What role do corporate lawyers play in business management?

Corporate lawyers play a key role in large organizations. They ensure that every legal aspect of the company is managed appropriately and that it remains compliant. It’s a broad area of practice that is also referred to as company law. In this profession, people might be part of an in-house team, or they might work for a law firm that specializes in corporate law. Specifically, they will deal with the regulations around restructures, mergers, buyouts and acquisitions, among other things.

As such, corporate law is one of the most varied and fascinating practice areas for upcoming lawyers. You may be wondering, what does a juris doctor do? If so, you can find out more by reading the Cleveland State University blog. Cleveland State University offers an online JD (Juris Doctor) program that includes expert tuition from experienced professors and externships under the guidance of a working attorney or judge, all of which readies law students for the world of legal practice. 

What do corporate lawyers do? 

Once trainee lawyers have graduated and chosen corporate law as a pathway, they will be prepared to advise their clients or employer on a range of business agreements and transactions.

Providing recommendations on a company’s plans

Executive officers rely on their legal team to provide expert advice and support. They will ask their lawyers to consider the implications of making deals with other companies to supply parts, or to work on a joint project. Deals such as this take a lot of planning and are outside of the remit of most staff. A corporate lawyer will prepare or look over the legal documents that have been drawn up as part of the deal. They will review any written correspondence between the two parties to ensure that the expectations of their employer will be met.

Legal guidance for the corporation

There are legal aspects of running a company that have to be managed by an expert in law. These include the policies that are in place to oversee teams, departments and sections of the business. A lawyer could be asked to monitor and evaluate the company’s constitution and its bylaws. Furthermore, they will review the business’s governance documentation to establish whether the agreement it has with shareholders and its incorporation certificate are correct. As a result, they might suggest changes that keep these documents up to date with current legislation.

Keeping the business’s paperwork in order

As part of a team, corporate lawyers need to ensure that their employer’s legal documents are accurate before they are signed by someone from the executive department. These files might concern the company’s regular activities, such as those that relate to purchasing equipment, employment or supplying proposals. When a contract is drafted in any of these areas, the corporate law expert will review it, analyze the terms and identify any legal implications for the organization. Even when the paperwork is considered to be standard, a corporate lawyer will go over it in detail to be certain that every line is in order and that nothing in the document could violate either a general regulation or a company policy.  

Giving informed advice

Corporate lawyers often work in advisory roles, giving guidance to the managers and CEOs of their organizations. Frequently, their counsel is sought while the executive team are considering a decision that will affect the company. For instance, when new laws are passed that affect employee safety or benefits, the administration team may need guidance when it comes to keeping the firm compliant. The company lawyer can draft a list of factors for them to take into consideration when designing contracts so that they can be certain not to miss anything.

Interpreting court rulings for their employer

The in-house corporate lawyer is a firm’s resident legal expert, and as such, they will be asked to explain the implications of any relevant court rulings. This is especially important when a case – even one that does not directly involve the company – could impact its financial or commercial interests. New cases can result in legal developments that a firm believes could affect its dealings in the future. If so, the firm asks its corporate lawyer for their opinion on the ruling in this context and also how to prevent the issue from becoming a problem.

Ensuring that the firm is compliant with all relevant regulations

Companies in every sector will have a set of regulatory measures that they are obliged to follow by law. In order to remain compliant with them, firms will ask their corporate lawyer for guidance. Regulatory compliance covers various areas of the organization, especially those that relate to industry standards and basic law. For instance, a company that manufactures exercise machines will need to ensure that its products comply with various state and federal regulations. Its corporate lawyer will ensure that it does so before the machines are inspected by the federal authorities.

Conducting due diligence

In order to thrive in a competitive market, organizations are constantly looking to expand and grow. Therefore, they frequently engage with other firms to receive pitches for collaborations, trading ideas or investments. When these proposals, which can come from national or international companies, arrive, they have to go through a process of due diligence with the corporate lawyer. This ensures that the plans and the details of these are closely evaluated, rather than being checked over by an executive. When the proposal includes the sale or acquisition of property or lands abroad, a corporate lawyer may have to travel to see the real estate. Most lawyers will request detailed bank statements and business plans before they are confident that their company should work with a prospective partner.

An essential asset for any size of business

The day-to-day role of a corporate lawyer will vary depending on the size of their organization, where it is located, and what industry it is part of. As their work is essential to the smooth running of any business, professionals in this field can choose to work with the smallest start-ups or the largest multinationals.