Corporate crusaders
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Corporate crusaders

With multinational law firms recruiting Indian lawyers, the career of a corporate lawyer has become more coveted, says Pranab Ghosh.

education Updated: Apr 24, 2012 16:52 IST
Pranab Ghosh
Pranab Ghosh
Hindustan Times

If the prospect of meeting people, resolving complex commercial disputes and structuring intricate corporate transactions excites you, do what 36-year-old Chirag Modi did. The Associate Partner, DSK Legal, a leading law firm of the country, took up law and now enjoys tackling challenging issues and advising clients on “various aspects of corporate law and related legal provisions.”

But what is corporate law? “ It concerns the business, functioning, governance and regulation of corporations and includes acts like Companies Act, 1956, Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, SEBI Regulations/Guidelines, Industries (Development and Regulation Act), FEMA Act, Competition Act, Consumer Protection Act, Indian Depositories Act, environment laws, banking and insurance laws and various application of Labour Laws etc,” says Atul Sharma, Managing Partner of law firm ASA.

“The scope of the study and practice of corporate law in India is tremendous,” says Dr Bindu S Ronald, Associate Professor, Symbiosis Law School. There are a number of law firms in the country specialising in corporate law. Companies have legal cells for which law graduates are appointed. With liberalisation a number of foreign companies have established themselves in India and they appoint Indian lawyers. “Not only the fact that MNCs are coming to India, a brief look at the recruitments also shows that foreign law firms are recruiting Indian law graduates to work in their offices, both in India as well as abroad. Teaching is another good employment option,” adds Dr Ronald.

What’s the demand like for good corporate lawyers in India? “We in India don’t lack lawyers, what we lack are good corporate lawyers, who have been trained in the required skills in their law schools,” says Dr Ronald. Agrees Pankaj Kumar, DGM (Law), Indian Oil Corporation, “There are a good number of lawyers available in India… But there is definitely a need for quality advisors in this field. One also needs to give more exposure to in-house advisors dealing in corporate law in commercial organisations.”

However, with the ever-increasing impact of globalisation felt in all the sectors of our economy, “the role of lawyers and judges will become critical for addressing future challenges of governance. In this regard, the training that is imparted to future lawyers and judges in our law schools needs to be thoroughly re-examined to suit the social economic transformation and that is underway in the country,” feels Kumar.

What’s it about?
Corporate law connotes law of corporation or companies. It regulates all matters, from the birth of companies to their dissolution. It involves the study of law that regulates the working of incorporated bodies. Corporate law does not restrict itself to the Companies Act only but applies to allied legislations as well.

Corporate law addresses the incorporation, corporate capital, relations between corporate managers and stakeholders, corporate restructuring, corporate governance etc. It also deals with securities legislations. The history of company legislation in India began with the Joint Stock Companies Act 1850 and since then the collective process of consolidation and amendment has given us the most comprehensive and complicated piece of legislation called the Companies Act 1956.

We are expecting the new Companies Act now. With the growth of incorporated bodies in India a number of other legislations regulating companies have come up.

How do I get there?
Humanities courses may be helpful. Sciences are also fine. The two options are:
a) The three-year Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) programme, to be taken up after graduation;
b) The five-year integrated BA LL.B. programme to be taken up after passing class XII.
Further on, it is the option of the graduate to either pursue specialisation in various disciplines of law in the form of postgraduate programmes

Institutes & URLs
N LSIU, Bangalore;

The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad

National Law University, Jodhpur

ILS Pune

NLIU, Bhopal

Faculty of Law, DU

Good knowledge of all statutes, rules and regulations, notifications, governing the working of the
Very good command over English
Drafting, oratory and debating skills
The ability to foresee various situations, which the client may face
Ability to work for long hours, to provide timely delivery to the client
Good knowledge of how to get maximum benefit from a computer
Soft and pleasant personality
And analytical skill and rational approach for smooth running of the business and to give pragmatic and viable solution in a given situation

Clock work
7 am: Gets up; does free-hand exercise
8.00 am: Starts taking phone calls, checks e-mails from clients
9 am: Writes letters/mails
10.00 am: Work at office begins
10.30 am onwards: Meetings, hearings and discussions.
1.30 pm: Hurried lunch
2.30 pm: Work continues
5 pm: Drafting, preparation of
various documents etc.
9 pm: Drafting work continues
10 pm: Bound for home

Pros & cons
Financial stability
Opportunity to work on variety of legal issues; recognition and rewards as motivation
Opportunity to interact with senior legal professionals and also learning good disciplined office culture (if employed in industry)
Time constraints in assigned jobs
You are not your own boss (if employed by industry/law firm)
24 x 7 work schedule

The payoff
The earning potential of a successful corporate lawyer varies according to his calibre and the nature of employment
With industry
Entry level: Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh per annum
Middle level: Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per annum
Senior level: Rs 25 lakh onward per annum
Independent practitioner
Senior level: Rs 40 lakh onward per annum

First Published: Jun 23, 2009 17:01 IST