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Nov. 9, 2023

We Are NM: Michelle Jessell

Michelle has more than 25 years of experience in commercial real estate, leasing, lending, and related transactions. She represents lenders and borrowers on commercial loan transactions.  She represents buyers and sellers on dispositions of real property.  She represents landlords and tenants on all leasing matters.  In addition, she represents national home builders as well as multi–family apartment and condominium developers in their financing, acquisition, disposition, development, and construction of projects.  She has experience drafting and negotiating declarations of restrictive covenants and reciprocal easement agreements. 

Why did you select your practice area? 

I chose real estate because both sides — seller and buyer/landlord and tenant/lender and borrower -- in a transaction are generally working together towards the same goal, the closing of the transaction. When problems arise during the transaction, the attorneys on opposite sides work together to solve these problems.

What are some of the traits that you admire the most amongst your peers? 

I've been very fortunate to work with attorneys who I admire for their attention to detail, creative solutions to issues, and professionalism. I worked closely for several years with a partner who rarely, if ever, spoke negatively about another attorney. Even in the midst of the most difficult negotiations, he was always respectful of the other people involved in the transaction.

At this point in your career, what would you say has been your biggest accomplishment? 

I recently started a group, NM Women of Real Estate (NM WIRE), with another attorney Sue Davis at the firm.  NM WIRE will foster stronger working connections between all of our women attorneys who practice in various areas of real estate law. Through these connections, we will increase business development opportunities for Nelson Mullins’ women and leverage the varied experiences of our women colleagues to provide enhanced service to all of our clients nationwide.  As one of our first in-person events, a group of 10 attorneys from several offices attended the National Commercial Real Estate Women’s (CREW) Convention in Atlanta. 

Who is your biggest inspiration? 

My biggest inspiration is my dad. He always worked hard in his career but still made time for his family. He taught me that the most important thing is being there for your family.

What are the biggest foreseeable challenges in your field? 

At this time, there is a lot of uncertainty in the markets and in our economy. Helping our clients navigate these uncertain times will be our challenges. During the Great Recession, we transitioned from representing lenders making commercial loans to providing work-out solutions for these lenders. We also represented borrowers who needed our assistance reorganizing their businesses and financial obligations to keep their businesses operating. While I hope to never go through anything as severe as that again, I can use my experience during this current climate of uncertainty.

What’s one piece of advice that greatly impacted you and your career trajectory? 

I remember having an attorney go through every draft loan document with me to check that every blank was completed and every exhibit finalized for one of my first transactions. He taught me that attention to detail was crucial in every aspect of the transaction. We eventually started representing the borrower from this transaction because the borrower was so impressed by our representation of the lender. This has happened to me several times during my career where a client comes to me because I represented the other side in a transaction.