Guide to Becoming a Corporate Finance Lawyer

If you are interested in becoming a lawyer, there are numerous fields you can specialise in. One of the most preferred options is a finance lawyer. Corporate finance lawyers help private corporations to solve legal problems. The lawyer will research laws, prepare legal documents and represent the company in court.

The primary reason why most lawyers prefer to become finance lawyers is the high pay and job security. The lawyer will work in an office setup, but they may sometimes be required to travel to meet clients and research. This article is about the career path for becoming a finance lawyer.

Career Requirements

  • Degree Level: Juris Doctor (J.D.)
  • Other requirements: Bar exam
  • Degree field: Corporate law, finance law, or any related field
  • Legal Finance Qualifications
  • License: All employers require the lawyer to be licensed
  • Essential skills: Analytical reasoning, critical thinking, research, negotiation skills, speaking and writing skills, project management, ability to use legal research engines, and accounting software.

Road map to becoming a finance lawyer

Below are the steps you need to follow to become a finance lawyer.

Step 1: Get your undergraduate degree.

A majority of law schools require applicants to have an undergraduate degree. There are no specific undergraduate fields for admission, but most law students possess undergraduate degrees in history, economics, or government. As an aspiring finance lawyer, you may consider having a Bachelor of Business Administration degree specialising in finance studies and other legal finance qualifications.

Step 2: Take the LSAT

Students interested in becoming lawyers take the LSAT while still in their undergraduate studies. The test is designed to test the examinee’s critical thinking, analytical, and reading skills. Though you can retake the test, most law schools will still have access to your original score or take an average of what you scored in both tests.

Step 3: Complete law school

You need three years of full-time study to complete law school. During your first year, you will cover a curriculum comprising of basic law subjects like tort, property, contracts, and constitutional law. During your second year, you can choose your elective courses and go for clinical experiences and judicial internships.

Suppose you choose to concentrate your studies on business law and finance, finance law, or corporate law. In that case, you will cover law and accounting, business bankruptcy, employee benefit plans, administrative law, venture capital law, tax accounting, and banking law.

Step 4: Get Licensed

To become licensed, you must pass a professional responsibility exam, the bar exam, and get associated with the bar association. The exam is usually comprised of essay and multiple-choice questions.

You can increase your chances of passing the bar exam on the first try by attending a bar prep class that provides some insight into commonly tested areas.

Step 5: Gain experience

You can get relevant experience from a job in the government or a private law firm. Since these employers require candidates to have some years of experience working in the field, it is advisable to start with an entry-level position at a small law firm as soon as you get licensed. Internships and legal clinics offered at school will also help you understand your roles as a lawyer.

In addition to gaining experience, Lawyers are also required always to stay informed about developments in the field. One way of keeping up with developments in the legal field is by enrolling in education courses every couple of years.

Step 6: Consider proceeding to LL.M

Most law schools offer Master of Laws (LL.M) programs in business and finance law. The program will help you master topics directly related to corporate finance law, like secured transactions and corporate taxation.

You can also consider a joint program as some law schools offer combined J.D and Masters of Laws programs in finance or business law. You will only be required to study for an extra semester beyond the traditional J.D law studies.