Does Having an MBA Help a Lawyer Land a Corporate Job?

by Michael Mageean

An MBA can help a lawyer get a corporate role, but only if it’s combined with a strong legal background and relevant experience. As a 2012 "Businessweek" article reports, many in the legal profession are concerned with a glut of law graduates on the market and not enough jobs to go around. The challenge facing many law graduates is how to give themselves the edge over the competition when breaking into the corporate sector, whether it’s a legal role or a non-legal role.

In-House Corporate Lawyer Role

According to lawyer Edward Honnold writing on the FindLaw website, an MBA could be useful to a lawyer trying to break into the corporate sector as an in-house counsel. In-house counsels are corporate employees who provide legal advice for their employers. This could be a job like the managing counsel position posted by BNY Mellon, a financial services firm. In this role, a lawyer negotiates contracts and advises the firm on legal risks. A lawyer with an MBA would be able to demonstrate an understanding of how large corporations work to land this type of job.

Transitioning to a Legal Consultancy Role

Corporate consulting firms like Adam Smith, Esq., specialize in offering management strategy and economic services to law firms. Many who work for these firms often have law degrees and MBAs. A lawyer with extensive experience in a law firm and a strategic mind honed in a good MBA program could have distinct advantage getting a job in this field.

Transitioning to a Non-Legal Career

Many law graduates have great difficulty getting started in the legal profession after graduation. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that in 2011 only 55 percent of law graduates had jobs in the field nine months after graduation. Many might decide to look outside the legal world for a career. "US News" reports that in 2012 80 percent of MBA graduates had obtained employment three months after graduation. Based on those stats, an MBA could be an effective way to transition from law to a non-legal corporate career.

Seeking Help From MBA Alumni

"US News" reports on an important way that an MBA can be of value. The degree can provide you with another network of alumni who can open up opportunities in areas like corporate finance and management consultancy. A candidate with both a JD and an MBA would have double the alumni network for the job search.

About the Author

Currently working in Dublin, Michael Mageean started out writing for Belfast-based “Fortnight” magazine in 1998. Recently he has written for Verify Recruitment’s technology blog, newsletter and scripted Verify's radio show, "New Job Radio." He trained as a journalist with the London school of Journalism in 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Ulster.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images