How Much Does a Business Lawyer Make?

Find out the benefits of being a business lawyer. Check out the educational requirements, key responsibilities, job outlook and average salary and see if this is a good career for you. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is A Business Lawyer?

Lawyers are highly trained professionals with a Juris Doctor degree. They must pass the bar exam to practice law. They advise their clients on legal matters, and perform tasks such as drafting legal documentation, filing court documents, and representing their client in court hearings. Business lawyers provide legal counsel to businesses and corporations. This could pertain to anything from regulation violations to staff lawsuits. They review contracts for the sale and purchase of property or products, and advise their clients of any legal loopholes or concerns with the proposed contracts.

Education Required Bachelor's degree (business or accounting is preferred); a law school degree and passing the bar examination are additional requirements before practicing law.
Key Responsibilities Analytical skills; writing, speaking, and researching skills; problem-solving skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (about as fast as average, for all lawyers)*
Median Salary (2015) $115,820 (for all lawyers)*

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics

What are the Types of Business Lawyers?

Business lawyers have multiple functions in corporations. They represent their companies as corporate attorneys in civil and criminal litigation, represent the company in bankruptcy matters and handle other legal tasks to look out for the best interest of the company. Specifically, business lawyers can be involved in transactional, company litigation and regulatory law.

Transaction Lawyer

Transactional lawyering involves negotiating sales, crafting important documents and offering legal advice in the corporate arena. The main goal of transaction lawyers is negotiating and documenting the complex contracts that make up a small or large enterprise.

Business Litigators

Sometimes transactions do not go well and court-based litigation is required. Business litigators may handle corporate takeovers, suits against shareholders and bankruptcy issues. Litigation may take place in front of a judge or between the parties and a mediator.

Regulatory Lawyer

Government regulations control business activities and are the focus of regulatory law. Regulatory lawyers work with businesses in ironing out problems that may arise with government agencies. Businesses that generally employ regulation lawyers are banks, insurance companies and firms governed by security laws. In addition, since taxes are within the scope of government rule, tax lawyers are a part of regulation law.

What are the Salaries?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all lawyers was $115,820 in May of 2015 (www.bls.gov). The salary of business lawyers may vary based on what specialty area they work in. According to PayScale.com in October 2016, corporate attorneys earned a median salary of $98,672, while lawyers who worked in litigation made a median salary of $90,647. Regulatory law attorneys, meanwhile, earned an annual median salary of $98,099.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Arbitrators, mediators, conciliators and judges are career options that have some aspects of their work that are similar to the work lawyers do. Arbitrators, mediators and conciliators listen to opposing sides in a dispute and try to reach a compromise. They need to be familiar with legal rights and how to modify or create a contract for the parties. Judges must have extensive knowledge of the law, and listen to opposing positions and offer a ruling. Most judges have prior experience as a lawyer; mediators, arbitrators and conciliators are only required to have a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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