Real estate lawyers are a pretty mediocre bunch of people.

These are not the sentiments of Tulkinghorn, he hastens to add, but of one of the heads of real estate of a prominent global firm, no less.

When Tulkinghorn’s scribe met with this self-effacing figure he quizzed him on the subject of heroes and pioneers in the sector for The Lawyer Hall of Fame. The partner gazed at the damp patch on the ceiling and then drew a blank.

There must be someone? Some leading light that inspired you from the outset, illuminating the noble path of avarice that was the real estate world of the 1980s, probably under the glow of a pink neon light?


“It’s historically populated by some pretty mediocre people,” was the answer. And then in some masochistic litany, as if adding self-insult to self-injury, he clarified his position. “They didn’t have the degree of sophistication you could have in corporate and finance,” he said. “Smarts were not that important.”

So what in God’s name made you choose this practice area yourself?

“I stayed because I liked the people,” came the honest reply.

As is often said when all else has gone to pot: “It’s the personality that matters.”