How To Become a Legal Consultant

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 8, 2021

If you are interested in a law-related career, there are many options you can explore. One career path you can pursue with a law degree is becoming a legal consultant. While this role is similar to a lawyer, your responsibilities take place outside of the courtroom. In this article, we share details about this career and explain how to become a legal consultant.

Related: What Is a Consultant?

What is a legal consultant?

A legal consultant is a professional who provides legal guidance to businesses and individuals. This job title is interchangeable with the title of a legal advisor. While those in this role have many of the same responsibilities as lawyers, they solely provide legal advice outside of the courtroom. Common fields they work in include business law, real estate, foreign affairs and financial law. Clients hire legal consultants to ensure that they are making legal decisions and developing business practices that follow the law.

Related: 15 Types of Law Careers You Can Pursue

How to become a legal consultant

Follow these steps to become a legal consultant:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

Before attending law school, you need to earn your bachelor's degree. While you can major in any field, aspiring law school students tend to major in criminal justice, political science or legal studies. Throughout your program, try to immerse yourself in relevant subjects by taking courses in communications, economics, psychology, English and government. Use your time as an undergrad to gain relevant experience through internships, student organizations and volunteering. Make an effort to build relationships with your professors too. All of this can be helpful when it's time to apply to law school.

Related: 13 Jobs You Can Do With a Legal Studies Degree

2. Score well on the LSAT

In order to get into law school, you need to have a high score on your Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Undergraduate students typically take their LSAT in the summer of junior year or the fall of senior year. The earlier you receive your results, the earlier you can begin to apply to law school. The LSAT is comprised of five sections of multiple-choice questions that test your logical-thinking abilities and comprehension of relevant concepts. There is also a non-scored essay question that you can use as a writing sample for law schools to review.

3. Earn a law degree

Once you get into law school, you will work toward earning your Juris Doctor to become a legal consultant. Earning this degree typically takes three years. During your first year of law school, you will focus on learning about different types of law. During your second and third years of law school, you will take elective courses that are catered to your career aspirations. Depending on your school, you may be able to focus on a certain concentration.

Related: What Can You Do With a Law Degree? Top 12 Law Degree Jobs

4. Gain professional training

While attending law school, you can begin to immerse yourself in real professional experiences. Throughout your program, you will be able to learn through clinical experiences and internships. Find opportunities where you can work with real legal professionals to gain a sense of the work you'll be doing after graduation.

Related: 8 Key Consulting Skills Valued by Employers and Clients

5. Pass the state bar

While legal consultants may not need to pass the state bar exams, doing so can help you become a more marketable candidate when looking for jobs. Passing the state bar is also a helpful career move if you wish to practice as a lawyer in the future. After passing the state bar, you'll need to complete continuing education requirements to keep your license valid.

6. Gain experience

Show employers you are the right fit for their legal consultant role by gaining relevant experience. Working for law firms and gaining courtroom experience are some of the best ways to build your resume. Continue to learn about your area of expertise, as employers may look for candidates with a specialized background.

The average salary of a legal consultant

The national average salary for legal consultants and advisors is $87,291 per year. Your compensation can vary based on your location, employer, level of experience, education, geographical location, industry and expertise. Common workplace benefits for this career include vision, health and dental insurance.

Top legal consultant skills

If you want to become a legal consultant, focus on developing these important skills:

  • Critical-thinking: Much of this role requires problem-solving, which is why it's important to have critical-thinking skills. You need to be able to assess a situation and come up with the very best legal advice.

  • Customer service: It's your job to make sure your clients are happy with the services you provide to them. Treating them with kindness and honesty can help you ensure they will continue to use your legal services.

  • Legal expertise: The main reason clients hire you is that they trust your knowledge of the law. When giving legal advice, you need to be absolutely certain that you are sharing the best practices with your clients.

  • Listening: In order to serve your clients to the best of your ability, you need to have strong listening skills. Focus on what they are saying so that you can ask thoughtful follow-up questions and truly understand their needs.

  • Research: Some of your clients' questions may require you to conduct a bit of legal research. You need to know how to find reputable sources that can help guide your decisions.

  • Technology: Having strong computer skills can help you be successful in your role. Familiarize yourself with digital technology, such as word processors, presentation software, billing platforms, time-management applications and other resources that make your job more efficient.

  • Verbal communication: When working in this role, much of your job involves meeting with clients to share your legal advice. Your verbal communication skills can help you convey your thoughts clearly and ensure your clients are understanding what you say.

  • Written communication: Writing legal documents is another major component of your role. You need to be a skilled writer, using the correct spelling, legal terminology, grammar and formatting.

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