Sign up to our Newsletter

How to Become a Construction Lawyer

December 4, 2023
4 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 12/4/23

This guide will cover everything you need to know about how to become a construction lawyer, including what these attorneys do on a daily basis, the skills required to succeed in construction law, and more!

As an aspiring lawyer, you’ve likely heard of criminal law, family law, environmental law, intellectual property law, and corporate law – some of the most popular legal specialties students pursue. But have you heard of construction law? It’s a high-paying, lucrative legal career that might be perfect for you!

To learn more about this lesser-known area of law, read on!

How to Become a Construction Lawyer: Steps to Take

Construction workers looking at paper

Becoming a construction lawyer will take at least seven years, and here’s what these years will entail:

Obtaining an Undergraduate Degree

Any aspiring lawyer must complete an undergrad at an accredited university or college to qualify for law school. During your college career, ensure you maintain high grades to be considered a competitive candidate at the law schools you apply to. 

Since law schools do not have prerequisites, you have the freedom to choose a major that complements your strengths and interests. Develop your critical and analytical thinking, writing, and communication skills during your undergrad to be better prepared for law school.

Pursuing Useful Extracurriculars

Your transcripts alone won’t be enough to get into law school. As law schools aim to admit the most diverse and accomplished students, they seek candidates who also excel outside of the classroom. Pursue useful extracurriculars that can demonstrate your well-rounded excellence.

Search for leadership roles, make meaningful contributions to any activity you join, and join at least one or two service-related extracurriculars, as service is one of the pillars of the legal field!

Studying For and Acing the LSAT

Another important part of the law school application process is the LSAT. While some schools accept the GRE instead of the LSAT, the LSAT is still the most trusted form of standardized testing for law school.

Depending on the schools you hope to join, determine your target score. Find resources such as prep books, courses, or 99th-percentile tutors to help you get your desired score. Commit to a structured study plan and remain consistent! 

Joining a JD Program

To pursue a career as a lawyer, no matter your specialty, you’ll need to complete a JD program. Again, it’s important to maintain high grades, so you have more job opportunities available to you during and after your legal education. Most JD programs take three years to complete, although part-time programs take four. 

Writing the MPRE

The MPRE is a two-hour exam that assesses law students’ knowledge and understanding of the ethical standards of professional conduct that govern the practice of law. The majority of students write this exam after their first year of law school, and each jurisdiction sets its own passing score.

Writing the Bar Exam

The final step before becoming an official lawyer is to pass the bar exam. Depending on your state, you will have to obtain a certain score to pass this exam and gain licensure to practice law. Since the bar exam is notorious for being difficult and extensive, give yourself adequate time to study and practice before writing your exam. 

Considering a Masters Program

The last optional step you should be aware of as we discuss how to become a construction lawyer is pursuing a Master of Legal Studies, or an LLM, in Construction Law. Completing this one-year program can make you a more competitive candidate for higher-position jobs and help you acquire deeper expertise in this specialty. 

What Does a Construction Lawyer Do?

Now that you know how to become a construction lawyer, you might still be uncertain about the specific responsibilities and tasks involved in this job. 

Broadly, construction workers ensure that any building projects run smoothly in terms of the contracts of the project and the potential risks involved. To be exact, construction lawyers are responsible for the following:

  • Contract review and negotiation: ensuring everyone involved in the project, including subcontractors, owners, and suppliers, understand their rights
  • Dispute resolution: resolving any disputes that arise between the parties involved during the construction of projects
  • Filing claims: if disputes arise, construction lawyers assist the affected parties in filing claims against the property or enforcing payment obligations
  • Risk management: construction projects come with majors risks and lawyers help mitigate these risks by identifying them and developing strategies to handle them
  • Closing projects: once construction projects are complete, construction lawyers help them close out by ensuring all payments are made and legal obligations upheld

Construction lawyers can be involved in any project, whether it be a simple renovation or massive residential development!

Person sighing contract

Key Skills to Becoming a Construction Lawyer

Here are several skills are required to be successful in this specialty: 

  • Analytical skills: to analyze intricate contracts, documents, and disputes and identify key legal issues that can arise as well as solutions to these problems
  • Communication skills: to convey complex legal concepts in concise and clear ways orally and in written text to several parties
  • Attention to detail: to identify any problems with contracts, draft precise documents, and ensure all legal obligations are upheld
  • Adaptability: construction work can be unpredictable; construction laws are constantly being modified, so lawyers must stay up-to-date with these laws and know how to apply them
  • Time management: construction projects have strict deadlines that lawyers must manage effectively; they should be able to handle competing deadlines and prioritize their tasks when involved in multiple projects
  • Collaboration: construction projects generally involve multiple stakeholders, including clients, contractors, architects, and engineers. You must collaborate effectively with these professionals and work as part of a team to achieve successful outcomes.

It can be extremely beneficial to also have some experience in, or knowledge of, the construction field outside of just the laws involved. Knowing the construction process, terminology, and people involved can help you provide the most informed legal advice.

Construction Lawyers sitting around desk

Construction Lawyer Salary & Job Outlook

So far, we’ve answered the questions, “how do you become a construction lawyer?”, “what is construction law?”, and “what do construction lawyers do?”

The final inquiry you might have is, “how much do construction lawyers make?” On average, construction lawyers make $115,054 a year and can make upwards of $200,000 with experience. While construction law is competitive, these lawyers are in demand because they are required for every construction project.

FAQs: Becoming a Construction Lawyer

While we’ve covered some of the most pressing questions students have about becoming construction lawyers, here are the answers to other common inquiries about this legal specialty. 

1. What Is Construction Law?

Construction law is a specialty that deals with the legal side of construction projects. It encompasses a wide range of issues that arise during every stage of construction and involves the interpretation and application of contracts, regulations, and laws governing the construction process.

These professionals are largely responsible for advising and representing clients involved in construction projects, including developers, contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. 

They assist in drafting and negotiating construction contracts, resolving disputes, ensuring legal compliance, and managing risk to ensure projects are constructed as efficiently as possible. 

2. How Much Do Construction Lawyers Make?

The median salary for construction workers is just over $115,000 a year. However, depending on your location and experience, it’s possible to make more than $200,000 in this field.

3. What Are the Educational Requirements to Become a Construction Lawyer?

To become a construction lawyer, you must complete a bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctor (JD). Some higher-paying positions may also ask you to have a Master’s in Legal Studies in Construction Law (LLM).

4. How Long Does It Take to Become a Construction Lawyer?

It will take at least seven years to become a construction lawyer: four years for your undergrad and three for your JD. An LLM will add an additional year to this timeline. 

Final Thoughts

Embarking on a career as a construction lawyer offers a unique and rewarding path that is typically less traveled within the legal profession.

With the growing demand for construction workers and ample opportunities for career advancement, you will not only be making a meaningful impact in the construction industry but will be paid well to do it!

Schedule A Free Consultation

Plan Smart. Execute Strong. Get Into Your Dream School.

You May Also Like