How Long Does It Take to Become a Corporate Lawyer

Last Updated on January 1, 2023 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

It takes roughly 3.1 years to become a corporate lawyer. Once you graduate law school, you’ll need about two more years to find an entry-level job to put you on the path to earning your first big check. Once you land your first position, you’ll need to start climbing the corporate ladder by taking on more responsibility, performing at a higher level, and getting promoted along the way.

Working as a corporate lawyer can be a very rewarding and lucrative career path. You have to study for many years, so be prepared for hard work and sacrifice. You will need to get qualified, gain experience, and then continue your professional development and study for your specialism in corporate law.

So you’ve decided to study corporate law? Good choice. You’re going to learn how to navigate the complicated legal world of business and work with important clients on serious matters. As a corporate lawyer, you’ll get to use your brains and your people skills every day.

But first, you need to know: how long does it take to become a corporate lawyer?

Becoming a lawyer is not a short process, but it’s worth it if you enjoy studying, like working with people, and have a head for business. The good news is that once you make it through the journey, you’ll be set for life.

Detailed information  about admissions to schools on how to become a corporate lawyer, how long does it take to become a corporate lawyer in Canada, how to become a corporate lawyer in the Philippines, corporate lawyer salary UK and so on can be found here. Feel free to keep reading to receive the most updated information.

You will also discover related posts on how to become a corporate lawyer in South Africa & what does a corporate lawyer do on Collegelearners.

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Who is a Lawyer

The lawyer is an interesting professional. The work of a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services. Lawyers, also called attorneys, often specialize in a particular legal field. Sometimes they specialize in a particular case type, like divorce law or criminal law. Other times they may specialize in a particular area of business, like intellectual property law.

So what does it mean to be an attorney? According to the American Bar Association (ABA), a lawyer is a licensed professional who advises and represents people in legal matters. The word attorney refers to any person who represents you during court proceedings or undertakes the preparation of court documents on your behalf. A counselor is anyone who gives you legal advice. So whenever you hear these alternative names, you still know who the person is referring to.

Lawyers must complete several years of education; however, the requirements vary by country and state. After completing a law degree, graduates must pass a bar examination in order to practice law.

Why Study Law

When you consider that it takes 7 years to become a lawyer, you begin to ask yourself why you’ve decided to take this path. Even though your passion is strong enough motivation to keep pushing, you need to refresh your mind on the reasons why you’re studying law.

Most people study law for the following reasons:

The Opportunity to Help People

Helping people is like the foundation upon which law was built. You don’t want evil to prevail because the people unleashing it have power and their victims don’t have. Through your position as a lawyer, you can help people get what is due to them as well as take care of organizations’ legal problems. Public interest lawyers exist to uphold legal causes to promote the greater good of society and provide legal assistance to those who can’t afford a lawyer. There are also lawyers in private practice who provide pro bono services to low-income individuals of underserved populations like victims of child abuse. When you see how much good you can be to the world, you just want to become a lawyer.

The Reputation

Have you seen parents who don’t consider professions other than law, medicine, and engineering a profession? That’s to show you how high people hold the law profession. This repute has lasted for generations and will continue to hold in generations to come because of the level of authority a lawyer wields. Lawyers command respect and the media always project them as successful professionals.

Opportunity for Specialization

Specialization in an area of a profession increases your chances of becoming indispensable. The law industry is one with many segmentation and specialization. Thus, there are many sub-specialties of law that you can specialize in and grow a reputation there. Some of these specializations include green law and intellectual property law.

The Large Earnings

Let’s face it, lawyers around the world are one of the highest earners in the labor force. Law is simply an educational investment with good returns. However, don’t be deceived, you need to be really good at what you do to earn big. When you are a top-shot lawyer, you’ll get work in large law firms and major metropolitan areas. You will also earn very well as a lawyer if you are a specialty lawyer in specialties that are in high demand. If you’re a public sector lawyer, however, you may not earn so much.

So how much do lawyers actually earn?

How Long Does it Take to Become a Lawyer in the USA

The educational requirements for becoming a lawyer in the United States is 7 years. This is broken down into an undergraduate degree of four (4) years, and a Law School degree of three (3) years.

In a more comprehensive manner, to become a lawyer in the USA, you must take this path:

Firstly, you need to get an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college. It doesn’t matter what area of study you get your bachelor’s degree in. But endure that your bachelor’s degree covered courses in English, Public Speaking, Government, History, Economics, and Mathematics.

Secondly, you need to enter Law School. But to do this, you must pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Law school takes three years to complete and there, you’ll take courses in constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing. It is very important that you attend an ABA-accredited law school.

Lastly, you will have to sit for the Bar Exam in your state or the state you hope to practice in. practicing for the Bar Exam will take you two to three months and getting the results takes some extra months, but in all, it usually takes less than a year. Once you’ve passed the bar exam, you’ll need to be officially admitted to Bar. This involves passing your State’s Bar Association’s character and fitness review. This will take a number of months, depending on how clean your background is.

So generally, you’ll take 7 to 8 years to become a lawyer in the USA. 8 years, if you add the additional months for practicing for the bar exams and passing your State’s Bar Association’s character and fitness review.

What Does a Lawyer Do

The movies and fictional novels will often portray lawyers as those who stand for criminals or victims of unfortunate situations. This is not all that a lawyer does, however. In fact, it is just a kind of lawyer that defends criminals – the Criminal Defense Lawyer.

If like some of us, you had this notion of lawyers, then you need to know what lawyers irrespective of their scope do.

The main duties of a lawyer are to uphold the law and protect the client’s rights while upholding the law.

In performing these main duties, a lawyer will do the following:

  • Make oral arguments in courts supporting their clients.
  • Research and draft court papers briefing the court on the issues in a case before the day they will orally argue it.
  • Perform advocacy roles in administrative hearings
  • Build a relationship with their clients through intake and counseling with regard to pending litigation.
  • Provide legal advice to their clients regarding what they should do next.
  • Protect the intellectual property of their clients through patents, trademarks, and industrial designs.
  • Negotiate and draft contracts
  • Execute the intent of the deceased by drafting wills, trusts, and other documents to ensure the efficient disposition pf a person’s property after death.

How to Be a Corporate Lawyer

If you’ve decided to become a lawyer, the next question is usually how long it takes to become one. You surely want to know that so you can estimate how long it will take before you begin to get the benefit of your education. The passion to practice as a lawyer and save lives should be your focus, however, so also learn the requirements to become a lawyer.

The law brings order and peace to the world, so the load on the shoulders of lawyers to decide who to prosecute is heavy. If they don’t build their cases well and an innocent man gets prosecuted, the scale of justice tilts towards injustice and evil roams the streets. For this reason, lawyers take as long as 7 years of education in most countries before they can practice.

But does this number of years apply in all countries and all kinds of law profession? We answer this question in this post. Here, you will see how many years it takes to become several kinds of lawyers. You will also learn about the educational requirements to become a lawyer in the UK, USA, and Australia. Keep reading to discover all these.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Lawyer in the UK

In the UK, lawyers are divided into solicitors and barristers and there are multiple paths to becoming any of these. There is the direct entry and the non-law graduate entry.

Direct Entry Path

So, to become a Solicitor through the direct entry path, it takes 6 – 7 years. Firstly, you will need to take the LL.B. (Hons), which is the qualifying law degree. Unlike the USA that treats their law degree as a graduate degree, the law degree in the UK is an undergraduate degree (LL.B.). The LL.B. takes three (3) years to complete.

Secondly, you’ll need to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) which normally takes 2 years to complete. You can complete it in 1 year through the fast-track course, however, if you have a First Class and a Second Class degree.

Lastly, you will need to take a trainee contract with a law firm for 2 years. On completion of this contract, you’ll get admission into the Law Society of England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.

To become a Barrister with the direct entry path, you’ll need to complete the LL.B. (Hons) – 3 years. Afterward, you’ll complete the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) then take the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) – 1 year. You will then go for ‘Pupillage’ under a practicing barrister after the BPTC – 1 year. Thus, it takes a total of 5 years to become a Barrister in the UK.

Non-Law Graduate Entry Path

Finally, for the Non-law graduate path, you would first complete a three-year undergraduate degree. After that, you’ll complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE/GDL) that takes two (2) years. After acquiring these credentials, you’ll follow the same steps as the direct entry path to either become a solicitor or a barrister. So, it will take you 10-12 years to become a solicitor and 10-11 years to become a barrister.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Lawyer in Australia

Becoming a lawyer in Australia is similar to that of the UK but shorter. The requirements to become a lawyer in Australia are a Juris Doctor(JD) or Bachelor of Law(LLB); a practical legal training (PLT); Legal Practice Admission; and a Practicing Certificate.

Here’s how you go about these things;


Firstly, you must complete an undergraduate program in law, which is the LLB program. This program takes four years to complete and it covers the “Priestley 11” which are the 11 areas of basic legal knowledge required for practice in Australia. If you already have an undergraduate degree, then the JD is for you. This takes 3 years to complete as you already know.


Secondly, you will complete a Practical Legal Training after your LLB. You have to check your state’s Legal Admissions Board for approved Practical Legal Training (PLT) that you can take. The PLT takes like 6 months to complete and you can even take it online from recommended course providers. On completion, you’ll get the Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice.

At this point, you would have taken 4 years 6 months towards becoming a lawyer in Australia. The next step is to get admission to Legal Practice. You must apply to the relevant state or territories Admissions Authority within five years of your graduation or it would be impossible to do so. Now, getting admission to Legal Practice qualifies you to get a job but not practice as a lawyer in Australia.

Practicing Certificate

You must have worked for 18 to 24 months under the supervision of a practicing solicitor before you can apply to the local Law Society for a Practicing Certificate. This certificate allows you to practice in that state as a solicitor.

So in all, you would’ve taken at least 6 years of education and practice to get to this stage.

Note, however, that this path is for solicitors. If you wish to become a Barrister, you’ll have to gain entrance to the Bar Readers’ Course by taking and passing the bar exam.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Criminal Lawyer

Again, criminal defense lawyers are lawyers that represent individuals and organizations who have been accused of a criminal offense. When the government employs you as a criminal defense lawyer, you become a public defender.

So, the educational requirement for becoming a criminal defense lawyer is a bachelor’s degree, law school (with a specialization in criminal defense), then the state bar exam.

How this works is that you earn a bachelor’s degree in any degree with good grades. You must also have good research, investigative, analytic, and communication skills. The bachelor’s degree typically takes four (4) years to complete and with your bachelor’s degree, you can apply to law schools by completing the Law School Admission Test.

The law school takes three (3) years, of which while in it, you will specialize in criminal defense law education, Graduating from a law school grants you a Juris Doctor (J.D) degree.

Combining all these, you ave seven (7) years to become a criminal defense lawyer. But to practice in any state in the USA, however, you must acquire a license.

It is very important that you understand LLM vs. JD | Striking Differences between Master of Law and Juris Doctor

How Long Does it Take to Become a Corporate Lawyer

Corporate lawyers are those lawyers that use their knowledge of business and finance law to understand, defend, and uphold business matters related to businesses and corporate affairs. So, a corporate lawyer works on behalf of a business entity or government to provide legal counsel and services.

For the educational requirement to become a corporate lawyer, you need at least seven years of education like the criminal defense lawyer. Firstly, you’ll complete a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject from accredited colleges or universities. Such a relevant undergraduate degree includes business, economics, and finance degrees.

After the undergraduate education, you will submit your academic transcript and take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to gain admission into law school for a Juris Doctor degree. The J.D for corporate lawyers is either the basic J.D or the dual-degree program in law and business that will grant you a J.D. and an MBA.

Corporate lawyers who would love to practice globally may have to pursue a Master of Law (LL.M.) degree. Of course, you know that acquiring this degree will take an additional two years. Meanwhile, an LL.M. is essential as it offers specialization in Corporate Law.

So, generally, 4-year undergraduate, 3-year law school, and 2-years master’s degree if you choose to go global). Thus, it will take between 7 to 9 years to become a corporate lawyer.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Patent Lawyer

When you’ve made a groundbreaking invention and you need to secure your formula or product, a patent lawyer is who you need. The patent lawyer is a lawyer with knowledge in the field of intellectual property who works with inventors during the patent period to ensure that they have legal protection.

The educational requirement for patent lawyers includes acquiring a bachelor’s degree, just like all other specializations in law. But for the patent lawyer, you would need a bachelor’s degree in a field of science like chemistry or a technical degree like engineering.

After a bachelor’s degree, you need a J.D degree from an accredited law school, which takes 3 years to complete.

Part of the job duties of the patent lawyer is to draft, file and prosecute patent applications on their inventors’ behalf before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). So, if you would like to represent your inventor in front of the USPTO, you would need to sit for and pass the USPTO licensing exam. Another name for this ‘Patent Bar.’

So, generally, it will take 7 to 8 years to become a patent lawyer, depending on how long your graduate degree program takes.

The 4 Step Guide to Become Commercial Real Estate Attorney - Revenues &  Profits

How Long Does it Take to Become a Family Lawyer

When you have family and marital issues including divorce, custody, adoption, child abuse, child support, and domestic abuse, the family lawyer is who you go to. Family lawyers have the necessary education and experience to take care of such matters.

So what education do they need? The family lawyer, like every other kind of lawyer in the USA, requires an undergraduate degree in any academic area then a law school. The undergraduate degree will typically take 4 years to complete and the law school will take 3 years to complete.

Your first year in law school for your J.D degree will take you in courses like criminal law, property rights, and constitutional law as it relates to family law issues. In your second and third year at law school, you will then take advanced-level courses in family law topics like divorce, marriage, and adoption. You will also participate in mock court proceedings to gain courtroom experience.

So generally, it takes 7 years to become a family lawyer – 4 years undergraduate, and 3 years of law school.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Immigration Lawyer

Because of the economic imbalance in this world, you’ll find people from underdeveloped countries migrating to developed countries illegally. A popular case is the migration flux of Africans from Libya to Italy. These developed countries are sometimes not tolerant of immigrants and may tamper on the rights of the immigrants. To help restore the individual rights of the immigrants, you have an immigration lawyer.

The immigration lawyer is a lawyer or attorney that specializes in legal issues involving refugees, illegal citizens, and newcomers.

So, to become an immigration lawyer in the USA, you’ll follow the normal path to becoming a lawyer in the USA. That is, 4 years undergraduate degree, and 3 years J.D. Once in law school, you can then take semester-long immigration law clinic or proceed to take a graduate degree program in Immigration law. The graduate program takes an additional 2 years.

In general, it takes 7 to 9 years to become an immigration lawyer. 9 years if you’re going to take the LL.M. in Law and Government with an immigration track.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Real Estate Lawyer

Selling your house? Buying a new one? Unless you’re an expert in real estate, you’re going to need a lawyer.

The lawyer you’re looking for is a real estate lawyer—these are lawyers who specialize in the ins and outs of property law. They can draft contracts of sale, review leases and mortgage documents, or discuss provisions in a real estate sale contract.

When you go into real estate, you may find that having a supporting attorney makes all the difference when it comes to protecting your rights and ensuring that the transaction goes according to plan.

The educational requirement to do this is the same for every other type of lawyer. This involves a typical 4-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college and a 3-year J.D. degree from an accredited law school. To get into law school, however, you must sit for and pass the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

Your first year in law school will equip you with the fundamentals of the profession. Moving on, ensure to complete elective classes on real estate and clinical experience. You should also consider concentrating in real estate, but not all law schools will permit this. For this reason, it is important that you apply to law schools that offer a concentration in real estate law.

After your J.D, you can also consider a Masters of Law (LL.M.) in Real Estate as well as certificates.

So generally, it would take you 7 years to become a real estate lawyer – 4 years for a bachelor’s degree and 3 years for J.D.

What Can I Become If I Study International Law? -

corporate lawyer salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Lawyers in the USA earn an estimated $120,910 per year. As of 2018, there were 823,900 jobs available for lawyers in the USA. BLS estimates the job to grow by 6% from 2018 to 2028. That is to say that there will be additional 50,100 jobs available for lawyers. This growth is faster than the average job growth for other jobs.

Glassdoor gives the salary of attorneys in London, the UK as £68,171 per year and Lawyers in Melbourne, Australia as A$85,000 yearly. So you see that in almost every part of the world, Lawyers and Attorneys earn great salaries.

Corporate Lawyer's Salary in South Africa 【2022】 - CareerExplorer

how many years does it take to become a corporate lawyer

To be eligible for becoming a corporate lawyer the aspiring candidate should be a graduate in any discipline for joining 3 years L.L.B Course or 10+2 for joining an integrated course of 5 years of B.A. L.L.B.

How Long is Law School

Law School typically takes three (3) years to complete. But you must be wondering, why the fuss about the length of becoming a lawyer if it takes just three years to complete a law school.

The thing is before you get into a law school, you must have completed a bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t matter the kind of bachelor’s degree you have these days, but your degree should provide you with knowledge in political science, history, criminal justice, and philosophy.

Now, a bachelor’s degree will take you anywhere from three to five years to complete. Full-time programs are typically shorter, so if you want to become a lawyer fast, you should ensure to attend a full-time bachelor’s degree program.

Since you can’t become a lawyer until you have passed through law school, it takes seven (7) years to complete the required education to become a lawyer. But this could be more if you spend one or two years struggling to gain acceptance into a law school. It could also be shorter if you complete an accelerated bachelor’s program.

To reduce the financial burden of attending law school, here are law scholarships you can take advantage of.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Prosecutor Lawyer

The prosecuting attorney or lawyer is the lawyer that represents the different levels of government in court. Hence, they stand for the local, state or federal government in court. Their job duties involve trying cases, interviewing witnesses or victims, evaluating police reports, and performing legal research to plan the prosecution of each case.

The requirements to become a prosecuting lawyer in the USA is the same for most types of layers in the USA. So, the total time it’ll take you to become a prosecuting lawyer is 7 years. $ years of undergraduate education and 3 years of law school.

While the undergraduate degree is not specific to any academic area, it should offer courses that’ll improve your reading, writing, and critical-thinking skills.

Upon graduating from college, you should apply for law school and pass the LSAT. At law school, you’ll gain core knowledge of law such as contracts, torts, and civil procedure. Meanwhile, in your final half of law school, you’ll be able to take topics towards your specialization. You may want to consider studying criminal law to prepare you for a career as a prosecuting lawyer.

After graduating from law school with a J.D, you then have to sit for and pass the Bar Exam. This would provide you the backing to practice as a prosecuting lawyer in your state.

So in all, it takes 7 years to become a prosecuting lawyer. 4 years for a bachelor’s degree and 3 years for a J.D.

Corporate Law: How to Become a Corporate Lawyer

Want to know how to become a corporate lawyer? Read this page to learn about how to get a headstart in the industry, what corporate lawyers do, average corporate law salaries and more.

What is Corporate Law

Corporate law is a highly diverse practice and is integral to both legal and business industries. Also known as company law, it’s one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of legal practice, so its popularity among aspiring solicitor is no surprise. It’s an area that concerns the legal framework shaping business practices and deals with the following, among others:

  • Restructuring companies by selling shares and assets
  • Listing companies on the stock exchange
  • Merging a company with another business (mergers and acquisitions)

what does a corporate lawyer do

Corporate lawyers are required to carry out tasks such as due diligence (appraising the business for prospective buyers or partners). They must also negotiate agreements with different parties and verify all accounts and finances for business transactions. Another key task corporate lawyers are involved with is navigating the provisions of a company’s constitution, shareholder and directors’ rights.

These are just a few examples of the wide-ranging work you could be getting involved with as a company lawyer.

Corporate Law and Corporate Legal Departments

How to Become a Corporate Lawyer

To become a corporate lawyer, you must possess certain skills that will help you deal with the multitude of tasks you’ll encounter. It’s also important to have some relevant work experience under your belt to give you the best chance of standing out to potential recruiters in the industry.

The ideal corporate lawyer can demonstrate:

  • Excellent knowledge of corporate law
  • An awareness of current trends and legislative developments that impact on the sector
  • Ambition, and the willingness to go above and beyond
  • The ability to build and maintain strong client relationships to promote client loyalty

The first step towards becoming a corporate lawyer is either completing an undergraduate degree in law or a degree in another subject and then a conversion course.

To become a corporate solicitor, you must then take the LPC and obtain a training contract.

If you’re more interested in a career as a corporate barrister, you’ll have to take the BPTC, then complete your training with a pupillage.

Those who don’t want to go to university can apply for an apprenticeship or become a chartered legal executive and then specialise in corporate law.

Corporate Lawyer Job Description

Corporate Law Work Experience

Business-related work experience can demonstrate your interest in how a company is run and boost your commercial awareness, which is a key skill recruiters in the sector are looking for. 

Completing a vacation scheme at a law firm that specialises in corporate law is another good starting point for this kind of career.

What’s the Difference Between Corporate and Commercial Law

This is one of the most common questions for students interested in pursuing company law. While these two sectors are closely related, there is a clear difference between the two.

Commercial law concerns itself with the wider business industry and is more general in terms of its scope of work. It looks at legal relations between different business entities and areas like franchising and intellectual property.

On the other hand, company law is more focused on the specific business itself, working on the incorporation of businesses and their mergers and acquisitions, for example.

Corporate Law Salary UK

Below are the average salaries for corporate lawyers in the United Kingdom:

  • Trainee solicitor in London: up to £50,000
  • Trainee solicitor outside of London: up to £39,375
  • Newly qualified solicitors in London: up to £143,000
  • Newly qualified solicitors outside of London: up to £54,000

(Please note these are average figures and not exact)

corporate lawyer courses

Corporate Law Books

Here are three recommended corporate law books to help budding corporate lawyers familiarise themselves with the sector and learn more about the work involved:

NameAuthorPrice (Approximate)
Company LawBrenda Hannigan£39
The Anatomy of Corporate Law: A Comparative and Functional ApproachReiner Kraakman et al£27
Sealy and Worthington’s Text, Cases, and Materials in Company LawSarah Worthington£40
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corporate lawyer education requirements

A corporate lawyer works for or on behalf of businesses or governments to provide legal counsel and services. A relevant undergraduate degree in a field such as finance or business and three years of law school are required before a prospective lawyer can take the bar exam and become licensed to practice law. Work can be found with law firms, government agencies, or as in-house counsel for a corporation.

Essential Information

Corporate lawyers are experts in business law and all related concepts. They defend clients and provide legal advisement, assistance and advocacy to corporations or government agencies in financial, securities or real estate law and other similar areas. They are subject to numerous educational and licensure requirements before becoming licensed corporate attorneys.

Required EducationJuris Doctor (J.D.); Master of Laws (LL.M.) can lead to career advancement
Other RequirementsABA licensure by state
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)6% for all lawyers*
Median Salary (2018)$120,910 for all lawyers*

Source *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

is becoming a corporate lawyer worth it

Corporate lawyers are responsible for understanding, defending and upholding any and all legal matters related to business and corporate affairs. Corporate lawyers may advise or defend individual clients or corporations in issues related to taxation, patents, mergers and acquisitions, global economics, securities, accounting, business contracts and more.

Job Duties and Career Opportunities

They are well-versed in all of the above areas, as well as being knowledgeable about business and finance law, corporate disputes and resolutions, and white-collar crimes, criminals and penalties. Their job duties may include meeting with clients and other attorneys, preparing legal briefs, opening and closing courtroom arguments, conducting research and compiling evidence.

Corporate lawyers generally work in private legal offices; however, some are employed by large law firms and others have their own private practice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are also employment opportunities within state or federal government agencies, as well as private corporations who may keep a corporate attorney on staff to offer advisement on business affairs or cases being prosecuted (

Licensure Requirements

In order to practice corporate law in the United States, all attorneys must pass the state American Bar Association (ABA) examination, otherwise known as the bar exam, in the state in which they wish to practice. Possession of a bachelor’s degree and law degree from an ABA-accredited institution are generally required to take the bar exam. According to the BLS, lawyers in many states must also pass a mandatory ethical examination before obtaining licensure.

is it hard to become a corporate lawyer

Education Requirements

Becoming a corporate lawyer requires at least seven years of undergraduate and graduate education. Prior to entering law school, students must earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject and from an accredited institution. For students wishing to go into corporate law, commonly accepted undergraduate majors include business, economics and finance.

Many schools offer pre-law advisement services to help students determine the ideal courses and areas of study for the legal area in which they’d like to specialize. Aspiring corporate lawyers may devote their undergraduate education to familiarizing themselves with topics that will be prevalent in their legal careers, such as macro and microeconomics, philosophy, business law and finance.

Students may apply to law schools upon completion of bachelor’s degree programs. Submission of undergraduate academic transcripts and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores are required for all applicants. Admissions are often highly competitive, with preference frequently granted to students who have high test scores and college GPAs.

Planning to Become a Corporate Lawyer? Here Are the Important Details You  Should Know First

Juris Doctor in Law Degree

Legal experience in the form of internships or mock trial participation may also be helpful. Once accepted to law school, students begin their specialized legal education, embarking on the 3-year process of earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) in Law.

Aspiring corporate lawyers may pursue a basic J.D. or a dual-degree program in law and business, allowing them to earn their J.D. and MBA degrees simultaneously. Regardless of degree type, most law students follow a fairly standard curriculum.

The first year of a 3-year J.D. program educates students in such foundational concepts as civil, constitutional and criminal law, legal procedures, torts and legal communications. The second and third years of study emphasize more advanced areas of general law, like taxation, criminal proceedings and legal advocacy, while also allowing students to take electives in subjects more closely related to their area of concentration, such as organizational law or corporate finance.

After earning a J.D., corporate law students may also pursue their Master of Law (LL.M.), which is an advanced legal degree which renders students eligible to practice law outside the United States as well as allowing international corporate attorneys to practice in the United States.

While possession of the LL.M. is not required to take the bar exam, it can help corporate lawyers increase their expertise in their chosen field. Many LL.M. degree programs offer specializations in corporate law. Among the topics covered in required and elective courses are trademark and patent law, corporate conflict resolution, income taxes, white collar crimes and antitrust law.

As a corporate lawyer you will spend time in the courtroom, but you’ll also do a lot of research and evidence collection, whether you work at a big legal firm, in private practice, or for a government department. Becoming a corporate lawyer takes patience and time — seven years of college, plus the bar exam and even a Master of Law if you want to work internationally. Carefully selecting your undergraduate major and your electives in law school will help you towards your goal of practicing corporate law.


How long it takes to become a lawyer largely depends on the country you hope to practice law and the kind of lawyer you wish to become. In the USA, it takes seven years to become a lawyer. This is broken into 4 years of an undergraduate degree and 3 years Juris Doctor from an accredited law school.

In the UK, however, it is more complex. The number of years it will take you to become a lawyer depends on the path you’re taking – whether a direct entry or a non-law graduate path. Becoming a lawyer in the UK will also depend on whether you choose to become a solicitor or a barrister.

Finally, based on law specialization, some kinds of law will require you to get a master’s degree in Law, LL.M. as most law schools won’t offer you a special education to becoming that kind of lawyer.

So, how long does it take to become a corporate lawyer?

If you want to become a corporate lawyer, you should expect to spend at least seven years in school. This includes four years of college and three years of law school. After graduating from law school, you will need to pass the bar exam before you can start practicing as a corporate lawyer.

Being a corporate lawyer is all about helping businesses succeed, whether that means working on mergers and acquisitions or making sure that new products are released without breaking any laws. Corporate lawyers are an integral part of any company’s success.

If you have always known that you wanted to be a lawyer but never felt like working in criminal or family law was right for you, consider becoming a corporate lawyer. A job as a corporate lawyer will give you the opportunity to work with companies and help them grow while doing something that you love.


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