Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

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rose711
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby rose711 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My dad is a real estate developer who went to law school. Worked in Biglaw for one year, told his boss to F*ck off and started his own real estate development operation. My dad told me if I ever wanted to be part of the business I had to go to law school because he insists indespensible tool to his business. To all the people who laugh at this, I know plenty of other law grads in the industry, and to be frank they make way more money then any BigLaw partner could ever Dream of making.



The big difference here is that your Dad wanted to go to law school. If you don't want to go be a lawyer, going to law school is foolish. Even if you know all the law on your own, for any significant deal you are going to want to have a professional who is looking at the law every day prepare and review your documents. You are going to want and need legal opinions from outside counsel to get bank loans; for your own protection you will need to have an expert on the deal. It is just part of the cost that will be incurred.

No one was laughing at the idea of doing law first or claiming that you can't make big money in real estate development, people were commenting on the fact that OP doesn't want to practice law. You don't have to go to law school to understand the legal fundamentals of a deal or real estate law. Even if you do go to law school, unless you are practicing actively in the field, you will not be on top of what is happening with the law.

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swilson215
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby swilson215 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:15 pm

gabbagabba wrote:
swilson215 wrote:
Northeast wrote:Parents are paying for CoL etc.

For real estate I thought a law degree would be quite useful? no?

Would it be hard for me to get summer work at a real estate firm/business?


My dad is a commercial broker, investor and property manager. He owns his own small firm in my hometown. Personally, he's always said he wished he would have gone to law school -- that it would have made it easier for him earlier in his career, plus then he wouldn't have to pay all those fees every time he wanted to get a PSA reviewed/approved by an attorney before presenting it to a client.

Just my $.02.


Your dad doesn't know a thing about the ethical rules and neither do you. It's unethical, and grounds for disbarment, to be be involved with a client in a business deal while simultaneously acting as their lawyer in said deal. If your dad was an attorney, he'd still have to have everything reviewed by a non-party attorney


Woah. Chill. I was just relaying what my dad said. Calm down.

EDIT: My dad did say it would have been useful earlier in his career. I don't know how, I'm not my dad with 30+ years experience in the field. I've just heard him mention this on more than one occasion. All of the advice on this thread from ANYONE is anecdotal.

timbs4339
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby timbs4339 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:15 pm

What is this phenomenon of people in our generation who have some aversion to starting in an industry at the ground level, working hard, demonstrating a talent and passion for that type of work, and climbing up the ladder (or taking risks to switch companies, start own companies if the first place doesn't work out)? Everyone wants to jump the line by getting shinier and shinier degrees.

All the people with "real estate developer parents/friends of parents/older relatives who wished they went to law school" need to realize that the game has changed now.

First, your parents might interact solely with successful, knowledgeable attorneys with decades of experience in their field. These may be people who love being lawyers.

Second, right now a law degree is not good for very much except law unless you go to a top school. Even then, a degree from HYS only proves you would have been smart and hardworking enough to succeed in business consulting or some other non-law industry if you had started there instead of gone to law school. The actual learning experience provides very little real value and IMO is not worth three years of your life. It may even impart some negative traits.

And OP, 90% of the stuff you learn in law school will be useless to you if you go into real estate. You'll go through Property and never read a lease, contracts and never read a contract.

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ash8309
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby ash8309 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:21 pm

I feel you OP. I have major cold feet. I also want to go to law school not necessarily to be a "lawyer" but to have the rigorous education and learn how to be a better critical thinker, writer and communicator. I am in the policy field now and have really enjoyed it. However, I also like my job. It's fun and exciting and DC is a great place to be. I will likely put down two deposits at the schools who have given me the best scholly just to give myself more time to think.

jarofsoup
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:33 pm

Your dad doesn't know a thing about the ethical rules and neither do you. It's unethical, and grounds for disbarment, to be be involved with a client in a business deal while simultaneously acting as their lawyer in said deal. If your dad was an attorney, he'd still have to have everything reviewed by a non-party attorney




I am not entirely understanding this criticism regarding ethics. If this were true how could a company have a legal department that negotiated their contracts with companies that they contracted with for certain services, so would all of these attorneys be in violation of ethics?

So now lets say that I had a real estate company and was drafting a potential contract for a deal to present to the other party. Since I had legal training I would know how to draft this contract and not have to hire a lawyer to make sure that it is legal. This would not be fixing the deal or a conflict of interest.

I think you may have not mis-read what Swilson wrote. He was saying that his dad gets documents reviewed by lawyers to make sure they are accurate. How is it a violation of ethics to know that a document is accurate because you have legal training so you do not have to hire an outside person to do it? This is like being able to do your own taxes with out hiring someone else.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby gwuorbust » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:05 pm

OP, as someone who is in law school and was faced with a similar dilemma I can appreciate how hard it is. to everyone saying "Biz School!" understand that in general business school is pretty much worthless outside the top 5 schools or for people with NO understanding of business (an English major could find a lower business school useful b/c of his lack of knowledge of business before the MBA). BUT, most of the posters are right when they say that law school is for if you want to be a lawyer. does that mean it is worthless? hell no. it is a lot of work, and you learn a lot.

now, a lot of what you learn you will not be able to apply to anything but the practice of the law. but if you don't care about wasting 3 years, whatever. I say that in full seriousness. I've made some great friends and it is an interesting experience, to say the least (though awful at times). so if you were taking on a lot of debt, I would say stay away. but if you can go for free and just kinda chill for 3 years..I don't see that being either a positive or negative. and for that situation, I would advocate a school like University of Miami, Tulane, NYU, GWU, etc. something where you can get out into the real world and have fun while you BS your way through lawl school.


and @jarofsoup I think you are right. It is called in-house counsel. I think the ethical dilemma would come if the lawyer was benefiting from the business deal WHILE billing as outside counsel. but I've not taken legal profession yet so idk much about legal ethics yet.

TigerBeer
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby TigerBeer » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:14 am

timbs4339 wrote:What is this phenomenon of people in our generation who have some aversion to starting in an industry at the ground level, working hard, demonstrating a talent and passion for that type of work, and climbing up the ladder (or taking risks to switch companies, start own companies if the first place doesn't work out)? Everyone wants to jump the line by getting shinier and shinier degrees.


people like you who romanticize "back in the day" when you never lived in it are annoying as fuck. why you think that more people are getting by off their education, connections, or family now than there used to be?

sashatheturk
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby sashatheturk » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:23 pm

gabbagabba wrote:
swilson215 wrote:
Northeast wrote:Parents are paying for CoL etc.

For real estate I thought a law degree would be quite useful? no?

Would it be hard for me to get summer work at a real estate firm/business?


My dad is a commercial broker, investor and property manager. He owns his own small firm in my hometown. Personally, he's always said he wished he would have gone to law school -- that it would have made it easier for him earlier in his career, plus then he wouldn't have to pay all those fees every time he wanted to get a PSA reviewed/approved by an attorney before presenting it to a client.

Just my $.02.


Your dad doesn't know a thing about the ethical rules and neither do you. It's unethical, and grounds for disbarment, to be be involved with a client in a business deal while simultaneously acting as their lawyer in said deal. If your dad was an attorney, he'd still have to have everything reviewed by a non-party attorney



uh...are you sure about this? The last time i checked its perfectly legal for an attorney to represent him/herself or sue someone on their own behalf and that's what this persons dad is talking about. On what youre mentioning; I know many Attorneys that have been "sweat equity" partners in real estate deals as its standard mode of operation in California real estate.

on a side note, kinda harsh man...no?

Anonymous User
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Re: Ah, I am a bit confused. Should I even go?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:47 pm

I'm at law school.
I want to go into real estate.

I'm finishing up my second year and taking courses with an eye towards real estate transactions and development. I seriously think law school is a decent investment for this track. You'll learn about all kinds of crap that you could learn from being in the business - but it would take years of experience to get the feel for and you would make lots of mistakes in the process. Aside from your basic 1L courses and any classes on real estate transactions/finance and land development (obviously you want to take all of those), take business associations, secured transactions, something related to environmental law, and anything else that appears related that is offered at your school. Skip all the litigation centric classes, you want to put your effort into learning about contracts and transactions. Be mercenary and think to yourself in class "how is this going to help me with a RE transaction/investment." Your professors will be talking in terms of "here is what will help your client / here is what your client wants as buyer or seller and here is how to set that up and make it happen" - all you have to do is internalize that it is what you want. You can be the legal service provider, or you can be the user of legal services that you already have the general knowledge and feel for (yeah I know, duh... but I think lots of law students don't think that way because they've decided they want to be lawyers, or have to be lawyers because they are investing in law school).

You'll learn all kinds of useful stuff that should be factored in when considering a parcel for development or investment - how to avoid environmental liabilities, zoning issues, choice of corporate entity to maximize your investment and limit your liability, advantages of tax free sales, stuff to be wary of in contracts of all types: both development wise AND finance wise. And all kinds of other stuff. Maybe most importantly, this neurotic "think like a lawyer" concept combined with what you learn in your legal practice class, will give you tools for FINDING OUT stuff you are worried about or think could be harmful, without having to rely on another attorney and paying the associated fees. You'll feel more confident when you negotiate or think about an investment because the little black box of uncertainty for how someone might screw you by dumping their toxic land or trying to bamboozle you with boilerplate will be something that you can manage and figure out on your own. Instead of working your way up from the ground floor and not knowing anything but what you get exposure to as a fresh face - after 3 years of law school (and some relevant internships) you'll have a significant knowledge base immediately useful to the industry to draw on to do due diligence, make smart informed decisions about what to invest in, and be able to give reasons to persuade and convince other people in a negotiation about anything related to a transaction or development. If you do law school right, you'll come out and be able to talk the talk, instead of looking like some fresh faced kid straight out of undergrad who doesn't have a clue about any of the factors at play, and who wants to learn things on the job. Obviously while you are still in your 20s, that will give you a huge leg up on being entrepreneurial, or convincing someone to take a chance on hiring you.

You will also double your employability because you can always still do law right out of law school (Yeah, I said it... ALWAYS.). I don't know where you live, but around my area and the neighboring states, there are lots of real estate boutique lawfirms catering to developers and brokers. A fair amount of these were started by former RE biglaw guys who could make more with less overhead while bringing their former clients with them. A lot of these are going to be less than 10 or 5 attorney offices and would be considered small law, but as lousy as the economy and RE market is right now, transactions are still happening and developers, brokers, and investors are looking to cut costs and go with someone cheaper for anything they want reviewed or worked on by an attorney. Even if the pay isn't as good starting, you have the potential for making all kinds of great contacts by going this route, and maybe switching over or being entrepreneurial later.

Be proactive in law school, keep in mind what your goal is, think critically about the utility of everything you learn to your goal. Going to law school for the purpose of doing RE development or investment is unusual and you probably won't be able to compare your circumstances and what you are striving for to most of the other law students who are stressing about journals, moot court, biglaw/OCI interviews. Don't be passive with course selection and the investment will have significant payoffs over your career. My 2 cents.




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