What Does A Corporate Lawyer Do?
"I’m now in my first year of law and on my way towards fulfilling my dream of becoming a lawyer. But it is only now that I am actually studying law that I have thought about the kind of lawyer that I want to be. One area that I am interested in primarily because I’ve heard that it gives big money is that of corporate law. I know very little about the field other than the fact that corporate lawyers work for companies. What does a corporate lawyer do?"
asked by Louie O. from Elko, Nevada
In a nutshell, it is the job of corporate lawyers to see to it that all the transactions entered into by their company are in accordance with the law. They ensure that there are no questionable areas in the contract and see to it that the deal does not come in conflict with any of the federal, state and local laws. They negotiate for and in behalf of their clients and sees to it that the deal that gets agreed upon is beneficial to the best interest of their company.
Before the deal gets finalized, they see to it that all the documents are in order and that all the parties to the transaction have signed all the necessary papers.
While this may sound very simplistic, the work that accompanies such is tremendous. Corporate lawyers have to read voluminous works pertaining to varied topics pertaining to the transaction. These can include contract law, accounting, tax law, securities law and other relevant regulations. They also collaborate with other members of the company’s legal team to discuss various aspects of the deal, including how to skillfully handle the thorny issues of the transaction.
The negotiation process before the deal closes is also lengthy. When changes have to be made to the contract, they have to make the necessary revisions so that the other party will finally agree to the deal.
Because of the busy work schedule, a corporate lawyer’s days are packed. Working long hours, especially before a transaction closes, is common. Contrary to the common view that a corporate lawyer’s job is glamorous and occupied mostly with having dinners with high-profile clients, the bulk of the corporate lawyer’s job is done inside his office on his own where he reads, researches and readies the documents for the entire transaction.
Unless there are meetings with fellow attorneys or with members of the other company’s legal team, the corporate lawyer generally does his work alone.
Generally speaking, corporate lawyers don’t have a lot of opportunity to make appearances in court and argue with the attorneys of the other party unless the deal doesn’t fall through or encounters a lot of legal issues. This is because unlike trial law, corporate law is not adversarial by nature. Corporate lawyers of two companies seeking to complete a deal—whether it has to do with mergers and acquisitions, real estate or bankruptcy auction—actually work together to arrive at the most beneficial agreement for both firms.
This is definitely the kind of legal work that those who want to be lawyers but want to avoid the courtroom drama as much as possible in their careers.
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Knowing that corporate law is not as confrontational as being a regular lawyer is the only reason I would consider it as a career. Two of my uncles are lawyers and they keep telling me that I should try it out. However, the thought of being in the courtroom is a little terrifying for me. Corporate law seems like the way to go, but are there other types of lawyers who don’t end up in the courtroom?