Should I Be a Franchise Attorney?
Attorneys, also known as lawyers, help clients with their legal disputes. To do so, a lawyer may research laws, write legal documents, argue cases before the court or negotiate settlement agreements. Franchise attorneys are lawyers who focus their practice on issues regarding business franchises. Lawyers often work long hours, and periods of time surrounding court cases may be particularly stressful.
|Degree Level||Juris Doctor (J.D.)|
|Licensure||Lawyers must be licensed in all states|
|Key Skills||Critical thinking, analytical reasoning, negotiation, research and writing skills; working knowledge of LexisNexis, Westlaw, project management, and accounting software|
|Salary||$115,820 (2015 median salary for all lawyers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014), CareerOneStop
Becoming a franchise attorney requires the completion of an undergraduate degree and Juris Doctor. Franchise attorneys must also pass the bar exam in their state. Key skills include critical thinking, analytical reasoning, negotiation skills, research and writing skills, working knowledge of LexisNexis and Westlaw, and an understanding of project management and accounting software. In 2015, all lawyers earned a median annual salary of $115,820, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now let's check out the steps to becoming a franchise attorney.
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Step 1: Complete an Undergraduate Degree Program
The majority of law schools require that applicants possess a bachelor's degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), no specific undergraduate field of study is required for admission to law school. The BLS reports that many law students complete undergraduate degree programs in economics and history.
Aspiring franchise attorneys might consider completing a bachelor's degree program in entrepreneurship or business administration. These programs provide an overview of the aspects of establishing and running a business. This knowledge may be helpful when working as a franchise attorney.
Remember to prepare for the LSAT. Law school applicants must submit Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores. In fact, an individual's score on this test may determine whether he or she is admitted to the law school of his or her choice. Many companies offer LSAT prep courses that provide test-taking tips. These courses may help an individual increase his or her exam score.
Step 2: Take the LSAT
The majority of students take the half-day LSAT during their junior year of undergraduate study. The exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions, is designed to test an individual's analytical reasoning, critical thinking and reading skills.
Step 3: Graduate from Law School
Full-time law studies requires three years to complete. During their first year, students complete a curriculum comprised of classes in basic law subjects, such as property, torts, Constitutional law and contracts. During their second and third years, students complete elective courses, clinical experiences and judicial internships.
Many law schools allow students to concentrate their studies on business transactions or business law, areas of law that include franchise law issues. Instruction in these concentrations covers topics such as income taxation, corporate law, international business transactions, copyright law and employment law.
You can consider taking elective courses in finance and corporate law. Regardless of whether an individual completes a concentration in business law, taking elective courses in the subject during the last two years of law school can provide an aspiring franchise lawyer with in-depth knowledge of the field. Examples of business-related elective courses include corporate accountability, corporate finance and corporate taxation.
Additionally, it may be beneficial to complete a franchise law practicum. Some schools offer clinical experiences specifically designed for aspiring franchise lawyers. These experiences may be titled 'entrepreneurial law' or something similar. Students in these clinics gain hands-on experience managing issues related to franchises.
Step 4: Take the Bar Exam
The BLS reports that every state requires lawyers to be licensed. Usually, becoming licensed requires passing a professional responsibility exam and a state bar exam and being admitted to a state's bar association. Each state's bar exam differs, but usually includes several days of testing of both multiple-choice and essay questions.
It is important to prepare for the bar exam. Failing a state's bar exam prevents an individual from practicing law in that location. Companies offer bar-prep courses that give test-taking techniques and provide instruction about the subjects of law commonly tested on a state's exam. Completing one of these prep courses may increase an individual's chances of passing the exam on his or her first try.
Step 5: Work as a Franchise Attorney
Companies and private law firms hire franchise attorneys. Many times, these employers prefer to hire attorneys with several years of work experience practicing franchise law.
Step 6: Consider Earning a Master of Laws
Licensed attorneys may earn a Master of Laws (LLM) in Law and Entrepreneurship, Business Law or Business Transactions. These programs provide advanced instruction in areas of law related to franchise law, such as business strategy, advising entrepreneurs, corporate finance and taxation, securities regulation and partnership tax. Earning an LLM may lead to advanced or supervisory positions.
To review, to research laws, write legal documents, argue cases before the court or negotiate settlement agreements, franchise attorneys need an undergraduate degree, law degree and licensure.