What Are Some Popular Career Options in Business Law?

A business law graduate may find work at various experience levels, serving as a legal assistant or becoming the general counsel for a large corporation. Popular career options in business law are covered in this article, which explores business paralegal work as well as common business lawyer careers. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Business Law Overview

What kinds of jobs are there for you in a corporate legal department? The answer depends on how much education you have in business law. Corporate paralegals, for instance, may need only a 2-year or 4-year degree. By contrast, people working as attorneys or corporate counsels are expected to earn a bachelor's degree before completing at least a Juris Doctor degree (a law degree) and passing a state bar examination.

Important Facts about This Occupational Field

Median Salary (2014) $114,970 (for lawyers)
Required Education Associate's degree (for paralegals)
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 11% (for legal occupations)
Key Skills Writing, interpersonal, analytical, speaking, research, problem solving (for lawyers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Paralegals assist business lawyers in most of their duties. They help negotiate and draft contracts, conduct legal research and handle the business correspondence associated with the business law department of a company. Education for a paralegal in business law is typically more general than the training a business lawyer needs. Some employers may hire those with an associate's degree in paralegal studies. Others may want their paralegals to have a 4-year degree and a certificate in paralegal studies; however, a license to practice law is not usually required.

Corporate Attorney

Corporate attorneys are there whenever a company has to see the inside of a courtroom. They represent the company in all legal dealings, whether the case is civil or criminal. While many cases settle outside of a courtroom, some corporate attorneys specialize in corporate litigation, which means they focus on the procedures of arguing a case. Corporate litigation attorneys are often more specialized, and their business law education may have a focus in a particular field, like intellectual property or real estate. Unlike paralegals, all of these attorneys generally need to be licensed to practice law, also known as being admitted to the bar.

Corporate Counsel

Corporate counsels provide advice on business law to a company. They also draw up contracts and write legal correspondence as needed. Corporate counsels may be involved with management, helping to create and maintain company policies, advising company officials of how to manage their legal risks and upholding the best legal practices for a company. Like corporate attorneys, counsels also need a law degree and need to have passed a bar examination.

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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