Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Cairns

J.Thomas Cairns

Attorney, Steckbauer Weinhart, LLP

J. Thomas Cairns advises and represents real estate developers, investors, lenders, brokers, landlords and tenants in sophisticated transactions and high stakes litigation. In over 30 years of practice, he has been developers’ counsel on more than 50 major projects, including shopping centers, office and industrial parks, mixed use projects, hotels, condominiums and apartments, handling all aspects of property acquisitions, financing, entitlements, subdivisions, construction, sales and leasing. He has represented both borrowers and lenders in dozens of multimillion dollar financing transactions and has negotiated and documented hundreds of commercial leases. He became a licensed California Real Estate Broker in 1979. In addition, Mr. Cairns represents hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and tour operators. For more than a decade, he acted as outside General Counsel to the world’s largest chain of student travel agencies. In 1997, he was inducted into the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys and has served two terms on that organization’s Board of Directors. Mr. Cairns’ approach to litigation is to seek early, practical and economical resolutions for his clients. Where early resolution cannot be achieved, however, Mr. Cairns can call upon his skills as a veteran trial lawyer, having acted as lead counsel in over 60 bench trials and 14 jury trials to verdict in state, federal and bankruptcy courts. Mr. Cairns believes that his transactional and litigation practices complement one another and that his deep understanding of substantive real estate law gives his clients an advantage in the courtroom against generic litigators, while his experience with how things actually shake out in court helps him to better advise transactional clients on how to avoid pitfalls that may lead them into trouble.

Mr. Cairns can be contacted at 213-229-2868 or jcairns@swesq.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.