Corporate law deals with the formation and operations of corporations. Aspiring corporate lawyers typically pursue the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, which takes around three years to complete and allows students to select a concentration in different areas, including corporate law.
Corporate Law Programs
Becoming a corporate lawyer would typically require around seven years of post-high school education. Students who wish to go on to attain a degree in corporate law, first need to earn a bachelor’s degree. While law school admission committees do not prefer one major over the others, some prospective corporate lawyers major in pre-law or business. Generally, students who wish to go into corporate law, go for an undergraduate major in business, economics or finance.
To get admitted into a law program, the law school is likely to make it mandatory for you to submit letters of recommendation, LSAT scores and all relevant transcripts. Many schools also offer pre-law advice services to assist students in selecting the right courses and degree program in accordance with their professional goals.
The common corporate law courses you will be taught as part of this degree include the likes of:
Acquisitions and mergers
Ethics and morals
Juris Doctor Degree
After earning their bachelor’s degree, students are eligible to apply for a Juris Doctor program. Once admitted, they will be given the opportunity to explore foundational legal concepts, such as torts, court procedures, civil, criminal and constitutional law, legal communications and judicial processes. They might also take elective courses in business or corporate laws.
Aspiring corporate lawyers may pursue a joint degree, combining legal and business studies, such as the JD/MBA degree. This degree can typically be completed in 4 years, with full-time enrollment. To be eligible for this program, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Some universities might also require you to have at least one year of relevant work experience prior to application for enrollment.
In the first year, students enroll in compulsory or mandatory courses while in the last two years, they have the option of selecting the courses of their own choice.
Master of Laws (LL.M.)
After completing a J.D., corporate law students may also pursue the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree. This is an advanced legal degree which also gives international corporate attorneys the opportunity to practice in the United States.
While the LL.M. is not a requirement for taking a state’s bar exam; however, possession of this degree can help corporate lawyers enhance their expertise in their chosen field. The topics covered at this advance level of education include trademark and patent law, income tax law, antitrust law, corporate conflict resolution and white collar crimes.
PhD in Corporate Law
The PhD in corporate law degree may not be offered; instead many law schools offer the Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree in the same field. This is the highest level of legal education available in the country. The degree is ideally for those who intend to pursue a career in academia or research. Law professors, intellectuals, jurists and scholars hold this degree.
Upon successful completion of any of the abovementioned degrees, graduates would have to sit for their state’s bar exam to receive the license to practice. The examination is administered by the American Bar Association (ABA). The prerequisites to sit for this exam include a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from an ABA-approved institution. In addition to that, there are several states that require potential candidates to pass a mandatory ethical examination before the issuance of the license.
Corporate Law Certificate
A corporate law certificate program is also referred to as a business law certificate program. This allows students to be recognized for their advanced training in corporate law. Holders of this certificate have the opportunity to become legal advisors to businesses, NGOs and various other public and private agencies. The program enables students to develop a broad understanding in fundamental concepts of law, along with exposing them to advanced training opportunities in various important business skills and practices.
Potential courses in a corporate law certificate program could include:
Complex Civil Litigation
Energy Project Development and Finance
International Business Negotiations
New Business Counseling Practicum
Regulation of Capital Markets and Financial Institutions
Online Corporate Law Degree
There are law schools that offer corporate law degrees online, or in hybrid settings. Before you decide to enroll in such a course or program, make sure that it is ABA approved.
Career as a Corporate Lawyer
Corporate lawyers are responsible for understanding, defending and upholding all legal matters related to businesses and their corporate affairs. They may advise individual clients or corporations in matters relating to mergers, patents, taxation, global economics, business contracts, securities and accounting.
These professionals are considered to be well-versed in areas of business and finance law, corporate disputes and resolutions and white collar crimes. Their typical job duties include meeting with clients, dealing with other attorneys, drafting opening and closing courtroom arguments, conducting required research and putting together relevant evidence.
Corporate lawyers typically work in private law firms or run their own private practice. They may also work for the government as well as corporations.
Did You Know?
2 of the Biggest Scandals of the World of Corporate Law
Enron Scandal (2001): Houston based commodities, energy and service corporation, overstated earnings, and modified its balance sheet to indicate favorable performance. The Big Five Audit Firm, Arthur Anderson, was also involved. Both giants suffered a downfall, with the Enron’s CEO getting 24 years in prison, and the company declaring bankruptcy.
WorldCom Scandal (2002): Telecommunications company, inflated its assets by as much as $11 billion, underreported line costs and made fake accounting entries, among other things. The CFO was subsequently fired, while the CEO got 25 years in prison for fraud.
Frequently Asked Question(s)
Q:What are the basic topics covered in a corporate law degree?
A:The curriculum of a corporate law degree may vary slightly from place to place. Generally, basic topics such as the following are covered in the program: advanced corporate tax problems, advanced legal writing, trial advocacy, partnership and the LLC, animal law, antitrust, civil practice research, and more. Some programs may include agency internships to help students gain legal exposure and hands on experience.
Q:What is corporate law?
A:Corporate law can be described as an area of law that studies how organizations, stakeholders, consumers, employers, and workers interact with each other within legal boundaries. Corporate lawyers advise corporate clients on legal issues, represent them in court, and ensure all client interests are protected. The demand for corporate lawyers is steady due to the ever growing field of business and constant evolution of business laws.
Q:What do corporate lawyers do in the industry?
A:Corporate lawyers basically deal with the legal issues that arise in business transactions and contracts. These professionals are licensed to represent clients in the court of law and provide legal advice. The job duties will vary from case to case. Corporate lawyers may also specialize in a particular field of law such as intellectual property, code compliance, securities and tax law.
Q:What is a corporate lawyer job description?
A:A corporate lawyer is concerned with all legal matters which are related to businesses and their corporate affairs. Typically, a corporate lawyer's job entails that they advise clients or corporations on a wide range of matters including taxation, mergers, patents, contracts, and accounting. As part of their job duties, a corporate lawyer may deal with other attorneys; meet clients, draft cases, carry out research and gather evidence.
Q:Can you tell me how to become a corporate lawyer?
A:In order to become a corporate lawyer, you will need to spend about seven years in post-secondary education. Firstly, you need to enroll in an undergraduate program with a major in either pre-law, or business. This is then followed by applying to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) program. Afterwards, you may choose to enroll in a Master of Laws (LL.M.) or PhD in Corporate Law program, depending on your career aspirations.
Q:What does a corporate lawyer do?
A:A corporate lawyer is a lawyer who is well versed in business and finance law, and is concerned with the affairs of businesses and corporations. Some of the duties that they typically carry out include: gathering evidence and making cases, drafting opening and closing arguments, meeting with clients, dealing with other attorney's and carrying out research.
Q:Can you get a law degree online?
A:If you are interested in pursuing law as a career, there are a number of institutions that do offer law degrees online or in a hybrid format. Prior to enrolling in any of these programs or courses, you should do some research in order to ensure that the program you are interested in is ABA approved.
Q:What are the corporate lawyer education requirements?
A:In order to become a corporate lawyer, you'll need to spend at least seven years in post-secondary school. The first step is enrolling in an undergraduate program, with a major in either pre-law or business. This is then followed by applying for admittance in the Juris Doctorate (J.D.) program. If you're interested in furthering your educational qualifications, you may also apply for specialized programs such as the Master of Laws (LL.M.) or PhD in Corporate Law.
Q:How to become a business lawyer?
A:To become a corporate lawyer, you must complete your bachelor education and enroll in a law school. You can opt for a law degree with specialization in corporate law. The program will equip you with in-depth knowledge of legal regulations that govern corporations. The program will also prepare you for the bar exam in your state. You must earn a license to practice as a lawyer or attorney.
Q:What is a corporate attorney?
A:Corporate attorneys are licensed professionals who provide legal guidance to employers and corporations and represent them in the court of law. Their duties typically include: assessing and researching cases, protecting client interests, pursuing trials, cross-examining witnesses, conducting legal research, filing cases, and more. Corporate attorneys can work independently or for an established law firm.
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