The requirements to become a pension lawyer may vary substantially from one jurisdiction to another; however, in most jurisdictions, a lawyer must complete a considerable amount of post-secondary education, as well as pass a licensing examination. In order to specialize in, or focus a practice on, issues surrounding pensions, a lawyer may wish to complete an undergraduate degree in accounting or obtain a dual degree by completing the requirements for a master's degree in business administration along with the juris doctorate degree. Once licensed, anyone who wishes to become a pension lawyer should seek employment with a large corporation as in-house counsel or with a firm that specializes in retirement law.
Within the United States, as well as in many other countries, a lawyer must first complete an undergraduate degree or the equivalent. In order to be accepted into law school in the United States, an applicant may complete an undergraduate degree in the major of his or her choice, as there is no "pre-law" undergraduate major. If the student's ultimate goal is to become a pension lawyer, however, then an undergraduate degree in accounting or business should be considered.
After completion of the undergraduate course of study, an aspiring lawyer must take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) in order to apply to law school. Acceptance into a law school will be based a number of factors, including the result of the LSAT, the student's grade point average, how rigorous the undergraduate program was, and how persuasive his or her personal statement was to the admissions council. Once admitted, a student must complete three years of study culminating in the receipt of a juris doctorate degree.
While in law school, a student who aspires to become a pension lawyer should consider taking elective classes in tax law, business law, and even an accounting class, if offered. Some law schools will allow students to work toward a dual degree, or take classes from other schools, in some cases. Pensions, by their very nature, involve complicated tax and accounting issues, so a strong background in both areas is suggested.
Once a student graduates from law school, he or she will need to become licensed in the jurisdiction where he or she intends to practice law. In most cases, licensing requires the student to pass the bar examination, as well as the multi-state professional responsibility examination, among other requirements. For a licensed attorney who plans to become a pension lawyer, employment with a large corporation that administers a pension fund, or with a law firm that specializes in retirement planning, is recommended.