What You Do In Life Makes You Who You Are!
Robert Abrams, of the Law Office of Robert C Abrams, is a local real estate attorney who grew up in Fresno, graduated from Bullard High School, and recently opened his own law office. He also serves on the boards of the Fresno Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity.
Abrams attended college in Berkeley. His father had told him he could be anything he wanted when he grew up, but Abrams wasn’t sure what that was. His mother had encouraged him to be a doctor or a lawyer, and he’d always had an interest in law. After he obtained his Bachelor’s degree, however, he was uninterested in further schooling. Instead, he worked various jobs, such as tending bar and working in a handyman store, until the time came for him to support a family. “When I got married, I had to get a real job,” says Abrams. Abrams worked for Bank of America for about eleven years. He started out in lending, primarily real estate lending. He set up residential lending offices for real estate for the bank, worked in marketing, credit lines, and reverse mortgages. When the bank had a problem with a developer, he helped them through by working on problem loans in real estate before leaving the banking industry. He worked in the building industry, including real estate sales, property management, construction, and home inspections for about twenty years.
Real Estate and Law
Although he’d always wanted to be an attorney, Abrams also liked real estate. “It’s hard to put your finger on it, but it’s kind of an exciting area,” he says. “It’s growth.” Everything that we do economically touches real estate in some way.
When his children were out of the house, he told his wife he wanted to fulfill his dream of going to law school, and she told him to go for it. “I did. I worked full time, went to school. It wasn’t without its challenges … I got through it, passed the bar, and here I am.”
The deciding factor was a conversation with a friend who had been in his sixties when he went to law school and was in law for only three years before having to leave due to medical issues. When Abrams asked him if he’d still go to law school, knowing that he’d only practice for three years, his friend said that without a doubt, he would. “And that was kind of the last thing that convinced me to go ahead and push through.”
His past careers in real estate have been helpful because he has knowledge and experience in many aspects of real estate.
It’s an awesome story of not giving up on your dreams, and “that’s what it’s all about. If I could give any advice to somebody, that would be what it is — don’t give up on your dreams,” says Abrams. “Don’t push it, necessarily, because what you do in life makes you who you are.” Looking back, Abrams knows that if he had gone into law school just after college, he may not have lasted, been what he considers to be a good attorney, or had the same values that he has now. His life experiences help him do what he does.
Making the Switch
Abrams had a big career doing property and home inspections and worked for a substantial nationwide business doing property inspections for insurance. He had employees from Tehachapi to Lodi, from the Nevada border to the coast. When it was time to take his bar exam, he asked for some time off. Instead, the company laid him off.
After passing the bar, Abrams began working for a firm that emphasized real estate. Right off the bat, the firm gave him a big case on Donald Trump and the Running Horse Golf Course. He had to quickly learn how to do depositions and write motions. It was a sink or swim proposition, and he swam. He went on to work there for a couple of years before going off on his own.
Forming His Own Law Office
Abrams had had his own business for over twenty years, and “the transition into being an employee at a law firm wasn’t that difficult, but being on my own allows me a different kind of freedom,” says Abrams. He wanted the freedom to make his own decisions on how to use his resources and determine his own direction, but “when you work for somebody else, the boss makes the rules.”
He was happy working for somebody else, made a decent living, and even had time for himself, which is something that people must give up when they go to work for themselves. “It’s more of … being able to direct my own choir,” says Abrams. “If the need comes up to help somebody and not charge them for it … I can make that decision.” If he wants to take a class and be away from the office for a while, even if he wants to spend company resources to do it, he doesn’t have to get permission
“I just really love to help people.” Abrams has a lot of people come to his practice, serves on many boards, and can’t get enough of helping people, both legally and with their spiritual needs.
Advice to His Younger Self
If Abrams could go back and give his younger self advice, it would be to be more serious at college. He could have been a lot more studious, paid a lot more attention, and gotten a lot more out of his education instead of having fun. “It seemed like fun at the time, but looking back, it wasn’t the best use of my time.”
The Hard Times
What gets Abrams through the hard times? “Only one thing, that’s my relationship with Jesus Christ.”
An Influential Book
Abrams’ most influential book has been the Bible. “I grew up in a Jewish home … and I married a woman who was a Christian. That didn’t make any difference until we started having children.” When his wife wanted to raise the children in the church, he became a student of the Bible.
About the Business
Abrams started his own office only recently, in November of 2016, but he’s already in growth mode. “I think in any business, you either grow or you die,” he says. And if you ever want to take a vacation, you need employees to keep it running while you’re gone.
He’s seeking an attorney and a paralegal who does litigation. It’s difficult to find people with real estate backgrounds. “You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find someone in the law profession that knows how to draft a grant or deed of trust,” he says. “It’s a learning process and a teaching process, and when you’re the sole practitioner, you don’t have a lot of time for teaching.”
One of the most common issues that Abrams sees is contract problems. People will often sign a contract without fully knowing what’s in it, what everything means, and what their rights and responsibilities are.
“We’re here to help people.” They focus on real estate and business law, and offer assistance to people who need help from someone who knows real estate.
Contact Robert C Abrams