What exactly do corporate lawyers do? While the exact focus of this practice might vary widely from firm to firm, corporate lawyers all agree that every day brings unique challenges and difficulties, many of which are highly novel, with cutting-edge issues arising in the corporate world every single day. Corporate law involves the study and definition of the corporation and its relationships with other businesses. It also involves dealing with issues such as intellectual property, torts, commercial activities, government regulation, and taxation. A corporate lawyer can also help resolve disputes that have arisen out of any of these areas.
One area of growing concern for corporate lawyers is in the realm of mergers and acquisitions. There are a number of complex issues that arise out of the purchase and sale of public companies. For example, acquisitions will often result in the transfer of assets, clients, and employees, all of which can bring unique legal concerns and questions to the attention of corporate lawyers. The Securities and Exchange Commission works diligently to implement and regulate the various aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance companies often provide legal support to companies looking to deal with these issues.
In addition to assisting companies with mergers and acquisitions, corporate lawyers also tend to specialize in a particular area of business. Some corporate lawyers work exclusively with corporations and business associates; others work with employment law, labor law, landlord/tenant law, and environmental law. Corporate employment law often deals with issues such as employee discrimination and harassment, and employment law is a very important issue in the United States. Corporations are often at odds with their own employees, and corporate lawyers face many of these same issues that employment law firms face on a daily basis.
Corporate attorneys also tend to be very knowledgeable about international transactions and corporate citizenship. This knowledge extends into other areas of transactional work, including mergers and acquisitions, securities laws, and tax issues. Corporate lawyers can help American corporations overcome obstacles to raising capital from overseas investors. They can also help American companies comply with regulations around the world, such as those imposed by the SEC.
In many instances, a business may choose to retain a corporate lawyer rather than hire a regular lawyer to handle its legal issues. If a corporation is sued, for example, a corporate lawyer is often able to prevent the corporation from being able to pay damages, even in cases where the corporation has been negligent in its actions. Moreover, a corporate lawyer is familiar with the legal issues confronting a corporation from day to day, such as acquisitions and mergers. Therefore, business legal services can be quite helpful to a corporation in these situations.
Public companies register with the SEC, and the SEC regulates most, if not all, registered public companies. If you have already formed a corporation or are considering forming one, it is advisable that you seek the advice of counsel regarding registering with the SEC. Additionally, if you are considering taking advantage of an Initial Public Offering (IPO), it is important to ensure that your corporation is properly registered under the appropriate laws. This includes the incorporation of your name, its incorporation into the books of the US corporation laws, and any other actions taken to make your company a valid one for trading on major exchanges.