The first thing that springs to mind for many people when they think of the career to enter in after law school is that of a courtroom attorney, fighting bravely to protect victims or to defend the unjustly accused. Popularized by media, this is the image many people have of the field even when they are well aware that a legal career is at least as likely to lead to working in a corporate capacity with specialties such as contracts, taxation or finance. A corporate finance attorney can have an interesting and lucrative career working as in-house counsel or assisting businesses and entrepreneurs. Preparation for working as one starts with a bachelor’s degree.
Law schools generally do not have a particular requirement for undergraduate degrees, but they do tend to look for applicants with a background that has trained them in critical thinking and writing skills. While many people may go on to law school with degrees in such fields as history, English or political science, if you already know that you want to be a corporate finance attorney, a major in business administration or finance will put you ahead of many others in terms of familiarity with the industry.
Take the LSAT
If you want to go on to law school straight after graduation, you may want to take the LSAT in your junior year. There are many opportunities to study and practice for the exam. You can retake it if you need to, but some schools may still want your first score or an average of all your scores. If you aren’t quite ready for the LSAT, it may be better to put it off and plan to enter law school a year later than to have a poor exam result on your record.
Look at Your Finances
You are probably also asking yourself how much is law school? It can be expensive, but there are also plenty of opportunities for public and private scholarships, loans and grants. One thing to keep in mind as well is that if you are going into corporate finance, you’ll be making a significant amount of money, and student loan repayments do not represent the burden they would for someone pursuing a career in an area such as human rights, the environment or many areas of criminal law.
It goes without saying that you should attend the best school you can get into, but best can be quantified in a few different ways. If you are choosing between several good schools, you might look at factors that include cost, faculty, location and job placement rates for graduates. One other thing to consider is whether you might want to go on to an LL.M. program, also known as a Master of Law program. This is usually a one-year program that you can attend after completing your law degree, and there are LL.M. programs specifically for business and finance law. You will also need to pass the bar exam before you can be fully qualified as an attorney.