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Relationships or money?

What is more important these days? At one point I would have said the former but now I think I may have forgotten the Golden Rule: those who have the gold make the rules.  That is the case with lenders and borrowers. After having had the upper hand for so long, borrowers are now on the shorter side. And that is why we are seeing what we are in the business on loans, whatever cliche you decide to use. Lenders insist that to extend or to enter into new deals, more money, more guarantees, more collateral, more interest -- more everything, really -- be on the table so the lender is in a better position. Oh how times change. About the only thing that is lower these days is LTV.

This isn't necessarily to blame lenders either. Some property is worth less.Banks are afraid to write down deals even if they should or the FDIC urges them to.  And this is all as some people think prices are finally stabilizing. Now the money has to flow.

As a lawyer, what do you do? Negotiate the best terms possible. Find ways to make the hammer a little softer. Client X + Lender Y = Deal Z.  Remember that you are a legal guy first and that the business analysis is left to those experts unless you have something really compelling to add or you are asked. (And boy that is hard sometimes. Luckily my clients usually ask for my gut feelings on a deal.) One piece of advice I give myself every day: slow down. Look at the picture. Don't overlook and sweat little details. That is why you make the big bucks. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, add value. Bring something to the table or push away from it. Be able to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say you are more than a cog or a paper pusher. Make sure you provide value in everything you do.