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Real Estate Law Careers: See Your Work In The Skyline

The recovery of the real estate market is good news for lawyers interested in real estate law careers. With more deals being done, these types of lawyers are in demand again, says our guest Laura McClellan, a real estate law partner in Dallas, Texas.

Laura tells us she enjoys that her work allows her to be constantly learning and working with others. She says the best part of being a real estate lawyer is that you can point to a building and say, “I helped get that built.” Find out what real estate lawyers do in our video interview with Laura.

  Join JD Careers Out There for access to this video plus more day-in-the-life career path interview videos & transcripts.

Today’s Guest

Real Estate Attorney Laura McClellanReal Estate Attorney Laura McClellan
Title: Of Counsel, K&L Gates
City: Dallas, TX
Law School: Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY
College: University of Nebraska in Omaha, NE
Other Career: Laura is a fiction writer who also blogs on real estate at Real Estate Law Blog.

Being A Real Estate Lawyer

When most of us think “real estate,” we think about buying and selling homes. But being a real estate lawyer can mean handling much bigger deals – like office towers, shopping centers, and skyscrapers. These types of lawyers work with the counsel for the major players in a deal — owners, buyers, developers, and lenders.

Real estate law as a transactional law career that requires you to be a strong negotiator and have a good grasp on related fields like tax and environmental law. Check out our full interview with Laura to find out how to gain the right skills and expertise as well as how to break into real estate law.



This is a preview of the video transcript on real estate attorneys.

Join JD Careers Out There for access to the full version of this transcript plus the career guidance video library & transcripts.

Luber: Hey everyone, today on JD Careers Out There we’re exploring real estate law careers – and what it’s like being a real estate lawyer. This’ll be good stuff – so stick around! [theme song]

Alright, as you may already know, at JDCOT we explore career paths both in and out of law to help you find a career that fits you and help you succeed using your law degree.

I’m your host Marc Luber, the founder of JDCOT. I’ve always used my law degree to work in alternative careers for lawyers – first in the music industry and then as a legal recruiter. I’ve been helping lawyers with their careers since 2003 and I’m excited for the opportunity to help you.

Today’s guest is Laura McClellan, a real estate attorney at K&L Gates in Dallas, Texas where she is Of Counsel. Laura has made the Texas Super lawyers list by Thompson Reuters and she was listed as one of the best lawyers in America by Woodword White.

Laura’s going to tell us all about being a real estate attorney, so let’s get to it. Laura, welcome to JDCOT.

Laura: Thanks, it’s great to be here.

Luber: I’m glad you’re here, thank you for being here. Laura, I’m going to ask you to tell us what it’s like to be a real estate lawyer and then we’re going to dig into what’s a typical day like and who’s the right fit for this type of a path and how do you break in and then how do you succeed.

But before we get to that, I first want to hear from you a description of your practice and what you do as a real estate lawyer.

Laura: Sure. My practice as a real estate lawyer is focused on commercial real estate. A lot of people think real estate and they think buying a home or something like that. Very few real estate lawyers, certainly at my level, are involved in home acquisitions because the dollar amounts don’t make sense to hire a lawyer. For most people, they just work with their title company.

So I work with lenders, banks and insurance companies who are lending money to build, say, an office tower or a shopping center. Or I might be working with a developer that’s building one of those things or acquiring property that they’re going to build something on. Or acquiring an already constructed retail center or an office building or an apartment complex, things like that.

So it’s big dollar commercial kinds of real estate transactions – and that’s how I spend my time, working on deals like that.

Luber: That’s great. So Laura, could you tell us what would a typical deal be so we could see what you’re working on, what a typical fact pattern is, almost like the soap opera angle of it? Who are the characters and what’s happening?

Laura: Well there’s not very much that’s soap operaee [sic] about what I do. But a typical deal, say, is going to be, say pick an office tower – and the players are going to be the developer, the owner of the property, they’re going to be the lender.

If it’s an acquisition deal there’s a seller and a buyer – but in any event, they’re the people involved in getting an office building built – if we’re talking about raw land or changing ownership of it and operating it.

I’ve been on all sides of that table, so to speak, so I might be representing the lender that’s going to provide the funds for acquiring or building the office tower.

Or I might be representing the buyer of the property or the seller – and those are the players.

It doesn’t sound very exciting, they’re not going to make any TV shows about what I do – but it really can get pretty interesting. It’s a lot of fun to help put a deal together like that – and any kind of commercial property, but I’m using an office tower as an example.

Luber: Alright! Let’s keep digging deeper! When you watch my full interview with Laura, she’ll share lots more on what it’s like being a real estate lawyer, what’s a typical day like, who makes the right fit for this path, how to break in and how to succeed.

You’ll want to join the JDCOT membership for access to the full, in-depth career interviews & transcripts that will help you find and land a career that fits you. Check out what people are saying about JDCOT by clicking here.

Thanks again for watching everybody. I’m Marc Luber and I’ll see ya soon.

[theme song]

©2016 Careers Out There

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Thinking of leaving the law? The best first step you can take is a good look in the mirror. START HERE:

it's free!
You’ll also get periodic updates, reminders & access to career guidance programs sent to your inbox. We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe via a click at any time.