Updated October 29, 2020:

Knowing what is a business lawyer helps when it's time to hire one. This is an attorney who concentrates their practice on problems that affect companies, such as intellectual property, different types of business transactions, and taxation. They may write up legal documents, negotiate the terms of a settlement, or argue their clients' cases in court. The majority of lawyers work full time from an office, and many need to work longer hours during certain cases.

How to Become a Business Lawyer

There are many key skills that are necessary to become a lawyer, including:

  • Critical thinking.
  • Negotiation.
  • Writing skills.
  • Research.
  • Analytical reasoning.

You'll also need to get a Juris Doctor degree in the law field and take a bar exam to get your license. The road to becoming a lawyer takes a while. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that in May 2015, lawyers had an average salary of $115,820. However, those who work for private law firms tend to make more.

There are several steps to becoming a business lawyer that must be followed in order.

Step 1: Complete an Undergraduate Degree Program

The first step to becoming a business lawyer is earning an undergraduate degree. Most law schools have a mandatory requirement of the applicant having a bachelor's degree before applying. While there isn't a particular major that is needed, most tend to get them in a related field such as government, history, or economics. Getting a degree in business administration is also a smart idea so the applicant will know how business operations work.

Step 2: Take the LSAT Exam

The next step is taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and sending in the scores along with grad school applications. Many students take this test during their junior year of college. The test shows the person's analytical reasoning and logical thinking skills. It's important to prepare for this exam before sitting for it. Admission is very competitive to law school and may come down to a student's LSAT score and GPA. There are prep courses available to help prepare for the test. People can also take practice exams and potentially increase their score.

Step 3: Graduate From Law School

Once you've been accepted to a law program, the third step is to graduate from law school. This usually takes three years if you attend full time. At the end of that, graduates get a Juris Doctor degree. The first year of school consists of classes covering torts, property, civil law, and contracts. During the next two years, elective classes are taken and students may take place in judicial internships. Some schools let students focus their studies on areas such as business law.

Getting certificates and finishing a concentration means extra courses, such as in corporate finance, securities regulation, and business organizations, will be needed. Certain schools have joint Master of Law and Juris Doctor programs that are in business law. They often require an additional semester, but students will get both degrees when they graduate. Even if students don't want to finish a concentration or earn an additional business law degree, it increases their knowledge to take business law elective classes. These classes may cover insurance law, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, commercial paper, deals, and contract drafting.

You can also decide to spend time volunteering at a clinic that specializes in business law. Many law schools let students have the chance to participate in different clinics while they're in school. The clinics give students a hands-on experience in dealing with business law disputes.

Step 4: Pass the Bar Exam

Each state has a requirement that lawyers must pass an exam and then be admitted to the bar association so they can practice law. Each state has a different format for their bar exam, but it usually includes an essay and multiple-choice questions. It may take several days to complete certain exams. If you're not prepared for the test, you risk failing it and not being able to practice law. There are multiple classes available in each state to help increase your chances of passing the bar exam the first time.

If you need help with hiring a business lawyer, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.