Chief Trailblazers Women Professionals in Real Estate

While other industries have been more difficult to penetrate, many areas of the fast-paced world of real estate have long been the professional domain of women. The past two decades have witnessed an influx of women as innovators in their fields, blazing a trail for women of today to follow in a competitive, high-stakes industry. The Cooperator spoke with a few of these industry pioneers about their roots, their work, and how they've successfully navigated the changing waters of New York real estate.

The Lure of the Law

"When I was in law school women made up only 20 percent of the incoming students," says Marcie Waterman Murray, a principal and founder of the Manhattan law firm of Deutsch Tane Waterman & Wurtzel. "Today they make up more than 50 percent of the class." In fact, says Murray, women represent 55 percent of attorneys working today.

"Originally, I wanted to be an archaeologist," remembers Murray. "Then I heard a lecture by a very old woman who said she spent 35 years as a secretary before anyone would finance her own expedition. I wasn't willing to wait that long." So Murray decided to pursue a master's degree in urban planning at Hunter College. A dean in the graduate department mentioned to her that a joint program was being offered with Brooklyn College and in 18 months less than it would normally take, Murray walked away with her master's, as well as a law degree.

After grad school, Murray completed a fellowship in Germany, which was instrumental in determining her career path. "My first job was with an attorney who had fled Germany in 1933. He did a lot of estates, trusts and real estate," relates Murray. "Then I went to work for one of the large firms as a real estate associate." After several years, she banded together with three other associates, who with an initial investment of $10,000 apiece founded their own firm specializing in real estate, litigation and German-related work.

On the decision to start her own business Murray says, "After my experience with a large corporation, I wanted to do something on a more human scale." While female attorneys are now commonplace, she says gender-bias does exist. "In the beginning, older male attorneys would call me "˜Honey'," says Murray. "You hardly ever hear that anymore." Murray does point out that women still often have to work harder to earn respect from their clients.

Read More...

Related Articles

Changing Management Companies

What Documentation Does Your Board Need?

Switching Management Companies

What Documents Are Needed?

How Do You Choose a New Management Firm?

Questions to Ask, Criteria to Check