WHAT IS CORPORATE LAW?
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.
IF YOU'RE CONSIDERING PURSUING A CAREER IN CORPORATE LAW...
1. Gain practical experience by working as a law clerk. See the Chicago Area 4 or More List for firms that practice corporate law.
2. Take Loyola's Business Law Center Clinic which allows students to apply substantive business and tax law in a live clinical setting.
3. Get to know Loyola professors specializing in corporate law.
4. Join the Business Law Society and get to know the executive board.
6. Keep up with the latest developments in business - read trade publications, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, etc.
8. Think about taking some of the following classes:
- Business Organizations
- Business Planning
- Corporate Externship
- Corporate Transactions in Health Law
- Documenting and Negotiating Financial Transactions
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Nonprofit Organizations
- Accounting for Lawyers
- Business and the Law
- Consumer Law
- Contract Negotiation and Drafting
- Financial Institution Regulation
- Financial Planning for Lawyers and Clients
- International Business Transactions
- Law and Economics
- Technology Transactions for Business Lawyers
9. Sign up for the Tax/Corporate Law TWEN Group to receive periodic email announcements about upcoming events or job opportunities related to this practice area.
CORPORATE LAW RESOURCES
ABA Business Law Section - news, full text magazines, member directory, and links
Association of Corporate Counsel - news, membership information, and member directory
U.S. Business Adviser - Official business site of the U.S. government includes guides and resources that help businesses comply with laws and regulations
Corporate & Securities Law Blog - by Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, & Hampton, LLP