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

  • Electronic Discovery in Civil Law: Considerations for Business Owners
    Texas enacted electronic discovery laws in 1999, and these laws allowed discovery in civil suits to include information stored electronically, such as emails, e-calenders, voice mails, instant messages and chat room conversations, as well as more traditional business communication such as memorandum and contracts. Data stored on personal electronics and hand-held devices can be made part of discovery during a civil suit. 
  • Guide to Purchasing an Existing Business
    When someone has considered buying an already established business, there are various factors that must be researched, understood and put into motion. This means knowing the company, contacting the right persons and seeking to build a relationship with the current owner so that a mutually beneficial sale may take place.
  • Foreign LLCs Doing Business in California
    Foreign LLCs should qualify and register with the California Secretary of State before conducting business in California. Failure to do so may have negative repercussions on the LLC.
  • What Entrepreneurs Need to Know about California Commercial Law
    For the new California entrepreneur, one consistent piece of advice you are likely to hear is to retain the services of an experienced commercial law attorney. While this is certainly good advice, the reasons why this is so may not be as readily apparent. This is because most new entrepreneurs – and even some seasoned business owners – do not fully comprehend the scope, purpose or objectives of commercial law.
  • Guidelines for Protecting Proprietary Information
    Proprietary information is business information that has independent economic value from not being disclosed to competitive businesses or the general public.
  • Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) - Understanding the Basics
    The IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) is a U.S. Government program designed to bring non-compliant individuals, businesses, and trusts that have not properly disclosed foreign and offshore accounts, investments, income, assets, real estate, pension and life insurance policies (amongst others) safely into compliance. The Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures are offshoots of traditional OVDP and have limited reporting requirements, as well as reduced penalties.
  • Personal Liability for LLC Owners
    Limited liability companies (or LLCs) offer protections against personal liability, similar to corporations, and provide advantageous pass-through taxes for individuals. For these reasons, LLCs are commonly favored in California.
  • Retirement Planning and Exit Strategies for the Sole Proprietor
    Opportunities continue to grow for creative and hard working Americans to succeed with freelance and small business opportunities. As the structure of business continues to change with the advent of automation, outsourcing and the rapidly developing AIs and deep neural networks, many people are looking for interesting and challenging work outside the mainstream. Cottage industries, art practices, small businesses that look forward and behind for inspiration are all becoming more common. But for those who grew up in the corporate world, how does one replicate the benefits of funding a retirement and planning an exit strategy?  
  • What Factors Influence Jurors when Evaluating the Testimony of Expert Witnesses
    Expert Witness testimony usually has a steep basis in fact, method and process with scientific data and other evidence as a foundation. This may influence how the jurors evaluate the testimony, but other factors may exist that alter their perceptions.
  • Financial Reports Prepared by Expert Witnesses: Anatomy and Application
    Financial expert witnesses evaluate and prepare the reports dealing with financial matters. They are able to understand the specifics, apply various elements to the reports and assist the judge or jury in comprehending the more complicated matters that pertain to the case.
  • 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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