Six Questions with Rebecca Owen, ’87

Rebecca Owen leads the CEI Realty, Inc. team and the real estate portfolio. Ms. Owen has been in senior leadership positions at Clark for over 20 years since joining Clark as General Counsel, and she currently serves on the Real Estate Investment Committee. Ms. Owen currently serves as a member of the Board of Carr Properties (a private REIT), as a member of the Real Estate Investment Advisory Committee of ASB Capital (an institutional real estate investment firm), and as a member of the Board of the Suburban Hospital Foundation and of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington, DC. Ms. Owen previously served as a Board member for Columbia Equity Trust (formerly NYSE: COE) and as an Advisory Committee member for multiple private equity funds. Ms. Owen previously practiced law at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. She received a JD from The University of Chicago Law School and a BA from Hamilton College.

1. What is a favorite Law School memory?

Professor Currie and a group of unusually talented classmates conducted a Con Law class almost exclusively in original songs. How did they have the time to create that?  There was such remarkable talent throughout the faculty and students.

2. Is there a particular course, clinic, or program that you participated in while attending the Law School, or an idea or theory, which has proven particularly helpful in your current work?

The Socratic Method under the likes of Professors Blum, Easterbrook, Epstein, Fischel, Helmholz, Stone, Strauss, Sunstein, and Wood challenged me to look at things in new and creative ways, and I became better at problem solving and understanding complex issues because of it. Of course, it was terrifying at the time, and I still picture Professor Helmholz at times when someone says, “Ms. Owen, what do you think?”

3. What skill or idea that you learned at Law School do you routinely incorporate into your work?

I remember Professor Epstein saying something to the effect that it takes two to make a contract—you need two willing participants with a meeting of the minds on key issues to have a binding agreement. It was a particularly memorable concept given its delivery in Professor Epstein’s high-energy-style, bouncing around the classroom. My day job as a real estate lawyer/investor is to create a meeting of the minds among competitors for win-win agreements, and my Law School training reminds me to make sure that both sides walk away with a similar understanding.

4. What are you currently reading?

I loved reading A Noise in Time: A Novel by Julian Barnes for my book group. It’s a piece of historic fiction about Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and his incredibly complicated life navigating under Stalin’s watchful eyes.

5. What do you enjoy most about your work?

I most enjoy the network of relationships I’ve developed along the way from the Law School until now—a group of talented people to share ideas with and compare notes. It’s easier to come up with solutions and agreements if you’ve developed a relationship of trust among people who can rely on what you say.

6. Why is it important to you to support the Law School?

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Law School.