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Although most people think business and corporate lawyers do the same job, business law and corporate law are actually two separate practice areas. Understanding the differences between corporate lawyer vs. business lawyer will ensure you hire the right type of legal counsel.
Corporate lawyers focus on the operation and formation of corporations and other business entities. They provide legal advice about the federal, state, and local rules and regulations for new and existing companies. Corporate lawyers usually serve as general counsel, either as an employee or as outside counsel. When comparing corporate and business law, remember that corporate law has a broader scope, while business law usually focuses on smaller operational details and transactions.
Some of the specialty areas within corporate law are:
You may want to work with a corporate lawyer when you need legal help with:
Corporate lawyers work for many different types of clients, including but not limited to investors in hedge funds, pensions, mutual funds, and private equity funds; traditional and investment banks; multinational, publicly traded, and closely held companies; and insurance providers.
Also called commercial law, business law centers on trade regulations, including the federal Uniform Commercial Code and relevant state and local laws. A business and commercial lawyer handles situations involving business owners, employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers, addressing issues that arise during interactions between these groups. They also help companies by developing policies, negotiating and reviewing contracts, and advising on legal matters.
Employment law, contract law, and tax law all fall under the larger practice area of business law. Other specialties of a business lawyer include:
As the corporate landscape becomes ever more global, more corporate attorneys have started to specialize in international law.
Consider engaging the services of a business lawyer when you need legal representation or advice in these situations:
While a commercial lawyer vs. corporate lawyer offer different services, they do share some similarities. For example, either may work as in-house counsel, depending on your company’s needs, and both may seek certification from the Association of Corporate Counsel.
Attorneys also follow a similar career pathway for both practice areas. These lawyers earn a bachelor’s degree, then complete a Juris Doctorate degree. While in law school, they may begin to take classes and seek internship opportunities within business or corporate law.
Once you understand whether you need an attorney who specializes in corporate law vs. business law, you can find a lawyer with the relevant skills and experience to help you solve your company’s most pressing legal challenges.