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How to Become an Insurance Lawyer

October 31, 2023
4 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 10/31/23

If you’re deciding which legal specialty to pursue, read on to learn more about insurance law and what it entails.

You’ve likely heard of a few unbelievable cases of insurance fraud. One of the most notorious cases of insurance fraud was carried out by a man named John Darwin, and it involved a canoe! 

After a supposed canoeing accident, John Darwin faked his own death and left a grieving “widow” to mourn his loss alongside her two sons who were convinced they lost their father. 

Years after collecting his life insurance, it was found John Darwin wasn’t actually dead! After pictures surfaced of John Darwin alive and well, investigations revealed he wasn’t far off lost at sea after all. In fact, he was much closer than anyone could have imagined—in a secret room in his house where he remained undetected for years! 

Here’s the picture that ended the five-year charade: 

Source: The Guardian

Insurance lawyers do their best to not only prevent and remedy cases of insurance fraud like this, but also ensure people and organizations receive fair compensation during settlements. 

If this sounds like a career you’d be interested in, this guide will tell you how to become an insurance lawyer, what to expect in this role, and more!

What Does an Insurance Lawyer Do?

Let’s start with the basics; what is an insurance lawyer? 

lawyer passing paperwork to clinet

Insurance lawyers are largely responsible for protecting their clients’ rights and providing legal counsel during insurance claims. The main forms of claims these lawyers handle involve:

  • Personal injury 
  • Life insurance 
  • Property damage
  • Health insurance
  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful deaths
  • Car accidents 
  • Employment issues

The major tasks that insurance lawyers undertake to serve their clients involve:

  • Identifying at-fault parties to file motions against
  • Providing legal advice to clients to determine the fairness of their insurance outcome
  • Collecting and reviewing facts and evidence 
  • Determining fair value of insurance claims
  • Researching applicable local, state, and federal laws
  • Negotiating insurance settlements between individuals and/or organizations
  • Ensuring companies comply with insurance regulations
  • Reducing the likeliness of lawsuits
  • Drafting and filing complaints

Class-action suits, where large groups of individuals are affected by an issue and represented by one firm, are very common in insurance law. These lawyers often also work pro bono cases as they can be expensive, especially if they involve large organizations. 

Steps to Becoming an Insurance Lawyer

With a better understanding of what insurance lawyers do, you can make a more informed decision on whether it's the right career for you. Knowing the extensive process involved in becoming an insurance lawyer will also aid in your decision process!

female lawyer working at desk in office

It will take at least seven years to join this profession. These seven years will involve the following steps:

Step One: Completing an Undergrad Degree

The minimum education requirement to join law school is an undergrad from an accredited university. Contrary to popular belief, there is no perfect degree to pursue to prepare for law school, or increase your chances of acceptance. Your grades are ultimately the biggest factor law schools will consider when looking at your transcripts.

You’re unlikely to excel in a major you chose simply for its reputation and assumed prestige. So, choose one that interests you and ensure you diversify your transcript by taking electives from different disciplines. This will prove you completed an academically challenging course load, which will impress the admissions committee.

High-ranking law schools will expect GPAs of at least 3.8. Keep this in mind as you complete your undergrad!

Step Two: Gaining Valuable Experience 

Your law school application will involve more than just grades and achievements. You will also have to submit a resume detailing everything you pursued outside of the classroom. This includes extracurriculars, research, work, and volunteer experience, and other meaningful projects. 

Ensure you keep busy throughout your undergrad so your resume demonstrates a breadth of skills that will prove useful in the legal field!

Step Three: Acing the LSAT

The LSAT is the most dreaded part of aspiring law students’ applications, aside from their personal statements! This one score will play a huge role in the admissions committee’s decision on your candidacy so it’s imperative you give yourself enough time to master this exam.

Set a study schedule of at least two months, but ideally four to six, and hold yourself accountable! Treat your prep like a job and ensure you don’t miss any shifts.

Step Four: Attending Law School

Once you’ve gone through the arduous process of applying to law schools and anxiously awaiting responses, you should hopefully receive several offer letters from your top law schools. Choose the law school that best fits your needs and goals. 

Look for schools that can offer you courses, experiential learning experience, or externships involving insurance law so you can get the most out of your legal degree. Ensure you also maintain your grades and begin building a network! These two factors will help you land a career post-graduation.

Step Five: Writing the MPRE

The majority of states require legal students to pass the MPRE before practicing as attorneys. This exam ensures they understand the necessary ethical and professional standards lawyers are bound by and how to abide by them.

Fortunately, this exam is considered to be only moderately difficult. Some students are able to ace it on their first try after only a few weeks of practice. 

Step Six: Considering an LLM in Insurance Law

A JD will typically provide you with in-depth but broad legal training. You will learn about the most common legal specialities and will be equipped with an adequate amount of training and skills to practice law independently.

However, some lawyers want to increase their expertise in one legal area and pursue an LLM to do so. A one-year LLM in Insurance Law can also provide you with more credibility and qualifications, making you a more desirable employee! 

Step Seven: Passing the Bar Exam

After completing the necessary educational requirements to become an insurance lawyer, the final step to prove you’re ready for a legal career is passing the bar exam. This exam will test a range of competencies to ensure you can safely and effectively practice law in your state.

Insurance Law Salary and Career Outlook

The final consideration to explore when discussing how to become an insurance lawyer is their salary and career outlook.

$100 USD bills

The average insurance lawyer salary is $92,984 a year. Lawyers working in large law firms can expect to make more than this, especially as they gain more experience.

These lawyers not only have high earning potential, but are also in high demand. Losses, accidents, and injuries are inevitable, so insurance lawyers are needed to mitigate the risks involved with these issues. 

FAQs: How to Become an Insurance Lawyer

This guide has answered several questions about how to become an insurance lawyer, including the types of cases insurance lawyers handle, the steps required to join this profession, and their career outlook.

If you have any remaining questions, you may be able to find your answers below!

1. How Long Does It Take to Become an Insurance Lawyer?

It will take seven to eight years to become an insurance lawyer: four years to obtain an undergrad, three years to complete a JD degree, and an optional additional year to pursue an LLM in Insurance Law.

2. How Hard Is It to Become an Insurance Lawyer?

The process to become an insurance lawyer will be challenging. Maintaining high grades in your undergrad will require strong study skills and diligence. Crafting a unique and impressive application for law school will also require creativity and effort. Lastly, getting into a competitive law school and thriving in it will require laser-like focus. 

3. How Much Do Insurance Lawyers Make?

Insurance lawyers typically make more than $90,000 a year, although this salary varies depending on their location and experience. These lawyers often also take on several pro bono cases, which is why their salaries are often lower than lawyers working in other specialties. 

4. What Certifications Do I Need to Be an Insurance Lawyer?

There aren’t any specific certifications you need to become an insurance lawyer. Your JD is the only mandatory requirement to begin practicing insurance law.

However, some lawyers pursue LLMs in Insurance Law to gain more specialized training in the specialty and some pursue certifications through insurance companies for more expertise.

5. Where Do Insurance Lawyers Work?

Insurance lawyers typically work in private or public law firms, for federal organizations, or for insurance companies. 

Final Thoughts

Deciding which legal specialty to choose can feel overwhelming. Learning more about what each area involves can help you come to a decision quicker. After exploring how to become an insurance lawyer, you can hopefully decide if it makes the cut for your list of top specialty choices!

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