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Career profile: Property lawyer

Career profile: Property lawyerEvery time someone moves house, they need a lawyer to negotiate the contract and help make sure the deal is watertight. Read on to learn more about this important job.

A what?

A property lawyer handles all the issues that relate to property (real estate), be it buying and selling houses or land, or drawing up contracts between tenants and landlords.

On the job

Property lawyers either work for a commercial or a non-commercial firm. Their job can involve anything from negotiating contracts for multi-million pound developments, to organising the legal documentation when someone moves house. Most work closely with their clients who can range from individuals buying their first home, property developers, landowners, governments, and public sector bodies.

There is very little litigation involved in this type of law; it’s the job of a property lawyer to find a solution that suits both sides. Much of the work involves drafting documents like contracts and leases, which calls for a sharp eye for detail. It can be quite a social job so they need to have good communication skills and be canny negotiators.

Course entry requirements

Most undergraduate law courses require eight GCSEs at A and B grades and three or more A-levels. You do not have to study any particular subjects - even law A-level isn’t a requirement - but it is important achieve high grades. Entry requirements do vary according to each institution, so check the prospectuses of your preferred universities to find exactly what is needed.

If you don’t study law at undergraduate level you will have to get at least a 2:1 (like a grade B) in your first degree to get onto most postgraduate Common Profession Exam or Graduate diploma in law (also known as a conversion course).

What does the training involve?

There are two routes you can take. You could complete an undergraduate law degree, followed by a one year Legal Practice Course (LPC). After that you’ll need to be trained ‘on the job’ on a two-year training contract with a law firm.

If you don’t choose law as your undergraduate degree it is still possible to train as a property lawyer. You’ll need to take a ‘conversion course’, either a Common Profession exam or Graduate Diploma in law for a year before starting the LPC followed by the two-year training contract.

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