Are you interested in the world of real estate law?
Then you’ll be great as a real estate attorney!
And if that is the career path you want to take, then we’re here for you.
Today, we’re going to give you the 7 steps on how to become a real estate attorney.
Plus, we’ll also tell you a bit more about this real estate career and answer some frequently asked questions.
So are you ready?
Let’s dive in!
What is a Real Estate Attorney?
Before we get into the steps, it’s important to first answer this question.
You don’t want to dive into a career you hardly know about.
From the get-go, you know that a real estate attorney is a legal professional who specializes in the various aspects of real estate law.
But to be more specific, they represent clients in transaction issues related to the purchase, sale, and lease of residential and commercial properties.
They also handle issues related to property rights, zoning, land use, construction, and financing.
This field of law is incredibly diverse, and no two days are the same for real estate attorneys.
The Benefits and Challenges of a Real Estate Attorney
Besides knowing what tasks you’ll undertake, it’s also good to know what are the benefits and challenges to expect.
So let’s quickly go over a few.
- Diverse and dynamic practice. Real estate law is a multifaceted field, covering various aspects — such as commercial and residential transactions, land use and zoning, property litigation, and real estate finance. This diversity ensures that your work as a real estate attorney remains engaging and stimulating.
- Opportunity for specialization. Real estate attorneys can also choose to specialize in specific areas within the field. This allows you to focus on your interests and develop expertise in a particular area.
- Professional growth and development. real estate attorneys have numerous opportunities for professional growth and development, including networking through professional associations, attending conferences, and participating in Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses.
- High earning potential. real estate attorneys can earn a BIG income, with the potential for even higher earnings depending on factors such as location, experience, and the size of the firm or organization.
- Not easy. WARNING! A real estate attorney is one of the harder real estate careers to get into. You might have to wait a whole decade before you can become one.
- Competitive job market. The legal profession is known for being competitive, and real estate law is no exception. Aspiring real estate attorneys must work hard to distinguish themselves from their peers and secure job opportunities in the field.
- Demanding workload. Yes, real estate attorneys often handle multiple cases or transactions at once, which can lead to long hours and a demanding workload.
- Constantly evolving landscape. Real estate law is subject to frequent changes in legislation, regulations, and market conditions. real estate attorneys must stay current with these changes to provide the best possible representation for their clients, which requires a commitment to ongoing education and research.
- Client management. Working with diverse clients can be both rewarding and challenging. Real estate attorneys must be skilled in managing client expectations, addressing concerns, and navigating difficult situations that may arise during a transaction or legal dispute.
The 7 Steps on How to Become a Real Estate Attorney
So you still want to pursue a career as a real estate attorney?
If so, then you’ll have to complete these 7 steps:
- Earn a Bachelor’s degree
- Take the LSAT
- Attend law school
- Pass the bar exam
- Gain experience
- Get a real estate license
- Develop your reputation and network
Let’s walk you through these steps one by one.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
First things first, you need a Bachelor’s degree.
Now, while there is no specific major requirement, many aspiring real estate attorneys choose to study Political Science, History, English, Business, or Economics.
Keep in mind that law schools will consider your undergraduate GPA, so strive for academic excellence in your chosen field of study.
Step 2: Take the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized test that’s used to assess your potential for success in law school.
This test evaluates your critical thinking, reading comprehension, and analytical reasoning skills.
It’s crucial to prepare thoroughly for the LSAT, as your score plays a significant role in determining which law schools you’ll be admitted to.
Here are just some ways you can prepare for it:
- Get an LSAT prep test. There are many available LSAT prep tests online that you can purchase — there is even one offered by LawHub. With these prep tests, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the testing environment, the questions, and all that.
- Make a study plan. It’s a good idea to study about law school and the LSAT test. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what it is. In turn, you’ll be able to understand the questions more.
Once you’re ready, you can register for the LSAT with the LSAC LawHub.
Step 3: Attend Law School
Once you’ve taken the LSAT and received your scores, it’s time to apply to law school for real estate law.
Remember, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an accredited law school is required to practice any type of law in the United States.
During your time in law school, you’ll study various aspects of law, including contracts, torts, constitutional law, and property law.
You should also focus on taking relevant courses, attending workshops, or participating in internships that expose you to real estate cases.
Step 4: Pass the Bar Exam
After completing law school, you’ll need to pass the bar exam in the state where you wish to practice.
Now, this is a rigorous test that evaluates your knowledge of state and federal law, as well as your ability to analyze legal issues and communicate effectively in writing.
Make sure to allocate ample time for bar exam preparation. Passing this exam is crucial for obtaining your license to practice law.
If you are ready to take it, research who administers the bar exam in the state you want to take it. Also, don’t forget to check what the registration requirements are.
Step 5: Gain Experience
You can now start practicing law.
As a newly licensed attorney, it’s essential to gain practical experience in the field of real estate law.
You can do this by working for a law firm, a government agency, or a private company that specializes in real estate transactions.
Look for opportunities that allow you to work under the supervision of experienced real estate attorneys.
This will provide valuable mentorship and guidance.
Step 6: Get a Real Estate License
This isn’t required to become a real estate attorney.
However, having a real estate license can provide valuable insights into the real estate industry. In turn, this will enhance your credibility with clients.
And that is something you want.
The great news is that getting a real estate license isn’t hard at all.
It’s nothing like getting an attorney license.
All you’ll have to do is complete a pre-licensing course, pass a real estate exam, and apply for a license.
Of course, you may have to fulfill additional requirements mandated by your state’s real estate commission.
Step 7: Develop Your Reputation and Network
Finally, you’ll need to build a strong professional reputation and network.
This is crucial for your success as a real estate attorney.
So go and attend industry events, join professional associations, actively engage with colleagues and clients — do what you need to get your name out there.
Developing solid relationships in the real estate community can lead to referrals, collaborations, and career advancement opportunities.
Additionally, consider sharing your expertise by writing articles, speaking at conferences, or teaching workshops to further establish your credibility as a real estate attorney.
Other Considerations for a Successful Real Estate Attorney Career
To help you even further, here are other considerations for becoming a very successful real estate attorney.
Understand the Real Estate Market
real estate attorneys must stay up-to-date on the ever-changing real estate market, including fluctuations in property values, trends in the mortgage industry, and evolving government regulations. A deep understanding of the market will enable you to provide informed advice to your clients and anticipate potential legal issues.
Take Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
Many states require attorneys to complete a certain number of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits each year to maintain their attorney license.
But even if it isn’t required where you are, it’s still a good idea to take these courses.
CLE courses can help you stay current with developments in real estate law, as well as other relevant areas such as taxation, environmental law, and construction law.
Some states even offer specialized CLE courses specifically designed for real estate attorneys.
Finding Your Niche
As you gain experience in the field of real estate law, you may discover a particular area that you’re especially passionate about. Focusing on a niche within real estate law can help differentiate you from other attorneys and establish yourself as an expert.
Some examples of real estate law niches include landlord-tenant disputes, foreclosures, property tax appeals, and condominium law.
Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate Attorneys
How Much Do Real Estate Attorneys Earn?
According to Salary.com, the average salary of a real estate attorney in the US is $159,924 a year(as of May 2023).
This average ranges from salaries as low as $139,460 to as high as $177,165 a year.
You can see just how much earning potential real estate attorneys have!
In fact, real estate attorneys are the 5 highest-paying attorneys in the US.
Of course, your salary will depend on many factors, such as experience, location, the law firm, the workload, and much more.
What Tasks Do Real Estate Attorneys Typically Perform?
Real estate attorneys handle various tasks, including negotiating and drafting contracts, reviewing title reports, preparing and filing legal documents, advising clients on zoning and land use regulations, and representing clients in court or before government agencies.
They may also facilitate real estate closings, provide legal guidance on financing options, and ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
What Are the Typical Work Environments for Real Estate Attorneys?
Real estate attorneys can work in various settings, including private law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
Some real estate attorneys may also choose to establish their own private practice or form partnerships with other attorneys.
What Skills are Important for a Successful Real Estate Attorney Career?
In addition to a strong understanding of real estate law, successful real estate attorneys must possess excellent communication, negotiation, research, and analytical skills.
Attention to detail, organizational abilities, and the capacity to manage multiple tasks simultaneously are also important traits for a real estate attorney.
The Wrap Up
And that is how to become a real estate attorney.
Yes, it isn’t easy.
It’ll take a very long time before you can even start.
But if you just follow the steps one by one, you’ll get there soon enough.
And when you do, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of being a real estate attorney, as well as face the challenges that can also be rewarding.
So go ahead and get started today!