Photo of David Freinberg “Giving short shrift to collaboration is a mistake, especially when it comes to large-scale deals,” Freinberg writes.

NEWARK, NJ—A perennial truth about commercial real estate is that it is a relationship-driven business. In today’s hyper-competitive environment, savvy operators have started to scrutinize their key relationships—with tenants, competitors, service providers, the list goes on—as never before. However, it is easy to overlook one strategic relationship that can be important in real estate: the relationship between brokers and attorneys as they negotiate leases on behalf of a mutual client.

In my former role as CEO of LeClairRyan (I returned to my corporate/real estate practice at the national law firm in 2016), I witnessed the unmistakable benefits of teamwork many times. When lawyers from diverse practice teams pool knowledge on a case, clients win. The same is true at the real estate negotiating table, where teamwork by attorneys and brokers can add value in manifold ways. Nonetheless, in my 30-year career I have run across plenty of lawyers who, perhaps out of arrogance or shortsightedness, deemphasize collaboration. Operating as though they were being handed a baton in a relay race, they essentially say to the brokerage team, “Thanks. I’ve got it from here.”

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