Career in Corporate Law

“Lawyers are men whom we hire to protect us from lawyers.”Elbert Hubbard

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions a lawyer? Is it the professional dressed in black and white, arguing with their spectacular skills and running through the corridors of the court while juggling piles of paperwork? Or are you a suits fan who thinks lawyers as hot-shots working for big corporates and clients?

Well no matter on which side you are, you are probably thinking it right. Law is not only about courts and courtroom art, but a lot is going on the corporate side of the law.  Corporate law is the study of legal practices which applies to businesses and corporations. It is concerned with the laws that govern many parts of businesses and organizations. A Corporate Lawyer’s job entails using legal knowledge to draft corporate agreements, corporate taxes, import and export, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, public offerings, sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporate structure agendas, employment law, government reporting, and laws governing day-to-day business operations. Corporate lawyers are experts in a variety of fields, including taxation, insolvency, intellectual property, zoning, and securities. Corporate law is a broad field of study that encompasses a wide range of topics.


What is it like being a corporate lawyer?

Corporate lawyers handle complex legal issues of companies, business houses, and other legal entities like banks and financial institutions. Their job profile is quite diverse and includes not only corporate litigation, but involves advisory, due diligence, and negotiating roles. It goes without saying that there’s a lot riding on a corporate lawyer’s words and actions, and hence, it’s a demanding job both in terms of one’s time and efforts.

Broadly speaking, lawyers in this field work on contracts and agreements, negotiate deals and advises the management of companies on legal issues and about the possible legal consequences of their actions. It also involves conducting due diligence and reviewing deals to highlight any possible and potential red flags. As said, the practice area is quite diverse and the kind of work depends on the kind of corporate law field that one opts for. No matter which area of corporate law it is, one can be assured of a challenging and lucrative career.

Some of the big names in the field of corporate law are Cyril Shroff (Managing Partner of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas), Zia Mody (AZB Partners), Jyoti Sagar (JSA), Shardul S. Shroff (Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas)


Fields in Corporate Law

One can specialize in one or more fields of corporate law. Broadly speaking, the following types of areas fall under the domain of corporate law:

  1. Mergers and Acquisitions
  2. Insolvency and Restructuring
  3. Intellectual Property Rights
  4. Corporate Litigation
  5. Private Equity and Venture Capital
  6. Banking and Finance
  7. Anti-trust/competition law violations

Where to work?

There are multiple avenues and opportunities available to corporate lawyers and one may choose according to one’s interest and practice area specialization. There is an ample number of law firms in India and abroad that provide work opportunities in the field of corporate law. Some of these law firms in India are:

  1. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
  2. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas
  3. Trilegal
  4. AZB Partners
  5. Khaitan and Co.
  6. J. Sagar Associates
  7. L&L Partners
  8. Saraf and Partners
  9. S&R Associates

Apart from law firms, almost every other MNC and Bank has its in-house counsel who deals with a company’s corporate matters. Some of these companies are TATA, Reliance, Adani, Wipro, ICICI Bank, and Piramal, to name a few.


What are the skills required?

Law is a field in which success depends not only on the knowledge of the subject matter but also on the grip over other skills. Being a corporate lawyer is no exception. Since the entire transaction depends on the qualification and capability of the lawyer, the clients expect their lawyer to be not only competent but also street smart. Here are some of the skills that are sine qua non for a successful corporate lawyer:

  • Sound knowledge of corporate and allied laws;
  • Outstanding verbal and written skills;
  • Proficiency in language and grammar;
  • An eye for detail;
  • Good reasoning skills;
  • Good research and drafting skills;
  • Working knowledge of business and the intricacies involved in it;
  • Good negotiation skills;
  • Time management skills;
  • Soft skills and leadership qualities.

What are the perks involved?

Law, undoubtedly, is a lucrative profession. There’s a saying that lawyers earn when they get old. Gladly, this doesn’t hold good for corporate lawyers. Law firms and companies pay hefty retainer fees to corporate lawyers. Since the stakes are usually high, the salary/retainer fee is generally commensurate with the risks involved and is always on the upper edge as compared to other fields. Here are some of the perks involved for corporate lawyers:

  • Hefty pay packages: Law firms pay a hefty retainer ship fee to corporate lawyers. While much depends on the qualification and educational background of a candidate, an entry-level corporate lawyer can earn somewhere around 14-18 lacs per annum!
  • High Profile Clientele: Corporate lawyers get a chance to work with high-profile companies and work on deals worth millions.
  • Challenging work profile: Corporate lawyers can expect to work on some complex legal issues and a work environment that’s dynamic and intriguing.
  • Growth and development: Corporate law as a field is ever-expanding which ensures job security, growth, and further job opportunities.

One must be mindful of the fact that every good thing has a downside to it too. Being a corporate lawyer is not everyone’s cup of tea. There are some cons of being a corporate lawyer as well:

  • Too demanding: Being a corporate lawyer will take a lot of your hours, depending on the work and practice area. There is endless work which makes it a challenging career choice to stick to.
  • Restrictions: There are several restrictions involved which include non-solicitation of clients you are working with, restrictions on trading on the stock market, etc.
  • Quality of work: Not all firms provide diverse clients and work and hence, the work profile might become monotonous and boring after a point of time.

A career in corporate law is rewarding and offers more than just money. It’s equivalent to success and respect. A successful corporate lawyer is capable of resolving potential issues before they become costly lawsuits, strikes, or contract conflicts. To put it another way, corporate lawyers avoid the problems that ordinary lawyers face in litigation. In the sphere of law, corporate law is a very powerful and adaptable alternative. Corporate law offers several employment options in both the public and private sectors, and the demand for corporate lawyers is growing by the day. The emerging trend in Corporate Law is due to the multiple benefits that are available to lawyers while practicing in this area. There is constant training of the individuals which helps the lawyers sharpen and harness their skills, corporate law also provides stability and opportunity to grow and try multiple facets of law.


Relevant Commentaries on Corporate Law


Relevant Courses on Corporate Law