Corporate law concerns general corporate legal matters, including the formation, operations and incorporation, rights of directors and shareholders, articles of association, board meetings, secretarial mattes and the public listing of companies.
Because no two business deals are alike, corporate law is a very exciting, challenging and demanding practice area that frequently attracts the best and brightest solicitors, who enjoy not only a high degree of client contact but also a wide scope of duties.
The most successful corporate lawyers possess an abundant knowledge of business law, follow current trends in business on a national and global level, and keep themselves apprised of the frequent legislative and regulatory developments that affect their clients. In other words, they’re motivated ‘go-getters’ who thrive on challenge, can handle above-average amounts of stress and keep their eyes on the prize at all times.
Type of clients
Many corporate lawyers work in large or mid-size law firms, where they counsel the owners, employees, shareholders, corporate directors and officers of multinational companies, investment banks, privately held companies, small to medium-sized organisations, regulatory bodies and even governments. Some corporate lawyers work as in-house counsel for large corporations, acting as internal advisers on business and legal issues ranging from labour and employment matters, intellectual property topics, contractual disputes and liability issues.
Kind of work
Corporate legal work can involve anything from large and complex cross-jurisdictional transactions to helping businesses with the ordinary details involved in running a company. Some of the matters that many corporate solicitors routinely work on include:
- Buying and selling businesses and business assets
- Mergers and acquisitions (M&As)
- The reorganisation or restructuring of companies
- The financial measures required to facilitate large business deals
- Securing work for their firm through a competitive pitch process
- Managing entire transactional teams to ensure that business deals go as planned.
While corporate lawyers typically put in very long hours, this can be somewhat overshadowed by the exciting work that’s being completed and the level of compensation received. Corporate lawyers who deal with high-profile companies on a national and international scale are more likely to draw large salaries than attorneys who work in more personal areas of law, such as personal injury and family law.
Corporate solicitors are intellectually challenged on a near-constant basis, and must frequently ‘think outside the box’. They are considered a resource of information and ideas, and corporate clients depend on them to provide quick and accurate answers to all their questions, so they are required to push themselves to learn at all times. Many work in highly regulated industries, such as finance, and must understand how regulations impact their clients’ business activities. Because of the intense competition among corporate lawyers for jobs in the UK, you will need to stand out to land a position with one of the big hitters, particularly within the Magic Circle.
Solicitors specialising in corporate law likely won’t know with absolute certainty what they will be doing on any given day. They could be meeting with clients via phone or face-to-face, or negotiating the details of a transaction and then recording the agreed-upon provisions in a contract. Sometimes corporate lawyers focus on a specific point of law and conduct detailed research, while at other times they will work as part of a team with trainees, associates and partners to meet deadlines on various projects and negotiate and structure deals for clients. A successful corporate lawyer learns early on that they must be able to manage their own time effectively to meet the high expectations that clients and law firms have for them.
Legal Practice Areas