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Worker's Compensation Lawyer: Job Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a worker's compensation lawyer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degrees, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

In order to be a worker's compensation lawyer there are several years of postsecondary study that must be completed. After earning a bachelor's degree, aspiring attorneys enter law school. Lawyers must graduate from law school, earning a Juris Doctorate, and pass the state bar exam in order to practice law.

Essential Information

Worker's compensation lawyers represent parties involved in legal disputes regarding injuries sustained on the job, including both the workers and companies. They also negotiate settlements and ensure funds awarded by courts are actually paid. Worker's compensation lawyers must have a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and pass the bar exam administered in their state to be licensed.

Required Education J.D.
Other Requirements Pass a state bar exam to obtain a license
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for all lawyers
Median Salary (2015)* $115,820 for all lawyers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Worker's Compensation Lawyer Job Duties

Worker's compensation lawyers represent parties to legal disputes involving injuries sustained by workers on the job. Worker's compensation lawyers may be called upon to argue on behalf of an injured worker seeking fair repayment or may defend companies in cases where someone is attempting to dishonestly take advantage of the benefits system.

In addition to trial advocacy, worker's compensation lawyers may help clients by providing them with legal advice in an effort to determine whether or not to go to court and engaging in negotiations with the other side in the event that a settlement agreement seems possible. Worker's compensation lawyers also work to ensure that their clients receive any funds due to them as a result of a judgment or settlement.

Worker's Compensation Lawyer Requirements

All worker's compensation lawyers must complete a bachelor's degree program and then go on to earn a law degree (J.D.). Many law schools offer courses related to worker's compensation law, and some even have entire degree programs dedicated to employment and labor law. Law degree programs usually take three years of intense full-time study. Because law schools are selective in their admissions process, it is imperative that aspiring worker's compensation lawyers maintain a high grade point average during their undergraduate studies.

Before applying to law schools, future worker's compensation lawyers have to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT is used to measure applicants' logical, reading and analysis abilities by all law schools that are approved by the American Bar Association. The LSAT is a considerable factor that law schools look at when deciding to admit new students, so scoring high is crucial.

Having attended law school and obtained a J.D., prospective worker's compensation lawyers must take the bar exam for the state in which they hope to practice before they're allowed to formally practice law or represent clients. The bar exam tests law school graduates on various legal topics to ensure they are fit to be officially licensed as lawyers; some state exams have areas dedicated explicitly to the area of worker's comp law. After passing the bar exam, new worker's compensation lawyers may seek employment and begin their career.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed lawyers was expected to increase 6% from 2014-2024, about average when compared to all other occupations. The median salary among all lawyers was $115,820 as of May 2015, per the BLS.

Worker's compensation lawyers focus on cases involving employee injury claims from the workplace. They may represent the employee or the business. They may attempt to negotiate a settlement or argue their client's case in court.


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