A lawyer is a professional who interprets the law to assist clients in solving legal matters. Lawyers, also known as attorneys, advocate for and advise clients through the legal process using written or oral arguments, briefs, and motions.
A corporate lawyer represents a corporation and its activities including tax, employment, and labour matters, as well as mergers and acquisitions. As a member of a staff of lawyers, corporate lawyers may or may not conduct trial litigation.
Requirements to become a lawyer begin with a four-year bachelor's degree in any discipline followed by three years of law school at a program accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). During the first year and half of law school, the focus is on basic required courses including legal writing, contracts, property law and constitutional law. In the remaining year and a half of law school, students can choose specialised courses such as corporate law.
Passing the written bar examination is a requirement in all states. In addition, 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands also require passing the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). Some states require the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and Multistate Performance Testing.
In 2007, 52 jurisdictions required graduating students to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), a test covering the ABA codes on professional responsibility and judicial conduct.
Each state has its own additional requirements.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2006, the median annual earnings of salaried lawyers were £66,605 and the middle half earned between £45,441 and £94,640.
Based on research in 2007 from the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, corporate attorneys with one to three years' experience are expected to earn £45,825 to £70,850 annually. First-year associates can earn between £39,000 and £56,875 annually.
Salaries for corporate lawyers are dependent upon the size, location and type of corporation. Available positions can be affected by changes in the economy; corporations may scale back litigation or hiring of lawyers when revenues fall.
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