Ryan Crossley '07 Realizes Dream of Zeisler-Supported Real Estate Law Course
Professor Rick Daley’s real estate development law course, said Ryan Crossley ’07, gave him a straightforward and realistic perspective on what life would be like as a real estate attorney after graduation. Those lessons learned have already proved beneficial for him in his first few months in the field, Ryan said.
The class was offered for the first time in during the 2006-07 school year. The funding and idea for the course came from Ken Zeisler ’61, who pitched the proposal and donated $250,000 to get the two-year pilot program on its feet. Zeisler’s vision was to give law students the opportunity to get more hands-on experience in real estate development law.
Ryan is living proof of the success of the young program.
Ryan said that he received multiple offers from real estate development law firms in and out of Ohio his third year at Moritz, something he credits to Daley and the course. Ryan began work this summer with Columbus-based Kayne Law Group, a small boutique firm that specializes in all aspects of real estate development law.
“The class was all we really talked about during interviews,” he joked. “It was just such a unique class that everyone was intrigued by it. They kept saying ‘when I was in law school, we would just read about deeds or financing.’ It was really a new concept that people wanted to hear about.”
While interviewing for the position at Kayne Law Group, Ryan was asked by Daniel Kayne to review a complex lease document and submit his comments.
“This was Danny's (Kayne’s) way of testing Ryan to see what he really knew about real estate,” Professor Daley said. “He normally would not hire anybody who didn’t have ample experience in the practice of real estate law. Based on the insights he made about the lease document, Ryan was able to change Danny's bias against hiring somebody straight out of law school.”
A graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Ryan grew up working for his family’s Springfield, Ohio, development company. Ryan said he always aspired to join a real estate development firm, and he took every business law course offered at Moritz.
“I had that natural tendency to pull toward real estate,” he said. “It is a lot of fun for me. It is rewarding because you can see things being built, deals coming together, and clients making money. If you do this job right, everyone is a winner.”
Professor Daley ’78 is a seasoned veteran in development law. His professional background includes 12 years in private practice as a partner with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP and 13 years as executive vice president and general counsel of The Pizzuti Companies, a regional developer headquartered in Columbus. Most recently, he consulted on several national and Columbus commercial development projects.
Ryan explained that Professor Daley would walk his students through development deals that he had worked on first-hand, albeit with different names and numbers. And, Ryan said, Professor Daley would supplement his course with several weekly local real estate attorneys and developers who visited the class as guest speakers.
“We had mock city council meetings,” Ryan said. “We debated contract terms, zoning issues, and environmental concerns. It was very hands-on and something that I had never been a part of -- at least not in law school. He came in front of us and said, ‘this is what the real world is going to be like. This is what you are going to have to do to satisfy clients when you get out.’”
Ryan, who lives in Columbus with his wife, Karen, explained how he has already been confronted with a number of the issues that Professor Daley taught in his course.
“It was definitely my favorite course throughout law school,” Ryan said. “Professor Daley has been in development for 30 years, and he was able to explain what it was going to be like in the real world.”