Introduction

This book is an introductory text on business law targeted for use in an undergraduate or graduate business school setting. It covers the major areas of law typically taught in a legal environment for business course. This book covers these principles with a simple premise: law for attorneys focuses on finding legal answers, while law for managers focuses on risk management. That is, attorneys are trained to find the right legal answer to a question, or to argue that a certain answer ought to be the right one. This is the training they receive in law school. Managers face a very different question. A company’s course of action will have certain probabilities of various legal consequences which need to be weighed. In that sense, decisions with legal repercussions are like any decision faced by a manager.

The goal of this text is to (1) teach students enough substantive law that they can assess those probabilities, (2) teach students enough procedural law and terminology that they can communicate intelligibly with attorneys, and (3) give a framework and practice in decisionmaking with regard to legal consequences.

While doing this, the text aims to provide students with a textbook that is up to date and comprehensive in its coverage of legal and regulatory issues—and organized to permit instructors to tailor the materials to their particular approach. This book engages students by relating law to everyday events with which they are already familiar (or with which they are familiarizing themselves in other business courses) and by its clear, concise, and readable style.

This textbook provides context and essential concepts across the entire range of legal issues with which managers and business executives must grapple. The text provides the vocabulary and legal acumen necessary for businesspeople to talk in an educated way to their customers, employees, suppliers, government officials—and to their own lawyers.

This book offers these unique features:

  • In the html version of the book, each chapter contains an embedded lecture which walks through major principles from the chapter, along with linked html slides
  • Links to forms and uniform laws are embedded in the text.
  • Every chapter contains overviews that include the organization and coverage, chapter summaries, and self-test questions in multiple-choice format (along with answers).

Licensing information

This text was adapted by Jeff Lingwall under the same license and from texts adapted by Saylor Academy under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the works’ original creators or licensors. Some additions to the text have specific license terms (such as the XKCD comics scattered throughout the text). In the slides and lectures that accompany the text, some items are used under fair use principles (such as images in the lecture on fair use).

The work may be cited as Business Law: A Risk Management Approach (Jeff Lingwall, 2020). Produced in partnership with Boise State University’s eCampus Center through the Open Book Summer Grant Program 2020.

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