Also referred to as trade law or mercantile law, corporate law is simply the whole set of laws that pertain to sales, trade, commerce, and merchandise. Specifically, it includes laws on banking, finance, insurance, partnership, sale of goods, contracts and taxation.
Corporate law also states the right and obligations of parties involved in several kinds of contracts like guarantees, agency agreement and a host of others.
Branches of corporate law
There are several branches of commercial law and they are:
- Property Law- This law basically concerns all form of transactions that pertain to various types of properties. It solely governs what people own and applies to both personal and real property.
- Contract Law- Here, the enforcement and formulation of contracts are regulated. It showcases the essentials of a valid contract and also provides remedies to parties involved in case of a breach.
- Corporate Law- Corporations draw strength from this law. It comprises the formation, management and even the termination of corporations. Legal provisions are also provided for issues regarding mergers and acquisitions, raising capital for businesses, election of directors, redemption of shares, prevention of insider training and distribution of dividends.
- Tax Law- This type of law covers the levy of the government on both direct and indirect taxes especially on business transactions. Some types of primary taxes include gift, capital gain, profit distribution and sales taxes.
- Business Regulations- This law covers governmental rules and regulations, labour, trade unions, and business organizations.
- Uniform Commercial Code- Popularly known as UCC, this code brings consistency to corporate law across all the states in the US.
- Intellectual Property Law- This law covers copywriting of creative work and patenting of inventions.
What do corporate lawyers do?
Commercial solicitors- 75% of their clients are businesses and most of their work includes reviewing business mergers, reading contracts and amending them for clients or drafting legal papers for businesses.
This type of work involves top notch negotiating skills on behalf of clients over the terms of a contract. Although, this is highly dependent on the area of corporate law you practice.
So many commercial solicitors are also referred to as in-house lawyers. What this means is they only have one client, and they are often engaged with looking after the legal issues of whatever organization they are working for.
Rather than working for private practices, commercial solicitors are allowed to get super engaged with commercial activities.
Barristers- These individuals are referred to as commercial barristers and they deal majorly with issues like business disputes in the form of tort claims or contracts. They basically help solicitors to assist their clients through litigation and also prepare them on what to expect from the opposition.
In commercial cases, documentation is of high quantity because of cases with heavy facts. Thus, to ensure the documentation is properly managed, a barrister works with a solicitor.
There are several areas of specialization especially under the commercial bar which includes tax, banking and finance, contract disputes and so much more.
Simple steps on how to become a corporate lawyer
If you are looking forward to becoming a corporate lawyer, follow the steps below-
Get a bachelor’s degree
This is the very first step to take towards becoming a corporate lawyer. Most employers prefer giving jobs to graduates or persons who have a bachelor’s degree in law. If law isn’t your field of study, its advised you get it because it might take you a longer time to pursue a career in corporate law.
Ensure you do a vacation scheme
A vacation scheme helps you enter the industry specifically to observe how things are being done. They are primarily for gaining experience at law firms and learning all you need to. It can last from one, two, or three weeks. Just think of it as an internship.
However, before applying for any vacation scheme, endeavour to look for firms offering vacation schemes specifically for corporate lawyers. Also make sure to get valuable insight on the corporate culture of such firms as well as their overall structure.
To make progress, daily test out your abilities and strive to be better. After the completion of the scheme, looking for vacancies and going for interviews will become pretty easy for you.
Building a strong network has a way of making you achieve your dreams faster than expected. It could significantly simplify the whole process of becoming a corporate lawyer.
Like it or not, a recommendation can make the difference and this can only happen if you know someone who can recommend you. So, build your connections as fast and as early as you can.
A good way to start is keeping in touch with people from past vacation schemes and internships. You never know where your breakthrough can come from. So, stay connected.
Fix yourself a strong CV
Never make the mistake of selling yourself short with a bad CV. It is crucial to create a good impression to your employer from the start. So, make sure your CV shows that you are quite suited for the job.
Two amazing tips to help you build one that’s impressive are:
- Make sure it projects all your achievements- Showcase examples that demonstrate your key skills.
- Ensure your CV is tailored for the role you’re applying for- Highlight your work experience and your problem solving qualities in relation to some cases you might encounter at the firm you’re applying to. This will definitely score you a strong point.
Get work experience
Work experience of at least six months or a year could increase your chances of pursuing a career in corporate law.
Whether your previous job is in the legal field or not, the experience is necessary for some skills your employer may require. More so, it can also make pitch you higher than other applicants in getting the job.
Complete your legal practice course (LPC)
It is necessary you complete this course before fully delving into the field of corporate law. It is recommended to start the course as soon as you’ve completed your undergraduate studies. Doing this makes it easier for you to apply what you’ve learnt to real-life legal problems.
Corporate law is a gift to businesses and individuals. It evolves constantly to keep up with the changing needs of consumers and business owners.
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