27 Tips to Practice Commercial Real Estate Lawyer

Commercial real estate lawyer: An estate lawyer deals with the purchase and sale of commercial and residential real estate, negotiates leases, and handles zoning issues.

Becoming an estate lawyer requires an extensive amount of education and plenty of hands-on experience.

The process requires a college degree, a law school degree, and a passing score on the bar exam.

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Commercial real estate lawyer

1.  Satisfy degree requirements.

 To qualify for law school you will need a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Although some schools have “pre-law” majors or concentrations, law schools do not require any particular major.

Find a subject that interests you and in which you can do well.

  • Make sure you attend an accredited undergraduate college or university

2. Gain experience in public speaking.

The ability to speak with anyone is a great skill for a lawyer, including real estate lawyers.
Estate lawyers meet with a variety of people during their workday, from clients, potential clients, opposing counsel, and even judges or arbitrators.

You need to be comfortable speaking to diverse constituencies, often off the top of your head.

  • While in college, look for opportunities to engage in public speaking. These opportunities can be in debate clubs, public speaking competitions, or even acting as a tour guide for the school.
  • Also, look for opportunities to strengthen your research and writing skills. Sign up for upper-level electives that allow you to write long research papers.

Commercial real estate lawyer

3. Earn high grades.

Law school admissions is basically a numbers game, and the two most important numbers are your undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and your score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). To make the strongest admissions case possible, you should try to get the highest grades possible. Admissions committees view a high GPA as an indication that you are motivated and work hard.

  • To get into an accredited law school, you will need a GPA of around 3.0 or higher.
  • Applicants admitted into the Top 50 schools generally have a GPA of at least 3.5.

4. Work closely with faculty.

Another key element of your application will be letters of recommendation from professors who know you.

To get strong letters of recommendation, you should try to work with faculty as a research or teaching assistant.

This experience will allow the professor to write detailed letters of recommendation in support of your admission to law school.

5. Intern with an estate lawyer.

You can get an early taste of the life of an estate lawyer while in college.

Intern or work part-time for a real estate lawyer.

Many lawyers and law firms need clerical and support staff assistance in the summer but also throughout the year.

  • It’s never too early to begin building your network.
  • If you do a good job working for a real estate attorney in college.
  • Then when you graduate law school you can revive the relationship and potentially get a job.

Commercial real estate lawyer

6. Register for the LSAT.

The LSAT is offered four times a year, in June, September, December, and February.

It is offered on Saturdays. There are special sessions for those who observe a Saturday Sabbath.

  • Create a free account at the Law School Admission Counsel’s (“LSAC”) website.
  • Find a test date and location. To do this, start on LSAC’s Law School Admission Counsel’s website Dates and Deadlines page. The last date to take the exam for fall admissions is typically September/October. You may be able to take the December or February test, but by then many law schools will already have filled most of their classes.

7. Study for the LSAT.

The LSAT is probably the most important factor in your law school application.

So take it seriously. It tests reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. Test prep companies offer to tutor, but you can also study on your own.

  • Your local library or bookstore should have copies of old LSAT exams.
  • Find the most recent to take as practice exams.
  • The LSAT is scored on a scale from 120-180, with 180 being the highest. To get into an accredited law school, try to get a score around the fiftieth percentile, which is around 152.

Commercial real estate lawyer

8. Sit for the test.

The LSAT comprises five multiple-choice sections and one unscored essay.
Four of the five multiple-choice sections count toward your score.
The fifth is experimental and does not count toward your score.

You will not know in advance which section is experimental.

  • Read up ahead of time on the test rules so that you can follow them to the letter.
  • Failure to follow the rules could disqualify you from taking the test.

9. Consider retaking the LSAT.

You can take the LSAT more than once. Schools may choose to accept your higher score.

Or they may choose to average the two. You have to pay each time you take the test.

  • On average, test takers are able to increase their score by only two to three points on a re-take.
  • You may not want to retake the test unless your score was far below what you were scoring on practice exams.

10. Register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).

All law schools use CAS. You will send them your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and evaluation. CAS then creates a packet that it sends to each law school you apply to.

The service requires a fee.

  • Make sure to get all documents to CAS in a timely manner.
  • A law school will not move on your application until it has your packet from CAS.

11. Ask professors for letters of recommendation.

Ask early. Sometimes professors agree but then forget as they get busy.
Only ask professors who you are sure can write a positive letter of recommendation and do not press if faculty are hesitant.

A hesitant professor might write a weak letter of recommendation.

  • Also, think of getting letters from employers. If you worked part-time for a real estate attorney, then a detailed letter from your employer could help your application as well.
  • Some recommenders may need to be prompted to complete the letter. Send a friendly email reminder, or stop in to chat.

Commercial real estate lawyer

12. Write your personal statement.

Law schools require that you write a short (about 500 word) statement, on a topic of your own choosing.

You want your personal statement to be engaging, free of errors, and brief.

  • Follow the directions. If the school wants you to write on a specific topic, write on that topic. Also, if they give you a word limit, stick to the limit. Going over, by even a few words, can harm your chances of admission.
  • Feel free to write about your interest in real estate law. However, it’s a good idea to only write on the subject if you have something meaningful to say. The best personal statements are often based on anecdotes, so write about real estate law if you have some experience with it.

13. Write your personal statement.

Law schools require that you write a short (about 500 word) statement, on a topic of your own choosing.

You want your personal statement to be engaging, free of errors, and brief.

  • Follow the directions. If the school wants you to write on a specific topic, write on that topic. Also, if they give you a word limit, stick to the limit.
  • Going over, by even a few words, can harm your chances of admission.
  • Feel free to write about your interest in real estate law.
  • However, it’s a good idea to only write on the subject if you have something meaningful to say. The best personal statements are often based on anecdotes, so write about real estate law if you have some experience with it.

14. Use your GPA and LSAT score to find appropriate schools.

You can gauge your likelihood of gaining admission to specific schools by using the LSAC calculator. Enter your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score to see your chances at any ABA-accredited law school.

  • If you have a 3.5 GPA and a 155 LSAT, then you have an 80% chance of getting into Brooklyn Law School but only a 50% chance of getting into Pittsburgh Law School.

Commercial real estate lawyer

15. Pay attention to location.

Unless you attend a top 20 school, you most likely will be practicing in the area where you attended law school.

Most law schools place their alumni in the local legal community.

Accordingly, you should pay attention to the school’s location.

And make sure you feel comfortable living there.

  • You should always ask any prospective law school for its job placement statistics. Pay attention to the number of students who get “full-time jobs requiring a JD” after graduation. This is the most relevant statistic. Other statistics, such as “those working full-time,” might include people who are working full-time in a job that doesn’t require a law degree.

16. Compare costs.

As you compare law schools, you should always pay attention to costs.

Law school tuition now exceeds $40,000 a year at many private law schools.

 Factoring in living expenses, you could be borrowing close to $200,000 to complete a three-year degree.

  • Tuition for out-of-state law students is often comparable to the tuition of a private school.
  • If you want to move to a state and hope to qualify as an in-state resident, contact the law school’s admissions office for information.

Commercial real estate lawyer

17. Look into an estate clinic.

A great way to get hands-on legal experience while in law school is to participate in a clinic.

Many law schools have clinics where students represent low-income clients while under the supervision of a faculty member.

Some law schools offer real estate clinics or have real estate institutes.

These schools include Brooklyn Law School and John Marshall Law School.

  • In a real estate clinic, students may represent low-income cooperative boards or other non-profits. Students will assist with loan and co-op unit closings, shareholder meetings, and drafting by-law or lease amendments.

18. Find schools with an estate concentration or certificate.

The basic curriculum for first-year students is pretty much the same at any law school.

But after the first year, the classes available might be very different.

Many law schools offer a real estate focus or certificate.

These schools will offer many upper-level electives in areas such as Land Use Regulation, Basic and Advanced Real Estate, Construction Law, and Municipal Law.

19. Apply to multiple law schools.

Applying to more than one school increases your chances of being accepted.

If you don’t get into any school, then you will have to wait a year before applying.

Commercial real estate lawyer

20. Take required courses.

Unless you attend an accelerated or part-time program, law school will take three years.

In your first year, you will take foundation courses in torts, contracts, property, civil procedure, criminal law, and constitutional law.

  • You may end up taking 1L classes with the same people.
  • Get to know your “section” because these people may be the source of career opportunities and contacts down the road.

21. Make friends.

Law school can be very isolating, as all students are striving to do the best that they can to master complex, difficult material.

You will spend a lot of time alone in the library.

Be sure to periodically put the books away and try to meet other people.

Join a sports league or a student organization just to unwind.

  • Another good way to meet people is to join a study group.
  • In addition to the comradery, you will also get help with exam preparation, share notes and outlines, and have a group of people to talk through difficult legal issues with.
  • If you join a study group, however, stick with it. No one likes people who join a group only to drop out after a month.

22. Study hard.

Your grades will follow you around your entire career.

Though the importance of grades decreases over time, poor grades could keep you locked out of jobs, at least initially.

  • If you want to practice real estate law at a large firm, then doing well in your 1L classes is critical.
  • Large firms will hire summer associates on the basis of your 1L grades. If you want to work at a large firm or in-house at a large corporation, then you should plan on getting grades at the top of your class.
  • To get an idea of how well you need to do to be competitive with large employers, visit your career services office and ask what large firms or corporations come onto your campus to interview. Career Services should also have information on the GPA required to be hired by these large firms.

Commercial real estate lawyer

23. Search online for job postings.

Smaller firms often advertise online.

You can check Craigslist, job aggregators like Indeed.com.

And with your state bar association, which may have a jobs board.

You will be asked to forward a resume, cover letter, and writing sample, so have those ready to go.

  • Smaller firms often want applicants to already have passed the bar exam, so you may not be able to search for these jobs until you have the results of the bar exam.

24. Set up informational interviews.

Another way to find jobs is to meet with lawyers for informational interviews.
After taking the bar exam, you should identify various estate attorneys.
Whose practices you would like to learn more about.
Draft a letter (not an email) and introduce yourself.

Be sure to mention who gave you their name.

  • In the letter, explicitly state that you are not asking for a job.
  • You will get a better response this way. The purpose of the interview is to create an initial contact. If you make a good impression, the lawyer may remember you later for a full-time job or for part-time contract work.
  • Draft at least five questions about the lawyer’s practice and be engaged during the meeting. Take notes and ask follow-up questions.
  • Ask the attorney if she knows anyone else you can meet with. Be sure to send a thank-you note afterward.

25. Contact former employers.

If you cannot find a job after passing the bar.
Reconnect with attorneys you worked for during the summer or part-time during the school year. They may have overflow work for you to do.

Such as research assignments, contract review, or closings to attend.

  • You can also cold call other real estate attorneys and ask if they have any overflow work.
  • If you do not have a job, you should be most focused on building your reputation and not be picky about how much you get paid. If you do good work for low wages (or even for free), then the attorney may come back to you with additional work.

Commercial real estate lawyer

26. Get the first job.

Even if real estate law is your dream, you need to start with a first job to gain legal experience (and pay the bills).
Ideally, you could work for a general business lawyer, who may do real estate work as one part of his or her practice.

Otherwise, you will need some sort of legal job in order to get legal experience.

  • Regardless of your first job, you can try to get real estate law experience in your free time.
  • For example, you can do pro bono work. Volunteer at a local legal aid organization and help non-profits with their contract disputes, real estate closings, and other legal problems.
  • You could also increase your familiarity with real estate issues by writing bar articles on real estate law, offering seminars to small businesses on real estate issues, or sitting on a local government board that handles land use and zoning.

27. Grow your reputation.

As your career advances, be sure to raise your profile by offering continuing legal education courses.
Joining bar association committees, and joining real estate bar associations.
Many states, like Illinois, have a Real Estate Lawyers Association.

Members are invited to events and seminar, and work together to address the concerns of the profession.

  • You can also seek board certification in real estate law if your state offers it. Ohio, for example, offers two specialist certificates in real estate, one in Real Property—Business, Commercial, and Industrial Law and the other in Real Property—Residential Law.
  • To earn the certification, attorneys must show that they devote a significant portion of their practice to real estate law, take advanced courses in the field, and submit references.
  • In many states, they also must pass a written exam.

Commercial real estate lawyer


Ask one of your professors who has practiced real estate law in the past for suggestions on which classes will be most helpful to a future attorney.

The key to getting a job is to meet as many people as possible and be willing to work for little or no money initially. Your reputation is your best asset and, starting out, you have no real reputation. Always do your best and be open to new work opportunities.
The cost of law school continues to skyrocket while the job market remains saturated with lawyers. You need to think carefully about whether law school is a sound investment for you before signing up.

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