Corporate lawyers are in big demand when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, Intellectual Property Rights and a host of other domains. Do you have it in you to become one?
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High profile corporate lawsuits have hogged the limelight in recent times. Sample this: Vodafone Vs Government of India, Sahara Vs SEBI, Satyam Computers Vs CBI, 2g Spectrum Case, etc.These cases have brought to the fore the growing importance of corporate lawyers in a big way.
Need for corporate lawyers
Indian economy has been growing at a steady rate, benefiting the corporate sector. With the policy changes in terms of FDI, etc, India is seen as an investment centre, leading to activity in Merger and Acquisitions (M&A) and Private Equity (PE). The Companies Act 2014 has further consolidated the practice in terms of regulations and compliances. All this has given a huge impetus to Corporate Law.
What do you study?
“The aspects that need to be learned are the basics of commercial law and corporate law,” says Dr. Lovely Dasgupta, Associate Professor, WBNUJS.“All law firms look for candidates who are clear on the theoretical aspects of law and the firms only teach them the practical aspects like due diligence, drafting and negotiation with the clients,” she added. A number of good law schools offer diplomas and postgraduate diplomas in corporate law (See Box).
Select programmes in Corporate Law
Indian Law Institute, Delhi
Post Graduate Diploma in Corporate Laws
Indian Law Society, Pune
Diploma in Corporate Laws
Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune
Diploma in Corporate Law
West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
Post Graduate Diploma in Business Laws
National Law School of India University, Bangalore
Master in Business Laws
What is a Corporate Lawsuit?
Corporate Lawsuit is a legal action in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss because of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy.A lawsuit may involve dispute resolution of private law issues between individuals, business entities or non-profit organizations. A lawsuit may also enable the public body to be treated as if it were a private body in a civil case, as plaintiff, or defendant regarding an injury, or may provide the public body with a civil cause of action to enforce certain laws.
Who is a Corporate Lawyer?
A corporate lawyer is defined as a lawyer who specializes in corporation law. A notable lawyer, Bernstein characterized ‘corporate lawyer’ as the ‘handmaidens of the deal’. The role of a corporate lawyer is to ensure the legality of commercial transactions. Therefore, these lawyers have their specialty in corporate laws, and those related to business of the corporations they work. However, there are others, who work in a firm and hired by different corporate houses, if in cases they need them. In addition to the bench of lawyers, there are others who work independently and are called in for the respective cases, whenever needed.
Key qualities of corporate lawyers
“Right from academic background to the quality of work, time management, ability to interact with clients, these are key qualities to succeed. A corporate lawyer has to continuously stay abreast with legal skills, work long hours and keep connected with the clientele.
The profession is highly demanding in terms of time and stamina and communication skills. Equally important is the need to create your brand both in terms of quality, trust and specialization of service,” says Rabindra Jhunjhunwala, partner, Khaitan & Co.
Rajiv K. Luthra, Founder & Managing Partner, Luthra & Luthra Co. delineates the key qualities as “A good commercial sense, attention to detail, and good soft skills such as managing people and timelines and of course, integrity.”
Those aspiring for corporate law as a profession should know that it is a lucrative one but the pressure begins early. “Most of the top-tier Indian Law firms pay very lucrative compensation through campus hiring, with starting packages ranging from 12 to 15 Lakhs,” says Rabindra Jhunjhunwala.
Being a corporate or business lawyer, you may bag a handsome salary in your initial days. Vijaya Sampath, Senior Partner, Lakshmi Kumaran and Sridharan, says, “Advantage of corporate law is that earning potential even in the initial years is quite high compared to other professions including litigation.”
According to Dr. Dasgupta, salary depends on the placement scenario. “It could be as high as 20 lakh p.a or could be as low as 20000/- p.m,” she said.
Even if you do not wish to join any firm, you may start independent practices or consultancy. Moreover, Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) is another launching platform, which may help corporate lawyers to add a value to their CV. Ramanuj Mujherjee, a private practitioner and WBNUJS, Kolkata alumnus says, “Though many law students are afraid to work at LPOs because they think that it will "destroy" their CV. This is not true at all - if you have good skills and professional experience, including having done well in an LPO, you will always be welcome anywhere. LPOs provide great career opportunities today, and competition is very low.”
Those who are seeking a break in this field, may find themselves engaged in reading the business papers, understand clients from a commercial perspective and keep abreast of legal developments in fast moving areas such as securities law. Rajiv K. Luthra sums up; “The three most important qualities of a good lawyer are Integrity, Integrity and Integrity.”
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