Lee Samuelson, Saxum’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer was recognized as one of NJBIZ’s Leaders in Law of 2022.
Lee leads Saxum Real Estate in the creation of its joint ventures, as well as other transactional and legal matters on a day-to-day basis. He advises leadership on structural and business issues, negotiates with opposing counsel, drafts documentation, and performs due diligence. Lee achieved his undergraduate degree at Emory University, obtained his Masters at New York University in Real Estate Development & Finance, and received his law degree from Cornell Law School where he received an American Jurisprudence Award in Contracts. Throughout his career, he has given many lectures and presentations on joint ventures at the ICSC Law Conference.
Below are questions answered by Lee through the nomination process:
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to your company’s/client’s success?
Lee: Since I began at Saxum in 2020 I’ve focused on building scalable processes and a foundation for Saxum’s legal activities. My greatest contribution is taking on the challenge of building Saxum’s start-up legal framework into a more institutionalized process, which will streamline Saxum’s efficiency and ability to handle increasingly complex deals. As General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, it’s been my role to find new and creative ways to tackle obstacles and think around questions that previously would have stalled a process. Challenges come at every turn, and it is my goal to ensure we have thought several plays ahead.
Q: Describe a career challenge you overcame and the outcome
Lee: The transition from working in a large-scale institutional environment to becoming the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of a scaling commercial real estate firm has been an adjustment. Challenges come with a switch like this. For instance, through the pandemic, Saxum had delays on supply chain products necessary for several builds. I played an instrumental role in facilitating and executing; something a partner at a law firm would never do. I have also played a role in property deals when something doesn’t go exactly as planned. I am much more involved with operational tasks than I ever have been.
Q: What types of charities, community involvement, or pro bono work are you a part of?
Lee: I am on the board of the JNF, an organization focused on various beneficial developments with the mission of building and connecting to our land. I spend most of my time contributing to their real estate development, gaining an insightful angle on the industry. They also provide opportunities to help with natural development, including facilitating the means for disabled individuals in regard to park access, or being proactive in river rehabilitation and recycling. Additionally, I was a speaker for Saxum’s internship program where I explained the legal roles throughout the processes in real estate to the individuals of our future.
Q: In what ways have you seen your role as a “leader in law” evolve over the years?
Lee: Prior to Saxum, I was a partner at institutional law firms, where I acted as a technician strictly focusing on legal matters to now acting as an advisor with a holistic approach. I oversee business management, address how to accomplish tasks, finance needs, and promote efficiency all on top of traditional legal matters. I’ve broadened my reach, becoming a resource within the company. Everyone is a sounding board, which I believe is a large reason why we’re able to work so efficiently. I have ultimately become a greater asset by broadening my reach.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your career?
Lee: I greatly enjoy the opportunity for growth I have seen at every stage of my career. At Saxum, I am working with a young and energized, like-minded group who truly respects their impact on the community. We are building and adding value to properties every day that meet the varied needs of communities. We’re beautifying and making more accessible living spaces for the future. The individuals that make up Saxum have built a very unique and effective process that has allowed every member of the team to feel like we are tangibly leaving our legacy.
Answers from Lee Samuelson, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer
NJBIZ Leaders in Law
Saxum Real Estate is a national boutique real estate investment and development firm specializing in value-add and opportunistic development opportunities across the U.S. in multiple asset classes. Leveraging its vertically integrated platform, Saxum has the ability to implement a unique approach to creating value and enhancing real estate strategies at every step of the investment life cycle.