Farella Braun + Martel Napa Valley law partner wins North Bay Forty Under 40 award
Responsibilities with your company: I advise and counsel clients on a wide range of real estate transactional issues, such as acquisitions/dispositions, leasing, financing, and joint ventures. In addition, I assist wine and cannabis enterprises with their real estate and business needs.
How do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty Under 40 professional?
I am motivated to continuously learn, improve, and contribute, both professionally and as a member of the community.
Years with company: 6
Length of time in current position: 2 years
No. companywide employees: 250
Number who report to you: 3
Greatest professional accomplishment: Becoming a partner at Farella Braun + Martel.
Greatest professional challenge: Balancing my workload and desire to provide excellent client service with parenting two young children.
Best advice received: Success is exceeding expectations.
Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: Being on parental leave following the birth of our second child. It is wonderful that Farella allows new parents time to bond with their kids.
What’s the biggest change COVID-19, the restrictions and the economic impact has had on your work and personal life?
Professionally, COVID-19 caused a major slowdown for real estate transactions. Many investors decided to hold off on buying or selling properties until there was more clarity on where the market was headed.
Similarly, businesses were hesitant to enter into new leases while their employees were forced to work from home and they did not know how this would change future office utilization. Transactions are picking up again and will hopefully accelerate as more people get vaccinated and the economy continues to improve.
On a personal level, our kids' daycare was closed for a few months at the beginning of the pandemic and has operated with shortened hours (and sporadic closures) since. It has been challenging for my wife and I to juggle taking care of our young children while both working full time.
And what’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from that experience?
The real estate industry has always been cyclical, so it is important to prepare for the next wave while you are in a trough. People (especially kids) are resilient.
What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?
Farella has done a great job fostering camaraderie during this challenging time.
An example is the “Phone-a-Farellan” program that our wellness committee created: everyone in the firm called two randomly assigned co-workers during a certain week just to chat and check-in.
It was refreshing to have four extra (non-work related) chats in a week. Managers and department heads have also made a point to schedule frequent, informal sessions for people to just catch up.
Next professional goal: Take everyone out to lunch once restaurants re-open.
Education: Columbia University School of Law (J.D., 2009) Cornell University (B.A. Math and Philosophy, 2006)
Hometown: Madison, WI
Community/nonprofit activities: Board of Directors, Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance; Leadership Napa Valley, Class 31
Mentor/admired businessperson: Tony Ratner
What is your most disliked industry buzzword?
Typical day at the office: Since the pandemic started, I have mostly been working from home. My day generally consists of calls or Zooms with client and counter parties, reviewing and drafting agreements, and spending time with my kids (especially when daycare is closed).
In a business sense, what is the greatest thing about being under 40; and then what is the worst?
People tend to underestimate you and think you are less experienced. That is a great benefit when you can surprise them and exceed expectations. It is a disadvantage when it stops you from getting a chance in the first place. Living room—a flat screen TV is a great monitor.
Hobbies: Cooking, skiing, and wine
What you wanted to be when you grew up: Not a lawyer
No. 1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: Visit six continents
First job: Sales associate at Toys R Us
Social media you most use: LinkedIn
Favorite book: “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern
Favorite movie: “Fight Club”
Favorite App: NYTimes (sorry NBBJ)
Favorite after-work drink: Wine
Last vacation: Long weekend in Grass Valley and Truckee
What does your mom or dad brag most about you?
That I am empathetic.