In our imagination, we see corporate lawyers in their elegant suits holding briefcases as they rush to the company headquarters. Whether we see this in television drama shows or news cycles, this description gives us a hint of what corporate lawyers do.
To know what these lawyers do, you should first understand what corporate law entails.
In the eyes of the law, a corporation is a “person.” Hence, corporate lawyers do not work for business owners or investors. They represent this legal body and handle its issues and regulations. So corporate lawyers rarely visit a court trial. Instead, they conduct transactions and office work.
What do corporate lawyers do?
Corporate law is crucial in the business arena because it involves:
- Maintaining a company’s standing in the stock market;
- Performing company mergers and business acquisitions;
- Creating legal entities and incorporations;
- Assessing the legal privileges of shareholders in a company;
- Notarizing legal documents and board meeting agendas;
- Setting a company or business in the public listing;
- Reorganizing company assets and the role of shareholders.
Their expertise and power within companies make corporate lawyers respected. They handle the transactions of businesses, ensuring that they are free from loopholes and legal issues. Many nuances make their work harder. These include:
- Market forces. Corporate lawyers assess the intricate standing of the company. When making deals and decisions, they consider the economic trends, competition, and long-term consequences.
- The challenges in the industry. Corporate lawyers also act based on the stock market’s behavior. At times, this factor can affect the supply chain, manufacturing, and the flow of investments. Lawyers make sure that their counsel will benefit the company without violating rules.
- Government policies. Companies can face legal trouble and sanctions if they unwittingly violate regulations and laws. Corporate lawyers ensure that every policy does not break any government policy, no matter how explicit or hidden they are.
Considering these responsibilities, corporate lawyers fulfill many obligations:
- As a corporation starts, these lawyers draft its by-laws, constitution, and policies. Corporate lawyers also determine the role of officers and shareholders. These rules will guide the corporation in the years ahead.
- They meet the regulations for the corporation. These rules include registrations and the yearly general meetings of investors and shareholders.
- They assess the stock value of the business. The information that corporate lawyers gather is vital for investors and stock buyers.
- These lawyers check the business deals. They ensure that no laws get violated in the arrangement. Corporate lawyers also check the involved parties and financial accounts for any shady loopholes and corruption.
- They study the company’s by-laws and rules. These guide them in deciding about the privileges of business shareholders and owners.
- Corporate lawyers keep the corporation safe from criminal charges, disputes, and litigation.
- They prepare and analyze legal contracts for the corporation. These can range from simple business partnerships to million-dollar mergers.
- They help the company expand through financing and venture capitalism. These lawyers can even recommend removing burdensome sections and departments if necessary.
- Corporate lawyers lead the merging of companies. If the company purchases another business, these lawyers also supervise the process.
- These lawyers provide counsel to the shareholders about securities. These measures will protect their company from fraud and illegal deals.
- Corporate lawyers help the leadership remain transparent to the shareholders and the general public.
To fulfill these responsibilities, corporate lawyers partner up with the company’s managers, auditors, and finance team. They also consult the partner banks, employees, and investors.
Corporate lawyers keep track of the company’s assets and debts. Their reports will help the board members draft appropriate resolutions and corporate decisions.
How can someone become a corporate lawyer?
After an aspirant graduates from law school and passes the bar exam, he can pursue corporate law. Many attorneys who enter this field have business-related work. But their career progress depends on their skills:
- Graduates from law schools should finish their studies with good academic standing.
- Like in other legal professions, corporate lawyers should be proficient in language and negotiations. These capabilities will help them succeed in this competitive career.
- Corporate lawyers should love reading and learning. This field involves technical and jargon-ridden policies, economic trends, regulations, and business law.
- As they work, these lawyers will interact with many clients and partners from different fields. So corporate lawyers must be social, and they should master the business landscape.
- Having contacts and colleagues can help corporate lawyers when they get stuck. Teamwork and interpersonal skills are vital for attorneys and the firms they serve. After all, this field involves specialized matters like real estate and taxation.
- Corporate lawyers should be persistent and driven. They must be willing to work long hours under intense stress and competition.
Where do corporate lawyers work?
Corporate lawyers play a tremendous role for companies and industries. Hence, you can find them in international groups, banks, corporations, government agencies, and medium businesses. These bodies have dedicated departments for corporate lawyers.
But even small establishments can benefit from corporate lawyers. They can guide businesses legally not just towards profit but also success.
Furthermore, their counsel can help owners create streamlined production, contracts, ventures, and business strategies.
What sets corporate lawyers apart from other legal practitioners?
As mentioned earlier, corporate lawyers do not handle criminal litigation cases. Instead, they focus on research and legal office work. They study the company’s finances, transactions, and legal processes.
Criminal defense lawyers work with detectives, the police, and judges. Meanwhile, corporate lawyers meet with business executives, partner lawyers, and financers. They perform “due diligence,” the process of checking contracts for issues. Lawyers do this while preparing for company acquisitions and business mergers.
Other lawyers compile court evidence and affidavits. But corporate lawyers handle “boring” paperwork.
They read certificates, directives, receipts, memoranda, reports, and agendas. Corporate lawyers also guide the executives in the monumental steps the corporation will take.
Many people tend to confuse commercial and corporate law. Commercial law involves the policies of the entire industry like copyright and intellectual property rules. Meanwhile, corporate law is concerned about specific corporations.