Corporate Law

Definition, State Laws, Publications, Organizations



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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

  • IRS Due Process Collections - Placing a Velvet Glove on the Wrecking Ball
    Due process is, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, “a course of legal proceedings … which have been established … for the enforcement and protection of private rights.” Anyone facing an IRS federal tax lien or levy has already experienced the preliminary due process following the IRS determination that more taxes are owed.
  • Transfer Agents in the Going Public Process
    Transfer agents play a key role in the going public process. Transfer agents are the record keeper for a company’s securities when it goes public. Share ownership is reflected on the issuer’s shareholder list. In addition, transfer agents issue and cancel certificates to reflect changes in the ownership of securities and act as an intermediary for the company and its stockholders during the going public process.
  • Accredited Investors l Rule 506 Requirements
    Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933,as amended (the “Securities Act”), sets forth a safe harbor from the registration statement requirements of the Securities Act for certain private placements of securities. In connection with these exemptions, offerings made in reliance upon Regulation D, Rule 504, 505 and 506 can be made to up to 35 non-accredited investors and an unlimited number of “accredited” investors.
  • Section 4(1) Exemption
    Rule 144 (“SEC Rule 144”) under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) provides a safe harbor from the registration provisions of the Securities Act for resales of restricted and control securities by persons other than the issuer if all conditions of the rule are complied with.
  • Form 8K Reporting of Reverse Mergers
    The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Division of Corporate Finance frequently notes disclosure deficiencies in the disclosure of reverse merger transactions in on 8-K Filed. This post summarizes SEC staff comments in response to reports on Form 8-K reporting of reverse mergers with public shell companies or similar transactions that result in a public company no longer being designated as a shell company.
  • US Listings For Foreign Issuers
    Typically, foreign companies seeking to raise capital attempt to obtain public company status. Foreign companies that go public in the U.S. may complete a public offering by registering securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) or by registering a class of securities under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).
  • OTCMarkets OTCQX l Dual List USA
    The OTCMarkets OTCQX offers foreign issuers seeking to go public in the U.S. an appealing alternative to listing on a stock exchange. Foreign issuers whose securities are listed on a foreign stock exchange that qualify for the exemption from the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”),
  • Private Placement Memorandums 101
    A private placement memorandum (“PPM”) is also referred to as a confidential offering circular or memorandum. PPM’s are typcially prepared by securities lawyers who assist private companies with their going public transactions. PPM’s are used to raise capital by selling either debt or equity in an exempt offering that has not been registered with the SEC. These exempt offerings are often called private placements.
  • SEC Registration Statements l Question & Answer
    Addressing the most common questions we receive about going public using Form S-1 and the SEC registration statement process.
  • Section 16 Reporting
    Shareholders and management of private companies are often unaware of their reporting obligations upon completion of a going public transaction. Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) requires the reporting of beneficial ownership by the officers, directors and stockholders who hold stock directly or indirectly, beneficially owning more than 10% of the company’s common stock or other class of equity securities registered under Section 12(b) or 12(g) of the Exchange Act.
  • 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.