Property lawyers are today in high demand due to the boom in real estate transactions. Australia specifically is going through a massive demand for rental properties. At every stage in these dealings, property lawyers have a significant role to play. Some are specialists in residential properties while others are very conversant with commercial property transactions. Regardless of which area you choose to be an authority in, there are some attributes that you have to develop if you want to be a success in this career.
Work and role of a property lawyer
- Commercial property – As a property lawyer, you should develop expertise in various areas. Commercial property lawyers advise their clients on various commercial transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, acquisitions and disposals, leasing, joint ventures, development, funding issues and estate management. You will also negotiate on behalf of aggrieved parties in case of any disputes. Clients will be large companies and organisations looking to acquire land for expansion and other similar dealings in property. Many companies hire commercial property lawyers full-time while others go through established law firms. Before opting for an outside legal firm, companies ensure that this law firm has experienced commercial property lawyers working for them.
- Residential property – Residential property lawyers on the other hand focus more on conveyancing. In simple terms, it is the legal process that has to be gone through to affect the transfer of ownership of real estate from the seller to the buyer. Essential components of conveyancing include preparation, execution, verification and lodging of all legal documents required to complete a transaction.
As part of your career and job, you will be required to investigate title to a property thoroughly. You will have to carry out detailed searches to establish clear title to the property or to know if the property is under any lien or encumbrances. Only after this is done can the ownership of the property be transferred or mortgage created. Your clients will include institutional investors, real estate funds, retailers and property developers.
If you are a graduate in property law, you will find yourself entrusted with a range of responsibilities once you join a law firm. These include preparing title reports and performing due diligence on properties, drafting leases, liaising with local councils and authorities and collating all documents based on which a transaction will be finalised. You will also have to address specific legal issues that might arise in the course of the deal.
The primary benefit of working as a property lawyer is that you will be required to handle cases that will test your knowledge and skills to the maximum. The work can be unpredictable ranging from legal research to dispute resolution, from evicting non-paying tenants to drawing up contracts for the purchase of a commercial building.
Career prospects and growth in property law
Property law is a very stable area of practice as property lawyers are an indispensable part of any dealings in property. You might choose to build a career by joining a law firm and provide counsel to many clients or seek in-house employment in a large corporation or organisation. Whatever you might decide, becoming a property lawyer is undoubtedly a very lucrative profession.