Jad Sayage 2L is not your typical law student. His life experiences led him to the law, and specifically, to real estate law.
Married with three children and a background in retail, Jad got involved in property and asset management, dealing with the day-to-day operations of commercial properties. He then got his real estate license, and spent one year as a commercial real estate broker. It was during this time that he realized the value of knowing real estate law as a way to succeed further in his career.
A Lawyer’s Impact on the Real Estate Deal
During his career in real estate, Jad admired the real estate attorneys he observed who could always figure out a compromise or a way to mitigate a potential disaster. “I quickly learned that outside of the buyer and seller, the attorney is the most important part of every real estate transaction. Having competent legal representation is essential during all aspects of the transaction, from the offer to the conclusion of the sale,” Jad says. Seeing first-hand the legal aspects of a real estate deal, Jad decided to pivot from broker to lawyer and pursue JD at Hofstra Law.
Choosing the Right Law School
A resident of Long Island, Jad knew some Hofstra Law graduates and had heard that it was a very family-oriented school — not the cutthroat atmosphere he’d heard about at other law schools. Not having been a student in 20 years, he liked the inviting, supportive atmosphere, and believes it has helped him thus far in his law school experience.
“The classes offered at Hofstra Law — with the practical aspects and experiences, the internships — it’s all building blocks to help build a résumé.”
Hofstra Law’s Growing Real Estate Law Offerings
In the second semester of his 1L year, Jad had Professor Ashira Ostrow for property. That same semester, the Wilbur F. Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies became part of the law school. Professor Ostrow was named to lead the Breslin Center to help it to expand to meet the growing need on Long Island, and taking a holistic approach to real estate, incorporating not just real estate law, but also other areas of the law that impact real estate, including environmental law, energy, finance, zoning and more.
The Breslin Center and Real-World Experiences
In his 2L year, Jad took the brand new Real Estate Development Seminar, which is offered through the Breslin Center. “The seminar was a great opportunity because of the practical aspects of the law taught in the seminar,” Jad says. “It wasn’t just limited to an academic perspective. We learned from many people who actually work in the industry — people well-versed in their specific area of expertise, whether it be title insurance, transactions, surveyors, or zoning — who practice on Long Island.”
Even with his previous experience, Jad learned a lot about other facets of real estate law, such as the environmental aspects of a real estate transaction and how complicated they can be. “I didn’t realize how many environmental issues we have on Long Island — as an attorney, you need to find creative ways to mitigate those issues. In the seminar, we learned how those issues crop up in the real world and how to deal with them proactively.”
The seminar also included field trips, to a new assisted living facility, which allowed students to see first-hand the facilities and the construction end of the industry, as well as a tour of a commercial building with a property management team to see what property management entails.
“The seminar and its structure also helped facilitate networking. The individual instructors who came to the seminar would stay late to speak with students about opportunities. It was a very unique class and I was glad to be a part of it.”
In that same semester, Jad took a class on commercial real estate transactions. He believes that learning as much as he can about real-world real estate transactions can only help him in his future real estate career. “So much of real estate is learned through trial and error; the more issues I learn about now, the better prepared I can be when those issues arise in the future.”
After his first year of law school, Jad landed a summer internship at Gutman, Mintz, Baker and Sonnenfeldt, a landlord–tenant firm, and then worked on real estate transactions at Brown & Altman, a real estate firm on Long Island during his first semester second year. “The classes offered at Hofstra Law — with the practical aspects and experiences, the internships — it’s all building blocks to help build a résumé,” Jad says. That résumé led him to an offer of a summer internship with Belkin, Burden and Goldman, a Manhattan real estate firm, in the summer of 2020. He is looking forward to the internship and the rest of his real estate career.