By Callan Smith | Rose Law Group Reporter
You recently celebrated 12 years with RLG, and your name is on the door, Rose Law Group Rich Carter—congratulations! What’s is it like to lead this law firm and why have you chosen to be at RLG?
It’s been a great 12 years of success and growth here at RLG! I chose RLG 12 years ago because of Jordan’s vision and commitment to building a law firm that innovates the practice of law. I feel like we continue to do that by seeking creative solutions for our clients every day, and we have assembled a wonderful team of attorneys, planners and staff members that are focused on that goal.
I hear you were a project manager at a construction company before becoming an attorney, and a that you’re a licensed real estate broker. How does being a broker and your former experience lend to transactional real estate? Can you tell us what the RLG Transactional Department does?
Growing up here in Arizona, I started working for contractors and real estate owners at a fairly young age, and I decided in high school that I would study construction management. Working in the construction industry after completing my bachelor’s degree, I quickly learned the importance of being careful and thorough in putting contracts together. I was also able to meet lots of people in the real estate industry during that time, and I began to understand and appreciate the development process, seeing how the relationships between land owners, municipalities, consultants and builders were formed—and also how they sometimes failed. This was a great education and helps me nearly every day as I work to understand my clients’ goals, and how they do business. I think that is critical to being able to give them good legal advice, and that I am a better lawyer for having dealt first hand with many of the same types of issues and transactions that my clients are now undertaking.
The RLG Transactions Department handles the full spectrum of transactional matters—from business and corporate matters to real estate deals and development. I am mostly focused on real estate, while I work with other team members on business and corporate deals. We help clients buy, sell, and develop land, retail and office buildings, master plan communities, apartments, industrial warehouses and distribution centers. A significant part of my practice is real estate development work that is related to joint venture agreements, infrastructure, financing and development agreements with municipalities. We also represent some banks and help clients with financing. I enjoy the fact that every transaction is different, and they are all fun and interesting to me.
You recently tweeted you were in Payson discussing development for the Urban Land Institute (ULI). What types of ideas did you put forward? I hear you volunteer as a mock City Council member with ULI, what’s that like?
I’ve enjoyed serving with ULI and its Arizona Technical Assistance Program (AzTAP) for the past few years. The AzTAP committee works to assist Arizona municipalities, counties, regions, and non-profits in the preliminary study of unique land use planning, development, and redevelopment issues. I was invited by the AzTAP program to participate in a panel discussion with experts from a variety of fields to discuss land use and development issues relating to Payson’s Main Street and American Gulch project. I talked about ways the Town Payson could attract businesses and more private development along the Main Street and about some potential financing alternatives for the public improvements in the American Gulch. It was a great day.
I have also volunteered with ULI’s UrbanPlan program, which teaches seniors in high school about community development issues as part of their government and economics classes. As one who has taken a number of zoning cases through planning commissions and City Council’s for approvals, I always find it enjoyable to change roles for a day and ask questions to learn about the students’ projects. It’s fun to see how the students perceive land use and development questions and work to overcome potential roadblocks for their projects.
As an ASU Alum, you must be home team fan, what’s your favorite sport? Do you follow national league teams?
I’m a Sun Devil and have held season tickets to ASU Football for a number of years. My family and I enjoy going to games together and hope that our new coach brings even more success to the program. I’ve also been thrilled to see ASU’s basketball program succeed in recent years. I love the passion displayed by college athletes and rooting for my alma mater, but my interest in professional sports has waned over the last several years.
As a father, what’s your favorite thing to do with your kids? I remember a camping story being told at a Monday morning meeting, is that something you often do? If yes, what’s your favorite place to camp?
Any time spent with my children is my favorite time. My oldest son will be a sophomore in high school, and my wife and I have just realized that we only have 3 years left with him at home, so we have a renewed sense of urgency to enjoy the precious little time we have with our children while they are young.
Robyn and I started a tradition early in our marriage of taking an annual camping trip to the beach. I think we’ve been every year except the summer I took the bar exam. We now have 6 families that go with us every July, and it has become our children’s favorite vacation.
We also do some backpacking camping trips and have been all over northern Arizona—we generally seek out water to play in wherever we can find it. Backpacking has been a great way for us to get out of cell phone range for a few days and enjoy real time together.
What is your best shareable RLG story?
One of my favorite zoning cases was for Camp Soaring Eagle, a non-profit that was trying to utilize a property in northern Arizona to provide medically safe camp experiences to children with serious illnesses and their families. The County required us to get Board of Supervisor approval for a use permit before they could open, which was surprisingly difficult to obtain because of some concerns held by surrounding neighbors that stemmed from a previous operator of the camp property.
In the end, we were able to persuade the elected officials to approve Camp Soaring Eagle’s use permit, so they could open up and fulfill their mission. It was wonderful to be part of such a great cause.