(BBA, Banking and Finance, ’02; JD, ’05)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My favorite class was Marketing 101, and my favorite professor was Ehsan Nikbakht, who taught a number of my finance courses.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing learned in that position?
I went straight to Hofstra Law from undergrad and worked at a firm called Kane Kessler, P.C. after law school. I spent four years there before starting my own firm and really learned the skill set needed to become a successful real estate attorney.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I am a real estate attorney; in law school, I chose a concentration in real estate law. I always enjoyed real estate, especially the transactional side, and made sure when I started my career that I would only pursue roles that met these criteria.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Make sure to get as much exposure as possible to the different professions that you are interested in, and do so by internships, working during the school year, and most importantly, networking with professionals and alumni in those areas.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- What led you to the decision to start your own law firm?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and starting my own law firm in Manhattan was a goal of mine from a young age. I also saw the opportunity to create a real estate-focused law firm with exposure to almost every aspect of NYC real estate, while targeting the middle market – which not many firms in NYC have done, so there was a tremendous opportunity.
- Who was the person who most influenced you, and how?
My father. He always pushed me from a young age and challenged me to always think of ways I could think bigger and improve.
- How have your degrees from Hofstra University helped you in your career?
My business degree has certainly helped me in running a business in addition to practicing law. I am equally a business owner and an attorney, and having that business acumen is just as valuable as being a good lawyer.
- Is there any one experience or accomplishment that you are proudest of in your career thus far?
I started my solo practice during the financial crisis and then created Romer Debbas, LLP, along with my partner, Michael Romer, a year later. Starting a law firm in such a challenging time was very difficult, but it also created opportunities that we capitalized on. I am most proud of the foundation we created during this time and how it grew beyond our wildest dreams in a short period of time.
Pierre E. Debbas is a partner and founding member of Romer Debbas, LLP, a boutique real estate law firm in midtown Manhattan. His practice focuses on the purchase and sale of commercial and residential real estate in New York City, commercial leasing, real estate-related financing matters, representation of cooperative and condominium boards, foreign investors, and small businesses. Over the course of his career, Pierre has been involved in thousands of real estate transactions and is instrumental in his firm’s annual ranking as one of the top transactional firms based on volume of transactions closed in NYC.
Pierre is frequently quoted and invited to participate in a variety of national and regional publications and media outlets, including The New York Times, Bloomberg Television, Fox Business, The Real Deal, and The Wall Street Journal. He is regularly a featured lecturer at several of the city’s largest real estate brokerage firms. In addition, Pierre is certified by the New York Department of State to teach continuing education courses on the topics of residential and commercial real estate.
Pierre has an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review, meaning that he has reached the highest levels of professional excellence, skill, and integrity. In addition, he has been named to New York Magazine’s Leaders in the Law as well as Crain’s New York Business 2021 Notable in Real Estate.