Although lawyers may practice in any area of they law they choose once licensed, most choose to focus on a specific area. Corporate law is one area of focus for a lawyer, and within that area many lawyers choose to become a corporate litigator. A corporate litigator is a lawyer who represents businesses or corporations when they are involved in lawsuits. In his or her capacity as corporate litigator, an attorney must understand a variety of areas of the law and be especially adept at negotiations and trial work. The job requires preparation of court documents, investigation of claims, negotiating, and representation at trial when necessary.
Corporate law may include a number of legal skills such as accounting and tax law, contracts and mergers law, securities law, and tort law. As a result, corporations often hire different lawyers to handle different legal issues the corporation encounters. A contract attorney, for instance, may be employed to draft and review all the corporation's contracts.
A corporate litigator handles actual or anticipated lawsuits where the corporation is a party. Corporations are frequently named as defendants in lawsuits and must depend on their legal counsel to protect their interests in the lawsuit. In addition, corporations may be the plaintiff — the party initiating the lawsuit — in some cases, which also requires legal counsel.
Common examples of lawsuits in which a corporation may find itself named as a defendant include contract disputes, negligence claims, and employee discrimination lawsuits. In each of these examples, a corporate litigator must first answer the initial complaint. Next, he or she must investigate the allegations asserted in the complaint and prepare a legal defense. Discovery must be conducted, including the deposition of witnesses and requests for production of relevant documents. If the case goes to trial, then a corporate litigator must defend the corporation throughout the trial.
A corporation may also find itself in a situation where it must take legal action against another party. For example, if a corporation feels that a competitor is infringing on a copyright or someone has breached a contract, then the corporation would be the plaintiff in the case. In that case, the corporate litigator must prepare the complaint and file it with the court. He or she must then be prepared to prove the allegations stated in the complaint either through out of court negotiations or at trial. A corporation depends on its legal counsel to foresee potential legal issues and act on them accordingly in order to protect the financial interests of the corporation.