What is property law?
Property law, sometimes known as real estate law, deals with transactions related to residential and commercial property and covers specialist areas such as property finance, mortgage lending or social housing.
What does a property lawyer do?
This area of the law mainly involves transactional based work, such as the buying and selling or rental of property, but there is a litigation side. Other related areas of law include landlord and tenant, as well as construction and planning law.
The practice area is split into residential and commercial work. Residential work is likely to take place at high street or regional based firms, and clients are usually the public. This type of work sees lots of client contact over the phone, dealing with developments in their property buying experience. Depending on how many cases are being dealt with, it can be time pressured so lawyers have to keep track of which stage each of their clients are at in their property buying process.
Larger firms are more likely to take work and instructions from commercial clients. This work involves negotiation of land contracts, drafting commercial leases and due diligence. Matters range from large scale developments to small business premises for a sole trader.
Why property law is interesting
Arguably the most relatable for all, the area of property law affects every individual in society whether that be those renting, or those investing in large scale property projects. On some level, most people will be faced with understanding property law at some point in their lives, making this area of law one that interests many.
Skills required to be a property lawyer
Multi-tasking is essential to deal with multiple parties when bringing a transaction together. Negotiation and drafting are also important, especially in commercial property matters.
The speed at which a transaction gets completed can depend on a lawyer’s ability to work with the other parties involved, therefore good relationship building skills are needed. This skill is particularly important in residential conveyancing as clients often become emotional throughout the process. A good manner with clients will be appreciated and may result in increased referrals.
How to become a property lawyer?
Work experience in the area is as important as qualifying as a solicitor so gaining as much residential and commercial experience as possible will help. This doesn’t need to be legal based. Many people come from the housing and care industry to become a property lawyer. You will also need to follow all the steps to becoming a qualified solicitor.
How much does a property lawyer earn?
A newly qualified residential property solicitor in a firm outside of the city or smaller practice may expect to earn around £20,000 to £40,000, a commercial property lawyer can expect to earn more. An average property solicitor salary in London is anything from £30,000 to £80,000 based on five years’ experience according to Reed.co.uk. For those with over ten years' experience, earnings can range from £60,000 to £80,000. Those based in London and bigger cities will often earn more too.
Gaining property law work experience
The Law Society – Information about practice issues in this website’s property section.