Last week I rejoined Becker & Poliakoff, where I began practicing community association law two decades ago. For perspective, my son Ryan was four months old when I was first interviewed by Becker & Poliakoff. He is now about to graduate from UF and deciding where to attend law school in the Fall.
I started writing this Condo and HOA Law blog during my initial tenure at B&P and it is only fitting that I dedicate my first blog back in my legal home to how the firm and I have grown.
I had worked with a boutique real estate and banking law firm in Miami directly out of law school. When I was asked whether or not I would consider switching to the representation of community associations, I thought "sure, how hard could it be to read the statutes". I quickly learned that the proper representation of private residential communities requires an extensive knowledge of many different areas of law including corporate, real estate, banking, land use and zoning, litigation, probate, labor law and more.
This new area of practice required not only acquiring new legal skills but new people skills as well. Dealing with volunteer boards and the other professionals who service them, is a much more hands-on relationship than representing corporations for profit. I quickly realized that the human side of this professional equation was perhaps the most fulfilling part of my day.
In 2007, I left the firm. During my time away, I wrote extensively on association issues, built meaningful relationships with legislators, association leaders, industry professionals, umbrella groups, and individual association members, drafted community association legislation, created an extensive Social Media platform, mentored attorneys and created a truly sophisticated transactional law practice. I was fortunate enough to do all this and more. I acquired new skills and experiences that now help me better serve the communities who seek my help.
While I was growing up, Becker & Poliakoff was growing out. The number of attorneys grew to 170 and new offices were opened in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC and Virginia in addition to the firm's thirteen offices throughout Florida and its international office in Prague.
Last week was an emotional homecoming after having been away for seven years but seeing many of the same faces that have been at Becker & Poliakoff for decades only reinforced the strength of a law firm that was founded in 1973 as a pioneer in assisting the burgeoning number of shared ownership communities that were being developed throughout Florida in the '60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.
"Welcome home" are two of the nicest words in the English language. It feels good to be home where it all started and it feels exciting to be part of an association practice group that is so very capable of assisting every residential community regardless of size or location.