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Business Lawyer Career Guide

How to Become a Business Lawyer

Business law is an exciting yet diverse career opportunity for an aspiring lawyer. Your job could consist of doing anything from company restructuring and mergers to contract or property law. The work is as varied as any business; but in general, your role is to be the guide for businesses and companies in any legal matters.

Businessman on the phone sitting at the laptop in his office. Male business professional in office talking on cell phone.

What is a Business Lawyer?

A business lawyer is responsible for assisting corporations with legal matters. Their role is to ensure everything done at the company is legal and above board. From mergers and acquisitions to incorporations and bankruptcies, every legal aspect related to the company's business activity will be under your purview.

What Does a Business Lawyer Do?

While it will vary from company to company, here are some common tasks you might be expected to perform as a company attorney:
  • Starting businesses. Some business lawyers may be asked to help individuals decide what type of business they should run. Sole proprietorship, an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation—there are many options—and ensuring your client establishes the right one means savings and tax benefits for them.
  • Contract law. When one party fails to live up to its obligations or duties, things can get complicated. And your job will be to negotiate a settlement and sort out whatever problems there may be. This may involve writing employment contracts, NDAs, or even taking those in breach to court.
  • Property law. Many businesses own or lease properties, and this comes with its fair share of paperwork. Real estate law is a complex web that your business clients might find difficult to navigate, so you’ll be tasked with bringing your legal expertise to hand and guiding them through it.

How Do I Become a Business Lawyer?

Becoming a lawyer is a challenging career path that requires hard work and many years of education. You’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree, get admitted to law school, and pass the rigorous lawyer certification or bar exam for your state before becoming a licensed attorney.

Step one: Earn a bachelor’s degree

Before entering law school, you’ll have to earn a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in business management is an ideal choice for those who want to become corporate attorneys. A business degree will prepare you for this career by teaching you the fundamentals of economics, statistics, management, and strategy. These courses will also ensure you’re ready for law school and give you the building blocks needed to build a career as a business lawyer.

Step two: Complete law school

To be a lawyer you need to have completed three years of law school. You'll be required to sit for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) first, and then get admitted to law school. During your time at law school, you’ll be able to take courses on tax, labor, and corporate law, among others. This education will provide the foundation for your legal career.

Step three: Earn your state licensure in law

The final step toward your dream of becoming a business lawyer is getting licensed by passing the bar examination. Regardless of the state you’re in, you’ll have to pass the its bar exam, meaning if you intend on practicing law in a different state, you’ll also need to pass that state's specific bar exam.

When you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll be a certified attorney, ready to build your career as a corporate lawyer.

Best Degrees for Business Lawyers

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 68% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

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What Skills Does a Business Lawyer Need?

Career counselors who can see beyond what their clients can will find themselves rewarded emotionally and achieve success in their role. Career counselors need empathy and kindness just as much as training and technical skill. 

If you're interested in becoming a career counselor, you'll need a balance of hard and soft skills, some of which include:

  • An analytical mind. The ability to quickly solve problems and issues for your business clients.
  • Clear communication skills. Comfort meeting with clients from diverse backgrounds and different countries.
  • Research skills. You must know what laws or regulations apply in each specific matter, regardless of how obscure they may be. 
  • Collaboration skills. Few lawyers work alone, so being comfortable working in a team is essential. 
  • Excellent writing skills. You’ll be charged with preparing various legal documents, so being a confident writer is a must.

How Much Does a Business Lawyer Make?


The median average pay for attorneys was $127,990in 2021. The top 10% of lawyers earn around $208,000 per year, while those in the lower 10% made $61,490. The location and size of the organization or company will make a large difference when it comes to yearly income. Generally, the longer you stay with a company, the more you'll earn.

What is the Projected Job Growth?


The growth outlook for lawyers is projected at 10% from 2020 to 2030. Being a lawyer is a stable job, but they do tend to work long hours, including weekends and holidays. If you’re on a retainer, you can expect to be called up at any time to sort out legal emergencies that may occur.

Where Does a Business Lawyer Work?


Most business lawyers can be found in the office, though traveling to meet clients in various locations and places is common. You might be asked to accompany someone on a business trip or to meet prospective clients abroad depending on the size of the organization you work for.

Interested in Becoming a Business Lawyer?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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