Top Lawyers Q&A: Amanda Huston, Attorney with Coan Payton Payne, LLC

1. Northern Colorado continues to see a great deal of real estate development. What prompted you to focus on real estate law, and how does the growth of the region affect your practice?s they pertain to nonprofits?

I thrive on helping build things that matter.  Real estate law is an engaging way for me to serve in our community. The significant growth of our region has ushered in new complexities with respect to how we live, work, and play in this community. These new complexities require even more creative financing, involvement of additional stakeholders and partnerships, as well as larger-scale multi-use, multi-product, and multi-phase projects.  I seldom see a traditional “dirt deal” in my current practice. As a result, my practice has evolved with the market, but I always maintain focus on helping clients succeed.

2. This region includes many municipalities with conflicting zoning, land-use and planning processes. How difficult is it to navigate the different rules and regulations?

Every municipality certainly has its own unique processes and requirements, which simply adds another layer to the stack of considerations when advising clients with respect to real estate deals and development. The challenge is not as much in the task of navigating the various rules and regulations among the different municipalities, though that can be onerous if clients or their consultants are not familiar with local processes: instead, the challenge is making sure there is good communication among all of the client’s consultants and the respective municipalities to move most efficiently through the entitlement process. 

3. How does your practice differ in economic times that might be more challenging, i.e,, are you helping to restructure loans, etc.?

My goal is always the success of my clients, and challenging economic times ripen into different legal challenges and considerations for clients. During these times, my practice shifts to the extent that the priorities of my clients shift towards greater risk aversion, asset protection, and the negotiation of flexible timelines and deal contingencies. Quite often, this looks like assisting clients with negotiating new deal terms and restructuring loans, transactions, or leases to accommodate cash flows and minimize risk. Through these more challenging economic times, however, I have been consistently impressed by the resilience, creativity, and integrity of my clients as they navigate economic uncertainty. 

4. You clerked for Judge David Furman at the Colorado Court of Appeals. How did that experience inform and affect your career?

Reflecting on my experience clerking for Judge David Furman at the Colorado Court of Appeals, I am filled with gratitude for the unparalleled mentorship I received while in that role. I see now that this experience is the bedrock of my legal career and a treasured season of personal development. The Colorado Court of Appeals operated much like an incubator in which my capacity and acumen for reasoned legal analysis based on controlling law and a unique set of facts developed through the gift of observation. I was able to learn and grow exponentially by observing the manner in which Judge Furman (and all of the judges) meticulously reviewed, analyzed, discussed, and applied the law in each case. Another gift I received from my clerkship was a forum in which to practice all that I had observed. I spent countless hours reading briefs, discussing the law with fellow clerks and Judge Furman, and contributing to the opinion drafting process, which produced in me a profound awareness of and respect for the power of words, the value of details, and the need for humility in every lawyer’s approach to the practice of law.  The most impressing part of the experience, however, was my immersion in the Court of Appeals’ incredible culture of service and deep respect for the law.

5. If you were not a lawyer, what would you be doing?

It is difficult to imagine a career that does not involve the practice of law. However, if we are just imagining, and setting aside the dream of being a “professional adventurer,” while accepting the reality that I may not have the moxie to be a visionary entrepreneur like many of my clients, I would enjoy serving in a capacity in which I could still negotiate win-win outcomes for, and operate as a trusted advisor to, people and organizations. One role I have always admired is the role of a hostage negotiator, because it involves high-stakes, mission-oriented work that is focused entirely on the well-being of another person. 

Click here to visit the Top Lawyers in Northern Colorado site in DataBank.

Source: BizWest

Related Articles