Israel has an abundance of lawyers. With fewer than 9,000,000 people, Israel has some 80,000 lawyers. It is said that the state of Israel has the highest number of lawyers per capita in the world.

Many seek administrative roles in companies, rather than practice law. Many use their legal knowledge to run their own businesses and prepare their own legal documents.

1.  Arm Yourself Wisely with the Right Real Estate Lawyer in Israel

A newcomer in Israel might be told by native Israelis that everything is the same as in the United States or elsewhere abroad. It most definitely is not. Without a diligent, dependable lawyer, one can easily get lost and lose rights to which he or she is entitled. Despite its welcoming image, Israel will not give you anything unless you fight for it. To fight you need a savvy advocate on your behalf. That advocate is supposed to have your best interests at heart, not his own interests to your detriment, so choose carefully.

Be careful of conflicts of interest in Israel:  You will often be offered to “share” legal counsel with the other side.  But your real estate attorney is supposed to be your advocate, not involved with the interests of the other side.

2.  Israeli Real Estate Attorney with a Strong Education and Sterling Credentials

Make sure you hire someone who has both a high level of education and experience.  Ask where the lawyer studied, because not all Israeli universities that teach law in Israel are on the same level. Moreover, if what you seek is a real estate lawyer who understands the pitfalls of foreigners and English-speakers in Israel, Israeli law schools are formatted very differently from American ones, and client service isn’t exactly of the same kind.

Ask for references and/or read as many online reviews as are available.

3.  Real Estate Project Onsite Visits and Work with the Architect

The ability to perform onsite visits to real estate projects is important, for learning the issues more thoroughly, firsthand and thereby better represent said clients. The same can be said for interfacing with the architect on the project and asking the difficult questions, as well as obtaining the required contractual commitments.  Moreover, only once the legal team gathers all the information can they properly prepare real estate deals. This personalized attention ensures that all details of a real estate deal will be taken into consideration and presented.

4.  Don’t Be Lulled into a False Sense of Complacency

In Israel, often people will hand you a blank piece of paper and tell you that you can write your own letter or contract, even handwritten and that it’s acceptable. This is a pitfall. Make sure you don’t fall into it.

Although it is true that any handwritten document can be legally recognized, if there is a lot at stake, especially in a commercial or residential real estate transaction, you will want a qualified professional to prepare such a document. With smiles, jokes, offers of coffee, water and whatever other hospitality to relax you, the average Israeli landlord or company management team is backed by ruthless lawyers, who will take advantage of your inexperience and misplaced trust.  You may find that your dream property is a pipe-dream, a “castle in the sky.”

With a qualified real estate lawyer in Israel on your side, you can rest assured that your affairs will be handled with cutting edge precision. You should seek experience and scrupulous attention which will prevent you from stumbling into a lion’s den.

Something that might seem as simple as a lease can be full of holes to trip you up. Without counsel, you will pay dearly for not being prepared in advance.

5.  The Anglo Mentality and Israeli Reality

Choosing a Real Estate Attorney in Israel has huge benefits. For one thing, you get someone that knows the American or non-Israeli mentality first-hand.

Someone who originated in the United States and practiced there, before coming to Israel, will better anticipate and accommodate the western client.

Part of the Anglo mentality is prompt, efficient and courteous service, while leaving no stone unturned in handling your affairs. Precision, diligence and courtesy are what you need. You won’t find it at every firm. Take your time and choose carefully.