Alan Sheppard Jr. has been a real estate attorney with LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene and MacRae for five years.
WHAT DOES HE DO?
He specializes in commercial real estate development and financing, including industrial development, office park development and retail.”
His biggest area of expertise is in financing arrangements. “I’ve done a lot of synthetic lease transactions which are kind of cutting edge financing vehicles for real estate. I’ve also done sale lease-backs, which is a financing mechanism where an owner of a building will sell it to an investor and then lease it back from the new owner.”
PASSED THE BAR?
WHAT ELSE DOES HE PRACTICE?
Corporate finance for First Union and Compass banks.
WHY PRACTICE REAL ESTATE LAW?
“I really like putting deals together and being a problem solver. It’s a very complicated area of law and the area that drives the Florida economy, so I think it’s important. It’s exciting to see a development you did built and off the ground. You have different areas to deal with, including financing, development and land use and zoning side. I’ve been involved in all three in different points in my career.”
HOW HAS YOUR OTHER EXPERIENCE HELPED YOU IN REAL ESTATE LAW?
“Since I have worked in different areas of real estate I am able to advise a client more holistically. There are a lot of concerns that real estate investors have including financing, zoning, tax and environmental. The more well-versed you are in each of those areas, the better you are able to service the client.”
WHAT MADE HIM WANT TO BE AN ATTORNEY?
“My dad was a real estate lawyer so it was in my blood from the beginning. I really liked public policy and politics. You don’t have to practice law with a law degree, it’s a very broad-based degree that you can do a lot of different things with. It is an excellent degree for business. I think law is what makes the business world tick and makes the world go round. It enables you to get involved in different types of opportunities and different types of problems. You don’t go to work and do the same thing everyday. Each deal is different, there is a different cast of characters each time.”
INVOLVEMENT IN THE NORTHEAST ASSOCIATION OF INDUSTRIAL AND OFFICE PROPERTIES.
He is a board member and chairman of public affairs for NAIOP. “It has been very rewarding, it’s exciting to get involved. I monitor the legislation pending in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. and advise the membership of the status of pending legislation. I interface with the lobby firm in Tallahassee that we have on retainer. I’m the go between for this group with them. I meet with them and report back to the membership.”
ISSUES FACED BY REAL ESTATE AGENTS DOWNTOWN?
“In Florida it is the growth management legislation that is currently being overhauled. The biggest things on people’s minds about in downtown are the incentive agreements. [City Council member] Alberta Hipps is chairing a committee to look into the City’s incentive policy. I think they need to continue to pursue that. The Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. did a study on it and came to the conclusion that it is a “necessary evil,” not an evil, but it is something that they felt they had to offer to entice certain companies to move here. Another issue facing downtown is parking. They’ve done a lot of good things including the trolley system to help.”
WILL INCENTIVES GO AWAY?
“As long as we are competing with other cities that are offering them to companies that we want, I don’t think that we have a choice but to remain competitive. They may chip away at the incentives and give fewer of them and less money, but I don’t think they should do away with them totally.”
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE INVOLVED IN DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION?
“I would like to be involved in helping develop any of the new buildings going up. There is always the opportunity with helping clients lease space.”
MOVED TO JACKSONVILLE?
In 1992 to work for Brant Moore MacDonald & Wells before joining Foley and Lardner.
He has a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics from Texas Christian University. He received his law degree from the University of Florida.
He has been married to Bettina for eight years. They have two children, Alan, 4 and Scott, 4 months.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
“Closing transactions, putting deals together and playing the role of the problem solver.”
FAVORITE THING ABOUT JACKSONVILLE?
“The quality of life for raising a family.”
Spending time with his family, running, working out, traveling, reading, cooking and studying foreign languages. He currently speaks fluent Italian, and can get by with Spanish and Portuguese. “We love to go to Italy. I spent a year abroad as an undergraduate.”
ADVICE HE WOULD GIVE TO ASPIRING REAL ESTATE LAWYERS?
“Take the advanced real estate classes in law school, partnership taxation class in law school and take an accounting class or two.”
“Only You” and “Meditteraneo” top his movie list. “The scenery in ‘Only You’ is incredible.” When relaxing in the evening he enjoys watching “ER.” Books he recommends are “The Winds of War” and “War in Remembrance” by Herman Wouk. Italy is his favorite destination, and his restaurant of choice is Bistro Aix.
PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIC ASSOCIATIONS
He is board member of NAIOP, a member of the Chamber’s governmental and international committees and on the board at the new Chinese Business Education Center at Florida Community College of Jacksonville.
—by Michele Newbern Gillis