Interview with David R. Gray Jr.
David R. Gray, Jr. serves as the General Counsel for Wheeler Financial, Inc., and is also the founder of The Law Offices of David R. Gray, Jr., Ltd., and in both roles David’s focus is on real estate law, taxation, litigation and appeals. In addition to his work as an attorney, David has expanded his professional efforts to include real estate investments primarily concentrated in the greater Chicago area. It is in this way that David has been able to pursue several of his greatest professional passions: law, investing and real estate.
David earned his law degree from the University of Valparaiso School of Law after completing an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the College of Charleston. With his academic career complete, David then became a member of both the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, allowing him to practice law in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the state courts of Illinois and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. As the former chairman of the Chicago Bar Association’s Real Estate Taxation Committee, David consistently demonstrated his acumen in his chosen area of legal expertise.
As a registered title agent through The Law Offices of David R. Gray, Jr., Ltd., David spends a great deal of his time handling real estate closings for clients. Despite his demanding schedule and frequently heavy caseload, David has developed a reputation as one of the leading experts in the field of real estate law and has often been called upon to speak on the subject. His expertise is so highly regarded that he is even responsible for co-authoring two of the chapters appearing in the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education Real Estate Taxation Handbook. While David has always felt deeply satisfied with his professional responsibilities, it is his wife and son that consistently bring him the greatest sense of joy.
1. What was your best/favorite subject in school?
As the son of an attorney who practiced law for over 50 years in Chicago, anything related to legal studies always held my interest. As an undergraduate, I became deeply enthralled with all of the courses that made up the philosophy major, with ethics being a personal favorite.
2. What was your first job?
I worked in a restaurant as a dishwasher and eventually moved up to waiter. It didn’t pay particularly well and it wasn’t the most rewarding work, but I took pride in my responsibilities and worked very hard each and every night I was there.
3. Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
As I mentioned, my father practiced law in Chicago for quite some time, so it was only natural for me to follow in his footsteps.
4. How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
I learned very early on that how well I did any job affected a great deal of people in a variety of ways. In practicing law, that is the case on an exponential scale, so I have always remembered how important it is to take my responsibilities very seriously.
5. Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
Achieving a positive outcome for a client is always wonderful, but I think the first time my family came to visit my new practice will be a hard one to top.
6. How do you keep yourself motivated?
I am a family man through and through, so my family serves as a vital source of motivation for me and I have found it helpful to try to treat every client I work with as though they are a member of my family.
7. What kind of business ideas excite you most?
Outside of the field of law I have become particularly interested in the possibilities offered by private lending. I think there is an opportunity for it to become a true game-changer under the right circumstances.
8. Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
The best marketing approach for a legal practice relies primarily on a firm’s ability to achieve positive results for clients, so an unorthodox technique is not necessary if you are representing your clients well on a consistent basis.
9. What personal achievement are you most proud of?
My wife and I have raised a wonderful son, and there is no accomplishment that I will ever be more proud of.
10. What wisdom you would have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
I have always worked hard to maintain a solid work-life balance, so I would have advised myself to not spend so many late nights at the office during those early days and instead would have taken some work home if it was really necessary.