Washington MonumentI just attended the Advanced Commercial Lease Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. The Institute “brings together the brightest minds in the commercial leasing industry” to discuss “the most up-to-date and pressing subjects faced by commercial leasing attorneys.” Attendance is by invitation only and limited to those with at least 10 years of leasing experience. I was invited by no less than Joe Conn. Not sure if he was drinking when he decided I would qualify for the Institute, or if he’s on commission, but I appreciated the invitation nonetheless. This is what I learned at the conference:

  1. Mark Senn led a great discussion where I learned you should never use “and/or” in a lease; confirmed my idiosyncrasy that you should not use both the spelled out versions of numbers together with the numerical presentation; found that attorneys can take plain sentences and turn them into meanings no client ever even envisioned let alone intended; and realized that business clients would be mortified to find out how fascinated leasing attorneys can be with the possible interpretations of clear, mundane lease provisions.
  2. Microsoft Surface is a way better alternative to and can be a single replacement for both your iPad and laptop. Got my IT guys on that immediately.
  3. I listened to a great presentation on cap rates and net present value analysis, and learned that I should call someone else if I need to calculate Internal Rate of Return. (Although, really, would I ever truly “need” to participate in a discussion about IRR in the first place? Please say no.)
  4. Joe Conn is a great host and a really good attorney.
  5. A lease provision where Landlord or Tenant installs solar panels for electricity is the “cutting edge” of leasing.
  6. I learned, or at least was exposed to, ethics. But we learned about lying clients instead of lying attorneys so at least there was that.
  7. I met opposing counsel with whom I just started a new lease. Based on his first draft, I was not liking him at all. Come to find out he was thinking the same thing about me based on my response. I ended up liking him and thinking he was a good guy. I joked around with him in the hope that he would be more receptive to my revisions. However, my wife reminds me that my jokes are usually not very funny to anyone other than me. Just hoping I didn’t do more harm than good.
  8. I decided it might be good practice to review all my form leases to verify the various interdependent clauses are consistent. So far so good – I haven’t found anything in need of change, but I’m still looking.
  9. I confirmed that I really do like leasing. So all in all it was a pretty successful conference.