What is it like to work as a real estate lawyer? I’ve done 4 years of plaintiffs personal injury, I’d like to try something new. Don’t want billable hours. Any thoughts? (Also other types of law suggestions are welcome)

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Depends on what kind of real estate you’re doing, and what sort of firm you’re at. I do commercial real estate transactions at a midsized firm. I still have billable hours, still work nights and weekends, etc. Residential real estate lawyers often (though not always) work at smaller firms, and charge a flat rate per closing (plus a commission in some states where the attorney is the agent of the title insurance company). I have friends who do residential and absolutely love it because they get to go home at a reasonable hour, and don’t have to worry about billables. Personally, residential RE bores me to tears. I enjoy the complexity of the commercial space. It’s challenging and quite gratifying to negotiate a transaction and keep track of all the moving parts. My experience with other lawyers in the CRE space has also been generally positive. It’s a generally sophisticated and collegial bar, which gives you the opportunity to build some really excellent relationships with other lawyers. Feel free to DM me if you have any more specific questions.

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I also do commercial real estate transactions & agree with all of this. It really depends on what you want to do. The only way to really escape billable hours in commercial real estate is to go in-house at a company with a decent RE portfolio (which will require years of CRE law firm experience first) or work for a title company (Which will probably require law firm experience. I do know a few lawyers who started as title company associate counsel or underwriters right out of law school..but those are pretty rare in my experience. )

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I work as a lawyer for a city. Highly recommended!

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I have recently left real estate law after 1.5 years. I worked at a small firm doing primarily residential RE. My firm also did a lot of commercial RE, but I didn’t yet do that. No billables was great, but it bored me to death. I would have to drive to clients’ houses and if we had a million dollar client who wanted to closed at 7:30 am or pm then I had to go in early or stay late to do it. It didn’t happen a lot, but it did happen. That job made me absolutely have people; they are so unreasonable and always want to try to schedule their closing when our office is not open. Most people simply don’t understand mortgages and they get very defensive about it so a lot of people sit at the closing table so skeptical and think you’re trying to screw them over. Commercial is different, but I was stuck doing all residential and I hated it.

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