Corporate Lawyer – How to Become One, Skills Needed, Offered Salary

As fascinating as it sounds, being a corporate lawyer is a job with billions of dollars of responsibility on your shoulders. Being a corporate lawyer is not easy as you need to be well aware and updated about corporate or organization-level tactics and the way they work. You should have experience in law in general.

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By Hrishi

As fascinating as it sounds, being a corporate lawyer is a job with billions of dollars of responsibility on your shoulders. Being a corporate lawyer is not easy as you need to be well aware and updated about corporate or organization-level tactics and the way they work. You should have experience in law in general. The primary duty of a corporate lawyer is to ensure that all the business transactions happening in a company are lawfully done.

Besides this, they look after protecting the business value and its right for their clients and help them to achieve their goals within the boundary of law. For this, they must have an excellent knowledge of statutory law and regulations made by governmental bodies.

The government has made various corporate laws to ensure a smooth corporate operation. Corporate lawyers are responsible for knowing everything inside and outside of that law book so they can help their client, a business entity, whenever needed. A corporate lawyer needs to have an excellent understanding of subjects like,

  • A corporate lawyer needs to have an excellent understanding of tax reforms to guide their client better with laws associated with the tax.
  • Various federal securities laws govern some acts like making an offer, making a sale, and trading the securities. As a corporate, you need to be well aware of all of these and help your client during business transactions.
  • A corporate lawyer can help their client in case of Bankruptcy, for Intellectual property rights, and with Licensing and zoning laws.

It is a moral duty and obligation for a corporate lawyer that the functioning of a corporate organization should not conflict with any federal, local, or state laws. All the trial laws involve two parties, and the basis of practicing corporate law is that it is a team effort. Suppose you belong to either party (corporate organization). In that case, you may be a strict competitor to the other party, and you have to protect the interests of both parties and solve any issue amicably.

What is a Corporate Lawyer?

As a corporate lawyer, your chief job guarantees that all business-related transactions are legitimately done. You may also have to counsel the corporation and make them aware of their legal rights and obligations.

This may also include obligations and different responsibilities of corporate executives under the law. A corporate lawyer is an attorney who works for a company and represents it whenever needed, as a corporate lawyer, you can handle different companies at a time, and they will be termed as your clients.

Various big companies and small business firms may hire the services of a corporate lawyer so that under their supervision, the company commits all legal activities by following all rules and regulations. In exchange, they pay a hefty amount, which we discuss later.

I am sure by now you must be well aware of the primary responsibilities of being a corporate lawyer. We will go deeper into this world and learn how to become one and what skills are needed to become a successful corporate lawyer. Also, we will learn their average salary; maybe by looking at that fancy figure, you can motivate yourself more.

Responsibilities of a corporate lawyer

  • The primary responsibility of a corporate lawyer is to protect their client’s rights in terms of law and advise them in accordance with the rules and regulations. Ensuring all the laws and good practices are performed in an organization. Besides these main duties, a corporate lawyer has several other responsibilities.
  • As a corporate lawyer, you have to protect your client from doing unlawful activities, and for that, you have to examine and approve all the business agreements made by the company with its business partners, other personnel, suppliers, and vendors.
  • Advising their clients, which are business owners and in corporate leadership, to adhere to all the rules and regulations and apply them in their sectors.
  • In the normal working of a corporation, agreements and business deals are often signed between multiple parties. As a corporate lawyer, you need to ensure that all those deals and contracts are well-written and documented under the law.
  • Being a corporate lawyer, you need to develop a handbook for the employees of all the workplace rules and regulations and ensure that they are followed.
  • It would be best if you represented your client or the employer in many cases in a courtroom. In the board meetings, discuss all the rules and regulation and their implementations.
  • Organizations and businesses go through mergers and acquisitions daily. As a corporate lawyer, you need to be very strong.
  • They are restructuring the companies and their business proceedings per the investor’s and owner’s needs.
  • As a corporate lawyer, you often must mediate a dispute between top management and lower management or among the board members.
  • A corporate lawyer has to play a pivotal role in establishing strategies for the company that may help them succeed. This can be done with the help of stakeholders, board members, and senior management.
  • You must organize various training sessions and workshops to facilitate all the employees.
  • One of the most essential parts of your job is managing a team of junior associates, paralegals, and legal assistants.

Some highlights for getting into a corporate lawyer

So far, we have tried to discuss what being a corporate lawyer means and all the roles and responsibilities one has to go through to be an excellent corporate lawyer. As we know, this is a pressure job as brand value, equity, and the possible future of a firm depend on you. Getting into corporate law is not as easy as it sounds. It is very tough to gain admission to the top twenty law colleges.

The acceptance rate of these top colleges is way below 10%. The chances of finding a summer job depend on the type and credibility of the school you have attended, which will also impact the permanent job you will get.

The size of the firm and its geographical location directly impact the starting salary you will make; also, it will assure the kind of exposure you will get in the job. If you are working in a smaller firm, the roles and responsibilities that you will play are going to be way different than that of a large firm; also, on the salary part, it was believed that the salary offered for a role of a corporate lawyer in a small fir would be significantly lower as compared to that of a big firm for the same position.

Apart from this, the job responsibilities will be very different. A small-town corporate lawyer might deal with small-town companies’ problems, while a prominent corporate lawyer may fix a massive billion-dollar merger or acquisition.

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How to become a corporate lawyer

If you have been with us till now, I think that you have made your mind clear to make a career as a corporate lawyer. Now, we are going to discuss how you are going to get into it.

Start your college education by doing in a related discipline

First, we believe you are in your school days and are fascinated to become a corporate lawyer. While studying for the basic subjects, you can get involved in some extracurricular activities and be part of a social group in law administration. In this way, you can lay the foundation to practice law in your higher studies.

It would be best to consider volunteering at a law firm or joining a debate club. The most important thing is to build a relationship with your advisors. They may help you by writing letters of recommendation when you enter a law college or a job after graduation.

Once you have entered the graduation college, you can earn your degree in some related disciplines like business, finance, political science, economics, and legal studies from an accredited college or university.

Complete your internship and apply for the law colleges

An internship is a great way to start any career; it allows you to gain related knowledge and experience in the field. You can create an internship at a local law firm, maybe some government offices closely associated with law practice or legal clinics.

An internship is a great way to get first-hand knowledge and understand what to expect from being a corporate lawyer. During the internship, you get to meet professionals who can answer any queries you might have during your early days as you consume the knowledge. Their mentorship can encourage you to do well and follow your path to becoming a corporate lawyer. They also guide you and might refer you for an open position later.

The next step for becoming a corporate lawyer will be applying for admission to a law school that has earned American Bar Association accreditation. The GPA or Grade Point Average requirements depend on the college. While taking the admission, you might need other necessary documents like a letter of recommendation and a statement of purpose. You should check all the requirements and help documents specific colleges or universities require for admission.

To secure your admission to a law school, you might be required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). LSAT is a standardized test that will determine your ability to succeed in law school. It will test your reasoning, thinking abilities, and written and logical statements. 

Clear your bar exam and juris doctor degree and get the license.

You can successfully become a corporate lawyer once you earn your J.D or juris doctor degree, which you can obtain by attending a law school, and for that reason, you may have to take subjects like,

Judicial processes, legal administration, torts, criminal and civil law, taxation, and legal defense.

Once you finish law school, you must sit for the ABA, the American Bar Association’s exam. When you are done with both significant things, you can apply for the license in your state. Getting a license is to pay the fees and your fingerprints. They also do a complete background check on you, and then you can submit your application to your state board.

Jobs for a corporate lawyer

If you are passionate enough to work in the law, there are various jobs you can try besides being a corporate lawyer.

  • Being a paralegal or a trademark paralegal
  • A mediator or negotiator
  • A family lawyers
  • Employment or general practice lawyer
  • An associate attorney

Salary offered to corporate lawyers

As discussed earlier, the salary offered to a corporate lawyer may depend on the company’s geographic location or size. For example, the average income of a corporate lawyer in New York is $186,861, while the average salary of a corporate lawyer, in general, is $130,857.

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