Vikki McKay, real estate partner at international law firm Proskauer Rose, discusses how she got started in the property industry.

Vikki McKay

Vikki McKay

How did you join the property industry?

Unintentionally. I started my training contract thinking I wanted to be a litigator, probably fuelled by visions of Ally McBeal, but despite stated preferences was assigned a property seat. Within two months, I was hooked and have never looked back.

What does your job entail now?

As a corporate real estate partner, my job from the outside couldn’t look more varied – acquisitions, investments, disposals and development – but essentially no matter the transaction, I am counselling my clients how to best exploit real assets to serve their business needs.

What do you like most about the property industry?

I like the tangible nature of the industry. At the end of a transaction or a deal you can point at what you have achieved for a client. Although I focus more on investment than development these days, I still feel the frisson of excitement when I see a client’s asset open and occupied or traded.

And what do you dislike most about it?

I dislike that too often the property industry becomes the poster child for failing industries and economic policies. Pictures of abandoned high streets and empty units splashed across our screens and pages seems to my mind to be a little unfair and doesn’t represent the realities of development.

What would you change about the property industry?

Can we please join the 21st century? As an industry we are at the forefront of many of the important conversations of the day on providing environmentally sound and sustainable development to support and drive wellbeing and yet we remain reliant on hard-copy documents and ‘wet ink’ signatures.

What barriers or challenges do you feel you have overcome?

Having worked in property for over 20 years, including during both a recession and global pandemic, you realise that you need to rise to the challenges that these bring and evolve to meet them.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I suppose when I look back on my career it would be easy to point at the biggest deals I have facilitated and say that is what makes me most proud, but in reality it is using my legal knowledge and commercial skills to help clients to achieve their aims, no matter the deal size.

What do you value in people?

Enthusiasm, hard work and a great sense of humour.

What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?

Don’t ever let people put you in a box. Many people have a very narrow view of the property industry, but it is the diversity of opportunity that makes every day different and challenging, which makes it such a rewarding career.

Vikki McKay is a real estate partner at international law firm Proskauer Rose