Understanding Corporate Lawyers: A Guide
If you’re a business owner, you may have heard the term “corporate lawyer” being thrown around. In this article, we’ll dive into what a corporate lawyer is and what they can do for you.
What is a Corporate Lawyer?
Corporate lawyers are attorneys who work on business transactions such as forming companies, helping them raise capital, and merging them. They deal with contracts and work outside the courtroom. The term “corporate” is often used interchangeably with “commercial” or “business.”
Confusion Over Labels – Business Lawyer, Corporate Lawyer, Lawyer vs. Attorney
The term “corporate lawyer” is used more by lawyers than clients. For clients, a “business lawyer” or “startup lawyer” is a more familiar term. However, litigators may also call themselves “business litigators” or “corporate litigators.” If you need a lawyer to file or defend a lawsuit, you should search for a “litigator.” If you need someone who specializes in transactional law, search for a “business transaction lawyer” or “transactional business attorney.”
Litigators vs. Transactional Attorneys
Litigators step in when a transaction has gone wrong or when a company has done something wrong and the case is heading into litigation. In contrast, corporate attorneys steer clients along the right path when running their companies. Companies rely on their business transactional lawyers to guide them through deals and transactions while protecting their interests and advising on potential mistakes.
Understanding Lawyer Specialties
If you’re dealing with a tax audit or a highly complex merger with major tax implications, you need a tax specialist. However, for launching a company or venture, you need a corporate lawyer to help you put everything together and figure out what to do. You can always consult a specialist later if necessary. Specialists usually refer to themselves by their specialty, such as a bankruptcy lawyer or employment lawyer. Corporate generalists use the label “corporate lawyer,” “business transactional lawyer,” or something similar.
Deciding to Engage a Transactional Corporate Attorney
Every business needs a corporate lawyer. You don’t need to hire one in-house or spend tons of money on outside legal services. However, it’s crucial to have a corporate lawyer who can guide you through deals and transactions while protecting your interests. You can search for the best business attorney, but remember to also consider a corporate transactional attorney who has experience in your niche.
Understanding Business Lawyers Their Responsibilities
Corporate lawyers play a vital role in the business world by providing legal assistance to companies of all sizes. As a business transactional lawyers, we work with clients on their day-to-day operations, legal contracts, and business relationships. We also help them avoid litigation through mediation and dispute resolution processes.
The goal of a business lawyer is to preemptively avoid problems by drafting solutions and protections into client documents. This includes defining the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved in a business agreement. By doing this, a well-prepared agreement can avoid future disputes.
Business Lawyers and their Responsibilities
Business lawyers can work at law firms, have their own firms, or work in-house as part of a company’s private legal team. As corporate lawyers, we facilitate mergers and acquisitions, help form companies, and help raise capital. Through performing these functions, a corporate attorney ensures compliance with legislation, regulation, statutes, and policies.
Advising on Compliance
One of the most critical roles of a business lawyer is advising companies on how to comply with rules and laws. They also provide advice on the duties and responsibilities of corporate officers, directors, and insiders. Clients come to us when they need advice or have a problem. We listen to their issue and seek to solve their problem.
Here are a few scenarios from clients we deal with frequently:
Starting a Business
“I have this business idea, but I’m not sure where to go next.” The key to any transaction is for the corporate lawyer to accurately understand the business idea. Before even legally registering an entity, a corporate lawyer needs to consider what structure best suits the client’s needs.
“I need to expand my business through additional investments – either through family or outside investors.” A corporate lawyer could recommend additional avenues of funding and help give advice on the best option.
Mergers and Acquisitions
“I want to grow my firm and am looking to acquire/merge with this business.” Most mergers and acquisitions require the assistance of a corporate lawyer throughout the process. A business attorney drafts and negotiates the merger documents, purchase and sale documents, bills of sale, consulting agreements, and/or earn-outs.
Creating Business Agreements
An experienced corporate lawyer has probably drafted and negotiated just about every type of business contract you can imagine. Creating these agreements requires experience and knowledge of business law. Unless your business is very large or very complex, a corporate generalist is likely the right person for creating your contracts. Examples of business agreements a corporate lawyers drafts can include:
- Non-disclosure Agreements
- Promissory Notes
- Stock Purchase Agreements
- Asset Purchase Agreements
- Merger Agreements
- Supply Agreements
- Stock Option Plans
- Service Agreements
- Security Agreements
- Licensing Agreements
- Earn out Agreements
- SaaS Agreements
- Commission Agreements
- Vesting Agreements
- Settlement and Separation Agreements
Corporate lawyers play a vital role in the business world. They provide legal assistance to companies of all sizes, from advising on compliance to drafting and negotiating legal contracts. If you’re considering starting a business, expanding it through additional investments, or merging with another company, consulting with a corporate lawyer can ensure a smooth transaction.
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