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Careers in Real Estate Law: Job Options and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a real estate lawyer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

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Real estate lawyers can advise clients regarding commercial, industrial or residential properties. They need to be familiar with land laws and housing regulations. Some may opt to focus on dealing with landlords and tenants, while others may specialize in handling the sale and purchase of properties.

Essential Information

Real estate lawyers are trained to advise and represent clients in land and property transactions. These professionals might work for various firms and companies and might specialize in particular functions of law. Read on for more information about career options and education requirements for real estate lawyers.

Required Education An undergraduate degree and a Juris Doctor with a focus in real estate law
Other Requirements State licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for all lawyers)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $115,820 (for all lawyers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Job Options in Real Estate Law

Law students who focus on real estate law are equipped with the skills to advise clients on residential, industrial and commercial properties. Land law, housing regulations and auction project management are just a few examples of possible avenues for individuals with a real estate law background. They also might specialize in branches of property law, like real estate transactions, tenant law or land use.

While many real estate lawyers work for real estate firms, they might also find employment with construction firms, private companies or non-profit organizations. Many lawyers are self-employed and own their own law practices.

Job Expectations

Real estate lawyers might oversee land transactions to make them as stress-free as possible for all involved parties. They often handle title transfers, zoning issues and mortgage factors. It's important for real estate lawyers to stay abreast of current trends and laws that could help their clients legally maintain their land. Many times, real estate lawyers are responsible for handling issues related to trespassing and intrusion violations.

Requirements for a Career in Real Estate Law

Aspiring real estate lawyers must first obtain a bachelor's degree and then complete an accredited, 3-year law program. Law students typically take lower-level courses in torts, civil procedure, contracts and property. Upper-level coursework typically consists of electives and might include antitrust law, real estate transactions, legal accounting and commercial law. Upon completion of law school, students earn their Juris Doctor (J.D.). To practice in the profession, lawyers must be admitted to their state's bar, which entails passage of a national exam and other state-administered exams.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of lawyers is projected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average compared to all occupations. In May 2015, the BLS determined the median annual wage of attorneys to be $115,820.

A real estate lawyer is required to attend law school for three years after receiving a bachelor's degree. Once they graduate law school and pass the state bar exam, they are licensed to work as an attorney. As part of their education they can specialize in real estate law and may take studies in commercial law, real estate transactions and legal accounting to prepare to enter this field.

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