Corporate law is often an extensive field designed to guide client transactions and functions. As a result of the diverse nature of this field, many factors of business may be managed by corporate law services. Legal entity formation, for example, may need guidance in creating the board of directors and defining the structure of equity. Contract review and development as well as such transactions as mergers and acquisitions may also require professional assistance. Corporate law services are further likely to handle such aspects of law as securities, intellectual property and international dealings.
Corporate lawyers often represent business entities and individual business owners in legal matters. Their job functions routinely focus on conducting research, reviewing contracts and writing briefs. In some instances, corporate attorneys argue trial cases in front of judges and jury members. At other times, these professionals are employed with legal firms that offer a variety of corporate law services.
One area in which new business owners may need particular help is with the formation of business entities. This is likely to include the structure of equity, as owners often use their money to fund start-up operations. Such investments may create varying degrees of liability on the business, depending upon the funds provided by each owner. After liabilities are accounted for, the remaining equity is deemed the owners’ interest in the business, and corporate lawyers often divide that equity equally. Additional legal aspects of business formation may include creating corporate governance, establishing the board of directors and voting agreements and defining equity and non-equity based compensation plans.
General legal services a client may seek on behalf of his or her business often concern contract formation. Contracts are usually intended to protect the rights of both parties who enter into a business relationship. Accordingly, remedies for contract breaches are often awarded as monetary compensation. Common contracts may include founders’ and partnership agreements, written relationships with vendors or suppliers and sales or lease agreements. Lawyers may also help clients with negotiable instruments such as promissory notes and electronic fund transfers, consulting agreements and labor contracts.
Business transactions may be overseen by corporate law services to ensure they comply with regulations and protect parties’ interest. Mergers and acquisitions, for example, are often critical activities undertaken to bring separate companies together. Corporate finance deals may also divide companies through spinoffs or carve-outs. Such deals may be worth millions or even billions of dollars, thereby dictating the financial stability of the companies involved for years to come. Strategic investments, joint ventures and restructurings or recapitalizations may also be managed by corporate law services.
Securities exist in such forms as stocks, bonds, certificates of interest and mineral rights. Securities laws, therefore, ensure that investors are provided with accurate and relevant information regarding securities purchases. As securities are likely to be sold by organizations to raise capital, corporate law services often ensure compliance with local or national securities laws. Serious consequences may result if business owners fail to follow the appropriate regulations concerning creation of capital structure, reverse mergers and fund formation. Corporate lawyers can often oversee such actions and prevent security holders from injunctive relief, fines and penalties.
Intellectual property (IP) refers to inventions, artistic or literary works and symbols or logos used for commercial purposes. Such property is often developed by corporations and protected by government-issued trademarks or copyright. Businesses may therefore seek corporate legal service to develop such IP agreements as confidentiality and inventions assignment agreements, terms and conditions and privacy policies. Corporate lawyers may also oversee IP commercialization, licensing and other technology transactions.
Corporate law services may further help organizations comply with international laws when business is conducted on a global scale. International law often pertains to a body of rules that nations abide by with regard to mutual relations. Treaties, customs rights and declarations of international organizations are often governed by international law. Corporate attorneys may therefore establish global commercial terms, foreign direct investments and sales agent and distributorship agreements.