Careers in Business Law
Various industries rely on corporate counsel and compliance employees to navigate complicated transactions and regulations. With ever-changing laws and regulations governing securities, tax, and other business necessities, there is and will continue to be a great need for attorneys and professionals who understand the complex structure governing business today. The Center for Business Law is committed to providing career advising for all students interested in working in corporate law and compliance.
Careers in Corporate Law for Law Students and Attorneys
Whether negotiating the acquisition of a multibillion dollar company or assisting a start-up company, corporate lawyers are involved in advising businesses on their numerous legal rights, responsibilities, and obligations. General corporate practice involves handling a wide range of legal issues for businesses.
Many corporate lawyers work in law firms, particularly large or mid-sized firms, where they counsel clients and handle business transactions including negotiation, drafting, and review of contracts and other agreements associated with the activities of the business, such as mergers, acquisitions, and divestures; they also advise business clients on corporate governance and operations issues such as the rights and responsibilities of corporate directors and officers and the general oversight of the legal activities of the company. It is very common for a corporate attorney to have a specialty (and, many times, a sub-specialty) in one of the above areas. In addition, corporate attorneys assist business clients with the financial information they must provide to their owners, employees, and shareholders, including reports that must be filed with the SEC and other government agencies (see also: Securities Law).
Many corporate attorneys specialize in representing either "public companies" (companies whose stock trades on a public exchange like the NYSE) or "private companies" (generally, smaller companies whose stock does not trade on a public exchange), given the significant differences in the legal regimes and business needs that govern each type of company.
Other corporate lawyers are employed directly by corporations as in-house corporate counsel. In-house counselors act as internal advisers on myriad business and legal issues, including labor and employment issues, intellectual property issues, contractual issues, and liability issues. Learn more about in-house counsel here.
Resources for Law Students Considering Corporate Law
- Chicago Area 4 or More List
- Business Law Center Clinic
- Law Student Division of the ABA
- ABA Section of Business Law
- Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers Corporate Practice Section
- the Tax/Corporate Law TWEN Group
- 50 Largest Publicly Held Companies in the Chicagoland Area
- 50 Largest Privately Held Companies in the Chicagoland Area
- Association of Corporate Counsel
- US Business Adviser
- Corporate & Securities Law Blog
Careers in Compliance for Attorneys and MJ Students
The ever-changing and increasing regulation of corporations creates a growing need for compliance professionals. Compliance professionals ensure that entities follow all laws and regulations that apply to the entity’s existence and operations. Both attorneys and business professionals qualify for many compliance positions.
For assistance with career planning and additional resources, contact career services.