What Is Business Law?
Business law encompasses a wide range of legal aspects regarding anything related to business. This includes the creation of a business or company, the public and professional interactions of a business, and other logistical issues a business may face like contracts and sales practices. There are numerous laws that pertain to the business world, with many of them determining how a business can operate and what restrictions are placed upon it.
Specific areas of interest can include employment and labor laws, tax law, laws regarding intellectual property or copyright, real estate zoning specifications, and finance laws related to business. Attorneys and law firms that focus on business law will often be well-versed in any of these topics and will have the appropriate understanding of the legal system as it relates to business law.
Types of Services in Business Law
As business law covers a large area of topics in the legal system, there are quite a few services that a person may consider seeking out. Specific areas of interest in business may require a specific service that focuses on that area to ensure legal compliance. Depending on the circumstances, it is not uncommon for a business to require services related to several areas or to need to revisit a service during the business’ lifetime.
The majority of services available regarding business law will pertain to the business’ creation. Each state has its own set of laws and regulations on business formation—although they are mostly similar to one another—in addition to federal restrictions. Adherence to these laws ensures that the business is properly established and offers legal protections to its founders. There are different legal classifications for a business, which can include partnerships (general or limited), limited liability company (LLC), corporations, and sole proprietorships. These are often used to determine the legal structure of the business, as well as how it will be classified by federal organizations like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes.
Services related to tax law for businesses are also available, as those regulations are going to be noticeably different from those specific to private individuals. Tax law services will often be tied to any legal services regarding finances, like bankruptcy, that a business uses. The laws pertaining to a business’ financial practices will often include things such as bookkeeping, wages, accounting, and shareholding. There may also be services regarding mergers, debt, credit, loans, and investors that a business may need help with.
Any contracts or formal agreements that a business enters into will also involve business law. These are legally-binding agreements, so the inclusion of some kind of legal service is often necessary to ensure that all laws are being followed and that there are no violations. One or both parties involved will often seek out a business lawyer to create the contract and verify its legal standing. Their services can include actually writing a formal contract, negotiating terms, and taking action in instances of contract violations. Some business law firms offer the services of a Notary Public, an official who serves as an impartial witness when an important document (e.g. a contract) is signed to prevent fraud or other illegal actions.
Legal services pertaining to real estate are also included under business law. In addition to the standard buying or selling of business-related property, this can include things such as zoning and surveying laws for commercial property, construction permits, property or facility inspections, and environmental regulations that a business needs to comply with. There are laws on the local (e.g. city or county) level in addition to the state and federal levels, so the assistance of a business lawyer familiar with business or commercial real estate laws is often necessary.
Businesses also have property that doesn’t include the land or building they work out of. Copyrighting intellectual property, like patents and products, has its own legalities under business law. A business who wants to make sure that their product design is legally theirs and theirs alone to use will often seek out legal services to ensure that happens. These services also help in instilling legal protection for the business’ intellectual property regarding the usage of things such as names and design characteristics for marketing purposes.
A major area of business law includes the employment and treatment of staff. Some of those laws include how employees can be hired and fired, how and when they are paid, and their treatment at work (e.g. discrimination, harassment). Many business laws regarding employment pertain to workplace safety and welfare, such as those established by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). There are numerous legal services regarding employees, available to the employees themselves and the businesses that employ them. As a result, employment law services may be used more frequently than other business law services.
Who Needs Assistance from A Business Lawyer?
Determining who needs the assistance of a lawyer or law firm practicing business law will depend on the circumstances of the situation. Those who need assistance from an attorney specializing in business law will often be business owners and leaders. Much of business law pertains to the creation of a business or its maintenance, and the legal responsibilities for both fall to whoever is in charge of the business. Those laws can be complex, but important to ensure the legality of a business so some help in navigating the laws may be needed. If a business owner, partner, or other controlling force for the business needs services pertaining to those discussed here, then they will likely need a lawyer who specializes in that area of business law.
Business owners, however, are not the only ones who may need the assistance of a business lawyer. Employees and other staff members are also covered under business law, and there may be circumstances where they need to seek out legal help. Instances of mistreatment, such as workplace safety violations or discrimination, often require legal aid from an attorney specializing or familiar with business law. Anyone who works with a business, from employees to partners to customers, may encounter a situation regarding an issue under business law and will therefore need the help of a lawyer specializing in business law.
We at Silverman Law Office, PLLC would love to meet you and discuss any business law needs you may have! Give us a call or contact us today!