Commercial solicitors work on behalf of businesses both large and small, advising and representing them on all legal matters. If working for big companies they may be involved in setting up, negotiating and finalising big mergers and acquisitions. Smaller companies may need general advice in terms of progressing their business. Commercial solicitors (otherwise known as corporate solicitors) often work in teams, especially when dealing with large companies and these teams will consist of a range of more or less senior lawyers.
Some of the typical duties carried out by commercial lawyers will include
• Meeting with clients to discuss their legal requirements and inform them of the cost implications i.e. how much the solicitor’s fees will be
• Advise them of the law and how it relates to their plans or concerns
• Research relevant case studies and check legal reference materials in order to make sure all the boxes are ticked
• Take on the case which could entail auctioning and scrutinising contracts and documents and meeting with and negotiating with other professionals
• Managing and overseeing the work of junior solicitors
• May involve representing a client in court or calling in specialist witnesses or advocates
• Checking all paperwork is correct before client signs
• Ensuring fully up to date with all the latest changes in the law by reading professional journals and attending training courses in order to achieve CPD – continuing professional development
The hours of work can be long and mean working late into the evening and at weekends, especially when working for an important client. The pay may make up for this however – salaries start at around £20,000 per annum for junior solicitors, but with experience, and especially if working in the City of London starting salaries are £30,000 or more. For those who stick it out for 10-15 years or more the sky’s the limit pay wise. A solicitor who makes it to board level in one of the City’s top legal firms may be paid £1,000,000 (with profit share)
Most work is found in the big cities of the UK, primarily London. There are currently about the same number of men and women entering the profession.