My name is Leland Englebardt, I am a member of the board of directors of an Upper East Side Cooperative here in Manhattan. We retained Adam Leitman Bailey and his firm for about 10 years now to be our corporation counsel. We brought them in after a search process to replace a firm that we felt was insufficiently proactive in representing the board.
Adam and his firm have been terrifically proactive. They are expert in their field of real estate, they vigorously represented the board, they are terrifically responsive, when we first brought them in there was a crisis in the building and they helped us successfully deal with that crisis in an extremely constructive way. I think a lawyers job fundamentally is not to tell their client whether or not they can do what they want to do, but to help them to do it in the most efficient way, and I believe Adam and his firm personified that approach. Every single one of them that I have dealt with, probably 4 or 5 different attorneys including Adam himself, are knowledgeable, efficient, terrifically responsive, expert in their field, and a true pleasure to deal with.
We have been totally satisfied with their services, they give terrific value for the money that we pay them and we are extremely pleased to have them as our counsel.
There was a dispute among the shareholders of the cooperative about some renovations to the building, the board was in support of them and an extremely vocal but small group of shareholders was opposed and that group of shareholders actually retained their own attorney and was attempting to conduct an independent election of a different board so it was a question, not only, of addressing the legal issues but also brokering negotiations because regardless of the outcome of that kind of dispute in a cooperative you have to go on living with each other and we prize, very highly on our building , a level of civility and a level of transparency. Adam and his firm were very constructive in helping us regain that and sustain that ever since.
What advice would you give to other board of directors?
Like I said a minute ago, cooperatives are an interesting hybrid of business interests and personal interests. I think the most important ingredient is to have a highly functional board. A board composed of people who can put their energy and intelligence and expertise into debating an issue and vigorously represent their points of view without making it personal. To have a board to communicate In that way among themselves, is the first and most essential step to have a successful cooperative corporation.
If the board is not capable of communicating about issues and debating issues in a way that’s based on a shared set of values and priorities, you can’t get anything done and its very unpleasant. If you have that kind of board – and we are very fortunate to have that kind of board – we are able to move the building forward in a planfilled way and an incremental way and bring the vast majority of the shareholders along with us.
I think one mark of our success as a board, is not too many people show up to the annual meeting. That to me says people are satisfied with the way things are being managed. I think it is a combination of having the right people, selective about your goals and your actions, and being very clear with the people in the building what your priorities are and being very transparent about how you are achieving those priorities. In our building, the priorities are- number 1, physical security, maintaining the safety of people in their homes, Number 2 , financial prudence- maintaining a balanced budget and keeping a close handle on our expenses. Number 3- ensuring the buildings standards are first class and having more than fair value for the maintenance money they pay and protecting their investments.
I think from the very first time I met Adam during the search process for new representation I was immediately impressed with his ability to be clear and decisive. With his ability to communicate and get to the essence of what the issue is and his willingness to be practice to achieve the result. I don’t think there was a moment hesitation and we spoke to a lot of different law firms. There was never any doubt in my mind after my conversation with Adam. He was different, he was better and somebody I would take a lot of pride in representing the corporation. That has been completely justified throughout the relationship..
Would you recommend Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.?
To anyone with any real estate needs I would unequivocally recommend Adam and his firm.