On Thursday, August 2, AABANY’s Corporate Law Committee and Student Outreach Committee hosted an informative and insightful Pre-OCI Information Session titled, “What Do Corporate Lawyers Do?” at Paul, Weiss. With the OCI season just around the corner for current law students, the event provided a valuable opportunity for attendees to acquire a better understanding of the corporate law practice from a panel that comprised some of today’s most distinguished and experienced APA corporate lawyers from top firms and companies:

  • Terry Shen, Partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
  • Ed Lee, Parter at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz LLP
  • Lesley Peng, Partner at Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett LLP
  • Marianne Chow Newman, Counsel at the Hearst Corporation
  • Larry Wee (moderator), Partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

To answer the question “What do corporate lawyers do?” the panelists answered a series of questions pertaining to the role of corporate lawyers, specific tasks that they may encounter, and what to expect as a young associate in a corporate law firm. The discussion began with the key idea that corporate lawyers do not necessarily fit the image of “lawyer” that is often represented in the media. Corporate lawyers will not find themselves in court, arguing before a judge. Rather, they employ their legal expertise to advise businesses or corporations on transformative deals, whether their clients are considering selling, buying, restructuring, financing, or engaging in other business transactions. In a nutshell, corporate law regularly involves negotiations, due diligence, contracts, and extensive amounts of time communicating with clients, and all of these facets were amply elucidated by the speakers. 

At the end of the day, corporate law is defined by teamwork and collaboration—a crucial point emphasized by all panelists. Firms or individuals may sit on opposite ends of the table throughout a deal but will likely work together in one way or another to help their clients navigate the complex transaction and ultimately reach a deal that will benefit both parties. The event concluded with questions from the audience, which touched on topics such as preferred background experience for recruitment and the differences in roles between corporate law firms and investment banking advisory firms. 

We would like to sincerely thank Larry Wee and Paul, Weiss for hosting the event by providing food, beverages, and an excellent space. We also thank the Corporate Law Committee and Student Outreach Committee for putting together this helpful and meaningful program for current or prospective law students.