Real Estate Attorney Career Examples
Real estate law jobs for attorneys vary depending on a multitude of factors. We gave you just a couple of examples, but we'd also like to focus on some of the most common positions you could apply for. The following examples are a bit more precise and include more detailed requirements that reflect the state of the job market today.
Real Estate Attorney
The most important thing to keep in mind is that becoming a real estate attorney and finding employment as one are not the same things. Most real estate attorney positions will require some form of previous experience (usually around two years), typically in commercial real estate investments and funds. Some firms will also need you to have experience in working for a large firm, and possibly joint venture experience.
Additionally, real estate counsel jobs typically require strong transactional and drafting skills. For most positions, it can also be helpful to have experience in environmental matters, as well as construction, financing, and leasing. Oral communication and excellent writing and research skills are also a decisive factor.
In case you find employment as a real estate attorney, some of your responsibilities will be to prepare joint venture agreements, represent institutional investors in private real estate funds, draft real estate fund documents, and so forth.
Junior Real Estate Attorney
As far as in-house real estate attorney jobs go, your safest option is to aim for a junior real estate attorney position. Nowadays, candidates for such positions will mostly focus on commercial real estate finance, but you shouldn't expect to work exclusively in this area of real estate law.
Just like requirements for senior real estate attorney jobs, you'll most likely need to have at least several years of working on the representation of financial institutions in lending transactions and the like. However, please keep in mind that the specific requirements for each position will depend on the employer. Real estate law jobs, in general, require excellent academic credentials mostly from top-tier law schools.
Real Estate Finance Associate
As the word implies, seeking employment as a finance associate is also an excellent example of real estate lawyer job opportunities. You should be well-versed in finance, and ideally have more than three years of experience. Being involved in financing real estate assets and working with private equity funds in connection with acquisitions will likely be among your job responsibilities.
An additional task may be to prepare joint venture agreements on behalf of institutional investors. You may also need to represent investors in private real estate funds and arrange real estate fund documents.
Many real estate finance associates also need to be capable of running transactions with minimal oversight and have enough business experience to build relationships with clients. If you have such qualities, aiming for commercial real estate attorney jobs is probably the safest option.
Real Estate Lawyer Salary and Job Outlook
While real estate attorney salary heavily depends on the job experience and hourly rates, the average yearly salary amounts to $118,000. However, attorneys usually decide to charge fees per transaction most commonly paid after the closing.
That said, the typical attorney fees for real estate closing vary depending on the location or complexity of the transaction. Generally, though, fees may span from $5,000 to $12,500 for a home valued at $250,000.
Moreover, another typical way to increase real estate lawyer fees includes becoming a partner or looking to land a position in a large firm. It's worth noting that while an in-house real estate attorney salary may vary much like an outside counsel's, an in-house legal professional typically has a more natural path ahead when it comes to promotions and gaining partner status.
As far as real estate attorney job outlook goes, the truth is that the need for real estate attorneys has been on a slow decline in the industry. The main reason for this trend has been the recession with a similar decline in the housing market. Because the real estate attorney cost is no small matter even for large firms, these legal professionals have had less than ideal employment opportunities in recent years.
Real estate companies typically find creative ways to compensate for such a decline. Many firms usually cut the number of lawyers they hire and offer accounting and paralegal jobs to perform similar duties instead. However, the situation is far from dire. Real estate lawyer jobs still exist in other locations/states, so you can improve your job opportunities by being willing to relocate. Please keep in mind that relocating to another state also means re-taking the bar exam.
If you prefer or specialize in commercial real estate, you may seek employment alongside full-time litigators and environmental lawyers in large firms. Specializing more narrowly for real estate closing attorney jobs or becoming an attorney for real estate dispute works quite well in such large firms.
As aforementioned, alternative employment opportunities are also available with the government, corporations, lending or financial institutions, title companies, or even real estate development companies. You can also start your practice, although this typically means you'll need to focus on residential real estate transactions.
Despite the economy not being at 100%, there is absolutely no shortage of real estate attorney jobs. It takes quite a few years and a lot of hard work to become one of these admirable legal professionals, but the hard work pays off. Being a real estate attorney means that you'll be an expert in real estate law and a community member that will help make a positive change in your environment.
As a real estate lawyer, you'll work alongside your clients to ensure the fulfillment of all legal requirements, that all the necessary paperwork is in order, and that their property transaction goes smoothly. Remuneration is excellent in this sector, making it more than appealing for future legal professionals regardless of their position. Good luck!