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Working as a Paralegal in the Company and Commercial Sector

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 19 Jan 2024

Paralegal

Company and Commercial law; the most popular practice area as denoted by our TotallyLegal audience (reference: TotallyLegal salary survey). With Paralegals constituting one of the largest groups in our audience, we thought it apt to provide an overview of the perks, skills and expertise required to excel as a Paralegal in the Commercial sector.

Being employed as a Paralegal brings forth both professional and personal advantages, with an average annual salary of £30,849, marking an 8% uptick from the 2022 statistics. 55% of those in Paralegal jobs also witnessed an increase in their remuneration, 43% enjoyed an additional bonus supplement, and 62% conducted a hybrid work arrangement.

Commercial Paralegals, exceed the national average, taking home a median of £40,000.

What attracts Paralegals to the Company and Commercial sector?

Working in Company and Commercial law offers Paralegals the chance to work in a dynamic and diverse work environment, dealing with a wide range of legal matters related to business entities. As a Company and Commercial Paralegal, you may find yourself working on contracts, business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and various corporate legal issues, providing exposure to different facets of commercial law. A notoriously fast-paced environment - the world of corporate law provides the opportunity to work on high-profile cases and/or significant business deals.

As a sector, the company and commercial practice area is usually at the heart of economic activity, making it a vital component of the legal field. Businesses frequently require legal support to navigate complex regulatory frameworks, negotiate contracts, and ensure compliance, creating a consistent demand for paralegals with expertise in this area. With Paralegals taking on the fee earning work traditionally reserved for Solicitors (filling the gap left by cuts to legal aid), according to the National Association of Licensed Paralegals, the sector offers budding legal professionals the chance to develop a strong foundation of legal knowledge.

With successful experience in handling complex corporate matters, comes career growth and advancement; opening doors to higher-level positions within law firms or corporate legal departments. The complexity and sophistication of corporate transactions and legal matters across this practice area equally offers strong intellectual stimulation for Paralegals who enjoy challenging and intricate work.

What differentiates working as a Paralegal in Company and Commercial law, compared to other sectors?

When choosing a practice area to specialise in, there’s a myriad of factors to consider. Working as a Paralegal in the Company and Commercial sector requires a distinct skill set and working style.

Nature of work:

• Before entering Company and Commercial law, consider whether you’ll enjoy a focus on contract drafting and negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, and corporate governance. By contrast, Paralegals in other sectors may focus on different areas of law, such as family law, a specific Public Sector / Local Authority paralegal role, or Residential Property / Conveyancing, involving a distinct set of legal issues and procedures.

Your clientele:

• As a Company and Commercial Paralegal, you will typically work with businesses, corporations, and commercial clients. This will lead to dealing with corporate stakeholders, executives, and legal representatives.
• Paralegals in other sectors, from Personal Injury Paralegals, to Commercial Litigation Paralegals, may work with individual clients, government agencies, or non-profit organisations, leading to different dynamics and client interactions.

Regulatory Framework:

• Company and Commercial law is often subject to a complex regulatory framework involving business and commercial codes. Paralegals in this sector will therefore be required to develop a deep understanding of corporate laws, regulations, and industry-specific rules.
• Paralegals across other practice areas must be familiar with the specific legal requirements relevant to their industry, which can vary widely.

Transactional vs. Litigation Focus:

• Paralegals in Company and Commercial law often engage in transactional work, such as facilitating business deals. Litigation may also be a component, especially in cases of contract disputes.
• Paralegals in other sectors, like Litigation or Criminal law, may primarily focus on dispute resolution, court proceedings, and legal research related to cases heading to trial.

Business Impact:

• As a Company and Commercial law Paralegal, you will contribute directly to the business operations and strategic decisions of your corporate clients. The legal advice you provide can have a significant impact on the success and compliance of businesses.
• Paralegals in other sectors may have a more indirect impact on their clients' personal lives, liberties, or rights, depending on the nature of the legal issues they handle.

Negotiation Skills:

• Paralegals in Company and Commercial law often participate in negotiations, requiring strong communication and negotiation skills to secure favourable terms for their clients.
• Paralegals in other sectors may not be as heavily involved in negotiation processes, with their focus being on legal research, case preparation, or administrative support for legal proceedings.

What does it take to become a leading Paralegal in the Company and Commercial industry?

As denoted in our ‘Paralegal Job Description’, Paralegals require a plethora of skills, including:

• Expert communication skills, both written and verbal.
• The ability to work well under pressure and stick to tight deadlines.
• Ability to multitask as you may be managing multiple cases / tasks at once.
• Strong interest in your certain practice area, with a desire to develop your understanding of the legal system.
• The ability to work well independently, as part of a team and with other departments.
• Commercial and business acumen.
• Strong customer service skills, patience and consideration for dealing with clients and witnesses.

Nonetheless, to stand out from the rest, and establish yourself as an expert in the Commercial and Company landscape, you must:

Master corporate documentation:

• Develop expertise in drafting and reviewing various corporate documents, including contracts, agreements, and governance documents. Ensure meticulous attention to detail and accuracy in these critical documents.

Understand business operations:

• Gain a deep understanding of your clients' industries and business operations. This knowledge allows you to provide more tailored and strategic legal support.

Stay updated on commercial law:

• Keep abreast of changes in commercial law and regulations. Regularly review legal updates, attend seminars, and participate in continuing education courses to stay current with industry trends.

Enhance contract management skills:

• Specialise in contract management: develop proficiency in contract lifecycle management, from drafting and negotiation to enforcement and termination. Implement efficient systems for tracking contract deadlines and renewals.

Participate in due diligence:

• Contribute to due diligence processes for mergers and acquisitions. Demonstrate a keen ability to gather, analyse, and present information crucial to decision-making during corporate transactions.

Cultivate relationship management:

• Build strong relationships with clients and internal stakeholders. Effective communication and understanding client needs contribute to client satisfaction and trust.

Assist in corporate governance:

• Play an active role in ensuring compliance with corporate governance requirements. Stay involved in board meetings, regulatory filings, and other governance-related activities.

Provide strategic legal support:

• Move beyond reactive tasks and offer proactive legal support. Anticipate legal needs, identify potential issues, and provide strategic advice to guide business decisions.

Excel in project management:

• Develop strong project management skills to handle multiple transactions and cases simultaneously. Efficiently coordinate tasks, deadlines, and communications within the legal team.

Actively Seek Professional Growth:

• Pursue additional certifications or advanced training relevant to the company and commercial sector. Continuously seek opportunities for professional development to stay ahead in the field.

Other Opportunities: Company secretarial:

As noted by George Fay, Recruitment Consultant, at G2 Company Secretarial, “Corporate governance is a sector in itself and your skillset may open other doors into parallel industries. Corporate paralegals often leverage their existing skillset to become company secretaries and pursue the Chartered Governance Institute qualification.”


 

Paralegal Jobs on TotallyLegal:

Feeling inspired to apply? Discover the latest Paralegal Jobs on site; focusing on Paralegal Company / Commercial jobs amongst a myriad of leading sectors and locations.

For more career advice, discover the dedicated TotallyLegal blog, including our Paralegal Job Description, and articles such as 'How to Become a Paralegal' and our ultimate Paralegal Career Guide.