What type of attorney should I be connecting with in order to draw up an operating agreement that I plan use between myself and future potential partners? Also, should I be staying local for this particular legal need?
A good one. One that has seen businesses fail, succeed, and partners that break up or pass on.
Is there a specialty area of law that deals with operating agreements?
Try a larger firm that does corporate formations and has a litigation arm. The litigation component is important because that’s really where your operating agreements get tested.
@Ryan Moore Corporate law is the short answer.
But @Carl Fischer brings up a good point. The lawyer engaged should understand your specific real estate investment endeavor... including who among the potential future members will bring true value to the relationship (and in what quantity), what may go wrong, and how to unwind it all.
An experienced business-law attorney. Preferably one that has understanding of securities laws as well as asset protection beyond just your typical "I form LLCs" lawyer.