Corporate lawyer

Corporate lawyers


Corporate lawyers provide legal consulting services and representation to corporations and organisations. They give advice on matters relating to taxes, legal rights and patents, international trade, trademarks, and legal financial issues arising from operating a business.

Corporate lawyers typically do the following duties:

  • Advise corporate clients on legal issues related to business operations, contracts, and transactions.
  • Draft and review legal documents, including contracts, agreements, and corporate policies.
  • Assist in the formation of new businesses and guide clients through the process of establishing corporate structures.
  • Handle mergers, acquisitions, and other business transactions, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Represent corporations in negotiations, mediations, and settlements with other parties.
  • Provide legal guidance on intellectual property matters, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
  • Advise on labor and employment law matters, including employee contracts, workplace policies, and compliance with labor regulations.
  • Ensure corporate compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards.
  • Assist with corporate governance matters, including board meetings and shareholder relations.
  • Handle legal disputes and litigation involving the corporation, either by representing the company in court or coordinating with external litigation attorneys.
  • Conduct legal research on complex corporate law issues to provide informed advice to clients.
  • Stay updated on changes in corporate laws and regulations that may affect the client’s business operations.
  • Collaborate with other legal professionals, such as paralegals and legal assistants, to support the corporation’s legal needs.
  • Negotiate and draft business contracts and agreements with vendors, customers, and other business partners.
  • Review financial documents and transactions to ensure compliance with securities laws and regulations.
  • Provide advice on corporate tax matters and strategies to optimize tax efficiency.
  • Participate in due diligence processes for corporate transactions to assess legal risks and potential liabilities.
  • Develop strategies to protect the company’s intellectual property rights and trade secrets.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to corporate lawyer:

corporation lawyer
business lawyer
corporate solicitor
corporate advocate
trademark lawyer
corporate counsel
corporate attorney
company solicitor
patent lawyer
business solicitor
intellectual property lawyer

Working conditions

Corporate lawyers typically work in law firms that specialize in corporate law or as in-house counsel for corporations and businesses. They may work long hours to meet project deadlines or handle time-sensitive legal matters. The work environment can vary between office settings, client meetings, and courtrooms, depending on the nature of the legal work. Corporate lawyers may need to travel occasionally to meet with clients or attend business meetings.

Minimum qualifications

Becoming a corporate lawyer requires a bachelor’s degree, followed by three years of law school to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. After graduating from law school, aspiring corporate lawyers must pass the bar examination in the state where they wish to practice. Many corporate lawyers also pursue additional education or certifications in business law or specific areas of corporate practice. Practical experience gained through internships, clerkships, or work at law firms specializing in corporate law is valuable for building expertise in the field.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Corporate lawyer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Corporate lawyer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to corporate lawyer.

legal consultant
court jury coordinator

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of corporate lawyer.

  • Legal case management: The procedures of a legal case from opening to closing, such as the documentation that needs to be prepared and handled, the people involved in different stages of the case, and the requirements that need to be met before the case can be closed.
  • Legal research: The methods and procedures of research in legal matters, such as the regulations, and different approaches to analyses and source gathering, and the knowledge on how to adapt the research methodology to a specific case to obtain the required information.
  • Legal terminology: The special terms and phrases used in the field of law.
  • Corporate law: The legal rules that govern how corporate stakeholders (such as shareholders, employees, directors, consumers, etc) interact with one another, and the responsibilities corporations have to their stakeholders.
  • Court procedures: The regulations which are in place during the investigation of a court case and during a court hearing, and of how these events occur.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of corporate lawyer.

  • Compile legal documents: Compile and collect legal documents from a specific case in order to aid an investigation or for a court hearing, in a manner compliant with legal regulations and ensuring records are properly maintained.
  • Protect client interests: Protect the interests and needs of a client by taking necessary actions, and researching all possibilities, to ensure that the client obtains their favoured outcome.
  • Analyse legal evidence: Analyse evidence, such as evidence in criminal cases, legal documentation regarding a case, or other documentation that can be regarded as evidence, in order to obtain a clear image of the case and reach resolutions.
  • Present arguments persuasively: Present arguments during a negotiation or debate, or in written form, in a persuasive manner in order to obtain the most support for the case the speaker or writer represents.
  • Use consulting techniques: Advise clients in different personal or professional matters.
  • Present legal arguments: Present legal arguments during a court hearing or during negotiations, or in written form after a trial concerning its outcome and sentence, in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for the client or to ensure the decision is followed. Present these arguments in a manner that is compliant with regulations and guidelines and adapted to the specifications of the case.
  • Interpret law: Interpret the law during the investigation of a case in order to know the correct procedures in handling the case, the specific status of the case and the parties involved, the possible outcomes, and how to present the best arguments for the most favourable outcome.
  • Respond to enquiries: Respond to enquiries and requests for information from other organisations and members of the public.
  • Observe confidentiality: Observe the set of rules establishing the nondisclosure of information except to another authorised person.
  • Consult with business clients: Communicate with clients of a business or business project in order to introduce new ideas, obtain feedback, and find solutions to problems.
  • Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
  • Negotiate lawyer’s fee: Negotiate compensation for legal services in or out of court, such as hourly or flat-rate fees, with clients.
  • Provide legal advice: Provide advice to clients in order to ensure that their actions are compliant with the law, as well as most beneficial for their situation and specific case, such as providing information, documentation, or advice on the course of action for a client should they want to take legal action or legal action is taken against them.
  • Analyse enforceability: Examine the client’s present situation, ideas and wishes under a legal perspective to assess their legal justification or enforceability.
  • Identify clients’ needs: Identify the areas in which the client may require aid and investigate the possibilities for meeting those needs.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of corporate lawyer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Mergers and acquisitions: The process of joining together separate companies and relatively equal in size, and the purchase of a smaller company by a bigger one. The financial deals, the legal implications, and the consolidation of financial records and statements at the end of the fiscal year.
  • Pharmaceutical legislation: European and national legal framework for the development, distribution, and use of medicinal products for humans.
  • International trade: The economic practise and study field that address the exchange of goods and services across geographic borders. The general theories and schools of thought around the implications of international trade in terms of exports, imports, competitivity, GDP, and role of multinational companies.
  • Health care legislation: The patients` rights and responsibilities of health practitioners and the possible repercussions and prosecutions in relation to medical treatment negligence or malpractice.
  • Railway law: The laws and regulations governing the activities and functioning of the railway system.
  • Media law: Set of laws related to the entertainment and telecommunications industry and regulatory activities within the fields of broadcasting, advertising, censorship, and online services.
  • Urban planning law: Investments and urban development agreements. Legislative developments regarding construction in terms of environmental, sustainability, social and financial matters.
  • Intellectual property law: The regulations that govern the set of rights protecting products of the intellect from unlawful infringement.
  • Financial statements: The set of financial records disclosing the financial position of a company at the end of a set period or of the accounting year. The financial statements consisting of five parts which are the statement of financial position, the statement of comprehensive income, the statement of changes in equity (SOCE), the statement of cash flows and notes.
  • Road transport legislation: Know road transport regulations at regional, national, and European level in matters of safety and environmental requirements.
  • Contract law: The field of legal principles that govern written agreements between parties concerning the exchange of goods or services, including contractual obligations and termination.
  • Legislation in agriculture: Body of regional, national and European laws enacted in the field of agriculture and forestry concerning various issues such as product quality, environmental protection and trade.
  • Anti-dumping law: The policies and regulations that govern the activity of charging a lower price for goods in a foreign market than one charges for the same goods in a domestic market.
  • Environmental legislation: The environmental policies and legislation applicable in a certain domain.
  • Food legislation: Legislation related to the food and feed industry including food manufacturing, hygiene, safety, raw materials, additives, GMOs, labelling, environmental and trade regulations.
  • Securities: The financial instruments traded in financial markets representing both the right of property over the owner and at the same time, the obligation of payment over the issuer. The aim of securities which is raising capital and hedging risk in financial markets.
  • ICT security legislation: The set of legislative rules that safeguards information technology, ICT networks and computer systems and legal consequences which result from their misuse. Regulated measures include firewalls, intrusion detection, anti-virus software and encryption.
  • Subsidiary operations: The coordination, processes, and operations revolving around the management of subsidiaries either nationally or internationally. The integration of strategic guidelines coming from the headquarters, consolidation of financial reporting, and abidance by the regulatory mandates of the jurisdiction where the subsidiary operates.
  • Joint ventures: The legal agreement between companies which get together to create a temporary legal entity where they can share knowledge, technology, and other assets aiming at developing new products or services appealing to the market. Also, to share the expenses and revenues of the venture.
  • Insolvency law: The legal rules regulating the incapacity to pay debts when they fall due.
  • Employment law: The law which mediates the relationship between employees and employers. It concerns employees’ rights at work which are binding by the work contract.
  • International law: The binding rules and regulations in the relations between states and nations, and legal systems dealing with countries rather than private citizens.
  • Air transport law: Know air transport laws and regulations. Due to the nature of aviation, knowledge of air transport laws partially overlaps with knowledge of international law.
  • Property law: The law and legislation that regulates all the different ways to handle property, such as the types of property, how to handle property disputes and property contract rules.
  • Social security law: Legislation concerning the protection of individuals and the provision of aid and benefits, such as health insurance benefits, unemployment benefits, welfare programs and other government-provided social security.
  • Public auction procedures: The regulations involved in the repossession and consequent selling of goods in public auctions in order to obtain the amount owed by an individual as ruled by a court of law.
  • Competition law: The legal regulations that maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive behaviour of companies and organisations.
  • Commercial law: The legal regulations that govern a specific commercial activity.
  • Tax legislation: Tax legislation applicable to a specific area of specialisation, such as import tax, government tax, etc.
  • Copyright legislation: Legislation describing the protection of the rights of original authors over their work, and how others can use it.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of corporate lawyer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Trace financial transactions: Observe, track and analyse financial transactions made in companies or in banks. Determine the validity of the transaction and check for suspicious or high-risk transactions in order to avoid mismanagement.
  • Provide legal advice on investments: Study corporate investments and their legal repercussions in order to advise organisations on the legal procedures, the drafting of the contracts, and tax efficiency operations.
  • Negotiate in legal cases: Negotiate on the client’s behalf during the treatment of a legal case in order to obtain the most beneficial outcome for the client, and to ensure that all decisions are compliant with legal regulations.
  • Moderate in negotiations: Oversee negotiations between two parties as a neutral witness to ensure that the negotiations occur in a friendly and productive manner, that a compromise is reached, and that everything is compliant with legal regulations.
  • Interpret financial statements: Read, understand, and interpret the key lines and indicators in financial statements. Extract the most important information from financial statements depending on the needs and integrate this information in the development of the department’s plans.
  • Represent clients in courts: Assume the position of representation in behalf of clients in courtrooms. Present arguments and evidence in favour of the client in order to win the case.
  • Analyse internal factors of companies: Research and understand various internal factors that influence the operation of companies such as its culture, strategic foundation, products, prices, and available resources.
  • Manage contracts: Negotiate the terms, conditions, costs and other specifications of a contract while making sure they comply with legal requirements and are legally enforceable. Oversee the execution of the contract, agree on and document any changes.
  • Assess financial viability: Revise and analyse financial information and requirements of projects such as their budget appraisal, expected turnover, and risk assessment for determining the benefits and costs of the project. Assess if the agreement or project will redeem its investment, and whether the potential profit is worth the financial risk.
  • Advise on legal compliance for participation in financial markets: Consult and provide guidance on the legal changes the company has to undergo in order to participate in the financial market such as writing dividend policies, defining the ownership and structure of the company, and the compliance with the standards set by organisms regulating the market the company is entering to.
  • Detect financial crime: Examine, investigate, and notice possible financial crimes such as money laundering or tax evasion observable in financial reports and accounts of companies.
  • Manage contract disputes: Monitor issues that arise between the parties involved in a contract and provide solutions in order to avoid lawsuits.

ISCO group and title

2611 – Lawyers

  1. Corporate lawyer – ESCO
  2. Corporate Lawyer Careers | The Princeton Review
  3. What Do Corporate Lawyers Do? |
  4. Corporate Law | Georgetown Law
  5. Featured image: Image by LEANDRO AGUILAR from Pixabay
Last updated on July 28, 2023