Name: Amanda R. Hayes
Company: Redmon, Peyton & Braswell, LLP; RPB Title, LLC
Current Position at Company: Associate Attorney/Settlement Agent; Title Agent
Current Role(s) within VLTA: Events Committee member
Years Active with VLTA: 1.5 years
Tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up on a pig and corn farmstead in Northern Illinois with my parents, grandparents, and cousins. I discovered my love of the law from a young age, partially when my dad was a police officer for the county, and partially when I completed my high school community service hours at a local state’s attorney’s office working in traffic court. I received my Bachelor’s from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Sociology with a minor in Russian language and literature, my Master’s from George Washington University in Sociology with a multigenerational family studies focus, and my Juris Doctor from University of Illinois College of Law. While going to GWU, I fell in love with the DC area and knew I wanted to come back to practice law, so the day after I graduated from law school, I packed my bags and moved to Alexandria permanently!
How did you get involved in the title industry?
Our law firm has a title company and the opportunity arose when we needed another licensed title agent. Since I was just starting out my legal career and needed some more real world experience, my boss asked me to step into the role and help out with closings. I then became the backup processor for our settlements and eventually became the sole processor about six months ago.
What does your average work day look like?
Since I am a full time associate attorney, as well as a title agent/settlement agent/processor, my average work day varies quite a bit! My legal practice is focused primarily in real estate transactions, estate planning, estate/trust administration, and business formations. I work one-on-one with clients to help facilitate their needs as they determine how to navigate their particular issue, from drafting contracts, to qualifying and acting as a fiduciary, to just sitting down and listening to their concerns in more of a counselor capacity. My settlement/title roles span from processing ratified contract through policy orders, to sitting down at the table and explaining the closing package to the parties, to constant research and learning curves as I continue to learn in my ever-expanding roles!
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
(1) The constant learning curve! I am an avid researcher, so anything I can do to grow as both a lawyer and an individual is something I thrive for!
(2) Getting to know clients from both the legal and title sides of life. I have always been a people person! I thoroughly enjoy learning about others’ experiences and how I can better assist them because of those experiences.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Being a newbie on the block is definitely my biggest professional challenge. Between being in the legal industry for only a few years and the title even shorter, and the fact that I moved to Virginia without really knowing anyone, I am constantly looking to others for guidance.
What inspires you?
The older generations! I have always had an admiration for my grandparents, having grown up living next door to my paternal grandparents and only 10 miles away from my maternal grandparents, their tenacity and worldly experience to have lived through so much is a constant reminder that (1) things could always be worse, and (2) if they can do it, so can I!
How did you get involved with VLTA?
After attending a few CE events with my boss, who is our other title agent, I was introduced to several people who mentioned getting involved, but it wasn’t until Megan Meloon invited me to be a part of the events committee that I really found out more about VLTA and got involved!
What benefits does VLTA give you professionally and personally?
VLTA gives me a sense of belonging in the title world. It has connected me to so many wonderful people in the industry that I would not have otherwise met just being an attorney. It has also given me so many learning opportunities with regard to real estate and title work that has helped me grow just that much more in my multi-role position within the law firm.
You recently attended VLTA’s Lobby Day in January. Tell us about that experience.
Lobby Day was amazing! It was my first lobby day experience, so I was not sure what to expect. After being introduced to the other VLTA members present, we briefly discussed some of the more important parts of proposed legislation that impact our industry and what VLTA’s stance is on some of those issues. We were then whisked off to meet our local delegates and senators, or their aids, where we introduced VLTA, who we are and what we do, what stance if any we had on certain proposed legislation, and letting them know if they or their constituents needed anyone to refer to for title assistance, we were more than happy to be there as referrals.
What do you predict for the industry for 2019?
Given that I live and work in Alexandria, my prediction locally is that we are going to see a boom of real estate investors in NoVA given the Amazon announcement. For the Commonwealth, and possibly nationwide, I predict blockchain is going to begin to dramatically impact the way we communicate between title companies, lenders, and brokers.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
Solving cases one pitchfork at a time! (family joke)