It is important for business people to understand the legal environment in which they are operating. To be successful, businesses must understand how law and economic principles influence each other. Businesses want to be successful, which usually means they want to be profitable. While a basic economic principle is that businesses act in their own self-interest, they must do so within the parameters of the law. Sometimes businesses weigh the penalties of violating the law against the chances of getting caught to determine how they should behave. In both instances, the law is a restraint on behavior.
Most people want to conduct their business legally. Following the rules saves money, time, and frustration, and it preserves individual and professional reputations. So, if businesses have an incentive to operate legally, why are do so many legal disputes occur? There are many reasons for this, including that many of our laws are poorly written, and reasonable people may disagree about what is “right.” Legal injuries happen even under the best of circumstances, and parties need a method to be compensated for their damages.
A common theme in the study of law is responsibility. Law seeks to answer the questions:
- Who is responsible, and what is their liability? and
- How does a business limit exposure to liability in the first place?
A solid understanding of business law minimizes the risk of liability and avoids legal disputes. The law provides a reasonable expectation of how things will be in the future based on how they have been in the past. It provides predictability and stability.
This book does not teach how to practice law or conduct legal research. The goals of this book are practical. Think about studying business law as a map by which to navigate business dealings. We want to help you minimize the risk of legal liability and avoid serious legal disputes. This book serves as an introduction to legal topics that affect businesses. By understanding the legal landscape, you will have a better opportunity for business success.