Career Profile of a Corporate LawyerJob Descriptions December 5, 2012
Companies rely on corporate lawyers to verify the legitimacy of business transactions and practices. Corporate lawyers are employed by a variety of corporations from various sizes and required to have an in-depth knowledge of regulations and laws, so they can assist their company and clients to stay within legal limits throughout the performance of their work.
Job Responsibilities of a Corporate Lawyer
Employers and clients receive legal advice from corporate lawyers. When they deal with new cases, corporate lawyers usually meet clients and try to get a better understanding of the legal issue at stake. To this end, they consult other lawyers and read corporate filings. Once they have assessed the issue, these professionals usually study previous cases; such research are aimed at establishing precedents, if any.
The work of a few corporate lawyers transpires in courtrooms where they represent their clients before a jury and a judge. At such trials, the opening as well as closing arguments are made by the corporate lawyers who examine and cross-examine witnesses. Often, large corporate entities employ corporate lawyers; however, several of these professionals are independent and represent several companies by contract.
Prerequisites for Becoming a Corporate Lawyer
Corporate lawyers are required to earn a 3-year Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an accredited law school; such accreditation must be done by the American Bar Association. Students who enroll into law schools will take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which they are required to reach a qualifying score. In addition, they need a bachelor degree. After admission to law school, aspiring lawyers have to understand concepts such as property rights and torts during the initial semesters. Tax law and business law classes are reserved for the last year and a half; coursework includes subjects such as taxation and corporate accounting.
One-year Master Program
Once students graduate from law school; some students may want advanced education in business and corporate law; they are able to enroll into a one-year Master of Laws (LL.M.) course. There are significant focus on legal theory and writing in the master degree courses; however, students are allowed to opt for a specialty that they choose. Students who are interested in corporate law could choose to study business finance, commercial law or corporate governance.
Completion of the studies by itself will not suffice and do not allow law school graduates to practice. Licensure requires law school graduates to complete a bar exam, with each state having its own lawyers’ requirements and many states have written ethics examination. Certain states have reciprocal arrangements where lawyers who have passed the bar exam in either state are allowed to practice in the other; however, corporate lawyers who represent companies with presence in many states; they need to pass the bar exam in as many states as required.