There are differences between corporate lawyers and business lawyers, even though some people use the terms interchangeably. Corporate lawyers handle the rules, regulations, and laws concerning the formation and operation of corporations. Business lawyers manage the interactions between businesses and people, including customers and employees. Business lawyers provide legal advice on local laws and regulations, reviewing contracts, staff policies, and other matters.
Corporate lawyers handle:
- Business incorporation
- Shareholder rights
- International contracts
- Corporate assets
Business lawyers handle:
- Employment law
- Work environment safety
- Tax law
- Product and service conditions
To understand these differences, it helps to understand the difference between business law and corporate law.
What’s the Difference between Business Law and Corporate Law?
In U.S. law, corporations are seen as being legal business entities that are separate from their owners. Corporate law focuses on corporations – specifically, how they are formed and managed. Corporate law covers areas such as shareholder rights, management duties, and shareholder and investment agreements. Corporations can also file lawsuits and enter contracts, which both involve corporate law practices.
Laws and policies surrounding capital increases and liquidation also fall under corporate law, as do taxation and distribution of corporate assets. Because corporations are a type of business entity, there can be some overlap between business law and corporate law. Corporate lawyers might also provide legal advice on the responsibilities and legal rights of businesses involving a corporation. They draft and review legal contracts during business agreements, as well.
Business law determines how companies will conduct themselves and handle business matters. One difference between corporate law and business law is that business law relates closely to employment law. Hiring and firing of employees, employee management, and a safe work environment are matters of employee and business law. Business law also concerns tax law, which involves reviewing the financial tax obligations and advantages associated with various businesses.
Business law also concerns itself directly with customers and customer interactions. For example, terms and conditions involving products and services, licensing, and guidelines for refunds and guarantees, and other sales matters, all involve business law.
What Are a Corporate Lawyer’s and Business Lawyer’s Specialties?
Corporate Lawyer Specialties
- Reviewing investors’ rights, corporate structure and operations, and acquisitions
- Incorporating a business
- International contracts and business models. Ensuring that parties are compliant and that contracts are legally valid.
Business Lawyer Specialties
- Creating and reviewing partnership agreements
- IRS and tax compliance
- Managing lawsuits directly or indirectly affecting a business
- Creation and review of business plans
- Drawing and reviewing partnership agreements
How Are Business Law and Corporate Law Regulated?
The government and other entities play a role in regulating business and corporate law and operations. Federal laws influence corporate law, affecting the purchase of stocks, employee safety, and other matters. State laws can supplement and change corporate law based on state policies.
The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) governs commercial transactions in the United States, affecting how products and services are bought and sold. This code governs many facets of business law. Here again, states can supplement or otherwise influence business law drawn from the code. Therefore, it’s important to have a business lawyer knowledgeable of your state’s specific laws.
Corporate law often intersects with the control of goods and services on the market, while business law has a broad scope, affecting so many aspects of business operations large and small.
Are There Similarities Between Corporate Lawyers and Business Lawyers?
Despite the variations and differences between business law and corporate law, they share similarities. Both forms of law fundamentally deal with business. Business law governs business entities, such as partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and sole proprietorships. A corporation is a specific type of business entity.
Business lawyers and corporate lawyers deal with similar issues, but on different levels. Some lawyers know both business law and corporate law very well. Both types of lawyers handle much of the behind-the-scenes legal work needed to be compliant with state, federal, and sometimes international laws and standards. Both handle legal agreements, often on a larger scale for corporate lawyers.
A Business Attorney to Guide Your Company’s Path Forward
Contact a Houston business attorney who knows more than just the difference between business law and corporate law. Mr. Weisblatt understands how the nuances between these legal fields can affect your company’s operations. The Weisblatt Law Firm can help to guide your company’s legal interactions, questions, and business matters with expertise and care.
For a free initial phone consultation, call the Weisblatt Law Firm at 713-666-1981.
Attorney Andrew Weisblatt
Mr. Weisblatt has practiced continuously since becoming licensed in 1992 and has represented businesses ranging in size from one person start-up ventures to multi-national corporations employing hundreds of people in multiple countries. From 2005 through 2009 Mr. Weisblatt was in-house counsel and chief operating officer of a multi-national corporation in the steel products industry. That in-house position provided valuable insight into how businesses work and what they actually need from their lawyers – both in-house and outside counsel.