While providing legal guidance to clients comprises an important part of a real estate attorney’s practice, property closings are the bread and butter, generating 50 to 75% of the lawyer’s income. Still, many real estate lawyers see pennies on the dollar for the amount of work that they do. In order to generate a profit, an attorney has to juggle numerous closings, which requires a great deal of focus and energy and long hours spent at the office. Quantity, as well as quality, is the key to a successful practice.
Real estate lawyers spend an inordinate amount of time working on even the most basic closings, which—while small—are still riddled with myriad details, require reams of paperwork and produce a multitude of expectations from both sides of the closing table. Whether a solo practitioner or part of a law firm’s real estate department, that kind of pressure weighs heavily on an attorney who is constantly playing defense, because as much as he or she would like to focus on the task at hand, there is always another fire to extinguish, another filing deadline to meet, another email from an anxious or angry client to respond to, another legal malpractice premium to pay. If anything goes wrong – and it can – it’s the lawyer who bears the brunt of the anger from both sides.
That kind of stress takes its toll on the average practitioner. Even if you’re armed with paralegals and legal assistants, the day can slip away from you in a heartbeat. Because so many attorneys get most of their business through referrals, one missed filing deadline can result in a malpractice claim and a major hit to your hard-won reputation. It really is no wonder that these attorneys are so stressed out.
If you find this describes an average day in your practice, take a step back and identify the one common thread: organization. It’s nearly impossible to keep all the information you have to process in one day in your head or written down on a calendar. It’s hard enough to get from one meeting to the next without running into interference. Take the time to get yourself properly organized with an automated calendaring system so when the first obstacle of the day invariably arises, you’re ready to handle it.
Being armed with that knowledge is a great stress reliever.