To laymen, it must certainly appear that way.

So, people who know I used to be a corporate attorney will often say to me in passing about another Realtor, “did you know that so-and-so used to be an attorney, too?”

If and when I cross paths with the fellow Realtor-Attorney, what I invariably discover is that if they graduated from law school, they never passed the bar, or if they passed the bar, they never actually practiced law.

Or if they actually practiced law, they did so briefly on their own or at a tiny firm (vs. working as an associate at a large(r) firm).

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” as a former sitcom character would hasten to add.

Good Realtor/Bad Attorney (and Vice Versa) 

While I find my legal background to be incredibly useful, and draw upon it daily in real estate, the inescapable fact is that, for the most part, the two fields attract radically different personalities — and require very different skill sets.

To wit:

–Realtors are entrepreneurial; the average corporate lawyer is anything but;

–Realtors focus on building consensus and finding common ground; lawyers are trained to look for deal breakers and hurdles.

–Realtors are more “social animals,” and are typically more extroverted than lawyers.

–Realtors tend to be night owls; lawyers, early birds.

Of course, on average lawyers make (much) more money than Realtors.

Which is why I’ve never encountered a former law partner selling real estate.

P.S.:  So, are the law partners happier? 

On the contrary; most of the ones I know aren’t — where do you think the term “golden handcuffs” comes from??

It’s also the case that the lawyers-now-Realtors with the most experience practicing law are the least likely to publicize that — because they’re the most sensitive to liability concerns, and tend to have established real estate practices (which means they don’t need to tout their credentials to attract new clients).

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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