A Day in the Life: Senior Associate, Real Estate Investments & Transactions

September 20, 2019

Sally N. Davis is an associate at Ropes & Gray LLP. She practices in the firm's real estate investments & transactions group. Here, Sally shares a day in her life.

5:30 a.m. – Wake up. Check and respond to emails from night before over morning coffee.

6:00 a.m. – Typically, I would go to the gym now, but today I have to prepare for an event that the Ropes & Gray Real Estate group will be hosting later this morning on coworking and its impact on the commercial real estate industry. The event will start with a networking breakfast, followed by two panel discussions—one involving representatives from leaders in the coworking space and one involving debt/equity investors focusing on commercial real estate investments. I’ve been asked to moderate the first panel, so this morning, I spend about a half hour reviewing my notes and rehearsing my talking points.

6:30 a.m. – Get ready for work, watch the local news, and chat with husband. My husband has a Ph.D. in microbiology and is about to finish his second year of medical school. In fact, he’s currently in the midst of studying for his board exams, so we enjoy whatever opportunities we have to be together. This morning, we take our minds off work and studying by discussing plans for our summer vacation to Sedona, AZ. We’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, and we’re stoked!

7:15 a.m. – Cab to Midtown; call mom. Discuss initial impressions of a book she recently recommended to me, Free Food for Millionaires, by Min Jin Lee (so far, loving it).

7:30 a.m. – Arrive at location for coworking event. Chat with colleagues, rehearse talking points, and prepare for panel discussion. Fight urge to jump early into the breakfast buffet for fear of spilling on my white blazer.

8:30 a.m. – Event attendees start to arrive. Mingle with clients and industry professionals, and catch up with alumni from the Ropes & Gray Real Estate group who have also come to attend the event.

9:30 a.m. – Moderate panel discussion of representatives from four leaders in the coworking industry. Tackle issues such as the recent growth of coworking and key factors to which the panelists attribute that growth, the impact of coworking on traditional lease models and the traditional landlord/tenant relationship, and the potential for consolidation in the coworking market in the years to come.

11:45 a.m. – Join two partners in the real estate group to take a few clients and panelists out to lunch at Bryant Park Grill following a successful event. Make plans with one client to reconnect over coffee next week.

1:30 p.m. – Back to the office (finally). Catch up on emails. Swing by junior associate’s office to discuss logistics for upcoming loan closing for Client A. We’ll need to make sure that all executed documents are with the title company by the end of day tomorrow to ensure that the parties are in a position to close by Friday morning.

2:00 p.m. – Call with Client B to discuss review of joint venture agreement. Discuss counterparty response to key issues, and formulate responses. Call with junior associate to discuss how to approach necessary revisions to joint venture agreement to reflect discussion with Client B.

3:00 p.m. – Attend meeting of the real estate group training committee. This committee is responsible for planning and coordinating the group’s two training series each year: a junior associate training series, which addresses basic skills that every junior associate in the real estate group should learn, and an “advanced” training series, to which all real estate attorneys are invited and which is intended to address “hot topics” and other current issues that are relevant to our real estate practice. At today’s meeting, we discuss potential training topics for this coming year’s junior associate training series.

3:30 p.m. – Review purchase and sale agreement for Client C. Draft issues list based on review and send to partner for input before sending to Client C.

5:00 p.m. – Review junior associate mark-up of joint venture agreement for Client B, and prepare comments. Call with junior associate to walk through comments.

6:30 p.m. – Leave office to walk to rehearsal of the New York City Bar Chorus. The chorus—which is composed of approximately 100 lawyers, legal professionals, and law students—rehearses at the office of a nearby law firm and performs several outreach concerts every year at senior residences, homeless shelters, rehabilitation facilities, and other similar locations throughout the city. Arrive at rehearsal and chat with chorus members. Rehearse songs in anticipation of upcoming concerts. Some favorites from our repertoire include “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen and “Fix You” by Coldplay.

8:30 p.m. – Cab home. Dinner at home with husband. Feast on leftover baked ziti that I had made on Sunday (knowing we likely wouldn’t be able to cook dinner tonight).

9:15 p.m. – Check and respond to emails. Email with junior associate regarding Client B comments to joint venture agreement mark-up, and schedule meeting for tomorrow to discuss. Prepare to-do list for tomorrow.

10:00 p.m. – Watch episode of The West Wing with husband (this is about our 15th time working our way through the series—it never gets old). Go to bed.

This post first appeared in the 2020 edition of Vault's Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms. You can view Sally's bio here. To see the Ropes & Gray's full profile, click here.