Sarah Cline said learning she is able to educate young lawyers and real estate professionals has been her most significant — and surprising — professional accomplishment.
“It was never something I envisioned for myself,” said Cline, a 2007 graduate of the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. “As a lifelong introvert, I always imagined I would spend my career behind my desk, researching and writing. And don’t get me wrong; I do plenty of that. But the surprising thing I’ve found over the course of 10 years of practicing is that I love sharing my knowledge.”
Cline took an unusual path to a career in real estate law. Two weeks into her second year of law school in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, sending Cline back home to Maryland, where she worked as a waitress and also with an attorney with a bankruptcy practice. When she returned to law school, she continued to work for the attorney and took specialized classes in bankruptcy and real estate. She had found her passion.
“I love the research elements of my work,” Cline said. “When I am working on a deal involving a piece of property, at a minimum I am looking back 60 years into that property’s history: who owned, what they did with it, how they interacted with their neighbors.”
Cline was the Maryland coordinator from 2011 to 2015 for Wills for Heroes, a nonprofit group that provides free estate planning documents for emergency responders. She continues to volunteer with the group.
“It is really rewarding to meet with the first responders and their families,” she said.
Cline is driven to help other lawyers because she remembers her early years as a lawyer.
“Law school primarily teaches you about legal concepts in an academic context,” she said. “It doesn’t teach you much about the mechanics of practicing law. When I was starting out, it was overwhelming to try to figure out the mechanics while juggling deadlines and competing client demands, so I am always open to mentoring young lawyers.”
Law school primarily teaches you about legal concepts in an academic context. It doesn’t teach you much about the mechanics of practicing law.”