Holiday wishes for you….

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The holidays make us thankful, and we have so much to be grateful for even in this incredibly difficult year!

We are enormously thankful for the smart, selfless and dedicated workers who put their own lives and health at risk again and again to fight this pandemic that plagues us, the doctors and nurses who have manned the hospitals and other facilities that have cared for the sick.

We are thankful for others who have been at risk during this scary year, first responders, food industry employees, retail employees and others who met the public and kept us as safe as possible and kept our economy running to the extent possible.

We are thankful for the scientists who have worked tirelessly to give us guidelines for protecting ourselves and others. We are unquestionably thankful for the brilliant scientists, doctors and their support systems who worked at record speed to develop vaccines that give us much needed light at the end of the tunnel.

We are thankful for teachers who have worked courageously and at their own peril to educate our children.

And I am personally thankful for you! I am thankful for the hard, dedicated and creative work performed this year by the talented group of individuals who handle real estate closings in South Carolina and elsewhere. You have handled record levels of work this year in masks, in your parking lots, behind Plexiglas, from your home computers. You have established methods to deliver documents and funds without contact. You have sanitized between closings. You have given away pens to avoid sharing germs. You have allowed staff to work remotely. You have implemented new technology. In short, you have done great, creative work this year, and you deserve these holiday wishes.

HOPE: I wish for each of you the hope that 2021 will be a much better year; that the pandemic will be controlled; and that we will be able to celebrate with family and friends everything we were unable to celebrate in 2020. I wish for the hope of good health for you and your loved ones.

PEACE: Sometimes the most difficult times seem to give us peace. When we are able to admit that we don’t have control of our daily situations, we can somehow relax and find peace. This pandemic has definitely taken away a certain amount of control! For those of us who believe in a higher power, we can give our higher power control and find peace that passes understanding. I wish that kind of peace for you.

JOY: Although 2020 has provided us with plenty of reasons to be less than joyful, I wish for you and your family the kind of joy little children find during the holidays.

LOVE: I wish for you and your family members the kind of love that only the holidays can bring.

I’m typing this in front of the Christmas tree on the cold and rainy Sunday before Christmas. My dog is at my feet and my husband is nearby watching the Falcons vs. the Bucs. We are sad that we won’t have our usual loud, crazy and fun holiday celebrations, but we are thankful! And I am thankful for you!

A blog for Thanksgiving Week

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The top ten things this dirt lawyer is thankful for professionally…

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As a happy United Methodist (by virtue of my marriage almost 40 years ago to a P.K.* who refused to be baptized again at a Baptist church) I believe an attitude of thankfulness makes life better.

Our office recently started following author John Fisher’s** lead by starting every business meeting with a positive focus. We circle the table and express one thing we are thankful for either personally or professionally. It’s amazing how much better this exercise makes us feel about the business we are about to discuss.

So, professionally, here are the top ten things for which I’ll give thanks this Thursday:

  1. We live and work in a state where closing real estate transactions is the practice of law and where, by hard work and vigilance, we are in a position to protect the interests of our clients.
  2. We help our consumer clients achieve one of their biggest dreams, home ownership.
  3. We help our commercial clients purchase, lease, finance and refinance properties. These activities allow our clients to make money and allow our communities to thrive.
  4. We don’t ignore title problems. We find them, discuss them, cure them, obtain insurance over them, and, hopefully, make them better for the property owner and lender, and for the next lawyer.
  5. If things go well, everyone involved in the closing is “happy”.
  6. We generally, as a community of real estate lawyers, seek to get along with each other. (Don’t make me point out exceptions to this rule!) Older lawyers mentor younger lawyers. Lawyers ask each other for guidance and, generally, that guidance is given with a smile. We train lawyers and paralegals, we serve on committees, we speak at seminars, write papers and books, participate in the Bar’s and the law schools’ mentorship programs and handle pro bono matters. As lawyers, we try to be good citizens.
  7. Those of us who weathered the financial downturn that began in 2007 encourage those of us who have not that there is life on the other side.
  8. Technology has made our lives easier in the last few years, and improvements in technology will continue to make our lives easier.
  9. I am thankful for the team of dedicated professionals who work with me to take the best care possible of our title insurance agents (dirt lawyers and their staff members.)
  10. I am thankful for our network of attorney agents who ably handle real estate matters throughout the Palmetto State.

 

I know. I know. Many of you are shaking your heads and pointing out that I no longer work “in the trenches” and don’t see the problems that plague real estate lawyers in the form of the constantly changing environment, changing technologies, difficulties in hiring and retaining staff members, increased competition and encroachment into “our” part of the closing by third parties.  I do see those difficulties, I am sympathetic, and my team and I are constantly seeking improvements.

But, for Thanksgiving week, let’s pause for just a moment to be thankful!

 

*I’m guessing most South Carolinians know what a P.K. is, but, just in case you don’t, it’s an acronym for Preacher’s Kid, which I am told means the worst kid in church. My husband tells two stories to demonstrate:  (1) His father once spoke to him from the pulpit and threatened to have him sit with him during the sermon if he didn’t behave; and (2) There are unconfirmed rumors that my husband’s initials have been carved in various church pews across South Carolina.

**John Fisher is a New York medical malpractice attorney who has written two excellent books, The Power of a System and The Law Firm of Your Dreams. I am a huge fan of creating systems in law firms and highly recommend these books, even for dirt lawyers….make that especially for dirt lawyers.