Corporate lawyers ensure the legality of commercial transactions. They must have knowledge of statutory law and regulations passed by government agencies to help their clients achieve their goals within the bounds of the law. To structure a business transaction legally, a corporate lawyer may need to research aspects of contract law, tax law, accounting, securities law, bankruptcy, intellectual property rights, licensing, zoning laws, and other regulations relating to a specific area of business. The lawyer must ensure that a transaction does not conflict with local, state, or federal laws. In contrast to the adversarial nature of trial law, corporate law is team-oriented.
The everyday responsibilities of a lawyer may consist of the following:
- Advising clients
- Interpreting laws and applying them to specific cases
- Gathering evidence for a case and researching public and other legal records
- Representing clients in court
- Examining legal data to determine advisability of defending or prosecuting lawsuit
- Presenting evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation
- Preparing and drafting legal documents e.g. legal briefs, wills, deeds, mortgages, leases etc.
- Negotiating settlements
- Supervising legal assistants
- Act as agent, trustee, guardian, or executor for businesses or individuals
Following skills are required for being a good corporate lawyer
1. Technical: Knowing the law
The most important quality is to know the law well and have conceptual clarity — there is no substitute for this. If one wants to succeed in the world of corporate laws, one need to be technically sound in particular in contract law, Companies Act and other corporate laws (e.g. takeover code and listing rules).
2. Attitude: Ready to make that extra effort
The life of a corporate lawyer (like many other top professions) might look glamorous to many, but it requires a lot of hard work. There are times when one would have to sacrifice weekends for clients and other team members. One needs to be ready to do that — to take on more work and share someone’s workload demonstrates a positive attitude and work commitment. This is a stepping stone towards becoming a “dependable” lawyer, in my view.
3. Keenness to learn more and taking up new challenges
The world of corporate law is always evolving (and sometimes faster than one expects), which makes it fun. Every now and then, you have new laws, legal structures and products being introduced in the market. One needs to be keen to learn (and at times, unlearn) and take up new challenges.
4. Attention to detail is indispensable
It is an absolute must to have good attention to detail at all times. Given the nature of work firms like mine do, there is no margin of error. Small mistakes could significantly cost our clients (and the firm) and therefore it is a must to ensure that one works on this quality from the start.
5. Commercial awareness puts you ahead
Often trainees and junior associates are too focused on learning the law and doing the work that they are given, and they end up not focusing on the latest commercial developments. They think that it is a responsibility of the partners and senior associates. I do not think that that’s a right approach. If one wants to be ahead of their peers and competitors, commercial awareness is a must. Being aware of the commercial developments is a matter of habit, the earlier one starts the easier it gets later.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge