Corporate Lawyer

What are they and what do they do?
Tags: summer jobs, career
Apr 2, 2023

What does the term corporate lawyer actually mean?

To be honest, it is a vague term that isn’t really used by legal professionals in the same way it is by the general public. To the public it tends to mean any lawyer who wears a suit to work. 

If the term is used by an attorney it typically means one of two things. 

Either the attorney is using it colloquially to the general public in order to easily explain what they do for work because people’s eyes tend to glaze over when lawyers start talking about some complex thing they do every day. 


The attorney works nearly exclusively with corporations and practices corporate law. This might be at a private law firm, big or small, or might be as in house counsel for a corporation. A corporate lawyer is a legal expert who gives advice to businesses about their legal rights and duties. They represent the company as a whole, rather than its workers or shareholders. Companies work with corporate lawyers to make choices that follow laws and rules. Corporate law includes all legal matters related to starting, running, or owning a business. This job can be different based on the clients, who can include not just corporations, but also partnerships, limited liability companies, and business trusts.

The rest of this article goes into detail trying to explain what a corporate lawyer does, and discusses a corporate lawyer’s salary. 

What do corporate lawyers do?

Corporate lawyers help businesses follow laws and make choices based on those laws. They understand the rights of a company, review business activities, help with legal choices, and make sure business deals are legal. They may represent their clients in court or during meetings with regulators. Corporate lawyers also help start, run, and close businesses. Their job duties include:

  1. Contracts: Writing, reviewing, and making deals on legal contracts.
  2. Securities: Making sure companies follow laws about stocks and preventing fraud.
  3. Mergers and acquisitions: Helping companies merge or one company buy another.
  4. Venture capital: Helping businesses find money through financing.
  5. Corporate governance: Helping clients create ways to manage their company.

What are the requirements to become a corporate lawyer?

There aren't any special requirements above being a lawyer to become a corporate lawyer. It can help to have business experience or to have an undergrad degree that is business focused, but it isn't necessary.

To become a corporate lawyer, you need:

  1. Undergraduate degree: A bachelor's degree, that can get you into law school
  2. Juris Doctor degree: A law degree from a school approved by the American Bar Association.
  3. License: Passing a state bar exam or the Unified Bar Exam (UBE) to practice law in a state.
  4. Continuing education: Some states require ongoing education to keep a law license.

What are the top 8 skills corporate lawyers should have?

Corporate lawyers need both hard skills, like legal knowledge, and soft skills, like working with others. Examples of important skills for corporate lawyers are:

  1. Time management
  2. Problem-solving
  3. Research
  4. Analytical thinking
  5. Collaboration
  6. Persuasive communication
  7. Organization
  8. Written communication

What is work life like for corporate lawyers?

Corporate lawyers can work at law firms, government agencies, or as in-house lawyers for companies. They usually work in offices, and sometimes go to court. They may travel for their job and the typical work week can vary widely from as few as 40 hours a week to 80+ hours per week.

The work-life balance and culture that corporate lawyers face is dependent on a few factors, like the city they work in, the firm they work for, and their direct supervisor. 

What is the average corporate lawyer salary?

According to Indeed, in 2023 the average yearly salary for corporate lawyers is $132,690. 

This varies based on factors like location, experience, and employer. Extra education, like a Master of Law (LLM) degree, can also affect pay.

Corporate lawyer salaries tend to be bimodal with a long tail. This means that a lot of corporate lawyers make good money, but not a huge amount, and some corporate lawyers make a ton of money. A ton of money meaning in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars per year. 

The corporate salaries that are on the high side are typically senior counsel at large corporations, or senior associates and partners at Big Law firms. 

Related Articles

  1. How Much do Lawyers Make?
  2. Is Law School Worth It?
  3. How Do I Pay For Law School?
  4. How do I apply to Law School?
Windsor MIT '22, Harvard College Advisor

I am the half of LSD that didn't take the LSAT, or go to law school (Sorry about that). But I did go to MIT business school while surrounded by law students and lawyers, so I am somewhat qualified to talk about the intricacies of law school apps and finances.

Windsor (the dog) didn't write this but he WAS a Resident Tutor and career advisor at Harvard College with me, so deserves some credit.


General chat about the legal profession.
👍 Chat vibe: 0 👎
Help us make LSD better!
Tell us what's important to you
just some stupid accounting jargon
my boss told me the pcaob is the enemy and if they are in the office we need to be quiet in the hallways, lmao, so there is that i guess
hey what study mats. have you used and whats your study schedule/routine like? also do you think its beneficial if i hire a private tutor?
Tutors usually are a waste of money unless you have specific things you need to work on
7sage is a really good option for studying
[] ararara
Do not think tutors are a waste of money or that all tutoring experiences are equal but ultimately it’s going to come down to you and how much work you put in!
[] ararara
Get fee waivers then lsat demon is free for 3 months and 7 sage costs a dollar a month!
Wow Ara out here promoting a demon
Unholy activities
I had a tutor, I worked with for some months.. and he really helped me understand the LSAT... It helped me more than self studying
@Sunshine0303: I use 7sage. I do 1 PT every other day and mostly drill only LG. After I get to -1 or -2 LG super consistently will probably pivot to RC since my LR has always been really great. That's been working great for me.
But yeah I do
PT Drilling, Drilling, PT Drilling, PT , etc etc
Also does anyone think there is a reason to use LSAT Demon over 7sage? Seems just like a more expensive option and not sure if I am missing some differentiator
I would avoid LSAT demon. They have a documented history of shady practices - see: https://www.reddit.com/r/LSAT/comments/1bhr6hi/why_a_certain_company_is_restricted_here/
i mean if you are single and want an lsat demon e-bf it might be a good option
[] ararara
@Mountaineer99: yo ❤️ and everyone else what’s up fools 🤠 hope you’re having a great Saturday!
[] ararara
I think it’s important for people to find what works for them! Not that prep is better or worse than other prep! Haven’t clicked that link but I’ve seen 7 sage, demon, blueprint all be shady fs!
[] ararara
(Also what sets demon/7 sage apart fee waiver program makes them free!)
I think 7sage is only good when it comes to it's drilling and analytics, it's curriculum and preptest platform aren't very good and I prefer the official LSAC resources for those. I don't really see why shady practices should stop you from choosing a study material though, sounds chronically online to me
lsat demon may well be good, though I haven't tried it
7sage got me from 162 diagnostic to 177 official in less than 2 months. I recommend it
did cls send a whole bunch of decisions today??
@MangoMuncher99: no i think they’re from the Friday wave which seems way bigger than we realized
Wow this site has gottens ooo much nicer than it was a few years ago
I'm a 20-21 cycle who is a 3L now. Applying to LLM programs, anyone know anything about how those decisions work lol?
[] ararara
@SouthernYank97: I kind of do but also just want to say this comment means so much! I’m a reapplicant who remembers how it was! I was too scared to even talk here at first and now we’ve been chugging love potion for days so thanks Yank!
@legalknievel did you get rejected today or on Friday?
LSD+ is ad-free, with DMs, discounts, case briefs & more.