Corporate Law Career Guide

By Fred DingledyARCO Plaza - photo by Associated Press.
Updated December 2023

Related guides: Corporate & Securities Law Research, In-House Counsel Career Guide

Books & Narratives

The Corporate, Securities, and M & A Lawyer's Job: A Survival Guide
RESERVE KF1477 .S925 2007
After an introductory chapter on how to survive as a new associate, the book describes some of the tasks an attorney may face in the corporate law world. Available on Bloomberg Law (ID+password required).

Inside Straight: Advice About Lawyering, In-House and Out, that Only the Internet Could Provide, by Mark Herrmann, Chicago: American Bar Assn., 2012.
Compilation of entries from the author's column "Inside Straight", on the website Above the Law,which offered advice on corporate law matters affecting in-house and outside counsel. Includes selected comments posted to the original columns.
KF1425 .H47 2012 (also available in Career Services)

Guides & Directories

Chambers USA, London: Chambers & Partners, Annual.
Selective nationwide directory of US lawyers and law firms; can limit by location and practice area, including several types of corporate law.
Nationwide directory of US attorneys and firms. Can search for attorneys and firms practicing corporate law.

Databases & Websites

WESTLAW: The Legal Practice Database
This database contains articles from law reviews, professional publications, and more that focus on the practical aspects of attorneys in all types of practices, including corporate law.

WESTLAW: West Legal Directory -- Corporations and Business Organizations
Directory profiling firms and attorneys that practice corporation and business organization law.

Chambers Associate
Website affiliated with the Chambers USA directory. Easier to search for firms nationwide by practice area. Includes articles describing what work in different practice areas is like, alternative careers. Includes helpful tips for job seekers as well. Corporate Counsel
Part of (home to American Lawyer and other publications), this website focuses on in-house corporate counsel, but has some sections useful to those interested in working as outside counsel, including surveys, profiles of firms practicing corporate law, and news of developments in the corporate law field. Free registration required for access to some features.


Above the Law and Lake Whillans, "Top Outside Counsel 2023".
Website Above the Law and litigation finance firm Lake Whillans surveyed in-house counsel at small, medium, and large companies to ask which firms they used as outside counsel and what level of importance of work they would assign to those firms. The top 76 firms listed by survey respondents were organized into a top and a second tier.

Adams, Amy, "10 Things to Know about Executive Compensation", Above the Law (Aug. 23, 2016).
A former corporate attorney describes the type of work and experience an attorney in the field of executive compensation may find. She also discusses what qualities a good attorney in the field has.

Chambers Associate, "Cahill's White Collar Litigators Reveal How Their Practice Works".
Attorney's from Cahill's white collar litigation practice describe the highs and lows of their jobs, what an associate typically does, trends in the field, and tips for people looking to get hired as a white collar litigator.

Chambers Associate, "Corporate/M&A".
Describes what type of work a lawyer will encounter in corporate law, especially in the mergers & acquisitions (M&A) field. Includes quotes from practicing attorneys about what they do and what type of person might thrive in the field.

Guzman, Ana, "10 Things to Know about Corporate M&A Practice", Above the Law (Nov. 21, 2017).
Ana Guzman, former senior attorney at Greenberg Traurig, briefly describes the career path and work atmosphere for mergers and acquisitions attorneys. Guzman also describes the skills a person looking to become a M&A attorney should have.

Law School Transparency, "I Am The Law".
Podcast series. Includes several interviews with attorneys working in the corporate law field, such as a junior associate for a business law firm and an attorney working at McGuireWoods in the field of corporate healthcare.

Newman, Martha M., "You Can Win Big Company Clients! Corporate Work Is No Longer the Sole Domain of Big Law", 82 Texas Bar Journal 373 (2019).
Offers tips to the sole practitioner or small law firm attorney who is seeking to gain corporations as clients.

Practical Law, "10 Things to Know About Startup Law Practice", Above the Law (Dec. 20, 2016).
Former outside general counsel to tech startups briefly describes the pros and cons of working in that practice area, the type of work attorneys in the practice may encounter, the working environment, and skills required for success in the field.

Smolders, Tom, "10 Things to Know about Commercial Transactions", Above the Law (Sep. 20, 2016).
A former corporate counsel describes the type of work an attorney in the field of commercial transactions does. He also discusses the working atmosphere and the traits a successful attorney in the field has.

Tribe, Meghan. "Simpson Thatcher Tops M&A Advisers Chart in Down Year for Deals", Bloomberg Law (Jan.  5, 2023).
Lists ten law firms with the most mergers and acquisitions deals by volume in 2022. Bloomberg Law ID and password may be required.

Wrigley, Janelle Filson. "Ten Things to Know About Antitrust", Above the Law (March 21, 2017).
Former FTC staff attorney and associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett describes the advantages and disadvantages of working as an antitrust attorney, as well as the typical work an attorney might encounter and the type of traits that a successful attorney in the field has.


There are numerous legal periodicals that cover the topic of corporate law. Those listed below are a representative selection of titles that discuss issues related to being a practitioner in the field.

Bloomberg Law News (Bloomberg Law ID and password required):
Newsletters covering topics including antitrust, banking, business & practice, mergers & acquisitions, and white collar crime.

The Business Lawyer4x per year.
Chicago: Section of Corporation, Banking, and Business Law.


The following organizations are active or maintain an interest in corporate law. They offer membership opportunities, information on the industry, and possible employment opportunities. Most of them sponsor seminars or conferences on relevant topics. Also check the bar association for the state you are going to practice in; many will have a section for business and/or corporate law.

American Bar Association Section of Business Law
321 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Provides a number of resources for those considering business law in addition to membership benefits.

Minority Corporate Counsel Association
1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
phone: 202-739-5901
Created to advance diversity in corporate legal departments as well as in law firms serving corporations. Website includes magazine Diversity and the Bar and a Career Center with a job bank and educational materials, among other things.

Photo: Associated Press