Corporate Law

Definition, State Laws, Publications, Organizations



Corporate Law (corporations law, company law) deals with the formation and operations of corporations and is related to commercial and contract law. A corporation is a legal entity created under the laws of the state it’s incorporated within. State laws, which vary from state to state, regulate the creation, organization and dissolution of their corporations. A corporation creates a legal or “artificial person” or entity that has standing to sue and be sued, enter into contracts, and perform other duties necessary to maintain a business, separate from its stockholders.

Corporations are taxable entities, which shields the individual owners or shareholders from personal liability for the liabilities and debts of the corporation, with some limited exceptions – such as unpaid taxes.

Corporations are often used in tax structuring, as they are taxed at a lower rate than individuals. Until formally dissolved, a corporation has perpetual life; the termination or deaths of officials or stockholders does not alter the corporate structure. States have registration laws requiring corporations that incorporate in other states to request permission to do in-state business.

There are also federal laws relevant to corporations. Corporations in certain industries are subject to federal regulation and licensing, such as communications and public transportation. The Securities Act of 1933, which is federal law, regulates how corporate securities (stocks, bonds, etc.) are issued and sold.

Corporate law professionals are trained in the legal formation of corporations. These attorneys also construct joint ventures, licensing arrangements, mergers, acquisitions, and the countless other transactions entered into by corporations. Other areas of practice include business formations, securities law, venture capital financing, business agreements, internal forms, and business tax consultations.

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  • What Do Lawyers Look For When Evaluating Contracts?

    Corporate attorneys are frequently asked to assess various contracts that their clients bring to them. Generally, clients only want to know whether it is a “good” contract, or if it “covers everything.” But, this is only a small fraction of what an attorney should analyze. So, what do lawyers look for when evaluating contracts?

  • When a Business Folds, Who Is Responsible for Its Debts and Other Obligations?

    A common question among small business owners is who will be responsible for debts and other obligations if a business entity folds or reorganizes. Many things can happen in the life of a business entity, whether a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship, and this can lead to questions about who will be left holding the bag.

Articles on HG.org Related to Corporate Law

  • How the IRS Investigates FBAR Violations
    After the foreign bank reports the non-compliant taxpayer’s account information to the foreign taxing authority, the information is then provided to the IRS. For those countries without intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), the account holder’s information will be sent directly to the IRS.
  • 3 Reasons Why You Need Attorney Advice for Your Business
    Many times, businesses make the mistake of waiting until they are in deep legal troubles before hiring an attorney. Usually, when you find yourself in court, it’s too late to hire the services of a lawyer and chances are you will pay more to get yourself out of legal trouble.     
  • Chief Financial Officers Can Be Held Liable
    CFO and corporate accountants must be aware that the improprieties of their superiors could lead to their own personal liabilities. This is because Courts have found that corporate officers can breach their fiduciary duties to a company if they are involved in conduct that benefited their superior officers by approving or concealing improper expense reimbursements.
  • General Legal Services Help Employees Avoid Employee Misclassification Claims
    Employers are often in a precarious position in which they may be sued by business partners, employees and customers. However, there are often steps that they can take to minimize their exposure.
  • Business Entities: What's in a Name?
    When you think about a business entity choice, the name of a business may come to mind. However, a business entity is so much more than just the name of your business. The business entity choice can have implications in all aspects of your business operations including the amount of taxes you will pay, personal liability, transferring assets and more.
  • The Business Judgment Rule and Liability
    Many business rules apply to employee, management or both. Some of these regulations affect what is permitted, which circumstances are allowed and how liability affects someone. Wrongful conduct, participation that leads to negative consequences and similar matters may be the foundation for litigation between persons in a company.
  • 5 Steps to Forming a Virginia Limited Liability Company (LLC)
    So you want to start a business and you don't know where to start. Well this may help get you headed in the right direction, "5 steps to forming a Virginia LLC." Sounds simple enough, right? Well you still may want to consider speaking with an Attorney so that what you don't know won't hurt you.
  • Lessons from Cases that Use an Expert Witness
    It is important to understand what the use of an expert witness is and how best to use these professionals. However, before they may be utilized in court, the lawyer that hires them must carefully choose the right expert to represent an aspect of the case that is relevant and reliable.
  • Why California is Chosen for Business Partnerships
    Some parts of the country are more prominent with specific business types. California is a better state to create or grow a company with business partnerships than many others. However, no matter which location the owner or partners choose to initiate a new organization, it is crucial that a partnership agreement is drafted through a business lawyer. This is a document where two or more persons own, operate and sustain a company.
  • Issuing Equity to Employees in a Startup
    Startup companies often look for a certain type of employee that will remain loyal as all the kinks are worked out of the initial problems. This means that certain incentives and rewards are provided to those willing to remain loyal throughout this starting period.
  • All Business and Industry Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Business and Industry including: agency and distributorship, agency law, business and industry, business formation, business law, commercial law, contracts, corporate governance, corporate law, e-commerce, food and beverages law, franchising, industrial and manufacturing, joint ventures, legal economics, marketing law, mergers and acquisitions, offshore services, privatization law, retail, shareholders rights and utilities.

Division of Corporations by State

Corporate Law - US

  • ABA - Model Business Corporations Act

    The laws governing every aspect of a corporation exist within the Model Business Corporation Act. The law lays out in detail the steps required to form a corporation and the reasons for which a corporation may be formed. In addition, the MBCA describes various voting procedures for making decisions and provides insight on the rights of shareholders and directors. The code provides for the rules that govern mergers and acquisitions as well as the sale and issuance of stock. The act itself has 17 chapters and covers almost 200 pages.

  • Corporate Law - Wikipedia

    Corporate law in the United States is a collection of 50 different systems of corporate law, or one law for each state. Two sources of law are, however particularly important. Firstly, the Model Business Corporation Act (MBCA), which is drafted by the American Bar Association was influential and adopted by twenty four states. Secondly, because, under the US Constitution, companies are free to incorporate in any state, regardless of whether they are doing any business there or have their headquarters there, states have competed on various rules to attract business, and many corporations found Delaware's laws and specialized courts attractive. More than half of US corporations are incorporated under the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL), and Delaware corporate law is particularly influential.

  • Corporations - Overview

    A corporation is a legal entity created through the laws of its state of incorporation. Individual states have the power to promulgate laws relating to the creation, organization and dissolution of corporations. Many states follow the Model Business Corporation Act.

  • Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL)

    The Delaware General Corporation Law (Title 8, Chapter 1 of the Delaware Code) is the statute governing corporate law in the state of Delaware. Delaware is well known as a corporate haven. Over 50% of U.S. publicly-traded corporations and 60% of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in that state.

  • Different Types of Corporations

    Anyone who operates a business, alone or with others, may incorporate. This is also true for anyone or any group engaged in religious, civil, non-profit or charitable endeavors. You do not have to be a business giant to be able to have the financial and other benefits of operating a corporation. Given the right circumstances, the owner(s) of a business of any size can benefit from incorporating.

  • Uniform Commercial Code

    The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is a set of suggested laws relating to commercial transactions. The UCC was one of many uniform codes that grew out of a late nineteenth-century movement toward uniformity among state laws.

Organizations Related to Corporate Law

  • National Corporate Research, Ltd. (NCR)

    National Corporate Research, Ltd. ("NCR") is a professional registered agent company that has been providing nationwide statutory representation, corporate and secured transaction services since 1980. NCR also provides legislative and government agency research services and offers a variety of services for law librarians.

  • NRAI Corporate Services

    NRAI Corporate Services located in St. Louis opened its doors in 2006 as National Corporate Services with a veteran staff which have a combined 70 years of corporate transaction expertise. Our team of industry veterans knows what to do and how to do it. We serve major law firms and corporations across the county and our daily objective is to make your day easier. We pride ourselves on offering the highest level of personalized service while delivering quick turnarounds and a more cost-effective solution to your corporate, UCC and registered agent needs.

Publications Related to Corporate Law

  • American Business Law Journal

    The American Business Law Journal (ABLJ) is a quarterly law review published on behalf of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB). The journal explores the whole range of topics related to business and corporate law and is an essential resource for students, professors and all professionals in the field.

  • Journal of Corporation Law

    Articles cover corporate legal topics and development important to businesses, scholars and practicing lawyers.




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