International Law Job Information

Mar 15, 2019

Career Definition for an International Law Professional

Examining the laws of a nation, state or international organization and the relationship between each one is the primary responsibility of an international law professional. Individuals can practice this type of law in a variety of forms. He or she usually practices in one of three major areas of international law: public, private or supranational. International law professionals, most commonly lawyers, serve as advisors on legal matters within the international community.

Education Requirements A bachelor's degree and Juris Doctor degree
Required Licensing A law license is required in every state
Required Skills Lawyering, negotiation, analysis skills and written and oral communication
Career Outlook (2016 to 2026)* 8% (for all lawyers)
Median Annual Salary (2017)* $119,250 (for all lawyers)

*Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

To show adequate knowledge in the field of international law, a bachelor's degree in international studies or a related field is helpful as well as attending law school in order to obtain a J.D. (Juris Doctor). Other courses that aid in one's understanding of international law at the undergraduate level are sociology, philosophy, and economics.


For those seeking careers as international lawyers, a law license is required. All states require that practicing attorneys hold a law license from that state, also known as being admitted to the bar. This requires taking an exam. Completion of an American Bar Association-accredited program may also be required by some states to qualify for a law license; state requirements vary.

Skills Required

International law professionals need to hone their skills in lawyering, negotiations, and advocacy. They must possess the ability to decipher and analyze past cases and legal literature. Research is an important skill that allows a professional to become knowledgeable about international issues. They must be skilled in developing independent opinions based on available information or research. Superior written and oral communication and debating skills are essential.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, the median annual salary for lawyers in May 2017 was $119,250. International lawyers working for the government, international organizations or non-profits may earn less.

International law professionals who have a master's degree in international affairs, overseas experience, and relevant cultural familiarity and language skills may have better job prospects. Jobs may also be available with the United Nations and developing countries. The BLS reported that the number of jobs available in legal occupations is predicted to grow 9% from 2016 to 2026; lawyers can expect job growth of 8% during that same decade.

Alternate Career Options

Other careers in this field include:

Political Scientist

International relations is among the areas of specialization open to political scientists, who study how and why governments operate the way they do. Through observations, data gathering, review of historical and contemporary documents, and analysis, political scientists develop reports and predictions used by interested parties, like other governments, organizations or companies.

Most political science jobs require a graduate degree in political science or a closely related field, although it may be possible to land an entry-level job with a bachelor's degree. Political scientists who are employed by a college or university typically need a Ph.D.; employers may also include federal agencies, lobbying firms, and nonprofit organizations. Political scientist positions are expected to increase by 3% from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. The BLS also reports that political scientists earned median pay of $115,110 in 2017.


Economists, who are frequently employed by the federal government or management, scientific or technical consulting firms, examine data related to how goods and services are created and exchanged. They develop models and theories to make projections that are used by government, companies, policy-makers, and related stakeholders. It's possible to get an entry-level job with a bachelor's degree, although most jobs require at least a master's degree in the field. The BLS reports that economists can expect job growth of 6% from 2016 to 2026, a rate that's in keeping with the average for all jobs during that same decade. Economists earned a median salary of $102,490 in 2017, per the BLS.

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