Businesses carry a large amount of responsibility, whether they provide services, products, or a combination of the two. If a client or customer is harmed using or consuming their product or the work one of their employees does harms the client or customer, they face a huge legal risk. Big companies also must regulate and oversee a significant amount of money, and can often face the risk of fraud. It’s no surprise then, that most businesses retain some kind of legal counsel. From corporate and securities law to copyright and patent law to handling class actions, lawyers who work for corporations and businesses often find a good amount of work on their plate. Let’s talk about why having someone who knows corporate and securities law is important to have on your team and why businesses should consider retaining a lawyer in the first place.
What Is Corporate and Securities Law?
In law school, these two fields are often lumped together into “corporate and securities law,” though they’re technically two separate things. However, their jurisdiction often bleeds together and lawyers who work within this field are essential to transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and many other corporate and financial transactions. This type of lawyer can make sure that a transfer of power goes smoothly — for example with mergers and acquisitions — or that securities offerings are appropriate. They can help with credit and other loans, and assess venture capital financings.
Corporate lawyers can be called upon to assist a wide variety of clients, from huge firms to individuals who are considered “high net worth” high net worth to private investors. Their experience can often make a huge difference in a business’s financial and legal decisions.
What’s the Difference Between Corporate and Securities Law?
Corporate law looks at the rights, relationships, and behavior of individuals or entities like companies or businesses, and how the people within these organizations interact with each other and the larger community. Corporations, however, have to adhere to certain state laws, when it comes to creating a corporation, maintaining it, and organizing it. Legal advice and oversight is often needed to make sure that it’s adhering to the state laws and guidelines, as well as handling taxes correctly.
Securities law deals with stocks, bonds, and options (all lumped under the term “securities”). These securities are bought and sold as investments or as a way to expand on the money one already has. Most of us have securities, especially if we’ve invested in our 401K’s, for example. On a bigger, corporate level, the amount of securities being bought and sold can be huge, so securities attorneys are always in demand. Corporations need to adhere to laws — such as what powers stockbrokers in regards to their clients, federal laws pertaining to securities buyers, and laws that require securities sellers to report their accounting regularly.
Why Is It in a Business’s Best Interest to Retain a Lawyer?
A lawyer equals legal protection should the worst case scenario happen. A lawyer can also help protect your interests and give you sound legal advice before making any big changes or decisions. From employee issues to structuring (or restructuring) a business to handling governmental complaints against your business, a lawyer can always come in handy.
If there’s a suit filed against your business, they can help you figure out a pre-litigation strategy and help you find the best route to take. For example, only about 1% of civil cases actually make it to trial in the federal courts, thanks to the work of lawyers with arbitration and mediation, which often provides a more satisfactory outcome for both parties.
You may need to retain several different kinds of lawyers to cover your bases — after all, a criminal defense lawyer isn’t going to necessarily be up to speed on corporate and securities law! However, in any case, no matter how big or small your company is, seeking legal counsel is always a good idea when making any changes to your business.
Don’t wait for the worst to happen — seek legal counsel now for your business and stay protected.