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Real estate attorney: ' Competitive people by nature'

graphic
Rich Rosenblatt  
"It's an eternal struggle. I wish that could change, but lawyers are required to do everything in their power to aggressively protect their client and further his or her interests. It also doesn't help that attorneys are typically competitive people by nature."

October 24, 2000
Web posted at: 2:56 p.m. EDT (1856 GMT)

Name


Rich Rosenblatt

Position


Attorney, Kutak Rock LLP. I specialize in real estate, specifically in assisting clients in buying, selling, leasing and developing commercial real estate and representing lenders who make loans secured by commercial real estate. I work in Kutak's Omaha office, its largest. I don't litigate in court, we have other attorneys here to do that. I basically draft agreements and try to beat the other side's lawyers into accepting the terms of my agreements. So usually you're either beating someone up or being beaten up.

It's an eternal struggle. I wish that could change, but lawyers are required to do everything in their power to aggressively protect their client and further his or her interests. It also doesn't help that attorneys are typically competitive people by nature.

Years in position


Three.

Age


32. Pisces. Why couldn't my mother have given birth to me in August? The lion is so much cooler than the fish.

Education


B.A., Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1990.
J.D., University of Nebraska College of Law, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1993.

  DOCUMENTATION
Kutak Rock LLP is a national firm of more than 290 lawyers. Offices are in Denver; New York; Omaha, Nebraska; Pasadena, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; and elsewhere. The firm's practice has three principal concentrations -- corporate law, public and corporate finance, and litigation. Rich Rosenblatt contacted us through our submission form here at "A Day on the Job." If you'd like your day to be considered for a profile here at CNN.com/career, let us hear from you, as Rosenblatt did.

How did you get your current job?


It had nothing to do with merit. I used to work in-house for a big client of the law firm, and got to know some of the attorneys here while I farmed outside-counsel work out to them. So they hired me because they knew me and, at that time, weren't aware of my deep psychological issues.

How many hours do you work per week?


Usually 55 to 60 hours per week. I typically work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. But we sometimes travel to our Scottsdale office to close large transactions, taking a 6 a.m. flight from Omaha and staying awake until 2 a.m. That's when the real fun begins. Most people hate that routine, but I think it's an excellent opportunity to observe others' behavior. People do irrational things without food and sleep. All the best stories are born in these types of situations.

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?


Make every effort to avoid others. If I can't be honest with you -- if I don't know you well enough to use the coarse language I commonly employ -- I'd prefer not to speak to you in the early morning. But the first tangible thing I do is browse the Internet (work-related browsing only, of course). Usually CNN.com, some Nebraska football sites and "South Park" sites. Terrance and Phillip rule. I also fire up my cheesy water fountain, which is supposed to calm me down.

"Many people, myself included, were raised as children with the notion that life is best lived by feeling as much as possible. Yet in this field -- as in many, no doubt -- the ability to feel nothing is seemingly invaluable. If you try to denigrate me, it only hurts if I can feel something. The older I get, the longer I spend in this business, the less I feel. And ironically, the happier I am."

What time do you have lunch? What do you usually eat?


I eat around noon. I usually go out with others two days a week and eat at the office the rest of the time. I love Mexican food. Apparently, the firm used to have a cafeteria right in the building so we could strap on a feed bag and just keep working. But now people go out. Nobody cares if you go out to lunch. Sometimes we play basketball during the lunch hour -- we have a court in the building. Old guys (partners) vs. young guys (associates). It's all good fun, but my boss gets mad at me sometimes when I foul him. He's very competitive.

What time do things get tense around the office? What makes it that way?


When we're trying to close a large transaction. During a recent closing, at some point after midnight, we were shuffling a lot of documents and trying to put them in order so that we could go back to our hotel and collapse for a few hours. I made a comment to one of my colleagues that the document-signing room, which she'd been in charge of all day, looked like it had been overrun by a band of chimpanzees. She let out the most deliciously insane cackle I've ever heard and threatened to strangle me. It's always fascinating to see how people react when they pass their threshold. I find that usually it's humorous.

If you're having a good day at work, what makes it good?


Less work and more socializing. My best days are the days when we gang up on someone and deride them mercilessly for several hours. Fridays are best because they're usually less busy and we roll out early to go drinking.

How much work, if any, do you take home?


Almost none. That's the upside of living at the office; there isn't anything to take home. If they had a bed or a cold dorm here, I don't see why I'd ever leave. And, of course, losing the mortgage payment would rock.

  QUICK VOTE
graphic How about a career as an attorney in real estate? Would you like that?

Yeah, this could be interesting work.
I'm thinking, I'm thinking.
No thanks, it's not my bag.
View Results

What does your work contribute to society?


I'm sorry. Do you realize you just asked a lawyer what he contributes to society? There's no answer I could provide that would penetrate the decades -- no, centuries -- of social conditioning that civilization has provided to ensure that the populace suitably hates its lawyers. That said, I try to provide the expertise necessary for people to invest their capital in assets which generate jobs and growth for our society.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?


Unless I get picked up by a rock group (see below), yes.

If you could have two more careers, what would they be?


Anything that would allow me to be a kid again. Working at a gym or a school would be wonderful. I loved my childhood and I love sports. I'd like to teach children, but it would have to be during the formative years before they begin hating adults. And I'd give anything to be a rock star. I'm sure a lot of people say it, but if I could have 10 years back, I just might try it. I would love the feeling of being in front of a huge throng of people not knowing what I'll do next. Plus, I really want to make a "Behind the Music" before I die.

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?


The inability to put yourself in another's position. There are two ways to say everything; one is usually insulting and antagonistic, the other is complimentary and friendly. I'll never understand people who can't grasp and apply this simple rule.

What do you do to relieve stress?


Leave work. I'm not sure I know how to relieve stress while at work. I used to play paper football, but the attorney I played with has left for another firm. For the most part, I just go into a friend's office, sit down and talk for a few minutes. We usually talk about things not related to work, or we have a bag session on somebody who's driving us nuts. I only truly relax when I'm out with my wife and friends and away from work.

What have you been reading lately?


"Dutch" (September 1999, Random House), the authorized biography of Ronald Reagan written by my favorite biographer, Edmund Morris. Morris seems to be trying to fill in the holes of a man he didn't understand. Reagan is a boyhood hero of mine, but he never let anyone behind the curtain.

When you have one of those days on which you don't think you can face the job again, what is it that gets you out the door in the morning and off to work?


Sadly, it's the pride I take in being strong enough to keep doing this when others may have quit. One of the most useful traits a lawyer can develop is the ability to quit feeling. I'm sure that there are many who would disagree with that notion, either out of a refusal to accept its stark conclusion or out of hope that it'll change. You're asked to fight with people all day long, or so it seems.

Many people, myself included, were raised as children with the notion that life is best lived by feeling as much as possible. Yet in this field -- as in many, no doubt -- the ability to feel nothing is seemingly invaluable. If you try to denigrate me, it only hurts if I can feel something. The older I get, the longer I spend in this business, the less I feel. And ironically, the happier I am.

graphic


 

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American Bar Association
Kutak Rock LLP


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