AZ 85004. Contact the firm at (602) 533-2840 or visit them on the web at www.MandGLawGroup.com.