Lawyers for contracts specialize in drawing up agreements between two parties, whether it be to resolve a dispute or to arrange a business deal. The requirements for becoming a lawyer for contracts include completing a juris doctor degree and passing the state bar exam.
A lawyer who works in contract law may specialize in settling disputes or arranging agreements between two or more people or entities. Contracts are at the heart of many legal specializations, such as business law, intellectual law and labor law. In addition, lawyers who specialize in contracts may also specialize in other areas.
|Required Education||Juris Doctor|
|Other Requirements||State bar exam|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for all lawyers|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$136,260 for all lawyers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Profile for Contract Law Professional
A lawyer for contracts shouldn't be confused with a 'contract lawyer'. Although the two terms may sound the same, 'contract lawyer' specifically refers to a lawyer who does freelance work. A contract lawyer does not necessarily practice contract law. On the other hand, a lawyer for contracts is typically involved in civil litigation matters, which may entail researching and studying business regulations, statutes and ordinances. They may be required to write briefs and legal opinions, consult with clients and conduct interviews with persons and entities involved in particular cases.
Contract law attorneys may also be required to interpret the circumstances in which certain contracts were made, which may demand that lawyers possess the ability to precisely parse complex, technical language. In addition to reading contracts, lawyers may also need to clearly communicate the terms and conditions of contracts they may draft themselves.
Although there is no particular major requirement for admissions to law school, aspiring lawyers may find it helpful to choose undergraduate majors and courses that include relevant subjects, like communications, mathematics, science, English and economics. These subjects may provide students with the research, writing and analytical skills that are essential to law school success.
Once they've earned an undergraduate degree, students may begin preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), which is the standardized test that all prospective law students are required to take. The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) and is designed to test reading comprehension, analytical reasoning and logical reasoning skills. Individuals are required to submit their LSAT scores, along with transcripts, letters of recommendation and applications to the law schools of their choice.
Upon admission to an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited institution, law students can take courses in commercial business law, health law or intellectual property law. Law students may be required to study contracts law in their first year, since this area is foundational to legal practice. Students particularly interested in contracts may find it beneficial to seek law schools that place particularly strong emphasis in this area.
Bar Exam and Licensing
Once students have successfully completed their legal education, they may then qualify to take the bar exam in the state in which they plan to practice. Many states require candidates to take the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, as part of the exam process. The MBE consists of 190 scored multiple-choice questions that test knowledge in areas like constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, evidence, real property and torts.
All states require lawyers to be admitted to the bar before they can begin practicing. Admission is based upon successful completion of a written exam.
Employment and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for all lawyers will increase 6% for the years 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the average annual salary of all U.S. lawyers was $136,260 in 2015.
While the job outlook may not look extremely promising, there is always a need for lawyers who specialize in drawing up contracts. Aspiring lawyers must earn a bachelor's degree, then pass the LSAT for admission to law school. After earning their juris doctor degree, they must pass the bar exam.