What is Business Law, and How Can an Attorney Help Your Business?
Business law, generally speaking, is the area of law addressing commerce or commercial-related issues. Businesses encounter many different types of issues, and thus business law encompasses a wide range of topics, as explained below.
Business law always involves, at the initial stage, the formation of the businesses. This means choosing the correct type of business entity (for example, a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, or corporation), based on the particular client’s characteristics and requirements. This often involves working with accountants, banks, and other third parties on the client’s behalf.
Franchise law is a subset of business law. Many of the businesses that start each year – especially in a growing area like Charlotte and Mecklenburg County – are franchises. They have unique issues that come up, like questions about Franchise Disclosure Documents, contracts with franchisors, or conflicts with their franchisors involving how the business should be run.
Throughout the life of the company, the business’s corporate governance documents – the partnership agreement, operating agreement, articles of incorporation, bylaws – may need to be revised. This might occur because of a change in the way the company does business, or because of a sale or merger. Whatever the change is, there will be relevant state or federal law that must be complied with. It is extremely important to maintain corporate formalities, or the owners of the business can be held liable under a doctrine called “piercing the corporate veil.”
Once a company is in business, it will encounter contracts that need to be drafted, interpreted, or entered into. These could be anything from a contract with a vendor, to an employment contract with an employee or a contractor, or with a client. And once contracts are in place, it is inevitable that they are sometimes breached and the business owner needs to resolve a dispute, whether through legal or other means.
This leads us to one of the last areas of business law, which is business litigation. Some disputes cannot be resolved with informal discussions and must be taken to court. In North Carolina, lawsuits may be brought in Small Claims Court, District Court, Superior Court, or Federal Court, depending on where the parties are located and the amount in controversy. If both parties are North Carolina businesses, then the lawsuit will probably be brought in state court. In fact, North Carolina has a special court for business disputes called the Business Court, which is for cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law.
The language of business is dollars and cents, which means that when litigating a business issue, your primary consideration should probably be resolving the case in the most economically efficient way. Sometimes that may mean taking a case to trial, or sometimes it may mean mediating or settling the case. A good attorney will evaluate all the options and explain all of them to the business owner.
Fairview Law is a Charlotte, North Carolina business law firm that concentrates its practice in business law. We are experienced in both litigation and transactional matters, meaning that not only can we start your business, we can also represent your business in resolving any disagreements that may come up along the way. If you have a business law issue of any type, contact us to see how we can help your business succeed.