Corporate lawyers ensure the legality of commercial transactions. They must have a knowledge of statutory law and regulations passed by government agencies to help their clients achieve their goals within the bounds of the law. To structure a business transaction legally, a corporate lawyer may need to research aspects of contract law, tax law, accounting, securities law, bankruptcy, intellectual property rights, licensing, zoning laws, and other regulations relating to a specific area of business. The lawyer must ensure that a transaction does not conflict with local, state, or federal laws.
In contrast to the adversarial nature of trial law, corporate law is team-oriented. The corporate counsels for both sides of a transaction are not strict competitors; together they seek a common ground for their clients. This becomes especially true in the context of lawyers working for a company and the bankers in capital markets transactions like an IPO or QIP. Facilitating the business process requires insight into the clients needs, selective expertise, flexibility and most of all, a service mentality.
Corporate law requires an incisive mind and excellent communication skills, both written and oral. Through the negotiation process, lawyers constantly write and revise the legal documents which will bind the parties to certain terms for the transaction. This process is lengthy and typically corporate lawyers work extremely long hours, and when we say extremely long, we really really mean extremely long hours. As a deal moves towards its closing, it becomes an exercise in stamina as much as skillful negotiation. As one person observed.The most important trait a lawyer can have is a leather-ass.
You’ve got to be able to put your butt in a chair and do the work.? The upside to this profession is the compensation is good (and once again, when we say good, we mean it is on par with the suited investment bankers you see in movies and TV shows!) and you usually work with smart people (Not to mention pretty women!). One corporate lawyer remarked that she liked this side of the law precisely because the transactions take place among peers: There is no wronged party, no underdog, and usually no inequity in the financial means of the participants.