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Corporate law is a branch of business law. It covers matters like company formation, governance and maintenance of businesses as legal entities, amongst other things.
Corporate law comes in to play if you are in business with a partner, are looking to attract investment or if you are planning to sell your business.
Corporate law covers several areas of important legal documentation for businesses, like Shareholders’ Agreements, Joint Venture Agreements, Partnership Agreements, Articles of Association and Asset Purchase Agreements.
A business legal structure is a classification used by government offices to define how your business operates.
Whether you decide to operate as a sole trader, a limited liability partnership or a limited company, each option comes with different benefits and disadvantages. Choosing the right legal structure is an essential part of building your business, so it’s important to think carefully about which suits your business needs.
How you register your business will completely depend on your business legal structure.
If you are a sole trader, you don’t need to register with Companies House. Instead, you need to register with HMRC and complete an annual self-assessment tax return. Find out more here.
If you are starting a limited company, or a limited liability partnership, you are legally required to register with Companies House. This is called company incorporation. It costs £12 and you can do so here.
In Ireland, if you are setting up a business as a sole trader or a limited company, then you must register with the CRO. It costs as little as €20 and you can do it here.
If you are a sole trader, then you and your business are considered to be one legal entity. If you register your business as a limited company, then the company is considered to be a separate entity, not linked to you or your stakeholders.
The easiest business structure to set up is sole trader. It costs nothing and is quick. Once you are up and running, it involves less paperwork and fewer legal obligations. It’s ideal for self-employed traders and freelancers. However, you might be at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting big contracts and accessing business finance and growth funding.
Setting yourself up as a limited company means that whatever happens to your business, your personal assets remain separate from those of the company. It can also be easier to raise funding and attract bigger customers. However, being a limited company is a little more complicated than being a sole trader. It’ll cost more, involves more paperwork and can be more complicated.
If you decide to go into business with another person, even if it’s your best friend and someone you trust completely, you must protect your own interests and those of the business. Depending on the nature of your business, this could be Shareholders’ Agreements or Partnership Agreements.
Launching a business or new idea can be expensive, very few people will be able to raise all of the funds needed from their own savings. That’s where investment comes in. We guide businesses through the process of attracting funding from potential investors, supporting you at every stage of business growth.
Funding progresses through five rounds, with each round reflecting the stage of growth that your company is at.
Pre-seed funders are often the business owner themselves, or their friends and family. These early investors are not usually looking for an immediate return; they are more interested in providing altruistic support.
Seeding is the first ‘serious’ money that a business owner raises. Seed funding is essential for helping you to develop your products or invest in marketing to grow brand awareness in your market niche. It is often the only funding you’ll need to get you on your journey to success. Seed funders tend to accept greater levels of risk because they are willing to invest in an unproven business.
Series A funding
Series A funding is about taking the next steps towards long-term profitability and investors expect to see a money-making growth strategy in place.
Series B funding
By this point, a business looking to attract more investment will be well-established and focusing on growing the company to meet the demand for their products or services. Series B investors are similar to Series A investors, but they will have more experience in later-stage growth.
Series C funding
A business looking to expand, maybe overseas or through acquisition of another company, will seek out Series C funding. This final stage of funding is a large cash injection that allows a business to rapidly scale and create a good return for investors.
Yes! We work on transactions across all industry sectors. Our broad experience means we can advise everyone from first-time buyers to experienced directors focussing on expansion. Whether you are buying or selling, we work closely with our clients to deliver the legal documentation needed for a successful business transaction.
We don’t just offer support around the sale of a business. Our HR team are experts in bespoke employment law advice and HR legal support. This means that we can advise on employee related concerns during the transaction, such as employment agreements or TUPE. Our intellectual property lawyers can also provide legal support around the transfer of copyright and trademarks to a new owner.