Career Development

What Does a Corporate Lawyer Do?

Find out what a corporate lawyer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a corporate lawyer.

Corporate lawyers are the professionals who help companies stay in business. They provide legal advice on a wide range of topics, including mergers and acquisitions, contracts, patents, trademarks, securities, real estate, tax law, etc.

Corporate lawyers may also be involved with other aspects of running a company, such as advising on compliance issues or helping to manage risk by creating new policies and procedures for employees.

Corporate Lawyer Job Duties

Corporate lawyers typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Representing the company in legal matters such as filing lawsuits or defending against lawsuits filed by shareholders or other third parties
  • Consulting with management to assist with the formation of new companies, mergers and acquisitions, and other business transactions, including drafting contracts and other documentation
  • Drafting, reviewing, negotiating, and revising contracts, including non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality agreements, licensing agreements, settlement agreements, and purchase agreements
  • Drafting organizational documents such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, and partnership agreements
  • Reviewing and analyzing contracts, leases, deeds, wills, trusts, securities offerings, bonds, and other legal documents to ensure compliance with state laws and regulations
  • Researching applicable laws, regulations, and precedents to prepare for trials or negotiations
  • Conducting internal investigations into potential wrongdoing by company employees
  • Assisting in the development of strategies to manage risk exposure and prevent legal problems from occurring
  • Preparing legal documents such as summonses, complaints, answers to complaints, motions, orders, and judgments

Corporate Lawyer Salary & Outlook

Corporate lawyers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $145,000 ($69.71/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $375,000 ($180.29/hour)

The employment of corporate lawyers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Corporate law departments will need more lawyers as they expand their practices into new areas, such as intellectual property and risk management, and as they handle more mergers and acquisitions. However, demand for corporate lawyers may be limited by cost concerns as firms seek to reduce legal spending.

Related: Corporate Lawyer Interview Questions and Answers

Corporate Lawyer Job Requirements

In order to become a corporate lawyer, one typically needs to have the following:

Education: Most corporate lawyers have a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Some also have a master’s degree in business administration (M.B.A.).

Before earning a J.D., students must first earn a bachelor’s degree. A four-year degree in a field such as economics, finance or business administration provides a strong foundation for a career in corporate law.

Training & Experience: Most corporate lawyers receive on-the-job training from their employers. This training may include shadowing a current corporate lawyer or learning the firm’s specific processes and procedures. Training may also include learning the firm’s computer programs and other technology.

Certifications & Licenses: Although many law firms do not have formal requirements for new hires, most seek candidates who have completed a bar exam and have a law license. Those interested in becoming a corporate lawyer should take the Bar Examination for the State of [state] to test for a license in that area.

Corporate Lawyer Skills

Corporate lawyers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are also important for corporate lawyers. They use these skills to communicate with clients, other lawyers and other members of their company. They also use these skills to write contracts, letters and other documents.

Analytical skills: Analytical skills are the ability to break down information and find the most important details. Lawyers use analytical skills to review contracts, identify risks and make decisions. Analytical skills are also important for analyzing evidence and finding the most relevant information for a case.

Research skills: Lawyers often research laws, regulations and precedents to help their clients understand their legal rights and obligations. Corporate lawyers may research company bylaws, contracts and other legal documents to help their clients understand their legal obligations. They may also research laws and regulations to help their clients understand how proposed business transactions may affect their company.

Negotiation skills: Negotiation is the process by which two parties come to an agreement. In law, this may involve negotiating a contract or settlement. In business, it may involve negotiating a contract or agreement. Corporate lawyers may use negotiation skills to help their clients reach agreements that are beneficial to both parties.

Ethics: A company’s reputation is important to its success, so corporate lawyers must be able to advise their clients on ethical practices. A company’s ethics are also important to its employees, so a corporate lawyer can help their clients create an ethical workplace culture.

Corporate Lawyer Work Environment

Corporate lawyers work in the legal department of a corporation, in a law firm that represents corporations, or in the government. They work long hours, including evenings and weekends, when they are working on a case or transaction. Corporate lawyers must be able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines. They also must be able to work independently and as part of a team. Corporate lawyers typically work in offices, but they may travel to attend meetings, conferences, and court hearings.

Corporate Lawyer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how corporate lawyers work. Corporate lawyers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Legal Tech

The legal industry is changing rapidly as technology becomes more prevalent. One of the most significant changes is the growth of legal tech, which refers to the use of software and artificial intelligence to automate legal tasks.

Corporate lawyers can take advantage of this trend by becoming familiar with legal tech products and learning how to use them effectively. This will allow them to work more efficiently and provide better service to their clients.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals has grown exponentially. Corporate lawyers are in a unique position to capitalize on this trend, as they have the expertise needed to help businesses protect themselves from cyberattacks.

By focusing on cybersecurity law, corporate lawyers can help businesses understand their legal obligations when it comes to data security and privacy. They can also help businesses develop policies and procedures that protect them from cyberattacks.

A Greater Emphasis on Ethics

Ethics is becoming an increasingly important topic in the legal profession. As corporations become more globalized, they are facing new challenges related to ethics, such as how to handle conflicts between different legal systems.

Corporate lawyers can play a key role in helping their companies navigate these challenges by understanding the ethical implications of their decisions and providing guidance on how to make the right choices.

How to Become a Corporate Lawyer

A corporate lawyer career path can be very rewarding, but it’s important to consider all the factors that will influence your success. One of the most important things is to find a company that matches your values and culture. You should also make sure you have the right skills for the job.

One way to get started on your corporate lawyer career is by volunteering or interning at a law firm. This will give you an opportunity to see what life as a corporate lawyer is like and help you decide if this is the right career path for you.

Advancement Prospects

Corporate lawyers typically advance in their careers by taking on more responsibility and becoming partner-level attorneys. Partners are typically the most experienced and highest-paid lawyers in a firm, and they typically have a say in firm management and direction. To become a partner, a lawyer typically must have several years of experience working at the firm, and must demonstrate a high level of skill and experience in corporate law. Some corporate lawyers may also choose to move in-house to a corporate legal department, where they can work on a variety of legal issues for the company.

Corporate Lawyer Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we believe that our success is a direct result of our team of exceptional corporate lawyers. We’re looking for a corporate lawyer to join our team and help us continue to be a leader in our industry. The ideal candidate will have experience in corporate law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions. He or she will be responsible for providing legal advice to clients on a variety of corporate law matters, including but not limited to, corporate formation, financing, governance, and compliance. The successful candidate will be a team player with excellent communication and writing skills.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand the client’s business and objectives to provide legal advice that is commercial and practical
  • Advise on a broad range of corporate transactions including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, equity and debt financings, private equity and venture capital investments
  • Prepare and negotiate a wide variety of commercial contracts including supply, distribution, agency, licensing, manufacturing, R&D, IT, outsourcing, NDAs, and joint venture agreements
  • Assist with the establishment of new businesses, advising on the most appropriate legal structure and ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations
  • Act as company secretary for clients, attending board and shareholder meetings and preparing minutes
  • Manage and coordinate due diligence processes in connection with corporate transactions
  • Advise on corporate governance issues and assist with the implementation of best practice
  • Review and update standard template documents such as articles of association, shareholders’ agreements, and investment management agreements
  • Stay up-to-date with changes in legislation and regulation that could impact the client’s business
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with clients, providing timely and efficient advice
  • Supervise and mentor junior lawyers and support staff, delegating work where appropriate
  • Business development activities including identifying opportunities for new work, writing proposals, and networking

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • JD from an accredited law school
  • Admission to state bar
  • 10+ years of experience as a practicing lawyer
  • Strong research and writing skills
  • Excellent oral advocacy and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience in corporate law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions
  • LLM degree in tax or business law
  • CPA or MBA
  • Fluency in more than one language


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