Corporate Lawyers are among the most well paid in the legal world. The average wage in the UK for a corporate lawyer is over £58,000, with the highest outliers exceeding this by far. For a career that largely avoids the adversarial stress of being a criminal barrister.
It is nonetheless a taxing career, and qualifying to practice is not the same as having the skills you need to be a good corporate lawyer. We’ve got a handy guide to some of the additional qualities you need to thrive as a lawyer in the corporate world.
The image of lawyers popularised by film and TV rarely show them in isolation. They’re depicted emphatically (and literally) laying down the law in meetings, dining with bosses and clients, and travelling across countries to deliver their advice to rooms full of a willing audience.
The reality lies a long way from this. The majority of a lawyer’s work is conducted alone: researching legal issues and constructing arguments and advice that are delivered by email as often as they are in person.
As you become more senior, this can independent working can turn into isolation: there will be less people working at your level, less oversight and more of a chance that you will be managing people than being managed. You’re even more likely to be in a private office than a shared space.
To make a success in this career you need to be comfortable working alone, able to take a brief and fulfil it to a high standard without regular oversight. Results tell here, and you are only the one capable of getting the results the company needs.
Reading and Research
It’s important for any lawyer to remain up to date on legal issues of course but a corporate lawyer also needs to keep abreast of the latest insights in the business world. Corporate lawyers give commercial advice as much they do legal advice, and you add value by being knowledgeable in both areas.
If you’re genuinely interested in both legal and commercial issues, you will thrive, but if learning the detail of decades worth of legislation in law school was a stretch for you, this is unlikely to be a comfortable environment. Attention to detail and the pro-active seeking out of new developments are how you will prove your value to the company, and you need to be not just capable of it, but enthusiastic about it.