He spoke with the Australia and New Zealand Property journal about his new role, his career path, and how he unwinds.
How did you come to be appointed to the SA Divisional Council to provide legal expertise to the Division?
Immediate past President Mark Kaye invited me to consider a Divisional Council position. He and I have had a professional relationship over 10 years and he felt that the Council might benefit from property-focussed legal expertise. Having property law as an area of specialty, it wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make. Acting for developers/investors, builders, architects, engineers, surveyors, valuers, contractors, subcontractors and the like, who have a deep or even fleeting experience with the property and construction sector, has taught me that I'm an active and integral part of the those sectors as anyone else, albeit in a legal context.
Being a solicitor obviously requires a presence within the legal sector but the reality is I spend more of my time using my legal skills within the fascinating and changing world of property than anywhere else… and who better to offer me a pathway to that world than the API! From my perspective, an association with the API was a natural adjunct to my world, offering a balance of technical and creative challenges. The API offers a breadth of experience and numerous touch points with the property sector. Also, being an integral part of the Council allows me to bring what might be described as ‘an outsider’s perspective’, which is invaluable.
What type of work will you be performing for the SA Division?
It’s early days but as far as I can ascertain my role is akin to that of any other SA Divisional Council member, although when the discussion inevitably addresses issues of process, rules, and the constitution I’m noticing an increasingly common sideways glance in my direction. I suspect the role will develop over time and my charter may become more defined. At present I’m willing to offer my expertise in any way I can.
Is the arrangement permanent or for a fixed time?
At present, it’s open ended. As long as I can contribute in a positive way - and they’ll have me - I’m content to stay. Of course circumstances in my world may well alter but we can deal with that if and when it happens.
What is your current role and who do you work for?
I’m the owner and principal of FBR Law. We are a boutique firm with a focus on prevention development and cure. Our core work areas are property, building and construction, commercial and estate and business succession. Within the property sector, our client base is predominantly underpinned by developers, builders, contractors, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, valuers, real estate agents and small to medium enterprises who are active in the property and construction sector.
How did you come to be in this role?
With a positive attitude and hard work. Fundamental to success in any endeavour is self-belief and hard work. I have two fundamental beliefs that guide me in my personal and professional life.
1. If you think you can or think you can't you're right.
2. You like what you're good at and good at what you like.
Both of have assisted me develop a boutique legal practice in the property, development, building and construction sector.
Tell us a bit about your background, career path?
Having developed an active lecturing role at TAFE in its property course, the Institute of Architects Graduate Program, and regular cameo appearances at the MBA, combined with being a panel expert for the Australian Property Investor magazine, has well and truly grounded me as a solicitor within the property sector. I'm also a passionate property investor, part time residential property developer, and over the last 4 years - in conjunction with a colleague – I have developed another business within the property sector which will be officially launched in 2013.
What do you think the biggest issue is facing the property industry now?
Consumer confidence. The property sector has taken a bit of a beating over the last few years.
If confidence returns, activity follows. Activity stimulates growth. Growth drives greater confidence and so the cycle continues.
Any other interests or pursuits outside of the property/legal industry?
Property is second only to my artistic pursuits… or maybe golf comes a close second! A regular weekly art class has, after 5 years, seen me finally learn the skills required to exhibit my first artistic series. The combination of a set Wednesday night routine and red wine has seen the creative urges truly satisfied.