Corporate Lawyer: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

Author: ProfGuide
Corporate Lawyer: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

Corporate lawyers are legal professionals who specialize in the legal aspects of business transactions and operations. They provide legal guidance and advice to companies and organizations on a wide range of issues such as contracts, compliance, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, and employment law. They also represent their clients in legal disputes and negotiations with other companies, government agencies, and individuals. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.



Corporate lawyers can specialize in various areas of law, depending on their clients' needs and the nature of the business they represent. Some common specializations include:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) - This area of law involves advising clients on the legal aspects of buying or selling a business, including due diligence, negotiations, and drafting contracts.
  • Securities Law - This area of law involves advising clients on the legal aspects of raising capital through the sale of securities, such as stocks and bonds.
  • Corporate Governance - This area of law involves advising clients on the legal and ethical responsibilities of corporate directors and officers, including compliance with regulations and best practices.
  • Intellectual Property - This area of law involves advising clients on the legal aspects of protecting and exploiting their intellectual property, including trademarks, patents, and copyrights.

Tasks and responsibilities

Some of the tasks and responsibilities of a corporate lawyer may include:

  • Providing legal advice and guidance to clients on business transactions and operations
  • Drafting and reviewing contracts and other legal documents
  • Representing clients in negotiations with other companies, government agencies, and individuals
  • Conducting due diligence on behalf of clients to identify legal risks and liabilities
  • Advising clients on compliance with laws and regulations
  • Representing clients in legal disputes, including litigation and arbitration.

 Pros and Cons


  • High earning potential
  • Opportunity to work with a variety of clients and industries
  • Challenging and intellectually stimulating work
  • Opportunity for career advancement and growth
  • Can have a positive impact on clients' businesses.


  • Long hours and high stress
  • High workload and tight deadlines
  • May have to work on weekends and holidays
  • May have to deal with difficult clients or legal disputes
  • Can be highly competitive.


In the United States, the demand for corporate lawyers is expected to grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is driven by increasing business activity and the need for legal advice and representation in complex business transactions and disputes. Similar growth trends are expected in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Salary ranges

In the United States, the average salary for corporate lawyers is around $140,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. In Canada, the average salary is around $100,000 CAD per year, according to Indeed. In the United Kingdom, the average salary is around £80,000 per year, according to Totaljobs. In Australia, the average salary is around AU$125,000 per year, according to Seek.

Where do Corporate Lawyers work?

Corporate lawyers work in a variety of settings, including law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. They are needed in every industry and sector, from technology and finance to healthcare and education. Corporate lawyers are essential for ensuring that businesses operate legally and ethically and for protecting their clients' interests.

 Important qualities of a successful Corporate Lawyer

Some important qualities of a successful corporate lawyer include:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure
  • Strong negotiation and advocacy skills
  • A solid understanding of business and industry trends
  • A strong work ethic and dedication to their clients.

On the other hand, those who may not be suitable for this profession include those who struggle with high-pressure environments and tight deadlines, those who struggle to communicate effectively, and those who do not have a strong understanding of business and industry trends.

Step-by-step career path

Here is a step-by-step career path for becoming a corporate lawyer:

  1. Obtain a Bachelor's degree in a related field such as business, economics, or political science.
  2. Attend law school and obtain a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.
  3. Pass the bar exam in your state to obtain your license to practice law.
  4. Gain experience in the legal field by working as a clerk, associate, or in-house legal counsel.
  5. Specialize in corporate law by taking relevant courses, obtaining relevant certifications, and gaining experience in corporate law.
  6. Work your way up to a senior or partner position at a law firm or in-house legal department.

How to become a Corporate Lawyer

To become a corporate lawyer in the United States, you must obtain a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school and pass the bar exam in the state where you plan to practice. Law school typically takes three years to complete, and admission is competitive. A Bachelor's degree in a related field, such as business or economics, is often helpful in gaining admission to law school and preparing for a career in corporate law.

While higher education is not necessary to become a corporate lawyer in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, it is highly recommended. In some countries, such as Canada, completion of a residency or graduate program may be required before practicing corporate law.

Where to become a Corporate Lawyer

Here are five examples of law schools in each of the following countries where you can become a corporate lawyer:

United States:

  • Harvard Law School
  • Yale Law School
  • Stanford Law School
  • Columbia Law School
  • New York University School of Law


  • Osgoode Hall Law School
  • University of Toronto Faculty of Law
  • McGill University Faculty of Law
  • University of British Columbia Faculty of Law
  • University of Alberta Faculty of Law

United Kingdom:

  • University of Oxford Faculty of Law
  • University of Cambridge Faculty of Law
  • University of Edinburgh School of Law
  • King's College London Dickson Poon School of Law
  • University College London Faculty of Laws


  • University of Melbourne Law School
  • University of Sydney Law School
  • University of New South Wales Faculty of Law
  • Monash Law School
  • University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law

Can you enter the profession with a different degree?

While a law degree is typically required to become a corporate lawyer, some individuals with different degrees may still enter the profession through alternative pathways. For example, someone with a degree in accounting or finance may be able to enter the field of corporate law by working as a financial analyst or accountant in a law firm or corporate legal department, and then gradually transitioning into a legal role. Alternatively, someone with a degree in computer science or engineering may be able to specialize in intellectual property law and work as a patent attorney. However, these alternative pathways may require additional training or certification in the legal field.

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