Neil Sullivan

Always try and find a way to do something better. If an issue arises, find a way to avoid it in the future.


Neil Sullivan, Managing Partner for Sullivan & McMullan Real Estate Law is reinventing the way real estate works. While he has been established in multiple businesses over the years, he thrives in the real estate environment. He loves knowing he can create a way for people to establish the lives they want.

With 22 years of experience, Neil Sullivan has been able to develop an approach to real estate that maximizes the opportunities for his clients. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1995. Neil began doing international property deals and working with clients to invest in real estate. Over the years he has learned a lot with the rise and fall of the market culminating in the real estate recession of 2008.

In 2014, Neil Sullivan reevaluated his broad approach to real estate. This led him to dynamically retrace the Sullivan and McMullan Real Estate Law firm. This new direction has created multiple opportunities for clients from around the world, moving to Canada. Neil Sullivan has developed a service-oriented law firm. This law firm now puts his clients ahead of everything. He has facilitated the opportunity to communicate with clients in their native language, catering to multiple communities. This firm also offers mobility to their clients with respect to their real estate transactions.

This unique approach to real estate transactions has created an ever-growing practice for Sullivan McMullan under the direction of Neil Sullivan. His inspiration is and continues to be his lovely wife and his drive to create the most customer friendly Real Estate Law Firm in Canada.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I rebranded Sullivan McMullan as I was inspired by my experience doing real estate development coupled with my return to Canada. I recognize a need within the real estate market for an innovative and progressive firm to provide real estate legal services. We have tailored a service offering to appeal to the needs of the buyer/seller who would otherwise not have a reason to use an attorney. We are much more responsive to their needs than a traditional law firm. Our clients have been very pleased with that approach.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

We work on a high degree of volume. I have a number of paralegals who are fantastic at what they do. I am in meetings with clients most of the day, taking care of details and making sure they are happy. I address any issues that may need my attention. We treat our client’s money as if it is our own so we follow up on every detail.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By nature, I am very entrepreneurial. I have had many different businesses. I like to apply this perspective of understanding the needs of a particular type of client and try to improve the delivery of services in the industry.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am very excited to see the City of Winnipeg grow exponentially. It is a great time to be living here. It is a great time to be in a city that is growing and building. In fact, it is wonderful to see so many immigrants moving to Winnipeg and starting their lives here. We’ve developed connections with people who move to the country as well as build relationships with real estate developers.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am obsessive about my email. In fact, I am very responsive to emails. If a client emails me at 2 or 3 in the morning, they are very surprised to get an email right back. A lot of time my clients will text me and they get a response right away. I am always accessible, even on weekends as well. It also avoids issues getting bigger. Issues will often be resolved even before I get into work the next day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I wish younger Neil Sullivan would have gone directly into real estate law. I did some securities law and then some corporate law. I really appreciate how much better it is to specialize in one particular part of law. You can deliver a much higher level of service to your clients. In addition, you are not pulled in so many different directions so you can focus on the service that you’re offering to people.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I would say that in the legal profession, being responsive to the client is the most important aspect. The other thing is that contrary to popular belief, a big and fancy office is not nearly as important as delivering great service to your clients.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Always try and find a way to do something better. If an issue arises, find a way to avoid it in the future.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I think my business has grown because we take great pride in what we do. Our growth has been exponential based entirely on positive word-of-mouth from our happy clients.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I think we all have to face challenges. I found myself developing luxury real estate when the Great Recession of 2008 occurred and consumer credit suddenly vanished overnight. I never even got paid for work I completed, but as an entrepreneur every setback is also a lesson.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

For any industry, start by doing a deep dive into understanding you clients’ perspective. The industry doesn’t matter, most every industry can and will be disrupted just as soon as someone finds a way to better understand its consumers. Keep reinventing yourself and keep trying new things without over-committing until you find your formula for success.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best thing I could ever spend $100 on would be for flowers for my wife. She is my Rock. She has always been supportive of everything I do and a source of great advice. She is my motivation to work hard and to be the best person I can be.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We have actually built our own software. We expended took the time and resources to create customized software to better ensure our clients’ needs are met quickly and efficiently.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

E-myth by Michael Gerber. As an Entrepreneur, you don’t just want to build a job for yourself.  You want to plan the business for future growth and to ensure that your service delivery is personalized, and customer oriented.

What is your favorite quote?

The customer is always right.

Key Learnings:

● Always try and find a way to do something better.
● Be responsive to your clients, it is the most important thing.
● When you specialize, you can focus on your clients’ needs.