how hard is it to be a corporate lawyer

by Emory Friesen 4 min read

Becoming a corporate lawyer requires approximately seven years of schooling and passing multiple exams. Here's a closer look at some steps to become a corporate lawyer: 1. Earn a bachelor's degree Earning a bachelor's degree is the first step in becoming a corporate lawyer. There isn't a specific major for you to select.

Full Answer

What is it like to be a corporate lawyer?

This process is lengthy and typically corporate lawyers work extremely long hours. As a deal moves towards its closing, it becomes an exercise in stamina as much as skillful negotiation. As one person observed, “The most important trait a lawyer can have is a leather-ass.

Is it hard to be a lawyer?

Being a lawyer is full of struggles, hard works. The smooth it looks, the tough it is. If you haven’t seen anyone struggling near you, you don’t know the sufferings. There are some factors and reasons that make the path of being a lawyer hard. The profession is responsible for its difficulties.

Is Business School required to become a corporate lawyer?

It’s not required, but business school and/or business experience is a big plus for a corporate lawyer. I would never want to be a litigator (courtroom lawyer) because that’s all about fighting (only one party can “win”). In contrast, corporate lawyers help create “win-win” deals that are great for both parties all the time.

How many hours a week do corporate lawyers work?

Once the client has decided what path they want to take, we are able to focus on how to implement that strategy to achieve the client’s goal. As other answers have mentioned, corporate lawyers tend to work long hours, especially those that work for mid-size to large firms. I work at a mid-size firm and on average work between 50–60 hours per week.


Do corporate lawyers work a lot?

Through the negotiation process, lawyers constantly write and revise the legal documents which will bind the parties to certain terms for the transaction. This process is lengthy and typically corporate lawyers work extremely long hours.

Is being a corporate attorney stressful?

Lawyers face multiple stressors every day. In addition to the pressure of helping clients through important or difficult legal matters, they also have to stay on top of an ever-changing industry and manage heavy workloads.

Do you need math to be a Corporate Lawyer?

All newly credentialed law school graduates who go to work for law firms need basic math knowledge to fill out time sheets to bill clients and track their business expenses.

Can corporate lawyers make 7 figures?

Corporate lawyers Lawyers don't start out making $1 million-plus, but it's easy to reach the seven figure salary status as they work their way up the ladder.

What kind of lawyers are happiest?

The happiest attorneys, therefore, are those who experience a cultural fit. This means they work for firms where they are free to act independently, do work that matters to them and collaborate on teams with people who complement their personality and communication style.

What is the easiest type of lawyer?

What is the least stressful type of law to practice?Real estate law.Intellectual property law.High Street family law.Government lawyers.Working In-House.

Will I be rich if I become a lawyer?

Lawyers and attorneys often earn substantially over the average salary in the country they practice and while for many this will simply lead to a very comfortable upper-middle life, for some who make it to the elite sphere of law, it can lead to vast wealth.

What is the highest paid lawyer?

Highest paid lawyers: salary by practice areaTax attorney (tax law): $122,000.Corporate lawyer: $115,000.Employment lawyer: $87,000.Real Estate attorney: $86,000.Divorce attorney: $84,000.Immigration attorney: $84,000.Estate attorney: $83,000.Public Defender: $63,000.More items...•

What kind of lawyer makes the most money?

Some of the highest-paid lawyers are:Medical Lawyers – Average $138,431. Medical lawyers make one of the highest median wages in the legal field. ... Intellectual Property Attorneys – Average $128,913. ... Trial Attorneys – Average $97,158. ... Tax Attorneys – Average $101,204. ... Corporate Lawyers – $116,361.

What careers make 300k a year?

What jobs make $300,000 per year?Radiologist.Chief executive officer (CEO)Chief financial officer (CFO)Principal software architect.Obstetrics and gynecology physician.Emergency medicine physician.Psychiatrist.Physician.More items...

What are 8 figure jobs?

If you earn an eight-figure salary, this means that you make at least $10,000,000 and under $99,999,999. If you're earning an eight figure salary, you'd be considered a multi-millionaire!

What is a 9 figure salary?

How Much Is 9-Figures? A 9-figure salary or 9-figure net worth is one that is earned by making $100 million or more in a single year. This is an extremely high income, and only a very small percentage of people make this kind of money.

How hard is it to become a lawyer?

8 Factors That How Hard Is It to Be a Lawyer: 1. The Expense of School. You need money for admission, so you can get access to a renowned law school if you can afford it. If you can’t afford it, then only one option is left in front of you. Be meritorious, get good marks on your board exams, and apply for a scholarship.

Why is being a lawyer so hard?

Those who are healthy and patient can overcome the obstacles. You may have fantasies like; lawyers having a comfortable and easy life and having a challenging experience .

How many lawyers get the chance to reach the courtroom?

Only 15% of total lawyers get the chance to reach the courtroom, so how can you build up your image? Writing blogs about law and the judiciary system can be a way that makes you an influencer.

How to be a good lawyer?

Those lawyers who can’t accept defeat can go to any extent to win. Don’t be like them, always be respectful to your opponent lawyers. This attitude will create a positive image of yours in public.

Why do lawyers use you as a pawn?

I would suggest you be careful. It’s because they can turn into your foes, or intend to harm you or your personal life.

What to do when you think a job is complicated?

If you think that a job is complicated, it will get more complicated and challenging. You should find out the disadvantages and hardships of a job; you should look for solutions. Only finding the problems and throwing them away won’t help you.

Can you go against your ethics?

You May Have to Go Against Your Ethics. If you’re a practicing lawyer, you may have a criminal defense case. Sometimes, you will know that your clients are guilty; still, you’ll have to fight for them. You may have to do something unethical that you don’t like.

What do corporate lawyers need to do?

To structure a business transaction legally, a corporate lawyer may need to research aspects of contract law, tax law, accounting, securities law, bankruptcy, intellectual property rights, licensing, zoning laws, and other regulations relating to a specific area of business. The lawyer must ensure that a transaction does not conflict with local, ...

Why did one corporate lawyer like this side of the law?

One corporate lawyer remarked that she liked this side of the law precisely because the transactions take place among peers: There is no wronged party, no underdog, and usually no inequity in the financial means of the participants.

What is the most important trait a lawyer can have?

As one person observed, “The most important trait a lawyer can have is a leather-ass. You’ve got to be able to put your butt in a chair and do the work.”. The upside to this profession is the compensation is good and you usually work with smart people.

How competitive is law school?

Law school admission is extremely competitive-the top twenty-five schools have an admission rate of about 10%. You can get tracked early: The kind of school you attend affects what kind of summer job opportunities you may have, which in turn affects the kind of permanent job you secure.

Is corporate law cushy?

The practice of corporate law is less cushy now; the days of the endless expense account are gone. The state of the economy always shapes the nature of corporate law; changes in the interest rates, the tax code, and other regulations affect the kind of transactions being done and how they are structured.

Who was the first lawyer to become a professor?

Thomas Jefferson introduced the first academic law program to the United States when he created a professorship in law at William and Mary in 1779. George Wythe , a Virginia judge at the time and, later, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the first to fill the post.

Is corporate law team oriented?

In contrast to the adversarial nature of trial law, corporate law is team-oriented. The corporate counsel for both sides of a transaction are not strict competitors; together they seek a common ground for their clients. They are, in the words of one lawyer, “the handmaidens of the deal.”. Facilitating the business process requires insight into ...

What is corporate lawyer?

1. Reviewing or preparing documentation: Corporate lawyers are required for preparing or reviewing important legal documentation of their client. Right from incorporation to hiring employees, every action needs a legal document. Lawyers are routinely involved in drafting or reviewing contracts, agreements, deeds, etc.

What is the actual work of a lawyer?

It involves everything from the basics: incorporating them, drafting agreements among their owners as to who will do what with their equity, reviewing and preparing state of the art agreements for such things as manufacturing, software acquisition, their supply chain agreements, buying and selling other companies, taking them public, etc etc. It’s the top of the game when you are at a large law firm.

What does a transactional lawyer do?

I gather from being told by transactional lawyers that what they do is cut and paste pieces of other agreements into new agreements that reflect what the partners in charge tell them the clients want or need by way of doing their deals.

How much does a law professor make?

What's in it for you, aside from whatever prestige comes with working for a big-name law firm, that you might be able to translate into going in-house as corporate counsel, or moving into prestigious government work, or becoming a judge—from big law firms, typically a federal judge –or if you are of a certain cast of mind, a law professor, is what for an ordinary person is a ridiculous amount of money, starting salaries in the neighborhood of $170,000 plus bonuses.

When do people quit corporate law?

Most people who practice big firm law, which is what I assume you mean by corporate law, quit after a few years, typically when they paid off their loans or made enough money for college for the kids or retirement or what have you.

Is being a lawyer a bad personality?

It takes a special kind of person to be able to tolerate this kind of work, and also to fit in with the people who do tolerate or perhaps even enjoy that sort of work, and it's not a common personality type. It's not necessarily a bad personality type – lots of big firm lawyers are perfectly nice people — but most people don't have the specific sort of social skills and stamina and intellectual power and tolerance for boredom that this work involves.

Do lawyers work long hours?

Most big firm lawyers work brutally long hours, holidays and weekends— when I was working for one well known big law firm, I was called away to the office on Thanksgiving with no notice – travel a lot but don't get to see anything except fancy hotel rooms and meeting rooms, and spend a lot of time doing an immense amount of really tedious nitpicky work.

Why do lawyers feel dissatisfied?

The stress and demands of practicing law have fueled high levels of career dissatisfaction among members of the bar. Depression and suicide are common among lawyers and 44 percent of those recently surveyed by the American Bar Association said they would not recommend the profession to a young person.

What to ask before starting a legal career?

Before you start down the long educational road toward becoming a lawyer, ask yourself if you have a tolerance for these disadvantages and how well you'll be able to deal with them.

Why is law so stressful?

Deadlines, billing pressures, client demands, long hours, changing laws, and other demands all combine to make the practice of law one of the most stressful jobs out there. Throw in rising business pressures, evolving legal technologies, and climbing law school debt and it’s no wonder lawyers are stressed.

How has technology changed the practice of law?

Technology has transformed the practice of law and, like it or not, lawyers must become proficient in a wide range of technology platforms. These range from document review and management tools to spreadsheet, presentation, and billing software.

Do lawyers work longer?

Today’s lawyer s work longer and harder and 50-plus hour work weeks are not at all uncommon. A competitive environment has forced lawyers to spend more time on client development and business management activities in addition to billing hours. Many lawyers complain of a lack of work-life balance as a result.

Will the market pay more for lawyers?

The market will no longer pay top dollar for expensive lawyers to perform tasks that can be accomplished more cheaply, quickly, and efficiently by technology or by other professionals such as ​ paralegals .

Is outsourcing legal work a trend?

It’s not a trend — the outsourcing of legal work to foreign countries is an economic reality. As more legal work is sent to low-wage workforces overseas or to regional delivery centers onshore, many traditional lawyer jobs are being eroded or displaced altogether.

What does it mean when a client doesn't understand the role of a lawyer?

Sometimes, clients don’t understand the role we must play as a lawyer, which often involves telling the client he or she is totally wrong or what the client wants isn’t possible. Clients who don’t get the answer they want will often think the attorney is acting against the client’s interest. Also, clients sometimes have wildly unrealistic ...

What do lawyers wish non-lawyers understood about them, and why is it so hard to be a lawyer in the first place?

As I travel across the U.S., connecting with lawyers to talk about self-care, wellness, and mindfulness, lawyers often tell me how difficult it is to be a lawyer. I asked them to share what they wished non-lawyers understood about us lawyers, as well as what it is about being a lawyer that’s so difficult. Here are the 11 most common responses.

Is it expensive to prepare for trial?

First, it is shockingly expensive to prepare for trial, and preparation is required. Clients do not understand the long hours and work in preparation for pleadings, briefs, mediation, hearings, trials. Secondly, that day in court is rarely as invigorating and cleansing as they expect.

Is it hard to be a lawyer?

It’s hard to be a lawyer and not constantly walk around with the lawyer brain and mindset. (Law school has ruined any hopes of having a normally functioning brain.)

Do lawyers need quick answers?

Many lawyers complained about clients who just need a “quick answer” to their “simple question.” Then the potential client gets frustrated when the answer is inevitably “it depends.” Of course, we lawyers know that “there’s usually not ‘an’ answer. We’re not being argumentative or wishy washy when we won’t give a definitive ‘answer.'” ~Pamela Parker

Why is it important to be a corporate lawyer?

This is because most businesses rely heavily on technology not only for everyday operations but also to build their brands, interact with customers, innovate and more. It is therefore essential for corporate law attorneys to understand the many ways technology supports the business, and the potential risks that devices, systems, applications and new ways of working, such as cloud computing, may pose.

Why do lawyers choose corporate law?

Some legal professionals choose the corporate law path specifically because they want to improve their work-life balance, which can be hard to do in a traditional law firm environment.

Why are corporate legal departments growing?

Many corporate legal departments are growing their teams because they need to watch the bottom line in a post-recession environment where businesses remain highly cost-conscious.

What is Robert Half Legal?

Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. Let us help you find the right job for you.

Why do companies need lawyers?

They need specialists to help them support higher demand for business-related legal services, including commercial litigation, contract management and patent filing. These specialists get ample opportunities to deepen their expertise, which can make them even more marketable for future roles in law or business.

Is a corporate lawyer a 9 to 5 job?

So, although a corporate law career may provide more flexibility to manage both business and personal obligations compared to a law firm position, it is unlikely to be a 9-to-5 job.