Brian Prater joined the Firm in 2018 and primarily works in the Land Use and Zoning practice group in the Prince William Office. His practice focuses on securing zoning and land use entitlements such as rezonings, special permits, and special exceptions. Prior to joining the Firm, Brian practiced as an associate at Greehan, Taves & Pandak, where he gained experience in local government and land use litigation. During law school, Brian served on the editorial board of Quinnipiac Probate Law Journal.
In this month’s Employee Spotlight, we will learn a lot more about Brian Prater.
Thank you for participating in this month’s Employee Spotlight, Brian! Tell us a little about yourself — where did you grow up?
I grew up in Maryland, outside of Baltimore.
What did you think you wanted to be when you were younger?
As any young sports player, I wanted to be either a professional basketball or baseball player. When I soon realized that was not going to be an option, I thought I would work in finance. However, a dean at my college gave me the advice to consider law school based on my academic strengths and interests and I followed through on this advice.
What interested you about the legal field, specifically land use law?
Based on the advice I received from that dean in college, I pursued a degree in philosophy. The aspects of philosophy, such as analytical thinking and deductive reasoning, made law school and the legal field a strong candidate for my future profession. Shortly into law school I knew that the legal field was right choice. I was always interested in real estate, so property law made sense. My first internship was with the City of Waterbury and then a law firm that handles a lot of land use and zoning. I built an appreciation for the niche area of law and decided it would be my desired area in which to practice.
What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy that, as Land Use Attorneys, our role is often to be the quarterback of the zoning process. We are tasked with coordinating the many facets of the process – engineering, environmental concerns and traffic impacts just to name a few – to reach the ultimate goal of receiving zoning approval. I also enjoy that it focuses on personal skills and building relationships with clients and local staff and officials.
Who would you consider a mentor at the Prince William office and why?
I work with and learn from so many of the people on our Land Use Team that it is hard to pick just one. But if you’re going to make me pick, I think I will go with Jonelle Cameron. I do most of my work with her and she has been immensely helpful in teaching me the tricks of the trade for zoning in Prince William County. Just getting to observe her interact with clients, elected officials and County staff has taught me so much about the process.
Aside from a very busy schedule and being part of the Land Lawyers Mushball team, what do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I try to play as much golf as I can, but also spend a lot of time with friends and family. Lately, a significant amount of my time has been dedicated to my upcoming wedding.
Fondest memory from The Mushball Cup victory in September?
I think my favorite part was the team bonding and getting to know colleagues that I typically do not spend any time with. Well, that and the fact that we won! The celebration afterward was something to remember.
What’s the one thing about you few people know?
I really enjoy the National Parks and visiting the great parks throughout this County. My parents introduced me to some of these great parks and I really developed an affinity for hiking and the outdoors.
Why do you think Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh is a great place to work?
I truly appreciate the fact that it is family oriented and that it is such a friendly environment. Not all offices and professions, especially legal, have people with such pleasant dispositions.
Thank you, Brian!