Commercial and financial services law covers the detailed and complex financial transactions made by banks and financial services institutions. A commercial and financial services attorney represents lenders, agents, borrowers, and any other participants in those transactions. Transactions may involve acquiring other companies, purchasing or developing property, financing infrastructure and public projects, and buying large assets like machinery and ships.
In addition to negotiating traditional commercial lending transactions and deals for the sale of insurance and securities, commercial and financial services attorneys provide expertise on refinancing, debt-based or leveraged acquisitions, and recapitalization and tender offer financings. Lawyers in this field may also restructure financings, plan bankruptcy buyouts, and work with debtors and lenders in troubled acquisitions. Commercial and financial services is heavily regulated so lawyers also advise clients on how to structure their deals within the law.
Lawyers in this area need strong negotiation skills, a keen attention to detail, and a high-level of organization. A background in accounting and credit analysis or an undergraduate degree in finance or accounting can help a lawyer read financial statements and understand the work that comprises commercial and financial services law.
Commercial and financial services lawyers enjoy the art of making the deal. Others like the creative challenge of assessing a troubled company or financial structure and coming up with a plan that averts a financial loss or mitigates it substantially. In contrast to litigation practice, where attorneys can spend a year or more working on the same cases, a commercial and financial services lawyer typically spends six to eight weeks, or potentially up to six months, on one deal before moving on to the next one.
It is important to stay current with the most recent developments in banking and finance and to read about the latest news on clients before talking to them.
Good resources to read:
- The Wall Street Journal
- The New York Times
- American Bar Association Business Law section
- The Business Lawyer