What picture comes to mind when the term “corporate lawyer” is mentioned? Do you imagine a nicely dressed professional with a briefcase walking up a stately government building?
While most people can conjure up the image of a corporate lawyer, you’ll be surprised to discover that most of these people do not understand the role of corporate Lawyers. According to the top North Bay Corporate Lawyer, the primary role of corporate lawyers is to offer legal advice to clients about their legal rights, responsibilities, and duties.
Corporate Lawyers—Who are their Clients?
Corporations typically hire corporate lawyers to provide legal counsel and representation to the corporate entity and not the shareholders or employees of the corporation. Under the law, corporations are treated more like people, and they are formed to conduct business.
Corporate law regulates corporations. In other words, this law deals or handles all legal issues faced by corporations. The legal issues faced by corporations are typically many because many state and federal regulations come into play. Corporate lawyers ensure corporations are compliant to avoid legal challenges.
Corporate Lawyers vs. Litigators
Corporate lawyers and other litigators differ slightly, although the terms are often used interchangeably. While both legal professionals work with corporations, their specific duties differ. The following statements can help you differentiate corporate lawyers from litigators simply.
- Corporate lawyers help establish businesses, while litigators help businesses resolve legal issues.
- Corporate lawyers help broker transactions and business deals between and for corporations, while litigators help when such agreements and deals are broken or go wrong.
Simply put, litigators help corporations resolve disputes through the court system, mediation, or arbitration. On the other hand, corporate attorneys try to ensure litigators aren’t involved; that’s why the parties involved should understand their obligations and rights.
What do Corporate Lawyers do?
The duties or responsibilities of corporate lawyers can vary by law firm and the lawyer’s qualifications. However, all corporate lawyers perform the following tasks in a typical workday:
- Make and receive phone calls;
- Negotiate deals;
- Draft legal documents;
- Meet clients, among others.
Besides the above-listed tasks, most corporate law firms or lawyers deal with:
1. Formation, Operation, and Governance of Corporations
Corporations are considered “legal entities,” as aforementioned. In legalese, corporations are defined as follows:
“An entity formed with the approval of the state government to act as an artificial person for business or other activities. A corporation can sue, be sued, and raise funds to start a business or increase capital through shares, provided it’s a nonprofit organisation.
2. Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are formed when one or more corporate entities combine to become one legal entity. Corporate lawyers ensure the merging and acquisition process is smooth. In simple terms, mergers and acquisitions arise when another corporation absorbs one independent corporation.
3. Venture Capital
Venture capital, also known as seed capital, is the financing given to start-ups during their early stages of the development cycle. Venture capital is typically given to high-growth potential businesses, especially those based on emerging technologies or innovative ideas. During venture capital funding, a corporate attorney can help in the following ways:
- Drafting legal documents, such as articles of incorporation and memorandum of association;
- Securing Licences;
- Legal counsel and representation, among others.
4. Project Finance
Project financing refers to finding major infrastructure developments, such as the following:
- Power plants;
- Pipelines, and
- Public transportation systems.
Major projects typically involve many stakeholders or players and a lot of money.
A corporate lawyer who specialises in finance can play a crucial role in project financing in the following ways:
- Drafting the power of purchase agreement, and
- Drafting contractual terms and conditions between investors and financiers
Since project financing is extensive, a corporate lawyer may need to consult experts from different fields.
5. Security Law
Unlike the previous four examples of critical services provided by corporate lawyers, security law is not a specialty of corporate attorneys. However, corporate lawyers are experts in security law. Security law deals with the ownership of tradable securities—stocks and bonds.
Security laws fall under the Federal government and are specified under the Securities Act of 1933. The Act requires all corporations that sell securities to register with the U.S government.
Another significant role of corporate attorneys involves reviewing, drafting, and negotiating binding agreements for corporations. More specific duties can be:
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A):
Here, corporate lawyers do the following tasks:
- Conducting due diligence,
- Negotiating, drafting, and generally overseeing mergers and acquisition deals that involve a corporation “merging” with another company or “acquiring” (purchasing) another company
Creating a framework for running or managing the corporate, such as drafting articles of incorporation, bylaws, advising directors, and other crucial management policies.
Corporate lawyers provide legal services to corporations. Consult a skilled corporate attorney to help you with the legal challenges your company is experiencing.