Attorney relishes challenges of commercial real estate law

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Attorney May Saad finds commercial real estate law a demanding but rewarding practice that requires deep knowledge of a multi-faceted body of law: corporate structure, title/survey, environmental law, financing, tax liability and deferral, and overall risk management and understanding of the economics of the deal.

“The reward happens at closing, when all parties are happy and congratulating each other and you realize the importance of helping your client receive the benefits of the bargain,” she says.

A member of the Real Estate Practice Group at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss in Southfield, Saad works with owners, developers, operators and investors in all aspects of commercial real estate, including acquisitions, dispositions, financing, joint ventures, leasing, restructurings and workouts. She helps clients acquire and dispose of commercial properties throughout the country with an eye on implementing the intent of the parties and helping clients meet their goals while protecting them from any possible liability.

“We focus on risk management and the ability to help clients maximize profits while avoiding any potential pitfalls and risks associated with ownership of real estate,” she says.

Saad has worked on transactions ranging from complex real estate deals pertaining to the acquisition of large apartment complexes, self-storage facilities and industrial sites, to helping clients assess whether to invest in the acquisition of landmark properties in Detroit.

“I also had the chance to work on transactions involving the development of large parcels of real property in Michigan and nationwide and in helping clients understand and analyze their obligations under various development and financing agreements,” she says.

A member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Oakland County Bar Association, and named a Michigan Rising Star for the past three years, Saad earned her bachelor’s degree in Comparative Law at the Filière Francophone de Droit in Beirut, Lebanon, which partners with the universities of Aix Marseilles III, Rennes I, Montpellier I, Paris II, Grenoble II and Brussels.

Ranking fifth in the graduating class of 2003, Saad then headed to Wayne State University Law School where she enjoyed the diverse and challenging learning environment.

“It’s a tight knit legal community of hard working and smart individuals and I’ve been able to stay in touch with most of my graduating class and professors,” she says.

A recipient of the Bronze Key Certificate for high academic achievement, Saad was an editor of the Journal of Law in Society, and worked at the nonprofit immigration clinic.  She also was active in the Wayne Law Moot Court program, where she was selected to be part of the National Moot Court Team and was awarded the second place award for Best Oralist.

The Moot Court program harnessed her love for advocacy and persuasive writing. 

“It gave me the opportunity to compete in an environment that pushed me to strengthen my oral skills and ability to express my point of view in a compelling and convincing manner,” she says.

During law school, Saad spent a year as a judicial intern to Judge Gerald E. Rosen in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, her first exposure to complex commercial litigation and an opportunity to observe attorneys in action; followed by a year as a law clerk for a Birmingham law firm where she then spent five years as an attorney before joining Jaffe in November 2015.

“I’ve always been an analytical person who loves structure and order and pursuing knowledge,” she adds. “Pursuing a career in law requires the ability to keep learning and improving on your skills in order to better serve your clients. It’s a career of lifelong learning. Not only does a lawyer need a good grasp of the applicable area of the law but be able to assess the facts at hand. Especially when representing businesses, a lawyer needs to look at all issues from a business point of view in order to help clients attain their goals in the most efficient and practical way while managing risks inherent to any business transaction.”

A native of Beirut who immigrated to the United States in 2004, Saad is a member of the Arab American Bar Association and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. Fluent in Arabic and French, she is a Michigan Supreme Court certified translator.

In her leisure time at her home in Dearborn, she enjoys running, cooking and yoga; and serves as a board member of the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services (ACCESS).

“Dearborn is a vibrant town with a great history that’s experiencing incredible growth and development including retail, office space and foot traffic in the West Dearborn Downtown District, partially due to the great leadership demonstrated by Ford Motor Company which is planning a major development in the downtown area,” she says. “Burgeoning businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues are calling Dearborn home every day and contributing to the thriving city.”

She and her husband are the proud parents of two sons, ages 4 and 6.

“They are a handful and the source of our pride and joy—and the driving force pushing my husband and me to work harder every day and to be better people,” she says.

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