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How do I Become a Product Liability Lawyer?

Article Details
  • Written By: Felipe McGuire
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 15 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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How you become a product liability lawyer depends largely on where you want to practice product liability law. In most places of the world, practicing product liability law does not require special certification or licensing. Special training and education, however, are likely to increase competence, which can be very different than certification.

Product liability is a specific and somewhat complex area of tort law. Tort law is the area of civil law that deals with a person or group's liability for injury or harm to another person or group. Product liability law deals with the liability of a person or group for harm caused to another person or group by a product designed, manufactured, or distributed by the first person or group. Generally, any lawyer may bring or defend a product liability claim.

The process of becoming a lawyer varies widely from country to country. In most places, it begins with some form of specialized schooling — in the United States (US), this usually means attending two to four years of postgraduate education — typically law school — to acquire a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. The US is one of the only nations for which a certified legal education requires a postgraduate degree. Many countries allow some or all of one's legal education to be obtained as part of an undergraduate education. In some countries, and parts of the US, specialized vocational, internship, or on-the-job training experiences can take the place of a formal legal education.

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Generally, the next step in becoming a lawyer is usually an exam, often referred to as the Bar Exam or just The Bar. People who pass this exam must generally join some sort of professional association. In the US, certification to practice law operates on a state-by-state basis, whereas many nations license lawyers on a national level. It is highly important to find specific information about certification for the state or country in which you wish to practice law.

Since any lawyer can work on product liability cases, what sets a product liability lawyer apart from other lawyers is mostly education and experience. If you want to become a product liability lawyer specifically, you typically should focus on torts and products liability classes while in law school. It may also be advantageous to seek an advanced Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree.

An LL.M. is an advanced law degree that requires focused study in one particular area of law. Few law schools offer an LL.M. in product liability specifically, but for those wishing to become a product liability lawyer, LL.M.s in broader business- and tort-related areas of law are likely to offer opportunities to focus on product liability. Some law schools even offer an LL.M. in international product liability, though those programs are uncommon.

It is also quite common for law students and new lawyers to intern, volunteer, or accept first jobs with more experienced attorneys or firms. If you want to become a product liability lawyer, finding a mentor in that field can be invaluable. Most law schools and many professional associations can and will help novices make contact with suitable mentors.

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