Christopher Walker: the office’s partner-in-charge of New York-based Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP in Ponte Vedra Beach.
New York-based Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP opened its first Florida office in Ponte Vedra Beach in November. Christopher Walker was named the office’s partner-in-charge. The practice includes real estate law, complex financial and real estate transactions, landlord-tenant matters, civil and commercial litigation and corporate and transactional matters.
What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I was inspired to become a lawyer while studying for my undergraduate degree at Washington & Jefferson College. I have always been community-minded and thought this would be a great profession to be able to help people and businesses reach their goals and be successful. Now, as partner-in-charge of the Florida office of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, I have that opportunity.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law?
I practice in banking and financial transactions, real estate, affordable housing and corporate. While my undergraduate major was political science, it was the liberal arts aspect of my undergraduate education that relates most to my legal practice. Learning to appreciate differing views and opinions while still working with individuals was a core part of my undergraduate education. Those experiences help me work with a broad spectrum of clients.
How did you decide your practice area?
My legal practice is focused on assisting financial institutions with commercial loan transactions; corporate matters, including formations, operations, sales or dispositions, contract matters, sophisticated mergers and acquisitions and other business deals; as well as affordable housing and not-for-profit governance and financing. These areas of law have been a natural fit for me. I enjoy the fast pace and intensity that comes with multimillion dollar transactions as well as the ability to assist not-for-profit and other organizations with affordable housing financing and governance.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar?
The increase in speed for transaction closings as well as the pace at which we are required to work. I believe a lot of this is due to the fact that we are always connected to our mobile devices and work in general.
What community service have you pursued and why that?
I currently volunteer as a board member for several community organizations, including Child Guidance Center, Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation and the Florida Ballet. In my role with Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation, I am directly involved with decisions that greatly impact the lives of veterans and their families in Florida. Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation recently opened headquarters in the Jacksonville area and provides housing and other social services to thousands of veterans across the United States. As a member of The Florida Ballet board of directors, I work to assist in programming, fund-raising, strategic vision and overall efforts to bring more ballet and dance opportunities to Northeast Florida.
What's your advice for new lawyers?
My advice would be to understand that their area of law is constantly evolving and to be creative with their approach to each matter while keeping a client’s personal or business goals in mind. We often fall into a pattern of “sticking with what we know” instead of stepping back and looking at a matter from a different angle. I would also stress the importance of building and maintaining relationships for business development purposes.