Business Law Interview
The first step in my career as a corporate attorney was taken when I joined the law school. The classes were large, the curriculum was overwhelming and the work load was intimidating. My grades were good and this helped me get a job as a legal trainee in a multinational company. There were two years of training in which I drafted letters, briefs and contracts.
I learned the etiquette of the courtroom and researched day and night. After the two years were over, I was ready to take up responsibilities independently. My job has a lot of responsibilities. I must be well informed of all relevant rules and regulations. When a transaction is negotiated, I am by the side of manager working out the legal aspects of the agreement with the counsel for the opposite party.
I am a corporate lawyer and my job is to ensure that the commercial transactions that take are legal. I have knowledge of the constitutional law and regulations passed by government agencies to help my employer achieve their objectives within the boundaries of law. My career started with the extremely competitive admission to the law school. My law school was ranked 8th and had an admission rate of only about 9%. Throughout the law school I had to study 10 hours a day with an average of 2-3 hours of classes.
In the law school the student develops an analytical and systematic approach to ideas and problems, the ability to apply the law and legal reasoning in cases is developed, and the ability to read for details is developed. My law school classes had 105 students and it was daunting to present an argument in front of such a large class. I had a study group of six students and we used to practice making presentations in these groups. I have maintained close relations with each of my group member till now.
There were several courses that I completed at law school and have been helpful to me throughout my career as a corporate lawyer. These courses are American Civil Liberties, American Constitutional Law, Business Law, Accounting, Economics, Logic and Compositions. Apart from the courses the law school built my temperament for a career in corporate law. Remember a corporate lawyer is all the time required to interpret the law through actions and words for the protection of the corporation. He must be fully versed in several areas of the law, accountancy, economics, history, human behavior and corporate politics.
Usually a corporate lawyer belongs to a team of lawyer each assisting in handling one specific area like arranging stock options, putting together mergers and acquisitions, handling labor problems, settling tax or handling employment issues (Romano. R 79). The corporate lawyer handles the entire gamut of problems companies face. In addition, a lawyer specialized in a field may be employed by a corporation and he retains two titles. For example a tax lawyer may be employed by Microsoft and he retains his title of a tax lawyer and the title of a corporate lawyer. There are innumerable opportunities for corporate lawyers and there are new field emerging rapidly.
When I was recruited from the law school, I was appointed as a legal trainee. My salary was $55,000 and I was required to support in the HR litigation area. There were collective bargaining agreements, harassment, discrimination at workplace cases and employee discipline issues. I was required to provide support to one corporate attorney. I conducted legal research into the state statues, legislative intent and labor law.
During the training period the work was hard and involving. I had to assist in the preparation of legal documents, prepare discovery responses, legal briefs, stipulations and memorandums of law. I was required to write letters to attorneys and parties. I used to contact state agencies. There were several interesting investigations that I was given to carry out in the company. This included employee misconducts like violations of company policy and procedure, sexual misconduct, bogus reports of time worked or requests for reimbursement, and illegitimate use of sick leave. I learned how to conduct investigation in accordance to contractual and legal standards. I learned how to direct and conduct forensic examination of computer hard drives and e-mail accounts.
My work during the training period was critical. I got exposure to courtroom situations, field work and office work. I learned to think in a systematic way, organize my workload and provided technical assistance to the company. I developed working relationships not only with other lawyers and managers in the company also with outside attorneys and court officials. My speaking and writing skills were honed. I got the opportunity to attend superior courts and even the Supreme Court.
Currently, my job uses all the skills that I have acquired during my law school studies and training. My salary is $120,000.and my job is very demanding. I am responsible for structuring business transactions legally and I have to research intellectual property rights, licensing, zoning regulations, securities law and regulations, tax law, and bankruptcy law. I have to keep abreast of any law that might impinge on the work assigned to me. I must ensure that no law, local, state or federal gets violated by any transactions. In this sense my job is all encompassing.
The redeeming feature of my job is that corporate lawyers are not competitors and they learn to collaborate. The corporate lawyer for the other side seeks a situation where the transaction can be of benefit to each party. The corporate lawyers become facilitators and not combatants. What this means is that the corporate lawyer must thoroughly understand the needs of the company.
I usually try to understand also the desires of the contracting party and initiate a negotiation process with the other party. The legal documents need to be written several times before they are accepted. What is critical is that I am working with other lawyers who are also intelligent and know every aspect of the law. Finally, the transaction is completed between equals and both the parties are happy. There is no loser.
To sum, the career of a corporate lawyer begins when he competes for admission into the law school. After grueling years of study, he is recruited usually from the campus as a legal trainee. As a trainee the future corporate lawyer goes through the grind of preparing documents, researching and knowing learning the courtroom basics. This is an interesting phrase of learning and experiencing before he becomes a full fledged corporate attorney. He takes responsibilities for transactions, negotiations and legality of the company’s operations. His work is hard, he works long hours but his rewards are generous.
Romano. R, The Genius of American Corporate Law, American Enterprise Institute, 1993.