“We’re all things real estate.” That’s the motto of Cervantes Chatt & Prince (CCP). Serving Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, CCP is a multi-discipline firm with robust practices in residential and commercial real estate transactions and litigation, and the legal needs of homeowners and condo associations.
“We do the buys and sells and handle it through the contracting process. We do residential. We do condos. We do shopping malls and lending reviews for big commercial clients,” says Bill Chatt, one of three shareholders in the firm. “We do all things transactional, and litigation when there are issues such as withholding defects on a property.”
CCP grew organically based on demand and the need to broaden areas of expertise. Chatt originally worked for a small firm on Chicago’s North side, moved to a firm in Naperville, and then eventually set up his own practice in Burr Ridge. Business boomed, so he called an old friend, Bob Prince.
“I called Bob and said, ‘Hey, it’s going gangbusters and we have to work together on this’,” says Chatt. “We had been friends with Marc Cervantes who was then a partner in a Chicago office, and he eventually joined us. It was just kind of a natural progression. That’s how the firm grew to where it is now.”
Cervantes handles real estate transactions, Prince heads up the association law practice, and Chatt handles the residential and commercial real estate litigation. CCP isn’t just a collection of attorneys, but a firm where each attorney does what they do best.
‘I don’t think we’re unique in terms of our practice area. A lot of attorneys do just real estate,” Chatt says. “But a lot of times, for example, people sell a house and don’t necessarily have an attorney who has all of the experience they might need. We have relationships with realtors and let them know what’s going on. We understand the process.”
CCP attorneys are often asked by real estate offices to present at meetings to educate realtors about changes in law, and Prince and Chatt are active in trade associations, speaking and writing articles about specific areas within real estate law such as condominium and homeowner associations.
“I think we’re kind of known that way, and we try to get out there as much as we can because of our mix of practice,” Chatt says. “We aren’t afraid of the more complex transactions. Some practitioners just want easy transactions and want to get the contract done and just move on.”
Because of its association experience, CCP can find the potential thorns in transactions and help clients avoid problems that might emerge down the line.
“We can look at some of the more unique transactions and tell clients with confidence that we can handle them,” says Chatt. “We can advise clients they should ask for something they wouldn’t normally ask for.
Chatt says CCP is not the cheapest option, but tough choices are often thrown back to the client and they are asked to make choices based on very limited information.
“I can’t tell you how many times Marc Cervantes asks me to review something because he’s worried it could result in litigation,” he says. “Sometimes getting more than one attorney working on your file, depending on the need, is really beneficial.”
The Burr Ridge office of Cervantes Chatt & Prince is located at 100 Tower Drive, Suite 120, 630-326-4930, ccpchicago.com.