Corporate Law Career Options and Salary Information

Sep 14, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a corporate lawyer. Get a quick view of the degree program requirements as well as details about career options and salary prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

View Popular Schools

There are many areas of specialization that a lawyer can choose to practice within corporate law. These include corporate finance, securities regulation, and mergers and acquisitions. Lawyers in this field must first earn a Juris Doctor degree and, in some cases, a Master of Laws degree as well, in addition to passing the state bar exam.

Essential Information

Corporate law is a specialization of the legal profession that focuses on companies or corporations and how they interact internally through corporate governance and externally through commercial transactions. All lawyers must hold a Juris Doctor and pass their state's bar exam to become licensed. Master of Laws programs in corporate law are available for lawyers who want to specialize in the field.

Required Education A Juris Doctor degree and, in some cases, a Master of Laws degree
Additional Requirements Pass state bar exam
Projected Job Growth 6% from 2018-2028 (all lawyers)*
Median Annual Salary (May 2018) $120,910 (all lawyers)*

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Corporate Law

Lawyers who want to specialize in corporate law often earn a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree. LL.M. degree programs in corporate law cover securities regulation, mergers and acquisitions, accounting, corporate taxes and corporate finance. Because of the wide range of areas of specialization within corporate law, most lawyers choose elective coursework around their area of specialization. Electives include courses on antitrust issues, international and regional trade law, global finance, intellectual property and legal ethics.

Before pursuing an LL.M., prospective lawyers must earn a Juris Doctor from an accredited law school and pass the bar exam. Most law school programs include several classes in areas related to corporate law, including corporate debt restructuring and corporate acquisitions.

Career Options

Corporate lawyers are tasked with safeguarding the legality of commercial transactions, representing corporations and advising corporate employees on their legal duties and responsibilities. Because corporate law covers a broad range of topics, corporate lawyers often specialize in one or more areas. These areas include tax law, bankruptcy, intellectual property, zoning or securities. Most corporate lawyers work for a corporation, but some are self-employed or work for a law firm. Some law school graduates become educators, investment bankers or leaders of non-profit organizations.

Salary Information

In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted jobs for lawyers would grow as fast as thme national average through 2028, with the most salaried positions for lawyers concentrated in areas such as cable and other subscription programming. However, competition for jobs is expected to be fierce because law schools continue to turn out high numbers of graduates. The best employment opportunities and highest salaries are typically awarded to those with above-average academic records from prestigious law schools. In May 2018, the BLS reported that professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $182,490 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $58,220 or less per year.

Understanding the commitment and educational background required to have a career in corporate law is a good first step in determining if this is the right path for you. Choosing an area of specialization is also very important when studying for a career in corporate law.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?