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How to Become a Finance Lawyer

by Clayton Browne, studioD

Lawyers who specialize in corporate law, tax law and regulatory law are sometimes called finance lawyers. Corporate lawyers advise their employers on a variety of legal matters, including patents and intellectual property, contracts with other companies, property interests or collective-bargaining agreements with unions. Tax lawyers advise clients on tax strategies as well as prepare and file taxes. Regulatory finance lawyers help businesses remain in compliance with government regulations. Finance lawyers can bring home big salaries, but becoming one requires seven years of post-secondary education.

Earn an undergraduate degree in a field of your choice. Law schools accept candidates from all academic disciplines, but maintaining a high GPA is important because admission can be highly competitive. Take some philosophy, logic and rhetoric and communication classes to prepare for law school.

Take the law school aptitude test and earn a high enough score to get into the law school of your choice.

Complete a three-year law school program. Law school programs typically include classes in constitutional law, contract law, property law, civil law, tax law and labor law. Those interested in practicing as finance lawyers should take classes in corporate finance, tax law, banking law or regulatory compliance.

Apply for internships or work-study programs after your second year of law school. While an internship at a finance-related law firm is ideal, getting some professional legal experience under your belt is important, even if you're just doing legal research or administrative work.

Take and pass the bar exam in your state after you graduate from law school. The bar exam is a rigorous two- to three-day written test covering a broad range of legal topics. You must be a member of the bar to practice law in a court.


  • Start working on developing your professional network while you're in college and law school. Knowing the right people can make a difference in landing your first job and in career advancement.

About the Author

Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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