Since most people buy houses on the weekends when they are not at work, a typical work week for O' Brien involves checking his fax machine at on Monday and Tuesday mornings, and usually finding two or three contracts there waiting for him. O' Brien contacts new clients, advises them of the requirements of the home-buying contract, his fees, and other details.In the standard Chicago-area home-buying contracts (which O' Brien wrote), there are five days in which the buyer can have an inspector look at the house, and for the buyer's attorney to contact the seller about any changes requested before the sale goes through - a repair to a leaky faucet, or roof repairs, for example.Another part of the contract includes an "attorney approval clause," which says that the contract is subject to attorney approval.

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Real estate attorneys often start off doing something else.

Possibly this is because real estate law is a natural compliment to many other legal specialties - from international corporate law, to divorce law, to environmental law.

Real estate law could add more to your growing practice.

Or, this specialty could be a good way for you to move to another legal neighborhood if you are not happy with the one you're in right now. O' Brien, alumnus of Loyola Law School in Chicago, has been practicing law for 32 years, 20 of those in residential real estate law and estate law.

Now in solo practice, he is also the Chair of the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association.

O' Brien handled many divorce cases as a young attorney.

It was "no fun" to work in such an angry environment, he says.

Now, working in residential real estate law, O' Brien sees clients taking a step up in life, most of whom are happy with the process of buying a house.

Once, a buyer loved the house, but the local schools could not meet the needs of her autistic child, so she had to change her mind about the move.

When the house is in the right condition for sale, and everything else is in place, then O' Brien will attend the closing personally.

He handles about 700 real estate deals a year, which means that he could easily have more than one closing a day.