Leading in Tough Times: Stuart Saft, Practice Group Leader, Holland & Knight

Throughout the month of August, Connect CRE is running a series titled “Leading in Tough Times.” We’ve asked leaders around the U.S. and across the commercial real estate spectrum to share their wisdom and discuss lessons learned. In this installment, you’ll hear from Stuart Saft, partner and practice group leader, New York Real Estate Practice Group, Holland & Knight:

Early in my law practice I developed a very large (for that time) practice based on a particular section of the Internal Revenue Code but, when the law changed, 70% of my practice disappeared in a year. When I set about rebuilding, it was with the idea that I would build a volume practice with an evergreen component so regardless of the economy or the laws, the work would never disappear and, most importantly, I would never have to lay anyone off.

As a result, I have gotten through recessions, market collapses, changes in the laws, and pandemics, and my law practice has flourished. I have colleagues who have been with me for 20 years. While it took five years to rebuild the original practice, it also doubled during the same period and it has never reduced by more than a few points in any year, including during the Great Recession.

Most importantly, I have never had to try to find talented young lawyers after a recession because I have never had to lay off any of the talented people who I have trained and have been able to promote many of them to partners.

It is sometimes difficult to keep track of the entire practice when aspects of it are really busy, but we work together as a group based on what I learned decades ago in the army; the most important role of a leader is to support their troops. We celebrate each other and our accomplishments and we are a work family.

Click here to see all of Leading in Tough Times.


Inside The Story

About Connect CRE