What’s the Difference Between a Corporate and Commercial Solicitor?


For anyone involved in creating or operating a business, the importance of having easy access to sound legal advice represents a fundamental cornerstone not just of continuity, but of growth, too. The matters impacting any business are highly complex, and cannot be managed on an ad hoc basis.

Alongside employment law, two of the most significant areas impacting businesses are corporate and commercial law. Both cover broad ranges of matters that most business owners will come face-to-face with at some point in their professional lives, and, as a result, it’s easy to get the two confused.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Does a Corporate Solicitor do?

Put simply, a corporate solicitor deals directly with companies, and the various legal concerns any business will need to address – both in the long and the short term. Corporate law is a wide-ranging specialty – and, in today’s heady business environments, it’s constantly evolving.

Corporate solicitors will be involved in every stage of a company’s lifecycle, from its formation and the stipulation of shareholder rights to day-to-day matters like management and conduct, as well as major events like mergers and acquisitions. They are also there to offer much-needed guidance on succession planning – specifically, how to prepare for the inevitable changes on any business’ horizon and ensure that all interests (from the personal to the professional) are met.

Corporate solicitors prepare businesses to meet any and all legal requirements that may relate to them, as well as offering sound and proactive guidance to prevent them from running into difficult or detrimental situations further down the line.

What Does a Commercial Solicitor do?

On the other hand, commercial solicitors are primarily concerned with commercial transactions – predominantly matters that occur between the business itself, and the outside world. This can range from drawing up contracts that protect a business’s interests to overseeing matters like insurance, imports and exports, and baking.

They may also become involved in matters involving intellectual property (from protecting the business’ IP in the first place to licensing and selling it and, potentially, being there to see the business through any disputes that may arise), as well as franchising and litigation.

Another major aspect of commercial law that has been continually evolving alongside the internet itself is data protection, and GDPR. Businesses need to ensure that their efforts to secure sensitive data are watertight, or risk a devastating impact on their finances, and credibility.

While some of the largest companies have a team of in-house commercial lawyers working exclusively for them round the clock, the majority will build a long-term relationship with an experienced and highly-rated firm like Willans corporate solicitors, which grants them access to help and advice whenever they require it.

Unless you’re directly involved in these areas, it’s easy to get corporate and commercial law confused. The most important thing, however, is to ensure that you do not overlook one in favor of the other. Both are concerned with some of the most important aspects of a business’s health and are vital to the success of your company.