What kind of work do lawyers in general corporate practice do?

A lawyer in a corporate setup mainly looks after the working of the corporation as per the governing rules and regulations of its authority supervising it. He is required to advise and take required action on a particular legal issue, within his authority.

A corporate company may either hire different in-house counsels, specialising in various legal departments for their work and they can look after all the legal matters of the company or, a company can hire a law firm in case of need for legal assistance for a specific issue. There is also a third procedure that is sometimes followed where an in-house counsel is authorised to hire or take the assistance of a law firm for a specific issue, i.e. the in-house counsel is given the responsibility to engage with a firm, he finds fit for the task and solves the issue accordingly.

Following are the various tasks a corporate lawyer has to undertake for the corporation:

Legal documentation

Right from the formation or establishment of a company or a corporation, a need for a legal attorney arises for the creation of a contract of incorporation and employment for its workers. Corporate attorneys help with the basic legal work related to establishment, organisation, dissolution of the company and also advise on the duties and responsibilities of the employees. They draft and review articles which elaborate on the creation of the company and specify the management of internal affairs. They may also be given the responsibility of formation of documents containing-policies, organisational structures, rules, licenses etc. in case of any dealings, business collaboration and negotiating commercial agreements in case of a transaction with other companies or trusts.

Attorneys may even be asked to form employment contracts, confidentiality agreement, agreements for breach or non-compliance with the contract etc.

Assistance regarding Mergers and acquisitions

A corporate lawyer dealing in mergers and acquisitions has to mainly provide assistance and suggest the legal ways to raise funds for the company and/or make space for the company in the market. One of the most common ways to earn money or acquire capital for running a corporation is buying and selling of a business or its assets. The lawyer has to prepare the documents and negotiate deals with the clients (if he is authorised to do so) or advise about the capital benefits on mergers/demergers/joint ventures across a wide range of industry sectors to the higher authorities.

In case of an agreement involving international clients, the lawyer also has to take care of the foreign laws and ensure that the deal is being carried on in compliance with the applicable regulations.

Look after Intellectual properties

Intellectual property includes copyrights, patents and trademarks which deals with protecting an idea, business strategy or trade secrets which are not to be used or copied by others.

  • Trademarks- generally include logos, brands, phrases etc.
  • Copyrights- protect the creation of the artists like photographs, designs, paintings, music, and write-ups.
  • Patents- include the invention or an essential feature of a product or process of manufacturing a product which is not obvious.

A company employs an intellectual property attorney to handle all such issues related to a company’s intellectual property. A lawyer has to ensure the protection of the company’s properties containing intellectual assets and file patents, copyrights and trademarks accordingly.

Handle Taxations

Tax lawyer helps a business run in accordance with the applicable laws by filing its tax returns. A tax lawyer gives suggestions on all tax-related issues of the company and ensures the legality of the commercial activities of the company. The lawyer may also suggest valid deductions, exemptions, and credits to relax the tax burden on a company by saving funds.

Corporate Litigation

Many a time, a lawyer in an organisational setup also has to practice litigation in relation to any business dispute of the company. The suit may be for a breach or violation of the terms of a contract by a party, taxation laws, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, corporate and real estate issues etc.

The daily job of a business litigator may include dealing with external counsels and resolving litigations, appearing before the court and addressing legal matters, drafting notices, affidavits, statements, plaint and petitions in a court. Many companies do not hire business litigators separately but ask the lawyers in the respective legal departments to take up the case falling within their area of expertise.

Advisory services

The primary task of a legal service advisor is to research and assist with various legal issues. The advisors often consult with the lawyers in different departments of a company (if present) to provide accurate and precise advice for the company.

Corporate Finance

The role of a corporate lawyer is often drawn with the responsibility of managing the private equity of the firm/company. A private equity lawyer advises on the structure of funds and investments, negotiates deals with other companies, advises on exits, and assists in raising funds for the company. 

Corporate recovery

The main task of a corporate recovery lawyer is to advise the creditor on different aspects of administration, rescues and liquidations, enforcement of securities etc. They advise on the procedure for debt recovery and file a suit for the same as and when required.

Commercial assistance

Commercial lawyers within a corporation advise on various sale and trade-related issues. These lawyers generally advise on how to manage and grow the business of the company. They also advise on manufacturing, marketing and distribution in order to expand the market for the business of the company.