Thursday Thoughts with Shane Parker: Seeing around the corner for entrepreneurs and real estate developers

Practicing in the areas of Real Estate and Business & Finance, how would you describe what you do?

I would say I am a problem solver. I look beyond the current issues in the transaction, also looking to predict and prevent future problems that could arise long after our transaction has closed. That often requires being proactive and creative.

In a real estate acquisition for example, it is of course important to think critically about the contract and address all of the relevant details between execution and the closing. But it is equally important to consider our client’s long-term goals and ensure they do not have any issues that interfere with their intended development or use of the property long after the deal has closed. I use this approach for each type of real estate transaction: when our clients either buy property, sell property, or lease property. It is really enjoyable to spot all of those issues and to always think holistically for our clients, and in my experience they greatly appreciate that mindset. It is an approach that is also applicable to my business and finance practice as well, whether that may be helping a client select the right entity to form, or when managing the aspects of a merger or acquisition.

What would you say your clients value most about you?

I have learned that responsiveness is one of the qualities that clients value most. Sometimes questions arise that require some research and digging before we can relay the answer. Earlier in my career my focus was to immediately go and find that answer. Although it sounds simple, I think clients really value a simple e-mail or a call back to let them know that you have seen their e-mail or heard their voicemail, and that you are going to get back to them with an answer shortly.

Speaking of communication, I believe it is important to think about each client’s preferences. There can be multiple parties and many moving pieces involved in a transaction, and clients like to handle that differently. Some clients may want to be more involved and may want to be copied on every e-mail and involved in every call. Others may want summary updates directly from me without having their inbox and phone constantly flooded over time. It is incredibly important to keep the client informed every step of the way, but there are multiple approaches to do this. I try to incorporate each client’s preference.

Why do you volunteer with the Arizona Black Bar and what do you do?

The Arizona Black Bar and Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Phoenix have a pro-bono legal clinic that is accessible to the community regardless of means. It is a long-standing clinic that has provided a lot of value to the community over the course of several decades. I have greatly enjoyed my recent involvement and hope to continue such work throughout my career, as it directly ties into my motivation for going to law school. I always wanted to be able to provide value with my work and see the impact of that directly. That is something I do find in my transactional practice as well when helping clients navigate transactions. But this volunteer opportunity is special because of the value it provides directly to those who may not know where to begin in navigating the legal system, and those who may not have the means to otherwise seek help. Many times, people just say thank you for listening and that, in and of itself, always seems to be incredibly meaningful to them.

Tell us about your involvement in Fennemore’s Venture Accelerator Program.

Fennemore’s Venture Accelerator Program offers discounted legal services to startup companies and entrepreneurs. Startups with, for example, less than $1 million in revenue do not always have the funds to hire a business firm at full rates. Yet, these companies still need legal advice for issues that are often complex such as those related to raising funds. I have always enjoyed learning about start-up culture from the time I had the opportunity to work for a start-up company during law school and to begin learning about the unique issues involved with these companies. This Venture Accelerator Program aims to fill the gap for some of these companies by providing critical services during this time.

What would you say is your secret sauce?

As we have discussed, I think communication is incredibly important. I’ve always strived to be a great communicator. In my experience, the best lawyers are clear and concise communicators that can convey ideas and concepts effectively. Although detail is undoubtedly important, I always do my best to be a clear and simple communicator. That can be a challenge when you have put hours into tackling a complex or novel issue, but it is a challenge I enjoy.