Suing others for compensation or damages through the civil courts is almost a tradition in America. It is often said that we live in a litigation-happy society and of the involved parties, it is usually the lawyers who laugh their way to the bank! The term ‘compensation’ covers a large area and is not limited to work-related matters alone. Some guidelines on how to become a compensation lawyer are discussed in this article.
A compensation lawyer handles all kinds of civil cases where financial compensation due from the defendant to the plaintiff, is involved. Cases where wrongful termination/dismissal from work, personal injuries on account of negligence, malpractice suits, labor disputes in the workplace, accidents, claims against insurance companies, etc come under the purview of compensation lawyers.
You can appear as a lawyer, for the plaintiff or the defendant; in the former instance, the client is usually an individual or groups of individuals who’ve been wronged and are claiming compensation; in the latter instance you will represent a company, corporation or similar large entities. Generally, plaintiffs are people who may not be able to pay legal fees and a compensation lawyer will take up the case on a contingency-fee basis, i.e. should the plaintiff win, he/she pays the legal fee due to the lawyer, which is usually a percentage of the compensation awarded by the court. Such claims are usually for amounts upward of $100,000, which means a percentage of the award could fetch the compensation lawyer a substantial amount in fees!
Education & licensing requirements
- Complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree in any subject/discipline, a mandatory requirement before you can apply to law school.
- Take up subjects which are related to compensation law, such as business, finance, labor relations, etc and read up on information about having a compensation law practice.
- While still completing your bachelor’s degree, begin preparing to appear for the LSAT examination in your 4th year or immediately upon finishing the degree.
- Secure admission to a law school in order to obtain a degree as Juris Doctor. Specialization in labor and/or general compensation law is recommended in the last two years of law school, in order to become a compensation lawyer.
- Find opportunities to intern in law firms or companies where labor relations or law is practiced, during summer and other semester breaks.
- Upon successfully completing your bachelor’s degree in law, you can begin working in the field of compensation law, or opt for higher studies such as a master’s or a doctorate degree.
- Appear for the appropriate state bar examination, to procure a license to practice law and you’re on your way!
If you like interacting with people and have the zeal to fight for the underdog, then becoming a compensation lawyer is the right job for you!