Real estate law concerns every aspect of commercial and residential transactions and investments. It involves issues related to the purchase and sale of property, including financing and development, construction contracts, real estate investments, property management, environmental compliance, and litigation relating to these areas. Real estate lawyers provide their clients with advice concerning all of these matters. They also help their clients navigate through the governmental zoning restrictions and land use regulations necessary in order to move forward with a real estate project.
Real estate lawyers who work on commercial real estate often work in the real estate departments of large firms, many times working in conjunction with the environmental law and litigation departments. Other real estate lawyers work for the government, in the building and zoning departments of counties and municipalities. Real estate lawyers may also work for corporations, real estate development companies, financial or lending institutions, or title companies. Lawyers working in solo or small firms generally handle residential real estate transactions.
Lawyers who specialize in real estate transactions spend much of their time drafting and reviewing documents, counseling clients, and negotiating terms for the transactions on which they are working. Students interested in this field should, in addition to taking real estate classes, develop a broad business law foundation and strong negotiating skills.
These are the entry level courses that — at a minimum — employers expect a student interested in this specialty to have.
Students interested in this practice area should consider including one or more of the following courses as electives. [Students may also want to consider classes through the School of Business ( limited to six credits applicable towards the J.D.)]
- Advanced Legal Writing: Contract Drafting
- Business Organizations I
- Land Use
- Secured Transactions
- Real Estate Transactions II
- Selected Problems in Land Law: Real Estate Process
- Selected Problems in Land Law: Residential Property Development
These courses deepen or broaden the skills and substantive information that a lawyer in this field needs and also provide advanced courses for students interested in a specialty area.
- Administrative Law
- Construction Law
- Environmental Law and Practice
- Introduction to Environmental Law
- Lawyering Skills
- Water Rights Law
(Note that whether a particular course is scheduled depends on faculty availability and student demand.)
For additional information, please visit the Real Estate Concentration page.
Student Organizations and Related Activities
The Business & Tax Law Association promotes and enhances the study and practice of business and tax law. BTLA is comprised of about 75 law students who share an interest in the law of taxation, corporations and commerce. Several faculty members and some of the largest law firms in Wisconsin are also included in BTLA's membership.
Environmental Law Society
The Environmental Law Society welcomes all students interested in the application of law to environmental issues at the state, national, and international levels. The Society studies all sides of the issues because it recognizes that environmental law applies to both those interested in classic environmental preservation, as well as persons whose activities create environmental impacts.
Here are some of the faculty who teach or have an interest in this subject area:
In addition to our full-time faculty, the Law School's adjunct faculty members — prominent practicing lawyers and judges — bring their specialized knowledge and experience to the classroom. Adjunct Faculty List.