Corporate law – sometimes known as company law – is a broad practice area that is key to both law firms and in-house legal teams. It is a practice area which concerns the laws and regulations surrounding business practices and transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, buyouts, restructures and more. It encompasses a broad range of legal issues related to business entities, their shareholders or members, directors, officers, and various stakeholders, providing the legal framework that regulates the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of these entities and the individuals associated with them.
Whether working in an international law firm and advising corporate giants on multi-million-pound acquisitions or assisting an SME fintech start-up with contract negotiations, the core remit of a Corporate Lawyer is to advise businesses on their legal rights, responsibilities, and regulations.
Specifically, Corporate Lawyer responsibilities usually include advising on commercial agreements and business transactions such as:
• Mergers and acquisitions – a transaction whereby the ownership of a company is transferred to or consolidated with another.
• Joint ventures – a business created by two or more parties who share ownership, returns, risks and governance.
• Corporate restructuring – the act of significantly altering the structure or operations of a business to increase profits and/or efficiency.
• Management buyouts – a form of acquisition whereby the managers of a company acquire some or all the business from the parent company or private owner.
• Equity financing – raising capital through selling company stock to investors.
• Commercial contracts – agreements between companies setting out what they can and cannot do in their business relationship.
Clients of a Corporate Lawyer vary depending on the size, location, and specialty of the firm for which the Lawyer works but can include any type of organisation from start-ups and privately held owner managed businesses, to PLCs, investment management firms and global blue-chip organisations.
You may be at a stage in your education or career where you are wondering how to become a Corporate Lawyer. This section of our Corporate Lawyer Job Description will help you to understand whether you have the prerequisite skills and experience for the role, and if not, how you can go about getting them.
Corporate Lawyer Education & Qualifications
A standard education and qualification pathway is likely to resemble the following.
To be accepted into law school or onto a law course at university you will need at least three high grade A-levels. While no specific subjects are required, you may find that disciplines like mathematics, history or science are looked upon more favourably than subjects such as PE or photography when it comes to your university application.
One of your options after college is to study for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree – the first stage of training to become a qualified Solicitor in the UK. Alternatively, you can apply to study a degree in law or another subject, but this route requires you to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) before you can move on to the next stage of your training.
Next, you will study the Legal Practice Course (LPC). The LPC is a 1-year course designed to prepare students for a career as a Lawyer.
Lastly, you will need to undertake a law training contract to gain practical experience in the practice area of your choice. Corporate Lawyers will spend two years with the corporate department of a law firm, completing a series of training modules while gaining first-hand working experience.
You can read about the process in more detail in our article on "how to become a Solicitor".
Corporate Lawyer Skills
Key Corporate Lawyer skills include:
• Legal research skills
• Strong negotiation skills
• Analytical skills and the ability to make sound judgement
• Technology and software knowledge
• Time management and organisation
• Verbal and written communication
• Client development and customer service skills
• High attention to detail
According to our latest Audience Insight Report, the average Corporate Lawyer salary stands at £60,535 per annum.
Factors including location, your seniority level and the size of your firm can all influence the salary you are offered as a Corporate Lawyer.
Once you have qualified and worked as a Corporate Lawyer for some years, you might start to think about career progression. Fortunately, you have several options to consider.
• Partnership – Talented Corporate Lawyers who want to take on a leadership role within their department and become a Partner of their firm will have plenty of opportunity to do so. Check out our article on how to become a Partner in a law firm to find out more.
• Head of Department – If you would like to manage other members of the corporate team and oversee the department without taking on Partnership responsibilities, you could instead apply for Head of Department jobs.
• In-House Counsel – Ever considered working in-house? As a Corporate Lawyer your skills and experience put you in a great position to make the move in-house and become an In-House Counsel. Find out more in our In-House Counsel job description.
Are you looking for a career move? Discover a range of exciting Corporate Lawyer jobs today on TotallyLegal and set up Corporate Lawyer job alerts so you can be the first to apply.