As law firms across the United States continue to downsize their office space square footage, real estate legal practices are moving in the opposite direction. A smaller footprint and a bigger presence with top legal talent have become a nimble combination that is trending nationwide in real estate legal services.

Why are Real Estate Law Careers in Demand?

Climbing out of the recession and breaking new ground

Over the past several years and counting, the real estate market has slowly but surely been making up for lost time and revenue. The recovering market is encountering plenty of challenges and opportunities along the way. The sector is also shifting. While uncertainty, caution, new economics and a volatile regulatory environment have kept a thumb on rapid growth, opportunities are steadily growing – in traditional areas of the law, in new secondary and tertiary markets, and from foreign investing.

Current dynamics call for a special brand of legal talent

I spend a good deal of time recruiting associate attorneys and partners for law firm real estate practices, as well as staff attorneys and general counsel for in-house legal organizations at Fortune 500 corporations. Specialized skills and expertise are in demand at both law firms and corporations, with talent needs reaching across the spectrum of real estate law.

Currently, demand is high for attorneys in real estate development, leasing, property acquisition and finance to manage increases in commercial transactions. While my recruitment practice is focused on the Southeast, these recruitment trends are prevalent across Lucas Group’s nationwide legal practice group.

High demand, low supply

The ’08 recession and ensuing years slashed demand and halted expansion in real estate, immediately impacting real estate legal practices. This led to a shortage in practicing attorneys and additionally, law students were neither drawn to nor trained in real estate law. However, what goes down must come back up. Just like in certain markets, such as Pittsburgh, where real estate never really slowed during the recession, Lucas Group remained active and engaged in the market, including with attorney specialists across the country.

Helping hiring companies conquer low supply

For hiring companies and law firms, the good news is that high-caliber real estate attorneys in private practice are willing to go in-house or possibly join another law firm – for the right incentives and compensation packages. Passive candidates at other firms and companies are also open to better opportunities that align with their career goals. As a recruitment specialist who works with clients and candidates, I understand the needs and goals of both parties, and am very involved in helping companies and firms attract the right talent for their organizations and clients.

It’s a candidate’s market

The future is obviously bright for accomplished real estate attorneys and those interested in moving over from other practice areas. In fact, given how broad the real estate legal practice has become in recent years, experience in other areas of law is a plus for attorneys who choose to specialize in real estate.

The market is cyclical, but so is every other market, and right now, real estate is highly likely to stay active in major cities across the United States and internationally. This is a promising future where career paths, employers and attractive employment arrangements are abundant.

Hiring companies and candidates need to make the right decision the first time. As a specialist in the legal information business, it is gratifying to be able to provide the insights each party needs to make astute hiring and career decisions.


From law firm partners to in-house legal counsel at Fortune 500 companies, Ansley Tucker finds the top-tier legal talent organizations need to grow business and revenue.