How do I Become a Telecommunications Lawyer?

Anna B. Smith

To become a telecommunications lawyer, individuals must obtain a law degree and the right to practice law in the country in which they reside. They may become an expert in the telecommunications industry by working after graduation directly for a media distributor, such as a television network or a wireless provider, for several years. Lawyers with a media outlet background can then choose to represent all types of business in communications related cases on a permanent retainer basis or through their own private practice.

Woman posing
Woman posing

A telecommunications lawyer deals primarily with all forms of media and their legal implications in the business world. Media outlets include radio, television, the Internet, and cellular or telephone communications. This type of legal representative may be employed by businesses that require an expert to advise them as laws and regulations concerning these media centers change, or directly by the media distributor.

After earning a Bachelor's degree in a related field such as communication or business, the first step to become a telecommunications lawyer is to obtain a law degree. In the US, this may be completed by taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and being accepted by a law school program. Upon graduation, students should seek to take the bar exam in the state in which they wish to practice law. In the UK, students must complete a one to two year course of study at a qualifying university and complete both the academic and vocational training requirements established by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This may be followed by apprenticeship at a law firm or with the government.

Individuals who wish to specialize in media to become a telecommunications lawyer should then seek to work directly in this industry to gain specific knowledge of the trade. Careers are available for a telecommunications lawyer in both the commercial and the regulatory sectors. Television, cable, and satellite broadcast networks employ lawyers to oversee all aspects of their business, including privacy protection, copyright infringement, and piracy laws. Wireless carriers, Internet providers, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also maintain staff legal counsel and can serve as a mentoring agency for newly hired graduates first beginning their careers. By choosing to apprentice directly in the telecommunications industry, lawyers will gain immediate knowledge of the laws that directly affect these types of services.

A legal adviser with a law degree and several years of experience in the media sector can become a telecommunications lawyer in any industry. All forms of business use various types of media, whether to contact clients, advertise their services, or interact with employees. Each avenue of communication is subject to regulatory laws, and any violation of those laws can threaten a company's professional standing and reputation. Lawyers may choose to be employed on staff at a larger corporation, or to open a private firm and work on a consultation basis for a small group of companies.

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