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How To Become a Corporate Lawyer? Career Guide, Steps, Eligibility, Jobs

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30th Aug, 2023
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How To Become a Corporate Lawyer? Career Guide, Steps, Eligibility, Jobs

A significant contributor to the advancement of the Indian economy, the corporate sector has rapidly developed, increasing the demand for corporate lawyers. From litigations to contracts, mergers to compliances, corporate lawyers oversee it all, and a lot of the business’s operations might rest on the counsel of the corporate lawyer. 

if you are wondering how to become a corporate lawyer and are interested in knowing about the day-to-day workings of corporate lawyers, you have come to the right place. This blog will give you a comprehensive overview of the designation of a corporate lawyer, also sometimes called a business lawyer, the job responsibilities, and the educational qualifications required to become one. 

Steps To Follow To Become a Corporate Lawyer

Read on to get a grasp on the entire step-by-step procedure of becoming a corporate lawyer:

  • Complete the 10+2 and clear the law entrance exam: As is applicable in any other career, to pursue corporate law, you must pass your 10th and 12th with 50% or above in each exam. It is the minimum qualification needed to apply to law colleges.
  • Gain a Bachelor’s degree: After attempting the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) or a similar entrance exam, you can enrol at a higher education institution for an integrated undergraduate course of five years, like the B.A. LL.B. Alternatively, if you have pursued a Bachelor’s degree in any other discipline and then taken a three-year LL.B.
    degree, you can take the CLAT exam after that as well.
  • Acquire skills relevant to corporate law: During your undergraduate, your specialisation will determine the theoretical knowledge of your practice area. To gain practical experience, you must develop research, business communication and negotiating skills.
  • Register at the Bar Council: This is the first step towards becoming a practising lawyer. You can provisionally register yourself at the Bar Council of your state. You have to submit the required documents for the provisional registration and pay a certain fee.
  • Prepare for and attempt the Bar exam: Within two years of Bar Council registration, you must pass the All India Bar Exam (AIBE). Once you pass this exam, the Bar Council of India will award you a certificate of practice with permanent validity.

Corporate Lawyer- Types

Corporate lawyers can branch out into several specific specialisations based on their inclinations. Depending upon the practice areas, corporate lawyers can be classified into several types, as given below:

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Contract Lawyer: Contract lawyers specialise in drafting and ensuring the legal security of contracts, that is, legal agreements between two or more companies, which can be enforced by a court of law if breached by any involved parties.

Lawyer for Merger and Acquisitions: Usually falling under the domain of general corporate, the law for mergers and acquisitions helps one company purchase or join forces with another company to become a single unit.

For companies to expand and develop, mergers and acquisitions can prove crucial in determining the changes in market share.
Corporate lawyers specialising in mergers and acquisitions help acquire and divest shares or assets, arrange schemes for merging or de-merge companies, restructure capital flow, etc. 

Lawyers in Venture Capital: Venture capital law practitioners represent an investor or any other financial service provider in industries of private equity and public and private arrears. They supervise the legal aspects of structuring funds onshore and offshore, finding efficient avenues for tax-efficient investment and drafting documents for raising funds.

Corporate Lawyer- Job Description and Responsibilities

As the name suggests, corporate lawyers monitor legal issues of the corporate sector. Usually, they handle the legal aspect of their client’s business and assets, such as taxes or overseeing acquisitions. If required, a corporate lawyer can also defend their client in court.

Given below are some of the primary job responsibilities of a corporate lawyer:

  • Preparing or assisting in the preparation of legal documents for selling or restructuring organisations
  • Negotiation in preparing and signing contracts
  • Providing legal advice to clients
  • Managing affairs related to employment law
  • Collaborating with the company or the client on legal strategies

Educational Qualifications Required To Become a Corporate Lawyer

India’s primary corporate lawyer qualifications are the same as for any other law specialisations. Aspirants wishing to opt for corporate law as their future career ought to complete their higher secondary examinations with an aggregate of at least 50%. 

After completing the 12th, the candidates must appear for a national or institute-specific entrance examination such as CLAT or LSAT to enrol in a law college.

Candidates can opt for an integrated bachelor’s programme in law, such as a B.A. LL, B or BBA. LL. B or they can complete their three years of graduation in any other discipline followed by a three-year LL. B course. The LL. B course will help further cement their preferred specialisation for law practice, as in this case, corporate law.

After LLB, you can go for professional practice or to further your studies by pursuing a Master’s degree. Once you decide to go for professional practice, you have to register yourself with the Bar Council of any Indian state to get acknowledged as an advocate.

Following your registration with the Bar Council, you must pass the All India Bar India examination within two years to make your enrolment permanent.

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Top Skills Sought in a Corporate Lawyer

As a corporate lawyer, you must possess extensive knowledge in your field and stay updated and informed about the latest developments in corporate and legal sectors. To achieve this, you must acquire skills that will give you an edge over your peers. 

Language proficiency is necessary, and you must be adept in negotiations and solving problems. Efficiency in interpersonal communication is a bonus. Furthermore, you need to be adept in research and critical thinking and possess the ability to build long-term rapport with clients.

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Essential Certifications for a Corporate Lawyer 

Apart from the usual undergraduate degree of LL.B., aspirants can choose to pursue a Master’s degree in Law, namely LL.M., to fortify their specialisation. Many top institutions offer law courses with a specialisation in corporate law. The LL.M. in Corporate and Financial Law offered by Jindal Global Law School in partnership with UpGrad is a highly profitable course for those wishing to pursue higher studies in corporate law.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Corporate Lawyer?

Often, law aspirants are plagued by the question- ‘How many years to become a corporate lawyer?’. The answer varies depending on the educational qualifications one decides to have as a lawyer. If you choose to study an integrated law programme such as B.A. LL.B, or BBA. LL.B, you may become a corporate lawyer in five or six years.

However, if you prefer to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in some other discipline followed by a three-year-long LLB programme, then it might take you a minimum of six to eight years to realise your dream of becoming a corporate lawyer. 

Difference Between Corporate Lawyer and Commercial Lawyer

For people uninitiated in the domain of law, corporate and commercial law might seem the same, especially because corporate law is also commonly referred to as business law. Although both are concerned with business or commercial organisation operations, the scope of work is quite distinct. Hence, it is essential to understand how the responsibilities differ for a corporate and a commercial lawyer. 

Here’s a table listing the differences between the two:

Corporate LawyerCommercial Lawyer
Corporate lawyers are concerned with the activities of individual companies.Commercial lawyers are concerned with the general legal aspects of businesses.
The responsibilities of a corporate lawyer involve the internal structure of the organisation, such as the formation of the company, rights of the stakeholders, expansion of the company through merger or acquisitionCommercial lawyers come into the picture when the company is involved in any external operation, namely a commercial transaction. They supervise terms and conditions for purchase or subscription, required permits for a transaction, and affiliate partnerships.

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Corporate Lawyer- Career Advancement Opportunities

The rising demand for corporate lawyers makes career advancement in this field highly possible. The versatility of the responsibilities of corporate lawyers makes their job extremely rewarding. Both government-owned and private sectors seek corporate lawyers for several purposes, such as an advocate for a firm. 

However, advocacy is a later stage in the professional career of a corporate lawyer, and it requires experience in court. Furthermore, a career in corporate law is highly flexible as one can work as an in-house advisor for a company and a freelance consultant on corporate law.

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Corporate Lawyer- Employment Scope

One can get appointed as a legal counsel or legal officer for a company, ensuring the firm’s operations are well within the legal periphery. Those working as legal counsels in the corporate sector usually hold the following positions— legal manager, legal advisor, or legal associate (senior or junior).

Besides, you can also work as a professor or lecturer specialising in corporate law if you are interested in the academic scope of corporate law. Universities often recruit academics specialising in corporate law if they have at least a Master’s degree.

Salary of a Corporate Lawyer

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A corporate lawyer in India earns INR 697,292 on average per year.  However, this amount can vary from individual to individual depending upon various factors, such as skill set, experience, and educational qualifications. Furthermore, companies might offer different salary ranges, affecting the yearly average. Individuals beginning their careers as corporate lawyers in India can earn approximately 146,000 INR annually.

Conclusion

With a prosperous and dynamic employment field and multiple avenues to employ their knowledge, corporate lawyers are one of the main pillars of a business’s operations. They perform what can be termed corporate housekeeping— supervising the legal aspects of the daily operations and guiding legal documentation.
This article will hopefully take you one step towards answering the question- how to become a business lawyer and a successful one.

Enrol in the LL.M. in Corporate & Financial Law from JGU, offered in collaboration with upGrad. With a cutting-edge curriculum taught by highly qualified faculties and career support in the form of mock interviews, job fairs and case studies, this course can be especially beneficial for those wishing to acquire additional skill sets in corporate law.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What qualifications are necessary to become a corporate lawyer?

Corporate lawyer qualifications in India include a Bachelor’s degree in law, such as a B.A. LL.B., or a BBA.LL. B, followed by a LL.M. postgraduate degree.

2What undergraduate degree is recommended for aspiring corporate lawyers?

As per corporate lawyer education requirements in India, aspiring corporate lawyers are recommended to pursue a five-year B.A. LL.B degree or an LL.B. degree of three years in their undergraduate.

3Can you explain the career progression and potential growth opportunities for corporate lawyers?

After graduating in law and passing the Bar Council's examination, corporate lawyers can become legal associates in a reputed law firm. The experience they gain as an associate can help them advance to the position of senior associate or even gain partnerships and stakes in law firms.

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