Corporate law consultants are typically individuals who have completed law school and passed a bar exam, and use their knowledge of business law to advise at the corporate level. As consultants, their role is different than a traditional practicing lawyer, and they use their knowledge of business and business law to provide legal advice rather than practice law.
Corporate law consultants advise clients using their expertise in business law. Consultants are not generally held to specific educational or professional standards, but many have completed law school and have been admitted to a particular state's bar association, although they do not need to be currently licensed to practice. The joint degree programs in law and business administration or related fields that are offered at some schools would be good preparation. Corporate law consultants need wide-ranging knowledge of business issues and expertise in business law.
|Required Education||Most hold Juris Doctor (law) degrees|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for all lawyers|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$115,820 for all lawyers|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Job Description of a Corporate Law Consultant
Corporate law consultants market their legal expertise to clients in a manner that lies outside the realm of traditional legal representation. Consultants are not bound by attorney-client relationship laws, because they work on a contractual basis and are not practicing law. They offer legal expertise in matters such as employment, securities, governmental compliance and structural organization. They also perform in-house investigations.
Consultants may conduct in-depth analysis of a company's structure, strategy and operations. One of the most important tasks corporate law consultants may perform is ensuring that corporations are operating within the law. After analyzing a company's internal operations, a consultant may recommend changes or institute compliance programs to ensure no laws are violated.
Job Requirements of a Corporate Law Consultant
Because corporate law consultants work outside the realm of traditional legal practices, they are not held to the same educational or professional standards as attorneys who actively practice law. The job requires consultants to have extensive knowledge of business law and corporate practices. Most consultants obtain this expertise in law school and have earned law degrees. Those planning to work in corporate consulting should tailor their undergraduate and graduate studies to include courses in contracts, corporate structure, banking, accounting and corporate finance. Some law schools offer joint programs that combine degrees in law with business administration, finance or international economics.
In order to practice law, states require attorneys to be licensed or admitted to the state bar. Admittance is granted based on a candidate's education and passage of a rigorous exam. Consultants, who work on a contracted basis, are not required to be licensed or admitted to the bar; however, many consultants hold a license to practice law. Most consultants work for consulting firms or are self-employed.
Salary and Employment Outlook
Employment for lawyers of all types is expected to grow at a pace of 6% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that the median annual salary for lawyers was $115,820 as of May 2015.
Most corporate law consultants have gained their wide ranging knowledge of business law by earning a law degree through an accredited law school and passing the bar exam. They are not required to be actively licensed to work as a corporate law consultant, because they are not practicing law in the traditional sense. They offer legal advice at the corporate level in many different issues relating to business.