A property lawyer is an attorney who has chosen to focus his or her practice in the area of property or real estate law. The requirements necessary to become a property lawyer will vary buy jurisdiction; however, in most countries, the requirements are similar. An aspiring property lawyer must usually complete the educational requirements necessary to receive the appropriate degree, pass a standardized examination, and then gain practical experience in the area of property law.
Usually, a property lawyer works for either a real estate company, a title company, a real estate developer, or a government agency that implements property laws. Anytime a property is bought, sold, or improved upon, there are typically a number of laws and regulations that must be considered during the process. A property lawyer is often consulted to make sure that the buyer, seller, or developer is abiding by all local, state, or federal laws in order to avoid future litigation surrounding the property. A property lawyer may also work on the other side enforcing existing laws for the government.
In the United States, the first step necessary to become a property lawyer is to complete the required education. A future lawyer must first obtain a bachelor's degree in the major of his or her choice. Although all majors are considered for acceptance into law school in the United States, a student who ultimately hopes to become a property lawyer may wish to consider an undergraduate major in business.
Completion of three years of study at an American Bar Association accredited law school is the next step on the road to become a property lawyer. In most cases, property law is a required course during law school; however, a student who plans to focus on property law may wish to take advanced classes in property law, real estate law, or commercial transactions as well. In addition, while in law school, a student should take advantage of any internships opportunities as well as summer or part-time employment with local real estate firms, developers, or government offices that are in charge of enforcing property laws and regulations.
After the completion of laws school, an individual who plans to become a property lawyer must successfully pass the Bar examination in the state where he or she plans to practice law, as well as the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). Additional requirements for licensing generally include a character and fitness background check. Once licensed, a future property lawyer should seek employment as in-house counsel for a large real estate or development firm, or with a local, state, or federal agency that enforces property laws.