Raleigh-based commercial real estate law firm Longleaf Law Partners is representing the developers of two of the crown jewel projects in downtown Raleigh. The redevelopment of the old News & Observer building and the entitlement of the massive Smokey Hollows Publix grocery store and adjoining 40-floor building at Capital Boulevard and Peace Street are among the major projects with which the Triangle law firm is involved. In addition to these local projects, its representing clients on multiple complex student and senior housing projects throughout the country.
All that work has the 11-member boutique commercial real estate firm in an expansion mode with plans to move into new, larger office space next year. “We have our sights set on growth over the next decade, with plans to add six or seven more attorneys in that time frame,” said Managing Partner Jamie McCaskill.
McCaskill and his colleagues launched Longleaf Law Partners last year with the rebranding of Morris, Russell, Eagle & Worley, PLLC. Over the years, experienced real estate attorneys had joined the firm and brought with them a clientele and level of work that fundamentally altered the firm’s capabilities and client approach.
“Our firm had evolved, and we wanted our brand to reflect who we are today,” McCaskill said. “We have top-tier attorneys who chose to leave large, multi-specialty firms to be part of something different. The Longleaf Law brand reflects the energy and enthusiasm we have for our work and for our clients.”
BIG FIRM EXPERIENCE, SMALL FIRM ATTITUDE
Longleaf Law represents some heavy-hitters in commercial real estate – entrepreneurial developers and individual investors, financial institutions, nonprofits, private equity funds, and other companies owning and operating real estate. “We’re fortunate to have great clients who execute meaningful transactions,” says McCaskill. “Our number one goal is to achieve the best results for clients. We believe our big firm experience and small firm attitude is the best way to do that.”
BUILDING SOMETHING DIFFERENT
As the firm grows, McCaskill is intent on fostering a collegial and collaborative work environment among people who genuinely enjoy working together. He sees this supportive atmosphere as one of the aspects that sets Longleaf Law apart from the larger, cutthroat firms.
“We’ve had people join the firm who saw the upside of what we’re building here and wanted to jump in on the ground floor,” McCaskill said. “There was disillusionment with the way big law firms are structured. Here, everybody’s got each other’s backs and our people know that. Our practice is a collegial environment where everyone feels like we’re in the trenches together.”
While Longleaf Law is comprised of talented, pedigreed attorneys who are serious about their work, McCaskill is quick to point out that flexibility and work-life balance are also important firm values. With a young family himself, he wanted to create a law practice that would provide him and his colleagues the flexibility to spend time with their families, while also allowing for meaningful participation in the firm.
Longleaf Law is recruiting attorneys with commercial real estate experience. The practice offers flexible compensation options and working arrangements to fit varying life situations. Attorneys earn a base salary but have the opportunity for a much larger income based on their production.
THERE’S A NEED FOR WHAT WE DO
Longleaf handles development, commercial financing, land use, asset acquisitions, commercial leasing and litigation. Projects include retail, office, industrial, multifamily, single family residential communities, student housing and senior living communities.
The firm’s clients are nationwide. Most have a connection to North Carolina – either based here and building here or based elsewhere and building here – which makes McCaskill very bullish on the firm’s expansion.
“We’ve figured out something that’s working based on the client list we serve, the size of deals we’re doing and the types of people on our team. Everybody who’s joined our firm in the last two to three years has been successful,” said McCaskill.
He is equally optimistic about continued growth in commercial real estate development, regionally and statewide. “It’s North Carolina’s affordable business costs, climate and transportation infrastructure, all of which make the area attractive for real estate investors. We’ve got a quality workforce and a huge educated base of talent from the three big universities in the Triangle.” People can get a lot of value for their investment and the area is still on the upswing as opposed to being fully mature and costing more.”
With all the development across the state, McCaskill sees a real need for attorneys who can do what Longleaf does. “We’re not fighting with other commercial real estate firms for the same clients. There’s plenty of business to go around.”