Renewed purpose: Attorney helps firm develop growth strategy, national profile

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Attorney Neil Sherman, an alumnus of Michigan State University College of Law, is pictured having fun with his wife Sarah, and their three sons, Nate, Max, and Ari.

Photo courtesy of Neil Sherman

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Little more than a year into his legal career, Neil Sherman was at a crossroads after the Pittsburgh based firm that he had joined abruptly closed its Detroit office, leaving him jobless in a tough market for young attorneys.

Then fate stepped in as his wife’s uncle “made a fortuitous introduction” to a seasoned attorney in metro Detroit who was looking for an infusion of young blood to help his firm grow in the decade ahead.

That attorney was Peter Schneiderman, a University of Michigan and Wayne State Law School alum who also was a licensed CPA.

“He was looking for a bankruptcy practitioner who could help attract national lending clients to his real estate firm that specialized in default mortgage services,” said Sherman, a native of Canada who earned his juris doctor degree from Michigan State University College of Law. “When I joined it was a six-person, two-attorney firm, obviously small by any sort of measure.”

But there was a certain “synchronicity” between the two lawyers, according to Sherman, who is 30 years younger than Schneiderman.

“We hit it off right away,” said Sherman. “The age difference between the two of us was not an issue. We both saw that we had complementary skills that could help the law firm grow. I brought some of the tech skills that could help streamline the legal process, while he was a well-established attorney with a ton of experience and connections.”

Sherman also acknowledged that he brought a certain “vim and vigor” to the firm that would be useful when courting national clients.

“Peter really encouraged me to be entrepreneurial in developing a national client base, to be confident in selling our services to big lenders,” Sherman said.

So, in short order, Sherman began scheduling face-to-face meetings with a blue-ribbon list of prospective clients, “the kind with their logos on your bank credit card,” he said.

“It was intimidating at first and I had many moments when I wondered, ‘What am I doing here?’, but I just kept at it and within a couple of years we were getting some real traction,”  Sherman said. “It was heartening to see some positive results from all the hard work and the travel.”

Some four years after joining the firm, Sherman teamed with Schneiderman again, this time by opening a title agency that could add to their legal service offerings.

“We did it to support the law firm, which required a title product to expand our range of services,” Sherman explained.

As such, Best Homes Title Agency was founded in 2006, serving residential and commercial clients. And since its inception, the company has been in a growth mode and recently opened two new offices to bring its total number to 10.

It’s ninth location is in Schaumburg, Ill., a Chicago suburb that will help Best Homes Title Agency expand its “regional market presence,” according to Sherman.

In announcing the expansion, Sherman said the Chicago area office was “an important first step in continuing to offer our clients the highest level of convenience and customer service.

“As a company we are continuing to grow and we needed our regional footprint to support our clients closer to home,” Sherman indicated, noting that the agency is “licensed, partnered, or set up for referral in all 50 states.”

On September 1, the agency opened an office in Royal Oak on Dewey Street near Rochester Road and 12 Mile. The opening, according to Sherman, was kept low key because of the “new reality” of business in 2020.

“Today, as a result of the pandemic, we are as much a technology company as we are a title and escrow services business,” Sherman said. “We will continue to enhance our services and service areas to evolve with and for our customers and the industry as a whole.”

The long-term success of the law firm and the title company is built on the strength of “our executive management team,” said Sherman, while also giving credit to the founding partner.

“Peter is one of my best friends in life and is my ‘go-to person’ when it comes to business advice,” Sherman said of Schneiderman. “He is my consigliere.”

Similarly, Sherman speaks in reverential tones when talking about his wife, Sarah, a former elementary school teacher in West Bloomfield, the area where she grew up.

“She made it clear when we got married that we could live anywhere we want as long as it’s within 15 minutes of Orchard Lake Road and Maple,” Sherman said with a laugh. “Clearly, I got the message.”

His wife is the “CEO of our family” and is an “amazing educator,” a role that has become especially important in the new era of remote classroom learning.

“We have three boys (Nate – 14, Max – 11, and Ari – 6), ranging from a freshman in high school to a first-grader, all of whom have been taught by their mother since the pandemic started in the spring,” Sherman said.
“She has done an absolutely incredible job with their schooling, keeping them focused on their school responsibilities.”

Sherman was raised in Canada, earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Western Ontario in 1998. He then crossed the border to attend law school at Michigan State University, which during his time there was enjoying a basketball renaissance thanks to a fellow named Izzo.

“It was my dream to attend a Big Ten university and I can still vividly remember walking up Grand River (Avenue) the night we won the national championship,” Sherman said of the magical moment in the spring of 2000. “As a big-time sports fan, I was in my glory that night.”

While hockey was his sport growing up, Sherman also fashioned himself as a budding musician, playing acoustic guitar in a Windsor band titled “The Naked Ape.”

“I sang and played guitar, and we released an album in 1996,” Sherman said. “Music was and still is one of my passions, although I’m more involved in curating and collecting now.”

The 44-year-old Sherman has two brothers, Aubby, a systems engineer who lives in Huntington Woods with his wife and two children, and Mark, an urban forestry planner for the City of Toronto. Their parents, Debbie and Howard, will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary in 2022 and now reside in Beverly Hills.

“My father has been my lifelong business mentor and has had an illustrious career as a senior executive in the metals recycling business,” said Sherman. “My mom was the CEO of our family growing up and now is the Fitbit champ of our extended family. Of course, they also enjoy their roles as grandparents and it is a real blessing to have them living near us.”

Especially as Sherman continues to juggle the dual responsibilities of guiding a law firm and a title agency.

“As anyone running a business can attest, this has been a year like no other,” said Sherman of the economic fallout from the pandemic. “We’ve all been faced with adjusting to changing circumstances, and it will be interesting to see if the social experiment of working remotely is a viable solution to improved productivity and overall happiness.”




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