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Business Law

Business law refers to the legal components and requirements of new or existing businesses. Typically, these laws and regulations govern a business's rights and liberties, dispute resolution, and how it interacts with other businesses, the public, customers, and government agencies. While there are several federal statutes in place regarding business law, regulations and laws governing businesses also tend to vary from state to state.

From a legal standpoint, businesses are often considered separate entities from their owners or employees. In order to promote fair opportunities within the market, businesses in the United States have their own set of rights and requirements.

Business law plays an essential role in the operation and regulation of almost all types of businesses, companies, and corporations. Since it is a fairly broad legal field, there are many different sets of laws and subjects to consider. Let's examine some of the most important elements of US business law, as well as a few other related fields of law.


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Business Formation

Business laws are sure to come into play if you start your own business. In the US, establishing a new business involves plenty of legal processes such as leasing or purchasing property, handling contracts and agreements, and issuing permits. Also, some business owners may require additional legal assistance in forming their company. There are many different types of common entities such as Corporations, Limited Liability Corporations (LLC) Sole Proprietorships and Limited Partnerships. Expert business lawyers can help companies choose the entity that is most appropriate for them.

Contracts and Agreements

A contract is legally defined as a binding agreement between multiple parties that establishes the terms under which the parties will interact with each other. Often, businesses have contracts dictating how they will function both internally and with third parties. These legally-enforceable agreements can involve a variety of business transactions such as sales, purchases, joint ventures and mergers.

Bankruptcy

In some unfortunate circumstances, businesses may be forced into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal process initiated by a business that is unable to pay their outstanding debts or obligations. Almost all bankruptcy cases fall under federal law, although some states may include their own specific bankruptcy regulations. Bankruptcy claims are typically filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court. A bankruptcy or business lawyer is highly recommended in these situations since filing for bankruptcy is a highly complex and technical process.

Antitrust Law

The government has several laws in place to make sure businesses are being run in an ethical manner. Antitrust laws are developed to protect consumers from unethical or predatory business practices. These laws promote fair competition and apply to a wide range of inappropriate business activities such as bid rigging and price fixing.

Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property or IP law refers to laws and regulations that protect and enforce the rights of creators and owners of "intellectual property," which can include inventions, writing, music, designs and other works. In some cases, a business’s main source of revenue is generated from an originally created product or service. Having these laws and regulations in place helps businesses prevent infringement and theft of their creations. Companies may also consider hiring business lawyers to advise them on their rights and obligations as owners of intellectual property.

Tax Law

Businesses may be forced to pay a variety of taxes. Here are a few of the most common taxes businesses may be required to pay according to the law:
- Income Tax: taxes the government imposes on income generated by businesses.
- Sales Tax: taxes paid to a governing body for the sales of certain products and services.
- Excise Tax: taxes required on specific goods such as fuel, tobacco and alcohol.
- Property Tax: taxes paid on a property owned by a business.

Employment Law

Employment laws are used by almost all businesses in the United States. These laws and regulations relate to the employer-employee relationship within a business. In addition to federal employment laws, there are also employment laws and regulations that are specific to each state. For instance, while federal law dictates that employees must be paid a certain minimum wage, state laws may stipulate their own minimum wage amount.


Generally, employment law is divided into five main categories: compensation, discrimination, labor, hiring and termination and workplace safety.

Seeking Justice

Have you started your own business recently? Are you interested in learning more about your legal rights and obligations as a business owner? Are you facing legal conflicts within your business or with another party and are seeking legal support? Contact one of our business lawyers as soon as possible.

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Business Law Frequently Asked Questions

1. What topics does business law cover?

Business law is a broad area of law that governs the operation and regulation of almost all types of businesses, companies and corporations. It covers a wide range of topics and legal fields, including but not limited to:

  • Business Formation: In the United States, building a new company or corporation involves plenty of legal processes.
  • Contracts and Agreements: Contracts, which are legally-enforceable agreements between multiple parties, often play a significant role in many types of businesses.
  • Intellectual Property Law: Many US laws protect and enforce the rights of creators and owners of intellectual property, which can be a major source of revenue for some businesses.
  • Tax Law: Business owners are legally required to pay a variety of taxes, such as income tax, sales tax and property tax.

2. What should I consider when starting a business?

While it is natural to get caught up in the excitement of starting your own business, there are several legal requirements to be aware of. This is why working with an experienced business lawyer, especially at the start of your journey as a business owner, can be extremely beneficial. 

For instance, the type of entity you want to establish is one of the most important decisions when starting a business. There are various different types of legally-recognized businesses in the US, such as limited liability companies (LLC), sole proprietorships and limited partnerships.

3. What's the difference between corporate and commercial law?

Corporate law and commercial law sound quite similar, but there are actually a few key differences between these two fields.

The first step in understanding corporate law is to understand what a corporation truly is. A corporation is a business entity authorized to act as a single entity that has been formed in accordance with the law. Therefore, a corporate lawyer typically deals with the formation of legally-recognized businesses as well as mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, security laws and licensing arrangements. Corporate law is regulated by both federal and state laws.

On the other hand, commercial laws are defined by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which is a comprehensive set of laws that govern almost all commercial transactions in the United States. This uniformly adopted state code covers the laws and regulations for trade such as sales, leases, investment securities and transfers of funds. Commercial lawyers help businesses apply the UCC and assist in various commercial transactions within the industry.

4. What are the most popular business types?

The best business structure for your entity depends on important factors such as liability, number of owners, management structure and business goals. For a better understanding of what business type is right for you, let's take a look at some of the most common business types in the US:

  • Sole Proprietorship: A business owned by one person and not considered to be a separate legal entity.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): A business structure that protects its owners from personal responsibility for debts and liabilities.
  • General Partnership: These businesses are made up of two or more partners who agree to start a business together.
  • Limited Partnership: A partnership made up of two or more partners in which the general partner runs the business while the limited partner does not actively manage the business.

5. How much does a business lawyer cost?

The answer to this question is, unsurprisingly: it depends. In 2020, a study concluded that the average hourly rate of a business owner ranges between $100 and $400 per hour. This amount varies greatly depending on a number of important factors, like the experience of the lawyer, the complexity of the case and the size of the business. If the matter involves a trial, these rates tend to increase. It is highly advised to discuss fee structures and rates with your attorney during your initial consultation.

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