Bruce Stachenfeld: Purpose, Vision & Conviction — The Driving Forces for a Leading Boutique Law Firm

Welcome to Episode 9 of Offshoot with Bruce Stachenfeld.

Bruce is a NYC-based lawyer running a boutique firm of 40 lawyers.  From a difficult start in 1997 to now, Bruce has found his power niche (consummating joint venture equity deals) and become an effective leader to his “pure-play real estate only” team of lawyers.

Bruce is at least 20 years my senior and has brings a ton of experience and wisdom to the conversation.  We could have carried on for at least another hour. In this episode we only got through half the material I had hoped to cover, but, Bruce is super busy and I’m thrilled he shared this time with us.

Listen in for some of the nuggets that Bruce shares, and how he brings them to life, for example:

  • Drive your business with a purpose and a vision.  Let that become real for clients and employees (not just something on the wall of the conference room.)
  • Ranked by importance, focus on: Employees, customers, shareholders.
  • Their growth mandate for talent:
    • Attract
    • Train
    • Retain
  • His leadership journey from brutal (potentially inappropriate) honesty to leading with vision and conviction.
  • Buying where there’s less pressure and less appreciation for the nuance of a space, like retail.
  • How securing JV equity is like “playing chess in the future” and a space where relationship skills are critical. The business, personal, and legal issues all come together in a contract that won’t be needed until things go sideways.
  • Recourse as the hot potato, how it gets passed, and how joint venture equity and banks look at it.
  • Old retail vs. new retail, and the difference between them.
  • Virtual offices will fail, there’s no glue to keep the culture together and keep the man or woman inside the skillset happy and satisfied.
  • Outperformance may become less and less of a focus in the real estate space as “real estate as an asset class” comes to roost. Average is going to become the dominant benchmark.
  • Where A.I. will begin to have an impact in commercial real estate.
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