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Career Definition for a Foreclosure Lawyer
The housing crisis has turned the once straight-forward foreclosure process into a tangled web. Foreclosure lawyers must determine the implications of newly enacted laws, which impact both borrowers and lenders, and deal with sophisticated securitized mortgages that make loan modification difficult and expose borrowers to unscrupulous tactics, according to the American Bar Association (ABA). Because the distressed housing market makes traditional foreclosure a less viable option to lenders, attorneys working on their behalf must find new approaches to foreclosure so institutions can recoup losses.
|Education||Juris Doctorate degree required, along with completion of state Bar Association exam|
|Job Skills||Logical and analytical mind, interest in finance, tenacity, comfort with new regulations|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$119,250 (for lawyers)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||8% (for lawyers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Foreclosure law is a sub-specialty of real estate and bankruptcy law, and those who wish to pursue it must first be licensed attorneys, which requires completion of a Juris Doctorate degree, as well as successful completion of their state's Bar Association exam. They should attend a law school known for its real estate program, take finance electives, and seek internships with banks or the governmental agencies that regulate them, according to New York University School of Law.
A logical and analytical mind is required to practice any type of law. Those hoping to pursue foreclosure law should have an affinity for finance and a comfort with new regulation. A dogged tenacity is essential to overcome the bureaucracy that is now a hallmark of this industry.
Career and Economic Outlook
In general, competition among aspiring lawyers will remain strong because of the large numbers who graduate from law school each year. In May 2017, the median salary of lawyers was $119,250, though it is highly dependent upon specialty, employer and location, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also predicted job growth for all lawyers to be 8% for 2016-2026.
Alternative Career Options
Some similar careers in the field include:
Foreclosure lawyers typically have several discussions with their client regarding their financial status. Working as a credit counselor involves offering advice to individuals on managing debt, improving their credit and making suggestions on home loans. Most counselors have a bachelor's degree, but some simply have a high school diploma. The median annual wage for all credit counselors was $44,710 in 2017, according to the BLS, who also noted that the job growth of credit counselors could grow at a rate of 14%, faster than other occupations from 2016 to 2026.
If law school seems too daunting, paralegals (or legal assistants) help lawyers with administrative work, conduct research and create documents. Many enter the field with a certificate or associate's degree in a related field, but some are trained on the job. Paralegals earned a median salary of $50,410 per year as of May 2017, according to the BLS, who also noted that the number of paralegal and legal assistant jobs was expected to increase by 15% from 2016 to 2026.