What Type of Law Do You Do? Part Two


Corporate Law--"Collectively, the statutes, rules, regulations, and legal doctrines relating to the ways in which corporations operate.”

-Black’s Law Dictionary

The second of the practice area round tables I attended was about corporate law.  Just to let you know, the practice areas I’ll be focusing are all on areas of law that I’m interested in but if you have interest in any other areas, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
Corporate law seems to be one of the more villainized areas of law, one which focuses on securing money for big corporations.  But there are a lot of different areas related to corporate law, such as securities regulation, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), bond regulation, commercial contracts, financing, and many others.  There’s a lot to corporate law and it’s not all related to just big corporations.
There are two traditional avenues for corporate law work:  in-house counsel and law firm work.  The in-house counsel positions work inside of a company and focuses solely on matters related to that corporation.  In a small company, there is more flexibility with the work that an in-house counsel does every day.  Comparatively, in a large company, there is a more regulated and structured role for a counsel to play as likely there are multiple counsels hired in-house.  Most of this work in house focuses on compliance with various regulatory agencies and even real estate.  When it comes to working on highly significant matters for the corporation, in-house counsel consults with outside counsel to help them solve problems.  However, if you take the bar in another state and want to practice in-house in a different state, you have to apply for your in-house license but there’s no other exam required for that.
In that regard, another method of working in corporate law settings is to work in a law firm as outside counsel.  These type of attorneys typically work with multiple different clients during the course of a day on many different matters throughout their days.  One thing that stands out as the major difference between these two lines of work is outside counsel, and any lawyer in a law firm setting, has to log their time in six minute increments in order to bill their clients.  This requires being diligent in recording what you do every day for each client that you are in charge of.  Another difference with outside counsel is that obtaining clients is a large part of your job, where in working in-house counsel, you always have a client as they are the one employing you, not a law firm.
To do well in this type of law and many others, it is helpful to take practical writing classes, such as contract drafting.  This gives you the opportunity to learn how to be a practicing attorney without actually learning on the job.  Knowing these types of skills can give you a leg up on other people vying for the same job.  Additionally, seeking out different organizations to see how their board meetings are run or what goes on in one is a great experience for a future attorney to see if this type of law is for you.
So, that’s about it for my discussion of corporate law. I have my Torts midterm this week so wish me luck and good luck to any of you studying for midterms or even just starting to work on outlining!

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