Name: Marc Pfleging
Title: General Counsel, Scannell Properties, LLC
Firm Background: Mark was a partner in the firm’s real estate practice group in the Indianapolis 96th Street office from 2006-2015.
What have you been doing since departing Faegre Baker Daniels in 2015?
When I left Faegre, I joined Scannell Properties in April of 2015. I am currently general counsel for Scannell Properties. Scannell Properties is a privately owned real estate development and investment company that focuses on build-to-suit and speculative development projects throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, and student housing and multi-family developments in the United States.
What is the most challenging and/or most rewarding part of your work?
The most challenging part of my work is managing volume and growth across the company. After joining Scannell in 2015, the company has grown exponentially year-over-year (including expanding to Europe). The most rewarding part of my job is being a “decision maker” that helps navigate and find solutions to address complex legal and development issues. In turn, this can be one of the more stressful aspects as well. In an in-house role, the attorneys must live with the recommendations that they make, which goes beyond outlining the pros and cons of a particular decision. Furthermore, it is very rewarding to see the fruits of your labor when you handle a project from its outset (i.e., land acquisition) through lease up and ultimate disposition to a buyer.
What made you want to become an attorney?
Growing up, my father was a defense attorney and then became a superior court judge. I always enjoyed hearing about his work and playing in his office as a kid. Ultimately, I followed his footsteps, but our practices are entirely different.
What is your fondest memory/best experience/what do you miss about Faegre?
I miss collaborating with former colleagues across different practice groups. I am fortunate to have a robust legal group at Scannell Properties, but our legal team is limited to attorneys with real estate expertise. We do not have the depth across other practice groups/areas. Other than that, I miss the diverse points of view that were shared between colleagues at Faegre.
What is different about working as an in-house lawyer compared to private practice?
When I am focused on transactional work, my day-to-day at Scannell can be very similar to my day-to-day at Faegre. The primary differences arise when it comes to managing our legal group and the different hats that you wear as general counsel. In the U.S., our legal team consists of seven attorneys, seven paralegals and two administrative assistants. In essence, I manage a small law firm at Scannell Properties. Furthermore, I have to navigate labor and employment issues as they arise and oversee litigation if/when it comes up. Fortunately, Scannell Properties is not involved in much litigation, which is typically limited to construction disputes. Beyond that, it is rewarding to be more involved on the business side and to work hand-in-hand with our development and capital teams as we structure deals with an emphasis on client satisfaction and a successful exit.
What are you reading/watching/listening to right now?
I am about to start “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by Meg Meeker. My colleague informed me it is a must read for all girl dads out there. I flip between sports radio and NPR on my drives to and from work. Other than that, my television time is typically limited to sports and, occasionally, a bingeworthy show that my wife and I can use to unwind (e.g., Yellowstone and Stranger Things were two recent ones).
What would you change about the legal industry if you could?
This is a loaded question that could go many different directions, so I will focus on one current concern. I am glad I am not a young attorney in the legal industry today. On the one hand, it would be great to see the increased starting salaries that are being offered to young attorneys and the opportunity to accept those positions in a “remote work” capacity. On the other hand, I look back to my development as a young attorney, and it was critical to receive the hands-on, in person training from other partners and my supervisors. I am skeptical on whether young attorneys today will receive the same hands-on training, experience and mentorship that is necessary for long term success in the future. With today’s technology, I hope I am wrong. Nonetheless, I would encourage young attorneys to follow the right opportunity that gets the attorney the most opportunity, at a young age, to lead complex matters for the client. In the long term, that is more important than starting salaries or flexible working arrangements. When I interview prospective candidates, it doesn’t take long to weed out those that do not have the requisite legal experience to hit the ground running for our company.
How do like to spend your time outside of work?
I am very focused on family outside of my work time. I like to spend as much time as possible with my daughters (Addy – age 6 and Lilly – age 8). I am currently coaching Lilly’s soccer team.
What’s next for you personally or professionally?
Professionally, I will continue to grow and evolve with our company. My goal is to continue to look for opportunities to grow/improve my leadership skills. Personally, I will focus on juggling work/life balance to maximize quality time with my family.