Get set to tender advice to tycoons

PATHFINDER

Get set to tender advice to tycoons

Working in a legal landscape is intellectually stimulating and fulfilling in equal measure. Embarking on a career in corporate law is definitely a splendid option as it involves a deeper understanding of legal aspects and different business cultures.

A keen interest in non-litigation aspects and drafting and renewing of contracts brought Shruti Kaul, a senior associate with Kochhar and Co, a Bangalore-based law firm in corporate law, to the field.  “One aspect that I find very interesting is working on cross-border transactions that involve multinational companies,” she says.
Corporate law relates to corporate entities and in particular the structure, functioning and business transactions of such entities.

A common misconception about being a ‘corporate lawyer’ is that it relates to one specific area of law. Practising corporate law involves an understanding of a combination of different areas of law and types of business transactions.
Corporate law is essential for the functioning of business worldwide; from setting up of companies, doing business, to restructuring or winding up of companies. So the significance of corporate law is that the contracting parties look at the documents as tools to avoid litigation.

Like any other branch of law, corporate lawyers offer a range of services. A corporate lawyer assists and advises on business, investments and transactions, such as:

*Purchase of shares of a company
*Joint ventures and business partnerships
*Mergers and acquisitions
*Assisting foreign companies to set up businesses in India
*Assisting Indian companies to set up businesses outside India
*International trade and commerce
*Business restructuring. To restructure the corporate organisation for carrying on business more efficiently
*Due diligence, which is, to study and analyse a business and point out legal non-compliances and risks

Academic pathway
*A Bachelor in Law (LLB) degree is a prerequisite for a career in corporate law. All areas of law, including company law, are taught in a law degree. One can join a university which offers a 5-year law course, after passing Class 12.
*One can apply to a university and procure a 3-year law degree by enrolling into a university after basic graduation.  
Students can also pursue Master’s studies after completing LLB or  may choose to pursue a post-graduate diploma course in corporate law.

Institutes & courses
*National Law School of India University, Bangalore
*NALSAR, Hyderabad
*Symbiosis Law College, Pune
*ILS  Law College, Pune
*Faculty of Law, Delhi University
*Faculty of Law, University of Bangalore
*Amity Law School, Delhi
 Symbiosis Law College offers Diploma in Corporate Law and Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, offers PG Diploma in Corporate Law.

Career ladder
As a corporate lawyer, you can work with a law firm or ‘in house’ for a company as their legal counsel. In most law firms in India, the starting position will be a Junior Associate, moving on to an Associate, Senior Associate, Junior Partner, Partner and then Senior Partner. The remuneration will differ depending on the law firm and the company policies. Nonetheless, you can expect to start at Rs 5 lakh a year. Salary increases according to experience and expertise.

A corporate lawyer advises companies and business entities on their rights, responsibilities and obligations in business transactions.
Komal Solomon, a partner with Mumbai’s Solomon and Co, says: “Lawyers dealing with corporate law assist clients with litigation, contracts, mortgages, titles, and leases concerning legal issues related to its business activities.” These issues might involve patents, government regulations, contracts with other companies, property interests or collective-bargaining agreements with unions, she adds.

Skill building
To be a successful corporate lawyer, it is essential to have a good grounding in business issues and commercial transactions along with effective communication skills.
“The practice of law is all about interpreting how the law will apply to a particular case and this can be achieved by applying logic and thinking analytically,” says Komal.
So analytical skills are crucial here. It is also important not to overlook negotiation skills as they help to close transactions successfully.
Vivek Kohli, senior partner with Zeus Law Associates in New Delhi, says: “The best way to stay ahead in this field is by  reading about business sectors to understand their requirements and being aware of the best practices in the international market.”

Growth trajectory
Growth as a corporate lawyer can be measured in different ways depending on whether you are working in a law firm or whether you are working as an ‘in-house’ legal counsel.
In a law firm, growth is measured in terms of the nature and complexity of work but as an ‘in house’ legal counsel,  growth is measured on promotions to different positions. Shruti Kaul says, “In both paths, after achieving success in establishing yourself as a specialist corporate lawyer, your growth will be measured on your reputation.”
Furthering of knowledge and skills with each client and opportunity to learn different areas of law add to your growth as  a corporate lawyer.
 Professionals can also think of working in new specialised  areas such as competition law, intellectual property and information technology.
A corporate lawyer should keep abreast of the ongoing changes in the Indian legal landscape and applicable laws.
 

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