Business & Corporate Law

Business and Corporate Law covers a wide range of topics, such as: choosing the form of a business; buying, selling or closing a business; raising capital for a business; and entering into employment and other business contracts and resolving contract disputes.

When you start a business, you have to choose what type of structure or form to use for operating that business. There are many factors to consider when deciding what form will work best for you. Depending on your needs and goals, you may choose a sole proprietorship, a general or special partnership, a corporation or limited liability company, or a non-profit corporation. Depending upon which structure or form you choose, you may have to follow specific steps before you can begin to operate your business.

Instead of starting your own business, you may want to buy an existing business. If you are thinking about buying a business, you will need to consider:

  • Whether to buy a franchise or an independent company;
  • How to find an available business to buy;
  • Whether the business’s purchase price is reasonable, considering the history and finances of the company;
  • If skilled employees are required, make sure they are available.

On the other hand, if you already have an existing business that you may be ready to sell or close, you will need to:

  • Prepare your business for sale;
  • Consider how to deal with your key employees;
  • Research and set the sales price;
  • Locate potential buyers;
  • Negotiate and prepare the sales contract and other related documents;
  • Prepare for and attend the closing.

Whether starting, buying, selling or running a business, businesses deal with contracts. These can be formal written agreements, casual oral promises, emails, texts on your phone or ‘handshake’ deals. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties that commits the parties to do or not do certain things. This agreement can be enforced by a court. Business owners need to have a basic understanding of contract law, including how to enter into a contract, the meaning of important contract terms, what makes a contract enforceable, and what to do if one of the parties refuses to hold up its end of the deal.

Legal Editor: Dan Brecher, November 2014 (updated November 2018)

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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