Why should you become a corporate attorney

Lawyer vs. Syndic


Lawyer vs. in-house counsel: everyday work in comparison

Answering e-mails, making phone calls and processing files that are piled up on the office desk: these routine tasks are likely to be encountered by all lawyers. In addition, their everyday life differs depending on which career path they choose. Anyone who makes a career as a lawyer in a law firm is in close contact with clients, attends court appointments and represents their interests there. The tasks of the mandates are diverse, because there are no all-inclusive solutions. Therefore creativity and spontaneity are required. Especially with extensive projects: In addition to technical expertise, you need organizational talent and a good overview of the status of the project.

Corporate lawyers, on the other hand, are employed by a company, so their client is also their employer. They advise him on commercial law issues - for example in the areas of trademark law or labor law. How extensive the duties of an in-house lawyer actually are, however, depends heavily on the size of the company. At HUK-Coburg, in any case, the work in the legal department seems to be very varied and exciting: "You almost never know what exactly will happen to you," says Dr. Jörg Etzkorn, Head of the Legal and Compliance Department at HUK-Coburg. In addition to day-to-day business, for example, the board of directors may want ad hoc advice, spontaneous telephone conferences or a project team suddenly needs legal support.

Lawyer vs. Syndic: Who is looking for whom?

"We are looking for open people with good communication skills, the ability to work in a team and a pragmatic, solution-oriented way of thinking who can present and explain legal issues in an understandable way," explains Sarah Marie Seethaler, lawyer in the labor law team at Alnatura.

The legal department of the HUK-Coburg is looking for newcomers who are convincing both professionally and personally: "In addition to mastering the legal tools of the trade, they should have a strong communication ability, assertiveness and diplomatic skills," says Dr. Jörg Etzkorn, Head of the Legal and Compliance Department at HUK-Coburg. In addition, an affinity for corporate, commercial, civil and criminal law is an advantage.

A graduate who is of interest to the law firm SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz is distinguished in technical terms by above-average legal qualifications. Relevant prior knowledge that was acquired during the legal clerkship or in (secondary) activities as a research assistant or in a law firm is also advantageous, according to Gerrit Krämer, employed lawyer in the corporate law department of the business law firm SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz.

Lawyer vs. Syndic: Requirements and salary in the check

Requirements to become a lawyer

"Young professionals should be aware that despite many years of intensive legal training, they have not yet finished learning," says Gerrit Krämer, employed attorney in corporate law at the law firm SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz. Because working as a lawyer requires additional skills that lawyers only learn in practical work - such as taking into account economic risks for the client. Therefore, the willingness to develop yourself and a healthy amount of curiosity are helpful for a successful career start.

Salaries of lawyers

At smaller law firms, newly qualified lawyers can expect an annual gross salary of between 35,000 and 50,000 euros. In the top law firms, however, salaries range from 80,000 to 140,000 euros plus a bonus. However, 18 points in the total of both exams, a doctorate or an LL.M. required.

Requirements for becoming a lawyer

"For a job as a corporate lawyer, graduates should have a desire for practical and solution-oriented work and have fun working with other people - also from other specialist areas, for example in retail," says Sarah Marie Seethaler, lawyer in the labor law team at Alnatura . In addition, a willingness to make decisions, flexibility, innovation, the ability to work in a team and an appealing exam are essential for a future corporate lawyer, adds Dr. Jörg Etzkorn, Head of the Legal and Compliance Department at HUK-Coburg.

Corporate lawyers salaries

Legal departments of medium-sized companies offer salaries between 48,000 and 60,000 euros, depending on the size and industry of the company. Lawyers in the auto and chemical industries make the best, professional associations and the public sector pay the lowest wages.


Practice check: company

Jean Saliba works as Legal Counsel at the pharmaceutical company Klosterfrau


Mr. Saliba, why did you choose a company? Before studying law, I attended various business schools and completed a commercial apprenticeship. I was enthusiastic about the business aspects of a company from an early age. In the legal clerkship I then gained practical experience in companies: everything from start-ups to large corporations was included. That fascinated me.

How did the first few weeks go? My employer and I already knew each other from my time as a trainee lawyer and from my time as a research assistant in the company. I was able to intervene in day-to-day events and help the company right from the start.

What surprised you the most? Among other things, the distance between legal theory and operational practice that a corporate lawyer can offer.

Describe a typical day in the first 100 days: First I briefly read a couple of trade magazines, then it comes to the signature folders. This contains the final versions of contracts that have been agreed with me. I deal with written inquiries. In addition to one-on-one discussions, there are often telephone conferences and meetings to clarify more complex issues.

What are you doing now and what is the most exciting thing about it? Contracts are concentrated at my workplace. It is about fundamental contract issues, including contract template creation and management, the law of general terms and conditions and the higher-level, centralized contract management. With the latter, it is currently particularly exciting to advance digitization as a project co-manager.


Practice check: law firm

Urs Fabian Frigger works as a lawyer in the health care law firm Lyck + Pätzold


Mr. Frigger, why did you decide to work in a law firm? I have already worked as a legal clerk for medical law firms. You can act more independently in law firms and deal with more diverse topics than as a legal counsel.

How did the first few weeks go? Since I had already worked in medical law before, I was fully employed after a few weeks of training. The advantage in this area is that there are often small boutique law firms and beginners quickly have direct client contact. You don't just work, you take on your own cases.

What surprised you the most? Through my legal clerkship in medical law firms, I already knew pretty much what to expect. That is why I advise everyone to look for their specialty and gain experience in the preparatory service.

Describe a typical day in the first 100 days: It was similar to today: checking e-mails in the morning, checking mail, reading the latest magazines. Then there are usually phone appointments. In medical law there are few walk-in customers, our clients are widely spread out. Classic activities are to create and edit legal opinions and briefs. The working hours are very humane because we are less project-driven and work with a steady workload.

What are you responsible for now and what is the most exciting thing about it? In the medical device sector, we advise both industrial and trading companies - especially in the area of ​​compliance. Since the anti-corruption law came into force, I have had a lot to do with the question of the extent to which doctors and companies are allowed to work together. We also advise health care professionals, medical care centers and medical practices. This is, for example, about professional community agreements or practical succession. It's the wide range that makes my job so exciting.