It’s nothing like Suits
Contrary to popular media portrayals in shows like Suits, the life of a corporate lawyer is less about courtroom drama and more about highly complex document management. We spend hours meticulously combing through contracts, sale agreements and financial documents, ensuring every detail is in order and drafted accurately. The real excitement lies in the precision and thoroughness required to protect our clients’ interests and to navigate the intricacies of closing a deal within the agreed timescales.

The need for commercial awareness
One of the most crucial attributes for a corporate lawyer is an acute sense of commercial awareness. This means being intimately attuned to the ever-shifting currents of the business world. To develop this essential skill, we must constantly engage with business and finance-related news. Reading local publications, such as unLTD Business, is just as important as keeping up with national and international headlines because everything that is happening locally together with regional nuances can have a profound impact on our clients’ matters and prospects. This commercial awareness isn’t just about staying informed; it’s about interpreting how deals evolve, identifying trends in the marketplace and understanding industry dynamics. For example, employee ownership trusts (EOTs) have become increasingly prevalent recently. To spot such opportunities, we need to stay updated and connected with fellow professionals in our sector.

Teamwork is a cornerstone
In the world of corporate law, teamwork is not just a buzzword; it’s a way of life. Most corporate transactions require seamless collaboration between various professionals, all working toward a common goal – getting the deal done. This necessitates building and nurturing strong networks with accountants, tax advisers, lenders, surveyors and brokers to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients.

The rise of AI
The legal landscape is undergoing a technological transformation and corporate lawyers are no exception. Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more common in our field, particularly in mergers and acquisitions. For instance, many law firms are investing in AI to streamline the document review and due diligence process, with certain software designed to assist with organising and deciphering key information that is pertinent to the transaction, making our work more efficient.

The Sheffield connection
Sheffield is an effervescent city and is renowned for its innovative technology companies and robust commercial environment, with some of the UK’s leading SMEs being based in the city, which makes it an inspiring place to work as a corporate lawyer. Having advised businesses in and around Sheffield for more than 10 years, this experience and knowledge of the local market is greatly valued by clients and is vital to reinforcing relationships in the area.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a corporate partner at Shakespeare Martineau. Find out more about the services they offer at

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