April 29, 2011

Four on Friday: Christopher Tyson

Christopher Tyson was back in Atlanta visiting his old stomping grounds when he met Hartman Simons associate, Ryan Rivera, at a Hawks game. Now a member of the faculty at Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Chris lived in Atlanta during the late ‘90s. When Ryan heard Chris uses Atlantic Station as a case study for his real estate development law class, he introduced him to last week’s Four on Friday guest, Mark Toro. Last week Mark Toro was a guest speaker for the class via Skype. We thought we would find out from Chris if Mark had anything interesting to say during his Skype lecture from his kitchen table! Chris Tyson

HS: Like Mark Toro, you also have a strong presence on Twitter. Have you found Twitter to be a useful tool as a law professor?

CT: Before joining Twitter a little over a year ago, I simply did not see the point. I thought Facebook was enough social media. However, now I realize Twitter is an amazing tool for building community. This micro-blogging platform helps me connect and exchange information with any community I am seeking. I have met and connected with a number of scholars and people interested in new urbanism and real estate. In addition, I continually find news articles via Twitter feeds that I read and bring to the classroom.

HS: What were some of the key takeaways from Mark’s presentation on Atlantic Station?

CT: Prior to Mark’s virtual visit we had just wrapped up our coverage of commercial leasing in class. Mark spoke about the lease review process in the Atlantic Station acquisition and his retail strategy for Atlantic Station’s makeover. His presentation really brought everything we studied together and helped the students think critically about how they would provide value for Mark if he were their client. His message also helped emphasize that unlike litigation, attorneys working in commercial real estate law not only have to understand the law, but also the mechanics of every deal.

HS: We all keep talking about how real estate is affected by the state of the market. How about your law students? How are they fairing? 

CT:  Students are profoundly affected by the state of the market. Most have taken on debt and they are worried about getting a job in the crowded market and paying back their loans. In law school, we strive to instill critical thinking skills. I think today’s law graduate is going to have to apply those skills to a number of practice areas instead of being industry focused like many attorneys in the past.

HS: When you come back to Atlanta, where do you like to hang?

CT: Midtown. I enjoy midtown’s density, walkability and attractions. It is a great example of new urbanism at work in a southern city. I will say that Atlanta is a city of change. I lived here in the late ‘90s and a lot of the places I frequented are gone! However, Crescent Street in midtown is still a fun place full of energy.

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