Private Equity Lawyers


Exploring this Job

There are many ways to learn about a career in law. The American Bar Association (ABA) offers excellent educational and career resources at its Web site, If you’re already in law school, consider becoming a student member of the ABA. Student members receive Student Lawyer, a magazine that contains useful information for aspiring lawyers. Sample articles from the magazine can be read at The ABA also offers a Before the Bar Blog and The Law Student Podcast.

Read books about law such as The Vault Career Guide to Law, 2nd edition. (, 2017). To learn more about private equity, check out Investment Banks, Hedge Funds, and Private Equity, 2nd edition (Academic Press, 2012).

Talk to private equity lawyers about their careers. Performing a keyword search on the Internet will help you find law firms that specialize in PE law. You might also consider contacting the Association of Corporate Counsel and the ABA for help in scheduling an interview.

The Job

Private equity lawyers can be generalists or specialize in transactional expertise (leveraged buyouts, distressed debt and equity trading, portfolio company investments and operations, etc.) or specific industries (energy, real estate, technology, life sciences, etc.). Although job responsibilities vary by employer, typical job duties for PE lawyers include:

  • assisting clients throughout the fund-raising process (including advising on partnership agreements, compensation arrangements, and closing fund formation transactions)
  • providing advice on how to structure new funds, including drafting the numerous documents that are required to form the fund  
  • representing their clients’ portfolio companies during public offerings; strategic joint ventures, and alliances; and debt and equity financings, as well as assisting with business issues such as income tax laws, intellectual property, litigation, and environmental compliance
  • assisting PE firms during the exit process (whether by sales or recapitalizations of portfolio companies or by taking them public)
  • structuring, drafting, and negotiating management compensation packages (including equity-based incentives)
  • advising clients regarding laws such as the Securities Act of 1933, Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Commodity Exchange Act of 1936, Investment Advisers Act of 1940, Investment Company Act of 1940, Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, and other national and state securities laws
  • staying up to date regarding evolving compliance and regulatory issues and advising clients on new developments
  • educating executives regarding legal and risk management issues