Courting the Corporate

Gauri Chhabra

The corporate landscape has seen an unprecedented growth in the last few decades with Mergers and Acquisitions, IPOs, joint ventures and LPOs becoming commonplace and frequent. This has created  huge opportunities for the corporate law professionals in the industry. Today, many law students have started accepting jobs with corporate firms as compared to starting their own practice.
What is Corporate Law?
Corporate law, as the name depicts, deals in legal aspects of corporate such as mergers and acquisitions, industrial relations and settling legal disputes with competitors. If you are interested in making career in Corporate Law, you may either pursue a three year course after graduation in any discipline or five year course after class XII.
Eligibility and Skillset
You must pass your class 12th or senior secondary examination with an aggregate of 45% from a recognized board or university. Thereafter, you can appear for the CLAT exam (common law admission test), conducted for the admission to the top government and private colleges in India which consists of  subjects like English Comprehension, General Knowledge & Current Affairs, Legal Aptitude, Mathematics and Logical Reasoning. After successfully clearing the exam, you may choose the course and specialized law branch of your choice. You should have updated yourself with the latest knowledge of new rules and regulations of business, corporate law and company status guidelines. Other skills drafting as well as debating are also equally important.
What would you be required to do?
As a Corporate lawyer, you would serve only one client – the corporation you choose to work for. You will be called upon to handle a variety of legal tasks including corporate taxes, mergers and acquisitions, corporate structure issues, employment law, employees’ contracts, labor and employment law and government reporting. You will generally need to be knowledgeable in a wide range of legal fields and will need to be able to handle a large number of issues like patents, mergers and acquisitions, global economics, securities, accounting, business contracts and more. Some corporations will hire multiple lawyers and each will be a specialist in one or two areas of corporate law. You would also look into a matter in case some sort of criminal charges are there against your client regarding his business activities, and also legalized any new business initiative or business deal performed by an organization. Your job duties may include meeting with clients and other attorneys, preparing legal briefs, opening and closing courtroom arguments, conducting research and compiling evidence.
Institute Scape
* Bharti Vidyapeeth Deemed University New Law College, Maharashtra, offering Certificate Course in Corporate Law.
* Shamsher Bahadur Saxena College of Law, Haryana offering One Year Diploma in Corporate Law and Management.
* Effort Institute of Management and Technology, Delhi, offering BA in Corporate Secretary Ship.
* Aligarh Muslim University, Faculty of Law, Aligarh, offering PG Diploma in Corporate law.
* Dr. Ambedkar College of Law, Andhra Pradesh, offering, Master of Law (Corporate and Security Law).
* National Law School of India University, Bangalore, offering Master of Law in Corporate and Security Law.
*    Management Education and Research Institute, MERI Professional & Law Institute, Delhi NCR, offering PG Diploma in Corporate Law.
* Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, offering Post graduate Diploma in Corporate Law.
* University of Lucknow, Lucknow, offering MBA in Corporate Secretary ship
In Conversation with Mr. SP Singh, Director General, MERI Professional & Law Institute, Delhi.
Why has there been a sudden spurt in students opting for Corporate Law?
From Mahatma Gandhi to Barack Obama, law professionals have always emerged as the top influencers in the 20th and in the 21st century. After the globalization of trade and economy, corporate law is one of the most sought-after career options for today’s youth both in house counsel and in law firms. Opportunities for law graduates are enormous as they are in demand across all domains- be it the judiciary, corporate governance or business consulting firms. Until over a decade ago, law was only a default option as a career with some joining law colleges as a precursor to a political or civil services career. With the opening of National Law Schools across the country, it has become a career of choice for young students who wish to specialize in corporate law or in litigation. Corporate Law aims to create a pool of Corporate Lawyers who are competent enough to understand the intricacies of the business and alongside to be well-versed in the nuances of Corporate Laws and Regulatory Affairs
What other career options, a corporate lawyer may approach apart from joining law firms and corporate houses?
Corporate lawyers are tasked with safeguarding the legality of commercial transactions, representing corporations and advising corporate employees on their legal duties and responsibilities. Because corporate law covers a broad range of topics, corporate lawyers often specialize in one or more areas. These areas include tax law, bankruptcy, intellectual property, zoning or securities. Besides working for a law firm or a corporate house, you may opt for becoming educators, investment bankers or leaders of non-profit organizations.
What advice would you like to share with the aspirants who are seeking a break in this field?
If one is fuelled with dedication, hard work and determination, no obstacle can stop achieving one’s goal, i.e., name, fame and huge earnings. But, don’t forget to polish your written as well as verbal communication skills and developing an aptitude for analytical reasoning. If you are willing to carve a distinct niche, start grooming your personality. When you graduate, you will be conferred upon with many challenges and responsibilities in your selected law fields.
Career Pathways
The plethora of career options in the field of corporate law have virtually rewritten over the last decade or so. Very few matters actually come to the court. Multi-crore suits have changed the very complexion of the game, making corporate law a popular and lucrative career option. And with foreign law firms moving into India, salaries have begun to shoot upwards.
If you can figure out the core functions of an organization, you can tailor the generic law to suit their requirements.
Large private corporate houses
In large private firms, you may work as a legal analyst, where you would be required to analyze laws pertaining to the sphere of the company and its operation. In fact, with joint ventures and foreign collaborations coming in, the need for drawing up contracts and interpreting statutes and statutory provisions would increase considerably. Contract law is gaining importance, thanks to increased private sector participation and liberalization. Securities and banking laws are also gaining importance with the advent of e-commerce.
Multinational Corporations
With global law firms poised to enter India, the market for corporate lawyers is on the verge of an exciting spin. Demand for lawyers with experience in securities and transactions, is growing in proportion to changes in the global marketplace. While till some time ago, only major companies transacted international business, even small players are now involved in foreign transactions necessitating the services of corporate lawyers who are well-versed with International law.
Law firms
There are many different types of law firms you can enter: public or private (corporate); big or small; focusing on advising individuals or corporations. Legal aid firms, community legal clinics, legal start-up companies and other smaller, ’boutique’ law firms tend to specialize in one area of law, while larger or ‘mega firms’ employ numerous lawyers specializing in many areas of law. The latter are usually divided into the transactional department, which advises clients and handles administrative legal work, and the litigation department, which represents the clients in court. Besides large corporate houses, some of the big accounting firms like PwC and KPMG have opened their own legal departments.
Corporate lawyers can become general business managers and even aspire to become CEOs. It is not very common in India but in the US, many lawyers and legal counsels become CEOs of companies by switching careers mid-stream and getting a strong business orientation.
To boost your prospects further, you could even plumb for an additional qualification, e.g., Company Secretaryship or a degree in HR or Industrial Relations with a working knowledge of labor laws depending on the field you wish to specialize in. Conversely, you could opt for a Master’s in Business Laws from NLSIU (through distance learning mode) after your MBA or CS to boost your prospects.
If you have a flair for writing, you could initially attach yourself to the legal correspondent of a newspaper and move on to independent reporting in due course. If you are academically inclined, you could also join a reputed legal publishing house or go into teaching, research or perhaps even politics.
Therefore, if you wish to court the corporate with a law degree, script a career in Corporate Law.


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