Real Estate AttorneyJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Real estate attorneys handle the legal aspects of real estate transactions, including disputes regarding transactions. A real estate attorney also mediates real estate transactions that have gone wrong. Many real estate attorneys specialize in specific aspects of real estate law. Tasks can include drafting sales contracts for commercial or residential real estate, litigating disclosure fraud or mortgage fraud, or dealing with land use and zoning issues.

A real estate attorney should know laws and regulations relating to real property and business law. Skills common to most attorney positions, such as written and verbal communication, research, and negotiation, are also crucial for a real estate attorney.

Sample job description #1

ABC Company, a mid-sized law firm in (City), is seeking an Illinois-licensed real estate attorney with 6 to 8 years of experience handling transactions for industrial, commercial, and multi-family use real estate. Transactions would concern primarily lease negotiations, representing clients in the acquisition and disposition of real estate, site selection and acquisition due diligence, title and survey examination, addressing zoning, land use and land entitlement issues, negotiating economic development incentives, property development and new construction, real estate financing, among other responsibilities.

Required qualifications

  • Active license to practice law in (State)
  • 6 to 8 years of commercial real estate experience at a law firm
  • Juris Doctor from an accredited law school
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills
  • Thorough understanding of applicable laws
  • Strong research, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Flexible and adaptable with the ability to multitask
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent time management skills with proven ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to prioritize tasks and to delegate them when appropriate
  • Able to work independently in a fast-paced work environment
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite

Sample job description #2

The Transactional Law Attorney will oversee the legal aspects of transactional legal matters and will be expected to manage and grow the book of business for the Jackson Office. Areas of practice include successions, estate planning, business law, real estate law and, contracts.

Duties/responsibilities:

  • Conduct consultations in relevant areas of the law
  • Conduct real estate closings
  • Draft legal documents and pleadings
  • Manage the existing book of business
  • Build new client relationships
  • Interpret laws, rulings, and regulations in relevant areas of the law
  • Draft routine leases and amendments
  • Ensure that appropriate approvals are in place before transactions are executed

Required skills/abilities:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to act with integrity, professionalism, and confidentiality
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite, Excel, and other related software programs

Education and experience:

  • Active Bar License in Good Standing for the (State)
  • A minimum of three years of relevant legal experience and adequate industry knowledge

Sample job description #3

This position acts as a liaison to senior level airport administration, staff and select off-airport property owners to monitor, evaluate and maintain ongoing operational rights and obligations and the VP Real Estate. Negotiates, drafts, reviews, and revises all operating agreements and real estate leases for operating locations. Provides industry leadership in promoting and negotiating operational efficiency and goals with airports. Responsibilities extend beyond initial completion of the business deal, including the resolution of all disputes during the term of the agreements. This position engages in coordination with the company’s facilities department, and outside counsel or consultants to assist in completion of specific construction projects as necessary. Essential duties and responsibilities, shown below, will vary accordingly based on assignment.

What you’ll do:

  • Attends airport meetings regarding operating rights, methods of operation, policy and planning at particular airports
  • Drafts and reviews operating agreements/leases, which give the company the legal right to operate and/or use space at airports
  • Prepares detailed responsive submissions to those airports, which require a Bid, Tender, RFP, or Expression of Interest
  • Attends public hearings of municipal boards and airport authorities when necessary to obtain approvals and/or advocate planning and policy issues
  • Issues Real Estate abstracts on all properties and advises company personnel on issues of interpretation and administration of legal agreements
  • Negotiates leases, acquisitions or dispositions of non-airport and airport used for urban operations and support functions
  • Directs and supervises local company financial, legal, and other consultants in local jurisdictions and attends court proceedings when necessary
  • Assists in acquisition or disposition of franchise operations with regard to airport/real estate issues
  • Attends conferences and stays current with industry standards

What we’re looking for:

  • Juris Doctorate is required
  • 2 to 3 years experience with real estate and government matters

Skills and abilities you should have:

  • Extensive understanding of real estate law and real estate values
  • Extensive understanding of governmental procurement procedures
  • General knowledge of the local government operations
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office applications
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to write clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing
  • Excellent analytical ability and attention to detail

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a real estate attorney is $148,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$147,200$199,150
Los Angeles, California$166,050$224,650
Denver, Colorado$138,400$187,200
Washington, DC$168,550$228,050
Miami, Florida$137,750$186,350
Orlando, Florida$127,080$171,900
Tampa, Florida$128,300$173,600
Atlanta, Georgia$134,600$182,100
Chicago, Illinois$154,750$209,350
Boston, Massachusetts$167,300$226,350
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$133,350$180,400
New York City, New York$176,100$238,300
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$143,400$194,050
Dallas, Texas$139,650$188,900
Houston, Texas$138,400$187,200
Seattle, Washington$161,000$217,850
National Average$125,800$170,200

Sample interview questions

  • Why are you interested in this role?
  • What are the most important skills that a real estate attorney needs?
  • What have you done in the past year to expand your knowledge as a real estate attorney?
  • What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a real estate attorney?
  • How do you stay motivated?
  • How would you handle a difficult client?
  • Where do you want to be in your career in 5 years?
  • How do you handle confidential or sensitive information?
  • What are some mistakes you have made and what did you learn from them?
  • How do you stay current with local, state, and federal real estate laws and regulations?
  • What is your greatest strength as a real estate attorney?
  • What is the most successful case you have worked on?
  • How do you handle conflicts in the workplace?
  • What would be a typical work week for you?
  • What is the best way to evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments when preparing to present a case?
  • How would you prioritize your work when working on multiple cases?
  • How well do you perform under pressure?
  • How do you handle giving difficult feedback to a client?
  • Can you describe an experience where you evaluated the information and chose the best solution for a client?
  • Can you describe a case where you defended a client in criminal or civil litigation?

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