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How To Become a Medical Lawyer

August 22, 2023


Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 01/18/23

Are you planning on becoming a medical lawyer? Read on to find out  how to become a medical lawyer and the steps you need to take to become one. 

Healthcare can be both a beneficial and complex industry. Like any other field, it can be susceptible to legal discourse. With that being said, medical lawyers are needed to represent both the medical industry and patients. 

Medical lawyers don't only represent a party in a legal suit, they are also consulted for public policy decisions, health regulations, and patient rights. 

If you're reading this article, you're probably interested in becoming a medical lawyer. This guide covers the steps to becoming a medical lawyer, the requirements, and the median salary for a medical lawyer. Let’s get started!

How To Become a Medical Lawyer: Steps To Take

Steps to becoming a medical lawyer

Below are the steps you need to complete to become a medical lawyer. 

Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Before becoming a medical lawyer and attending law school, you must first obtain a bachelor's degree. Law schools don't have a preference in what you major in, so you can enroll in any program you want. However, most lawyers choose to study a field related to what they're planning on specializing in law school.

For instance, someone who's planning on becoming a medical lawyer may major in public health or something in the science field. You must keep your GPA up and meet a law school GPA requirement

Take the LSAT

After obtaining a bachelor's degree, a person must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This standardized test tests a person's analytical, reasoning, and comprehension skills. The tests consist of multiple-choice questions and an essay. 

Once you've completed the LSAT, you can apply to law schools. Certain law schools have a minimum LSAT score, so you must do well on the LSAT. 

Take The GRE Test

What is the GRE? GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination and is required by most graduate programs for admission. Some law schools allow applicants to take the LSAT or the GRE. However, if you plan on applying to law school with your GRE score, you must remember that law schools only accept a small number of applicants. 

Here is a list of law schools that accept the GRE:

  • Boston University School of Law
  • Columbia Law School
  • Cornell Law School
  • Duke University School of Law
  • Georgetown University Law Center
  • Harvard Law School
  • New York University School of Law
  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Notre Dame Law School
  • The University of California—Los Angeles School of Law
  • The University of Chicago Law School
  • The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • The University of Southern California Gould School of Law
  • The University of Virginia School of Law
  • The University of Texas—Austin School of Law
  • Yale Law School

Although it may seem like many law schools are willing to accept the GRE instead of the LSAT, it'll be a lot more competitive because these schools only accept a small number of applicants applying with the GRE. 

Complete Law School

Once you've completed the LSAT and been accepted into law school, you must acquire your law degree. If you're taking a full-time course load, law school takes three years to complete. In law school, students take classes in administrative law, legal research and writing, and contract law. 

In their final two years of college, students can take elective classes on medical malpractice and public health law. In law school, students also have the opportunity to partake in internships so they can gain real-life experience in the legal field. 

For aspiring medical lawyers, law schools offer internships in medical-legal clinics and other areas in the medical field. Some law schools offer students the chance to concentrate their studies in the health field, such as health law, law and health sciences, or biomedical law. 

Pass the Bar Exam

In order to practice law in the U.S., an aspiring lawyer must be licensed. For a lawyer to become licensed, they must take and pass the bar in their jurisdiction. Some state bar exams are challenging, so you must take time and study for the bar. 

Tammi Rice, vice president of legal programs at Kaplan, recommends dedicating six to eight weeks of "head-down dedicated time" to prepare for the bar exam. She also advises that you take a bar prep course. 

Students in law school must absorb as much knowledge as possible because that knowledge will help them pass the bar exam. 

Obtain a Master of Laws Degree

Many licensed medical lawyers also obtain a Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) in either health care or global health law. Earning an LL.M. gives a lawyer a competitive advantage in the professional field, and some jobs may ask for it. Many of these programs offer clinical experiences or internships in addition to class work.

These programs have classes in topics such as health care reform law, law and science, and public health law. Earning an LL.M. will give a person both the knowledge and experience needed to work as a medical lawyer.

Requirements To Become a Medical Lawyer

Requirements to become a medical lawyer

Here are the requirements you need to become a medical lawyer.

Undergraduate degree: typically takes four years to complete a bachelor's degree. You can major in anything; however, it'd be beneficial to major in something healthcare or science related. Law schools have a minimum GPA score that must be met upon application.

Law degree: typically takes three years to complete if taking a full-time course load. Law schools offer students internships and fellowships to gain experience in the field. 

Bar exam: is a requirement to practice law. The bar exam is notorious for being difficult, so preparation is needed before taking this exam.

What Does a Medical Lawyer Do?

Medical lawyers are like any other lawyers, but they specialize in health law. Health law is an area of law that focuses on malpractice lawsuits, the practice of caregivers, public policy, health regulations, and patient rights. 

Medical lawyers represent patients, healthcare providers, and the overall healthcare industry. Below are some areas medical lawyers may focus on:

  • Educating medical professionals on how to abide by healthcare rules.
  • Instructing businesses on how to comply with health privacy laws. 
  • Health insurance issues.
  • Working in government healthcare programs.

Medical lawyers deal with a wide range of fields within the medical field.

Medical Lawyer Salary & Job Outlook

In a recent report, the average salary for a medical lawyer in the U.S. is $79,326 a year. The following table shows the average salary and percentiles for a medical lawyer’s salary.

Medical lawyer salary
Source: ZipRecruiter

Typically, medical lawyers with more experience have a higher earning potential compared to those with not as much experience. 

In terms of job outlook, the employment of lawyers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031. This is faster than the average for all occupations.

How To Become a Medical Lawyer: FAQs

If you still have questions after reading this guide, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. How Long Does It Take To Become a Medical Lawyer?

It takes seven to eight years to become a medical lawyer. It takes four years to complete an undergraduate degree, three years of law school, and one year for a Master of Law (optional). 

2. How Much Do Top Medical Lawyers Make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the annual salary for top medical lawyers is around $155,500. The monthly payment is $12,958, the weekly pay is $2,990, and the hourly wage is $75. 

3. Is Becoming a Medical Lawyer Worth It?

Yes, becoming a medical lawyer is worth it. The projected job growth for the next decade is at decent growth. The employment of lawyers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031. Becoming a medical lawyer allows you to help patients in need and help with making public health policies that can benefit a population.

Final Thoughts

Medical lawyers are like any other lawyers; they specialize in health law. Medical lawyers may represent patients and healthcare providers. Although the road to becoming a medical lawyer is long, completing a bachelor's degree, law degree, and Master of Law can be rewarding once you start practicing.

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