What Is a Business Lawyer and the Different Types of Business Law

Business law is broad and covers many different topics. However, business law is generally defined as the laws that govern commercial matters.


The two main types of business law are:

  • Regulation of commercial entities
  • Regulation of commercial transactions

Business law is constantly evolving as it adapts to changes in society and technology.


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What Is Business Law?

Business law is an umbrella term for all the laws that dictate how to :

  • form a business
  • buy a business
  • manage a business
  • run a business
  • sell a business
  • close a business

An experienced business owner will have a general idea of business laws but may need the help of a business lawyer to help them navigate contracts and specific business practices.

Types of Business Law

The most common types of business law are as follows.

Employment Law

Even if a company has only one employee, it is important the company knows their rights and responsibilities under federal, state, and local employment laws. Do they need to offer workers’ comp insurance, health insurance, and how do they set up their policies to be inclusive?

Learn more:

Immigration Law

If you employ workers from other countries, you and your employees in charge of recruitment must know immigration laws. Full-time employees, part-time employees, temporary employees, and special events workers must have a right to work in the U.S and your state.

Consumer Goods Sales

All businesses must follow the Uniform Commercial Code, which governs U.S financial transactions. The code is quite complex as it seeks to consolidate all transaction laws in one place. A business lawyer can help you to stay compliant while maximizing your profit.

Contract Drafting/Negotiations/Litigation

A business attorney is key in ensuring your contracts are legally sound and protect your interests. Contracts help to ensure all parties are on the same page and know their rights and responsibilities.

Antitrust

Antitrust laws ensure that all businesses in a marketplace are keeping the playing field even. They prevent companies from using deceptive or unfair practices to win a larger market share. A business lawyer can help ensure your business is operating in an ethical manner and protect you from unfair business practices from other companies.

Intellectual Property

Depending on your business activities, you may create unique products or formulas. A patent allows you to protect your work and ensure your competitors don’t sell the same things as you. Likewise, copyright laws protect creative work, such as your logo.

Learn more: Intellectual Property Assignments Agreements and Licenses 

Taxes

Some taxes a business owner may have to pay are:

    1. Income taxes on the profits of the business. If the business is a single-person LLC or sole proprietorship, this can be paid as a personal income tax return.
    2. Sales tax on products and services. If business is conducted in multiple states, then the company must comply with all states’ tax requirements.
    3. Property tax on any real estate that the business owns. If the properties are sold, then the business must pay capital gains tax.
    4. Self-employment taxes like Medicare and Social Security.
    5. Payroll or employment taxes, including FICA taxes.
    6. Dividend taxes for corporate shareholders. This tax is based on the profits received from the business.
    7. Excise taxes on products like fuel.

Bankruptcy

A business might fall upon hard times due to reasons outside of their control. They should consult a business lawyer to find the best solution to the problem and talk them through the advantages and disadvantages of their options.

Business Law Examples

Here are some of the ways an attorney can help your business.

Starting a Business

Much of business law address the different forms a business can take. Each type has different legal requirements for how they are formed and run. These laws are federal laws, but there may be some state laws regarding each business type. The type of business entity will also affect how federal income taxes are paid.

The law even has some say over how to name a business. Business names are trademarked and therefore protected by intellectual property law. A new business will also need industry-specific licenses and permits. Business law even dictates how a company can advertise themselves. Consumer protection laws affect what language a business can use in their marketing.

Learn more:

Business Formation

Business lawyers can help form and register companies. They can advise clients on the advantages and disadvantages of each business type and ensure the business is protected.

Learn more:

Buying a Business

It is possible to circumvent the formation, and instead, buy a successful business and its client list. However, business laws govern the purchase and sale of businesses and how ownership is transferred. A business lawyer is a buyer’s best asset as there are many things to consider, such as:

    • Does the business owner now own the real estate?
    • Does the business owner now own all of the equipment in the store?
    • Will the employees be transferred over and if so, will the existing contracts still stand or can the new owner make new contracts?
    • Do any of the existing contracts with vendors and suppliers still stand or can the new owner negotiate their own?

Buying a business can be complex, and the contracts will be vital to a successful purchase. Consult a business law attorney to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Contracts

Contracts will make or break a business, quite literally. They are key to reducing legal liability and negotiating profitable business partnerships. This is where a business law attorney will be the most beneficial to your business as they can ensure your interests and rights are protected.

Lawsuits

Businesses often will not seek legal advice until they are facing a lawsuit. However, preventive legal assistance is far less expensive than litigation. Some lawsuits are impossible to avoid, and your attorney can assist in reducing the damage or denying liability altogether. The moment you face a lawsuit, seek legal counsel.