Corporate lawyers ensure the legality of commercial transactions and possess expansive knowledge of statutory law and regulations passed by government agencies in order help their clients achieve their goals within the legal framework. 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 is not barred or does not conflict with the local, state or central 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 competitors in the strict sense. Together, they seek a common ground for their clients, where both parties’ interests are placed on an even pedestal. This becomes especially true in the context of lawyers working for a company and the bankers in capital markets transactions like an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or Qualified Institutional Placement (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 profound 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, it is expected of the corporate lawyers to work extremely long hours, and by extremely long, we really, really mean extremely long hours. As a deal moves towards its closing, it becomes a highly intensive procedure requiring much as skilful negotiation. As one person observed, the most important trait that a corporate lawyer is expected to possess is immense patience to get through the drudgery.
You’ve got to be able to put your head in the game (err, transactions) and focus on the work. The bright side of this career option is the remuneration, which is fancy (and we actually mean that it is on par with the suited investment bankers you see in your regular drama series like Suits) and you usually work with smartest of the lot from this field. 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.