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What Does an International Lawyer Do? - Job Description & Salary

If you are looking for a career in law that addresses a variety of global issues, becoming an international lawyer may be the right choice. Here, you will learn more about the duties, education background, job outlook, salary, and similar positions for this profession.

International Lawyer Facts at A Glance

As an international lawyer, you may be working for a law firm, an organization, or even a government entity, in which your tasks would differ. While researching and interpreting legal dilemmas there will be times when you will be meeting with individuals and business representatives one-on-one to advise them on a legal basis. The following table contains general facts about the law profession.

Education Doctorate or Professional Degree
Job Duties Counsel and represent patrons; analyze laws, verdicts, and legal regulations; petition on behalf of clients
Licensure/Certification Pass the 'bar exam'
Median Salary (2020) $126,930 (all lawyers)*
Job Outlook (2020-2030) 9% (all lawyers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What do International Lawyers Do?

International lawyers advise, counsel and represent individuals, organizations, and government entities. By providing their representing party with information in regards to their legal rights, they will recommend the best outcome for their case. During this time, they may also have to represent their clients in court with plausible evidence pertaining to their specific case.

According to the International Lawyers Network, international lawyers can work in a variety of specialties that can include taxation, securities law, and intellectual property law. Some professionals can work for large corporations advising them on legal matters regarding their business undertakings. Others may work for non-profits in the private sector, aiming to advise legal practices for those who may not be able to afford a lawyer.

What Should I Study?

As an international lawyer, you will first have to attend a four-year accredited university, as this is the requirement of getting into any type of postgraduate or law school program. During this time in your bachelor studies, taking courses including public speaking, mathematics, history, economics, English, and government have been found beneficial for those individuals applying for postgraduate programs. Upon applying for law school you will have to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) with institutions that are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Furthermore, you will need to then go on to attend a doctorate program or obtain a law degree from a university that offers a specialization in International Law.

What is the Job Outlook?

Between 2020 and 2030, there is an estimated 9% job growth predicted for lawyers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is very promising for those who want to study international law. Due to an increase of job seekers in this field, however, it has become a competitive market, which is why having the flexibility to physically relocate will open up more opportunities. Yet, keep in mind that if you do relocate to another state you may have to sit for that state's bar exam to be qualified as a lawyer.

How Much Will I Earn?

The BLS found that the median salary of a lawyer was $$126,930 in 2020, with the highest pay being for those employed by the federal government, at a median wage of $152,220 per year. Those who decide on private practices are known to earn less than those who work for government entities or organizations. The majority of lawyers work 40 hours a week; however, some work overtime doing research and arranging legal documents.

What Are Some Alternative Careers?

If you are someone who is only interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree, there are related professions, such as becoming a mediator, conciliator, and/or arbitrator. In these careers you would still get the opportunity to bring parties to an agreement, while also offering closure to these legal matters outside of court. Other areas of interest include becoming a judge or hearing officer, who overlook legal cases in court; these positions would require a doctoral or professional degree.