Real estate law encompasses every aspect of commercial, industrial, and residential investments and transactions. Real estate lawyers work on issues involving the sale and purchase of land, including the transfer of titles and foreclosure; construction contracts; property financing and development, including escrow; securitized real estate investments; environmental compliance; property leasing and management; and environmental compliance. Attorneys advise clients regarding litigation arising out of all of these issues, and also help navigate the maze of land use restrictions and governmental zoning regulations to facilitate the progress and completion of real estate projects.
Lawyers who work on commercial real estate transactions can work in the real estate departments of larger law firms, where they may specialize in a specific type of legal matter, such as investments and transactions or zoning and land use. Other real estate lawyers work for the government, including municipalities such as cities and suburbs, or county building and zoning departments. Real estate attorneys may also work in-house for corporations, financial institutions, or title companies. Due to the nature of real estate law and the many financial issues that may arise, students pursuing this pathway should also be knowledgeable in tax law, landlord tenant law, accidents and injuries, estate planning, and insurance law.
Lawyers who specialize in real estate focus on counseling clients, drafting and reviewing documents, and negotiating transactions. Real estate lawyers report that they enjoy developing relationships with clients and find that it is one of the few areas of law practice where the focus is on collaboration, rather than confrontation. The parties to a real estate deal are often motivated to cooperate by the goal of the completion of a project or the sale or lease of property. Real estate lawyers take pride in the fact that the projects they work on have tangible results.