William and Mary Law School

Real Estate Law Career Guide

By Fred DingledyPicture of real estate photo by Associated Press
Updated March 2013

Books & Narratives

From Handshake to Closing: The Role of the Commercial Real Estate Lawyer, 2nd ed., by Sidney G. Saltz, Chicago: American Bar Association, 2010.
Intended as a mentoring guide for new lawyers, this book explains the attorney's role in the real estate transaction.
KF665 .F76 2010


Guides & Directories

Chambers USA, Chambers and Partners, Annual.
A selective nationwide directory of US lawyers and law firms. Also contains a page listing firms practicing real estate by state.
Career Center KF190 .C43 2010

Can search for lawyers listing real estate as a practice, and has job listing search.

Databases & Websites

WESTLAW: The Legal Practice Database
This database contains articles from law reviews, professional publications, and more that focus on the practical aspects of attorneys in all types of practices.

WESTLAW: West Legal Directory -- Real Estate
Contains profiles of attorneys and firms practicing real estate law in the US and Canada.

GlobeSt.com Career Center
A website belonging to the publishers behing American Lawyer, GlobeSt.com focuses on commercial real estate. The site's Career Center contains job and internship listings, as well as articles and advice for people seeking jobs in real estate.

martindale.com - Real Estate Law Firms by State, Province, or Country
Page of the online version of the Martindale-Hubbell directory listing real estate attorneys and firms in the United States and abroad. Site also includes searchable job listings.

Pace Law School Guide to Real Estate Legal Careers (2009)
A well-written guide describing what someone should consider if they are interested in real estate practice, as well as the types of potential employers there are and the type of work involved. Focuses on New York, but also lists quite a few national and international organizations that may be of interest. (PDF)

Journal Articles

"Alternative Careers", 25(5) Probate & Property 8 (Sept.-Oct. 2011).
Describes several possible alternative career options for attorneys interested in real estate.

"Exclusive Interview with Robert Voit", GlobeSt.com (June 28, 2012).
Interview with California-based Voit Real Estate Services, who offers suggestions on how to run a successful commercial real estate firm and advice to someone new to the field. Available on Lexis.

"Q&A: Laurence Midler", The Recorder (California) (June 11, 2009).
Interview with the Executive VP and General Counsel for CB Richard Ellis, a Los Angeles-based worldwide real estate services country. Ellis describes his work environment and the types of work his office is involved with. Available on Lexis.

"ZipRealty GC Samantha Harnett is Co-opting the Competition", Corporate Counsel (Feb. 23, 2012).
Interview with Samantha Harnett, General Counsel for online real estate brokerage ZipRealty. Harnett describes the path that led her to her current position, as well as the workplace and workload. Available on Lexis.


There are numerous legal periodicals that cover the topic of in-house corporate law. Those listed below are a representative selection of titles that discuss issues related to being a practitioner in the field.

Probate & Property
Library has vol. 1 (1987) - present.
Chicago: American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law.



The following organizations are active or maintain an interest in real estate law. They can offer membership opportunities, information on the industry, and possible employment opportunities. Most of them sponsor seminars or conferences on relevant topics.

American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law
Hillary Clark, Membership/Marketing Associate
phone: 312-988-5683
e-mail: hillary.clark@americanbar.org
website: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate.html
Provides a number of resources for those considering real estate law in addition to membership benefits.

American College of Real Estate Lawyers
11300 Rockville Pike, Ste. 903
Rockville, MD 20852
phone: (301)-816-9811
fax: (301)-816-9786
website: http://www.acrel.org/
Invitation-only organization of real estate lawyers. Website includes ACREL's newsletter, links to useful online real estate resources, and member roster.

Virginia State Bar Real Property Section
707 East Main Street, Suite 1500
Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800
phone: (804)-775-0500
website: http://www.vsb.org/site/sections/realproperty/
This section of the Virginia State Bar sponsors projects and programs of interest to real estate practitioners, and publishes the semi-annual newsletter The Fee Simple (membership required to access).

Photo: Associated Press