A Deeper Dive
Last month we opened up the black box that constitutes the legal process of commercial leasing and received an overwhelmingly positive response from many of the landlords, tenants, brokers and lenders whose real estate fortunes are tied to the commercial leasing process.
This month, we continue the black box series with part one of an exposé on our secret sauce for managing what goes on in there.
Precision vs Urgency
Our focus today is on the precision vs urgency axis: the conflict between the need to get everything right and the reality that time kills deals. To effectively traverse this axis, the starting point for me with every new client is to earn the right to move fast. By demonstrating command over the details and nuances of the transaction at hand in a way that transcends that particular transaction, I make sure that my client gains a strong level of comfort that they made the right choice of attorneys.
Simultaneously I find out where my client’s focal point is on the urgency/precision continuum generally and specifically for the lease we are working on.
Some of my clients read every word of every document they sign and for them, precision down to crossing every “t” and dotting every “i” is crucial. I have other clients who take more of a big picture approach. In fact one said to me just yesterday: “We are not interested in crossing the ten “t’s” in every sentence, eight out of ten will do. We are much more interested in getting the deal DONE. But of course,” he added, “we need to protect ourselves and make sure the document accurately reflects the deal.”
As this client articulated, no matter where a client stands on the precision vs urgency axis, every client needs to know they have an acceptable amount of precision insurance. And no lawyer worth their salt would ever finalize a document they knew to be sloppy, wrong or ambiguous.
During lease negotiations, I actively manage two aspects of the precision goal. The first is expressing each concept in the lease with clarity so someone else can understand it, both today and ten years from now. The second is coherence: making sure all the provisions work together. For example, if the landlord's work can’t be performed until the tenant’s plans are complete, other provisions of the lease that need to come together to trigger the all-important obligation to commence rent payments have to be coordinated accordingly.
Respecting The Urgency Mandate
As I noted last month, at a certain point in every transaction, urgency trumps precision. Managing this tension with the endgame in sight is one way we make sure the process doesn’t jeopardize the outcome. And that’s part of our strategy for creating value as we toil away in the black box.
Next month we’ll take a deeper dive into the second axis of conflict: the desire to get it all vs the need to accommodate the other side.