Lawyer consultants provide legal advice to businesses on everything from contracts to employment issues to dealing with overseas governments, companies and clients. Some law consultants provide general law advice related to day-to-day operations, while others are legal specialists dealing in a very specific area of law, such as international law. In addition, some work primarily for one company, providing advice on a wide variety of issues, while others aid several clients on a short-term basis.
An independent legal consultant must have expertise not only in law, but also the demands of being a self-employed professional. Legal consultants education and training options include:
- Earning a law degree
- Receiving additional training in consulting
- Earning credentials in a specialized and high-demand area, by becoming a foreign legal consultant
Prepare for your legal consultancy by getting a law degreeAt minimum, you'll need a Juris Doctorate to serve as a foundation for any specialized training in consulting or in any specific areas you'd like to practice in. Most four-year universities have a law school, some offering not only a general law degree, but degrees with a special focus or dual degrees combining law and government, for example.
New York University and UC Berkeley, for example, are ranked in the top 10.
Get trained as a legal advice consultantIn addition to understanding the law, you need to understand the many facets of being an independent professional. Receiving consultant training can help you manage both aspects.
Train to be an international legal consultantWith more companies, even smaller ones, doing business abroad, the demand for international legal consulting is growing. Investing in specialized training in international law could boost your income and your client list.
Columbia Law School, offer degrees in international law. The International Legal Institute holds seminars in Washington, D.C. and will customize programs for governments, funding agencies and other organizations in Washington and abroad. Topics in the ILI's Annual Core Training Program include arbitration/mediation, international debt and borrowing, government anti-corruption methods, and contract administration, among several other subjects.
- Join professional associations related to both law and consulting. They can offer professional advice and training opportunities, and perhaps pair you with a mentor for one-on-one guidance. Because legal consulting is so multi-faceted, it's important to network with people experienced in the profession's many aspects.