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Want to know how to become a corporate lawyer? Read this page to learn about how to get a head-start in the industry, what corporate lawyers do, average corporate law salaries and more.

What Is Corporate Law?

Corporate law is a highly diverse practice and is integral to both legal and business industries. Also known as company law, it’s one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of legal practice, so its popularity among aspiring solicitor is no surprise. It’s an area that concerns the legal framework shaping business practices and deals with the following, among others:

  • Restructuring companies by selling shares and assets
  • Listing companies on the stock exchange
  • Merging a company with another business (mergers and acquisitions)
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What Do Corporate Lawyers Do?

Corporate lawyers are required to carry out tasks such as due diligence (appraising the business for prospective buyers or partners). They must also negotiate agreements with different parties and verify all accounts and finances for business transactions. Another key task corporate lawyers are involved with is navigating the provisions of a company’s constitution, shareholder and directors’ rights.

These are just a few examples of the wide-ranging work you could be getting involved with as a company lawyer.

How to Become a Corporate Lawyer

To become a corporate lawyer, you must possess certain skills that will help you deal with the multitude of tasks you’ll encounter. It’s also important to have some relevant work experience under your belt to give you the best chance of standing out to potential recruiters in the industry.

The ideal corporate lawyer can demonstrate:

  • Excellent knowledge of corporate law
  • An awareness of current trends and legislative developments that impact on the sector
  • Ambition, and the willingness to go above and beyond
  • The ability to build and maintain strong client relationships to promote client loyalty

The first step towards becoming a corporate lawyer is either completing an undergraduate degree in law or a degree in another subject and then a conversion course.

To become a corporate solicitor, you must then take the LPC and obtain a training contract.

If you’re more interested in a career as a corporate barrister, you’ll have to take the BPTC, then complete your training with a pupillage.

Those who don’t want to go to university can apply for an apprenticeship  or become a chartered legal executive and then specialise in corporate law.

Corporate Law Work Experience

Business-related work experience can demonstrate your interest in how a company is run and boost your commercial awareness, which is a key skill recruiters in the sector are looking for. 

Completing a vacation scheme at a law firm that specialises in corporate law is another good starting point for this kind of career.

What’s the Difference Between Corporate and Commercial Law?

This is one of the most common questions for students interested in pursuing company law. While these two sectors are closely related, there is a clear difference between the two.

Commercial law concerns itself with the wider business industry and is more general in terms of its scope of work. It looks at legal relations between different business entities and areas like franchising and intellectual property.

On the other hand, company law is more focused on the specific business itself, working on the incorporation of businesses and their mergers and acquisitions, for example.

Corporate Law Salary in the UK

Below are the average salaries for corporate lawyers in the United Kingdom:

  • Trainee solicitor in London: up to £50,000
  • Trainee solicitor outside of London: up to £39,375
  • Newly qualified solicitors in London: up to £143,000
  • Newly qualified solicitors outside of London: up to £54,000

(Please note these are average figures and not exact)

Corporate Law Books

Here are three recommended corporate law books to help budding corporate lawyers familiarise themselves with the sector and learn more about the work involved:

NameAuthorPrice (Approximate)
Company LawBrenda Hannigan£39
The Anatomy of Corporate Law: A Comparative and Functional ApproachReiner Kraakman et al£27
Sealy and Worthington’s Text, Cases, and Materials in Company LawSarah Worthington£40

READ NEXT: Commercial Law Guide

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