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Chance to make a mark draws Neal to real estate law

Alexandria Neal (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Alexandria Neal (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Alexandria Neal enjoys seeing how her work in real-estate law makes a difference in the wider world.

“Whether it is constructing, buying or selling a property, you get to see the fruits of your labor,” said Neal, a lawyer in Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren’s real estate law practice in Milwaukee. “I enjoy working on contracts and bringing it all together.”

She also likes the tangible side of her work – the fact that she gets a chance to witness the construction of buildings that she might have helped move across the finish line.

Her transactions involve not only people and property but also municipalities. Each one has its own rules, meaning every deal is different, Neal said.

“It is never boring. I work a lot on the tail end of deals and deal with a lot of approvals,” she said. “Those approvals are needed to move ahead on projects.”

The speed with which these approvals move through the system can determine how quickly a project and deal will get done, Neal added.

“Sometimes you deal with multiple approvals that need to be secured for a project,” she said.

As an undergraduate, Neal studied business and it was during a class on business law that she first became interested in becoming an attorney.

Yet, even though she knew early on that law school would be in her future, Neal was unsure which way to go. During an internship she took at Reinhart between her second and third years of law school, she worked with the real estate team and found her fit.

“I then took courses on real estate financing and other topics that I knew would be helpful,” Neal said. “The more I learned, the more I enjoyed it.”

She was also a legal intern at the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut for the Honorable Vanessa Bryant. During her time there, Neal researched and analyzed case and statutory law and drafted preliminary court opinions and bench memoranda.

“It was insightful to see that part of the court and how it worked,” she said.

Wisconsin Law Journal: What makes your work important to you?
Alexandria Neal: My favorite aspect of my work is how tangible it is. I can look out my window or drive down the street and see buildings that people in my firm have worked on or that I am currently working on. I also think that a lot of the development going on in downtown Milwaukee especially, for example the new Bucks arena, can help drive growth and make the city better than it was before, which is exciting to be a part of.

WLJ: What do you do outside of work to deal with stress from the office?
Neal: I’m a former college soccer player so I enjoy going on long runs or some other form of working out to clear my mind. If I’m being really honest, watching Netflix or some mindless TV on the couch is also a stress reliever.

WLJ: What’s one thing many people get wrong about what you do?
Neal: I think a lot of people assume that I go to court all the time because I’m a lawyer and that’s what they see on TV. Or they assume that working at a large law firm is similar to to the TV shows “Suits” or “The Good Wife,” which isn’t the case.

WLJ: What is your favorite memory from law school?
Neal: During my second year of law school, I took a class that enabled me to travel to Ireland for 10 days to interview people for a research paper that we were working on comparing social issues in Ireland to the United States.

WLJ: Do you have a memorable case?
Neal: Not really. I don’t really like reading cases, so I guess it is good I like real estate law.

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