By his own account, Patrick MacQueen’s career for a while was kind of like a character in a John Grisham novel.
The Ahwatukee lawyer was working in a large Phoenix firm and, he recalled, “as anyone who has read a John Grisham novel knows, large firms make large time demands, especially of their new associates. But I knew that going in, and always managed to exceed the partners’ expectations, which included usually working 12 or more hours a day.”
Then, his world and the world around him abruptly changed.
His father passed away. The housing market crashed soon afterward.
“I saw this as an opportunity to use my legal skills to help those in need and jumped into the field of real estate litigation,” the Michigan native said. “I learned this new skill set quickly and since then I’ve used my time and effort to help homeowners on the brink of – or mired in – financial collapse and give them some peace of mind in those very uncertain times.”
He joined a boutique real estate law firm – and worked with another lawyer who eventually brought him to another career change.
MacQueen that lawyer, Benjamin Gottlieb, became founding partners of MacQueen & Gottlieb, PLC, a rapidly-growing real estate law firm celebrating its first anniversary.
“A year ago today we were starting a brand new firm because we wanted to be in charge of our own future,” said MacQueen. “We didn’t really know what to expect, but we knew what we wanted, and in the first year, we have exceeded even our own high expectations.”
The firm far exceeded its growth goal of 20 percent in the first year and at this point, there seems to be no stopping it.
Working with clients both large and small, MacQueen for the sixth consecutive year was designated a Southwest Super Lawyer Rising Star, an honor awarded to only 2 percent of lawyers.
He teaches Realtors the pitfalls of the real estate profession and how to navigatethem, and recently wrote the foreword to a book “Arizona HOAs And All That Jazz!”
“It’s not easy to be recognized as an expert in any field, but I have been fortunate enough to achieve that in both the legal and real estate fields,” said MacQueen, an Ahwatukee resident since 2006.
His firm recently represented Dunn & Gibson of New York to handle a $180-million deal. It also served as local counsel in the purchase of the High Street development adjacent to Desert Ridge Marketplace in a $129-million transaction.
On the litigation side, the firm has handled a variety of cases, including complex easement disputes, commercial landlord-tenant disputes, flooding cases, quiet title disputes, and real estate fraud cases.
“I still work the 12+ hours a day, but now I know I’m making a positive difference in our clients’ lives,” MacQueen said.
MacQueen’s interest in law dates back to his days as a teenager, when he made friends with a number of regulars at a golf course where he worked.
“Many of them were lawyers and judges, and they impressed upon me the importance of law in our everyday lives,” he said. “I listened to them talk about cases they’d worked on and knew I wanted to be a part of that seemingly exclusive club that could impact lives for the better.”
MacQueen graduated with honors from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in finance. In law school, he was first in his class at the University of Detroit’s Mercy School of Law.
Setting up his new business with Gottlieb presented a number of challenges, he said.
He had to make sure they had the right team, create “a culture where people are rewarded appropriately for hard work and innovative ideas” and ensure that “our clients are informed and educated about their real estate situation.”
He said he and Gottlieb also wanted to create “a different kind of firm that uses state of the art legal software and technology combined with award-winning legal minds to provide the best real estate representation available.”
MacQueen believes he and Gottlieb are achieving that goal.
When they founded the firm, he and Gottlieb were hoping to be able to sustain the two partners, an office manager and a paralegal. The firm already has expanded well beyond the initial team. M&G already has added a third attorney, a second paralegal and a law clerk.
“We love working on smaller deals where it’s very personal work,” he said. “In a dispute with an HOA, or a dispute over a sales contract, you know the clients personally and intimately. But we also want to swim with the big fish in the big pond of real estate law. It’s tremendously exciting, challenging and rewarding when you prevail in a case that involves millions and millions of dollars.”