Sir Ashley Harrison Attorney Steps to Become a Real Estate Attorney
Introduction Real estate attorneys are licensed lawyers who choose to focus their practice on real estate law issues. They may be hired to draft contracts of sale, review leases and mortgage documents or discuss provisions in a real estate sale contract. These lawyers' practices are largely transactional, meaning that they do not usually engage in court litigation.
Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program Students who want to become real estate attorneys must usually first earn a bachelor's degree. Most bachelor's degree programs typically last four years, regardless of the field of study. Law schools do not require that applicants complete a particular major. However, because much of real estate law practice can be related to business transactions, students may consider earning a bachelor's degree in business or economics. Alternatively, a pre-law degree program teaches students the analytical, oral and communication skills they need to enter law school.
Take the Law School Admissions Test Law schools approved by the American Bar Association require that applicants take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). This half-day exam measures an individual's reading and verbal reasoning skills. The LSAT is one of a number of factors law schools consider during the admissions process. Prepare for the LSAT. Because it is relevant to admission to law school, students may want to prepare for the LSAT by completing prep courses. These courses may help test takers become familiar with the directions for each section and the type of questions the exam contains.
Earn a Juris Doctor Degree A law degree can generally be earned in three years of full-time study. Some law schools offer part-time programs for working professionals, although these programs may take longer to complete. The first year of law school typically consists of courses in law subjects that are considered fundamental to the profession. Examples of these include civil procedure, legal writing and torts. The second and third years of study consist of elective classes, internships or clinical experiences. Examples of elective classes include administrative law, civil rights litigation and energy law.
Pass the Bar Exam To work as an attorney, most states requires that individuals pass a bar exam. The format of these exams varies, and may consist of several days of essay and multiple-choice questions. Most states incorporate the 6-hour Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and an ethics exam, known as the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), into the bar exam. Completion of a local bar exam may also be required. Other commonly administered exams include the Multistate Essay exam and the Multistate Performance Test, which gauges an entry-level attorney's practical skill.
Begin Working as a Lawyer After passing the bar exam, lawyers can practice in any field of law. Private law firms may solely focus on practicing real estate law or list it among the many fields of law in which they practice. Many times, employers seek real estate attorneys with 2-5 years of experience.
Earn a Certificate or LLM In addition to J.D. Degrees, law schools offer the Master of Laws (LLM) in Real Estate and certificates in real estate to practicing attorneys. Earning a graduate-level legal degree isn't required, but it could lead to additional career opportunities. These programs usually consist of courses in commercial real estate, real estate in federal tax law and real estate finance. Elective courses may cover topics like affordable housing, construction law, historic preservation law and real estate litigation. Some schools give students the chance to work with law firms that specialize in real estate law.
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