Launching a new law firm is never easy – especially a new real estate firm in a booming market like metro Phoenix. That didn’t deter Benjamin Gottlieb from starting his own boutique real estate firm last October. And with his track record of success, it is no surprise that his new firm, the 12-person Gottlieb Law, is thriving as it celebrates its first anniversary.
Gottlieb was a founding partner in MacQueen and Gottlieb, which was widely recognized as the top real estate firm in Arizona by multiple sources over the past four years.
When the firm split, Gottlieb founded Gottlieb Law with the goal of offering other attorneys a chance to work in an environment Gottlieb thought would be conducive to producing great work and building great client relationships – all while working with exceptional attorneys.
“Our firm offers a unique culture, particularly for a law firm,” Gottlieb said. “First of all, we’re very stable – I’m proud to be able to say that as of today the firm still has all the people it started with – although we have also added a few new faces. While circumstances change and people leave firms for a variety of reasons, so far, we have had no turnover, which is a bit unusual for a law firm.
“I think a lot of that can be attributed to finding attorneys and staff who share the same values and outlook on what comprises a great work environment. That leads to a group that works very well together, works hard to achieve client goals, gets along, and genuinely likes one another. So far, the stability of the firm has translated into providing higher quality legal services for clients.”
The firm employs a hybrid work environment, with the physical office located in the heart of the Biltmore area at Camelback and 24th Street. Gottlieb said he believes firm members are very productive working remotely and encourages them to do so when necessary.
“That being said, we have met at the Biltmore office and other locations in order to continue to build the firm camaraderie and celebrate firm successes,” Gottlieb said. “In our industry we can get the work done remotely, but there is no substitute for being in the same room together, bouncing ideas and strategies off each other to find the best solutions for our clients. And the benefits to the culture from such interactions are immeasurable.”
“We hold client meetings and depositions at the offices as well, so it offers us the best of both worlds and provides team members and clients with the flexibility to work or meet where needed which increases productivity and happiness in everyone’s jobs.”
Underscoring the early success of Gottlieb Law is the fact that its founding partner, despite more than a decade of success in the Phoenix market, is still just 38 years old.
The firm was founded with three attorneys in addition to Gottlieb: Joshua Perlman, who brings nearly 15 years of legal experience, to the firm; Tony Salvatore, the firm’s Director of Complex Litigation, who has worked with top-ranking national law firms where he handled all aspects of complex litigation; and Amy Wilson, who has a decade-long body of work that includes real estate, water, business, and appellate law.
One of the attractions to the firm was the ability to have a larger role in cases, according to one of its original attorneys.
“I wanted to practice real estate law and I wanted an environment where I could still do high quality work and take on cases that would enable me to take a larger role and greater responsibility than I was able to at the two large national firms I worked at before coming to Gottlieb Law,” said Salvatore.
But it was more than just the work that made Salvatore realize he wanted to come to Gottlieb Law – it was the people and how they treat each other.
“From the first day I started at Gottlieb Law, Ben treated me like an equal, as he does for all the attorneys and staff who work here,” Salvatore said. “I have come to find out that everyone here treats each other with respect and genuine camaraderie. It’s an environment in which you are able to ask questions without fear that people are busier judging you than they are interested in giving you any help, and that is a really welcome change that helped me grow professionally. It also leads to better counsel for the firm’s clients.”
Wilson shared Salvatore’s impressions of the working culture at Gottlieb Law.
“The culture of a firm, like any company, is primarily established by the leadership style of the managing partner and is fostered by the team built by the leader,” Wilson said. “At Gottlieb Law, Ben’s leadership style is to treat everyone with respect, approach work in a collaborative manner, offer advice or guidance when asked, empower each person to take ownership of their work, give genuine, positive feedback and encouragement, and support each other’s personal growth and development.
“We also celebrate victories and commiserate setbacks together, which promotes a culture of everyone being on the same team and having each other’s back. As strange as it sounds, that’s not all that common among law firms,” she added. “In fact, it’s quite rare and it’s really wonderful.”
Perlman also is on board with Salvatore and Wilson’s view of the firm’s culture: “For me, I appreciate most the collaborative atmosphere of the firm. The support from everyone at the firm, combined with innovative technology and legal software, really enables me to work hard and flourish as an attorney for the firm’s clients.”
The firm added a fifth attorney, litigator Anne Orcutt, in August, who brings more than a decade of litigation experience to the firm. The support staff includes office manager Kate Martinez; legal assistant Jessica Reeves; law clerk Max Hardt; receptionist/legal secretaries Heather Koehn and Tami Robinson; and accounting manager Jacqueline Gottlieb.
The early success has seen Gottlieb looking to continue to grow. He said he expects to add another attorney and a paralegal in the near future to help meet the firm’s expanding workload and demand.
Gottlieb, 38, has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments during his 12-year career, a sampling of which includes:
- Selected to the Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for the past seven years, a designation given to no more than 2.5 percent of the attorneys in any practice area;
- Named to the Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona list (2020-2023);
- AZ Big Media’s Arizona Business Leaders list (2020-2023);
- Arizona Business Magazine’s People to Know in Commercial Real Estate (2023);
- Best Lawyers List (2023-2024)
- Phoenix Magazine Top Lawyer (2024).
Gottlieb Law attorneys have seen many success stories during the firm’s first year, including:
- Representing a client who was a victim of elder abuse and who lost his home to fraud, with the firm successfully helping the client get his home back;
- Achieving a successful outcome and receiving significant compensation from the seller of real property for a client after learning property bought by the clients contained undisclosed defects;
- Serving as counsel for a property owner in negotiating a multi-year commercial lease for drive-through beverage shop in which they obtained governmental acceptance of traffic and parking study data for the business to consummate the transaction;
- Prevailing in an evidentiary hearing in superior court on behalf of a commercial tenant, with the court granting the injunction request and ruling that the landlord lockout was wrongful
- Prevailing in enforcing a settlement agreement in a HOA dispute, with the court awarding reimbursement of the clients’ attorneys’ fees and costs
- Assisting a client in successfully avoiding building a new home after executing a new build contract;
- Working with a number of clients to consummate purchases and sales of commercial real estate property;
- Negotiating multiple commercial leases on behalf of commercial landlords and tenants.
Starting his own firm has invigorated Gottlieb and reminded him why he chose to pursue law as a career – and a passion.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenge and hard work that comes with working at a top tier real estate firm,” Gottlieb said. “The big trials, the complex real estate transactions, the appellate cases with everything on the line – those are the things that get my juices flowing. I look forward to continuing to provide our clients with top-tier legal services on real estate matters.
“The great thing about the law is no matter how long you’ve been practicing, there is always room to learn more.”