Polly McLean

It is OK to fail sometimes because failure is the pathway to learning. Taking chances makes you stronger.


Polly McLean is an attorney specializing in real estate, land use, association and contract services. Polly McLean worked for thirteen years at Park City Municipal as an Assistant City Attorney and has on-the-ground knowledge of how the Planning, Building and Engineering departments work. She is an expert in State and local Land Use Codes and development entitlements. Polly has extensive experience in real estate and development matters, association law, construction law, administrative law and contract issues. Polly McLean can assist clients with new construction, entitlements, business licensing, Foothill and Canyons Overlay Zone Issues (FCOZ – Salt Lake County), HOA representation, and Park City historic district issues.

As a Park City resident for 15 years, Polly has in depth knowledge of legal matters in Park City, Summit County and Wasatch Counties. She was involved in drafting key parts of the Park City Land Management Code, and portions of the Park City Municipal Code. Additionally, Polly Samuels McLean has litigated land use matters before the Utah District Court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

Polly McLean has extensive experience drafting and reviewed all types of contracts including Construction Contracts, Professional Provider Contracts, and Real Estate Purchase Contracts. She also has experience negotiating and drafting leases. Polly McLean drafted and reviewed procurements, contracts, leases and request for proposals including professional service contracts, equipment purchases and software licenses. She drafted and negotiated complex development, interlocal and franchise agreements.

Polly has negotiated, reviewed, and drafted Real Property sale, acquisition and leases. Drafted deed restrictions for affordable housing. Polly has experience drafting and amending CCRs for affordable housing and commercial property. She approved subdivision plats for the City. Polly has experience drafting encroachments, easements, and right of ways and working through related issues.

Polly ensured legal compliance in her time with Park City. She educated and trained Council, Boards, Commissions and staff on the legislative process, general legal issues and the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). She presented at the Utah Land Use Conference in 2017 on business licenses and land use regulation.

With over 22 years of legal experience, Polly has earned her reputation as a highly skilled, capable and pragmatic attorney. She has an Ivy League pedigree and graduated from Cornell Law School (1996) and University of Pennsylvania (1991). Before working in municipal law, Polly McLean practiced was a felony prosecutor for the Utah Attorney General’s Office in their Criminal Division and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in the Trial Division. She clerked for Judge James Z. Davis on the Utah Court of Appeals. She is admitted into the Utah Bar and the New York Bar. Polly grew up in New York City and now enjoys spending time in the Wasatch Mountains skiing, biking and hiking.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I have been practicing government law for my entire 23 year career and it has always been a dream of mine to have my own law practice. I knew that I could use the skills and experience I gained especially with my 13 years working at Park CIty Municipal, to help clients navigate government processes, entitlements, and contracts.

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

My typical day involves responding to client needs, researching projects which I may want to write about or that may help me advise clients in the future. I also enjoy meeting with people to learn what the needs are in our community that I can serve. I make sure the advice I’m giving is practicable and doable. I am very intentional and efficient with my time so that I can produce the best work for my clients.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Prepare prepare prepare. I make sure that I have the information needed and then implement the idea. Its important to dream big but then take all the small steps need to make it to your goal. It’s not just believing in yourself, but working toward little goals in order to work towards bringing your ideas to life. Also, in my past I have taken great leaps. I moved from New York City to the mountains of Utah without any connections because of my passion for the outdoors and skiing, but knowing that I wanted a stimulating law practice that required a bigger City.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The ability to access information online. It used to be that in order to find out local ordinances you had to contact a governmental entity directly, ask for the code section and have them send it to you. This was even true for permit applications. Now, I can help clients better but having the information at my fingertips.

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

I always double check what my clients goals are and what they are trying to achieve. I repeat it back to make sure that I we are on the same page and so I am clear that I understand what they want from our relationship. By having clarity on their goals it helps them narrow what they need from me, and helps me give the correct answers that they need.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more focused on learning and expanding your knowledge than worried about getting good grades or succeeding at school. I was so focused on doing well and attending some of the best schools that at times I would lose sight of the ultimate goal of learning and intellectual simulation. I wish I had known that it was OK to fail sometimes because failure is the pathway to learning. Taking chances makes you stronger.

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

Aiming to be perfect will undermine your goal. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time trying to achieve perfection, you need to assess what the ultimate goal is and the aim to achieve that. Efficiency, so long as the answer is legally correct, can be more important than a pretty looking memo, or one that has 200 citations.

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

Connect with other people and put yourself out there. There is no substitute for being there in person and connecting and sharing ideas.

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

Meeting with people one on one and brainstorming ideas has been extremely helpful.

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

Starting a business has many ups and downs with lots of small steps that need to be done in a certain order. It’s will a learning experience.

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

I think there continues to be potential in outdoor pursuits.

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

I spent $100 taking out my family to dinner. There is never a substitute for spending time with family to recharge and be inspired.

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

I really love Excel. It has so many applications and helps me keep track of so much.

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

Mindset has been an inspiration to me. Recognizing that our attitude and approach dictates our outcomes helps reach potential. Also the book remind us that mistakes and failures are learning experiences.

What is your favorite quote?

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. — Confucius

Key Learnings:

  • Keep trying and plugging away at things. Each setback gets you closer to your goal
  • The key to legal success in Park City is connections and face to face contact.
  • Our community is what makes us strong and ultimately helps us succeed.
  • Attitude is everything