"What do corporate

lawyers do?"

Background

Most of the work corporate lawyers do is governed by Company Law

Corporate lawyers help businesses do business and the work they do typically falls into the following categories (amongst others):

  • Mergers and Acquisitions 

  • Restructuring Companies

  • Private Equity Transactions

  • Listing Companies on the Stock Exchange

Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers & Acquisitions ("M&A") are transactions in which the ownership of companies/entities are transferred or consolidated with other entities (i.e. essentially buying and selling companies to other companies).

M&A transactions enable companies to grow, downsize or expand the nature of its business.

Restructuring Companies

Restructuring transactions involve the reorganisation of the legal ownership, operational, financial or other structure of a company to make it more profitable or better organised. 

Usually restructuring transactions involve incorporating new companies to add to the company's group structure, moving shares, inter-company balances or other assets around the group or selling off/demerging a company or assets of a company in the group.

Private Equity

Private Equity firms (usually set up as a limited partnership) raise money from investors (usually high net worth individuals) which is pooled into a fund (i.e. the private equity fund). 

 

The fund then buys businesses that the private equity firm believes it can improve by restructuring the business. The fund then sells the business (hopefully) at a profit (making the investors of the fund money!).  

Typical tasks of a corporate lawyer...

  • Negotiating and preparing various legal documents such as agreements, reports and corporate approvals. 

  • Due diligence of a business (i.e. review of key documents and records relating to that business) to identify financial/legal position of the business. 

  • Dealing with private equity funds and listing clients' companies on recognised stock exchanges. 

  • Strategising with clients and tax advisors on a company's group structure. 

  • Dealing with the signing and completion of deals and transactions and attending client meetings. 

Skills required to be a corporate lawyer...

  • Good knowledge of business law and regulatory developments. 

  • Strong commercial awareness. 

  • Strong communication and negotiation skills. 

  • The ability to think outside the box. 

  • Great attention to detail and analytical skills. 

  • Team player. 

  • Strong interpersonal and people management skills.

  • Thrive under pressure. 

Firms to consider (outside the Magic Circle)...

  • Addleshaw Goddard LLP

  • Burges Salmon LLP

  • DLA Piper UK LLP

  • Eversheds Sutherland

  • Gowling WLG

  • Osborne Clarke LLP

  • Pinsent Masons

  • Mills & Reeve LLP

  • Shoosmiths LLP

  • Stevens & Bolton LLP

  • Walker Morris LLP

  • Womble Bond Dickinson UK LLP