Business Law and the Legal Environment
Don Mayer, University of Miami
Daniel M. Warner, Western Washington University
George J. Siedel, University of Michigan Business School
Copyright Year: 2012
Publisher: Saylor Foundation
Conditions of Use
The text is comprehensive, in that there are 53 chapters that cover what one would expect a business law text to cover, including intellectual property, real property, and bankruptcy. There is no index or glossary. A table of cases would be... read more
The text is comprehensive, in that there are 53 chapters that cover what one would expect a business law text to cover, including intellectual property, real property, and bankruptcy. There is no index or glossary. A table of cases would be helpful too, or a list of them in the table of contents for easy navigation from the online version of the text. There is a nice table of contents.
The text seems to be accurate, error-free and unbiased.
While the text is not brand new, it includes many of the classic cases, especially with regard to the commerce clause being applied to civil rights. So, unless the US Supreme Court breaks from long established precedent, the cases should continue to be valid for years to come. And, why not study the seminal cases? The text includes some "newer" cases such as Citizens United that make an important mark on the legal landscape.
The text is clearly written, with terms explained. While there are case questions after each case, I would like to see more of an introduction and conclusion around the cases. I worry a bit that undergraduate students not accustomed to reading a lot may get lost in the cases.
The framework is consistent. There are learning objectives, subsections, key takeaways, and in some chapters after cases there are summaries, exercises, and self-test questions with answers provided.
There are lots of fairly short chapters, with sections and subsections clearly marked. This is easier to divide than a book with 15 or 16 really long chapters. In addition, it would be easy to just cover particular sections and cases, especially with the table of contents navigation in the online version of the text.
Chapter 8 is introduction to contract law, and then there are separate chapters on the agreement, real assent, consideration, remedies (e.g. requirements to have a valid contract), and then chapter 53, the very last chapter, is about contracts. It's a nice way to decide whether to cover several contract chapters, or boil it down and use one chapter. I'm not sure why the comprehensive contract chapter was put at the very end, but I do like the option of quicker coverage.
Navigation worked very well, table of contents in online version was very useful and user friendly. I like the self-test questions as a comprehension check for students.
I did not notice any grammatical errors in the text.
While I might need to skip the Playboy case at a Christian institution, the text appears thoughtful and inclusive overall. Unions, employment discrimination, and civil rights as applied to the commerce clause are all discussed in the text. In addition, the examples use a variety of names from around the world and not just European sounding names like Mike and Elizabeth.
I know it's open source, so do not mean to be greedy - but a test bank, and power point slides, for the instructor would be incredibly helpful.
The chapters covered in this textbook offer a comprehensive overview of Business Law. I love that this textbook includes a chapter on insurance which is such an important risk management concept to understand in the business world. Other Business... read more
The chapters covered in this textbook offer a comprehensive overview of Business Law. I love that this textbook includes a chapter on insurance which is such an important risk management concept to understand in the business world. Other Business Law textbooks I have used have not covered insurance, so I appreciated this addition.
Overall, the content was pretty good. However, in the PDF version of the textbook I noticed that Chapter 53 (Contracts) was missing. It is in the table of contents but not the PDF. Also, some of the review questions at the end need double checked. I noticed some of the question numbers were missing from the questions. This will help the students correspond the question to the correct answer.
The textbook seems relevant and up-to-date.
The textbook is written in a clear and lucid manner.
The text seems to be consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
Textbook is easily divisible to assign readings each week.
Chapters are presented in a logical and clear fashion.
The textbook is pretty organized. However, in some places there are minor formatting issues.
The textbook seems to use proper grammar and spelling.
The textbook does not seem to be culturally insensitive or offensive in any way.
There did not appear to be many instructor resources that come with this book such as PowerPoints, instructor manual, and a test bank.
The text offers a comprehensive introduction to business law and the U.S. legal system. The discrete elements of each component of our laws are readily assignable to create a course of study focused on any particular aspect of business law chosen... read more
The text offers a comprehensive introduction to business law and the U.S. legal system. The discrete elements of each component of our laws are readily assignable to create a course of study focused on any particular aspect of business law chosen by the instructor. Generally, the letter and spirit of the law are well explained and, through the end-of-chapter exercises, students are encouraged to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. Unfortunately, the text does not feature a glossary of legal terms. A summary of key words/phrases and a link to a reputable legal dictionary at the end of each chapter would better facilitate a student’s understanding and use of the language of law.
Explanations of the principles of law were accurate. Consequently, it offers a solid foundational education for a survey course. However, the text was published in 2012; instructors will need to supplement the course with current case law / statutes. The efficacy of this course could be maintained by an instructor's assignment to investigate a contemporary state statute or by directing students to the Oyez Project at Chicago-Kent; it is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work. It aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. The Project also provides authoritative information on all justices and offers a virtual reality tour of portions of the Supreme Court building, including the chambers of some of the justices.
The cited case law serves the basic purpose of a first-level survey course: it provides an historical context and tracks the consistency of or changes made up to the early 21st Century. But, again, instructors will need to update the law with contemporary cases and statutes. For example, while the content on Alternative Dispute Resolution (Chapter 3) clearly delineates the options available there is no reference to the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that companies can use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to prohibit workers from banding together to take legal action over workplace issues – an important business law issue!
The text will easily guide a layperson through a survey of the law. The narrative is well written without any attempt to dazzle (confuse) the reader with the authors’ "higher" knowledge. Many legal “terms of art” are succinctly explained either by way of a pop-up balloon or through a narrative. However, by the end of the chapter, a student may be overwhelmed by this first introduction to the language of law. A list of key terms / phrases incorporated into the end-of-chapter summary, with a link to a legal dictionary, would reinforce the knowledge gained.
Each area of law is presented in a consistent and reliable format: an introduction, providing an historical context and tracking the subsequent development of the law; discrete topics introducing the elements of the law; sample cases explaining the rationale for the application of the law; a summary of the key principles; and exercises / self-tests encouraging the student to demonstrate the knowledge gained.
The text would be easily and readily divisible to focus on a particular course of study on the discrete aspects of business law that can be reasonably studied in a 16 or fewer week course of study.
Students are first introduced to the organizational structure of the U.S. legal system and key components of the sources of law. They are then well positioned to understand the confines of and freedoms available for the application of the law. I would, however, realign two topics: Agency (Chapters 38-39) should be immediately followed by Employment Law (Chapters 50-51) as the latter is a natural subset of the former. Also, Chapter 53, Contracts, replicates the comprehensive devotion of 12 earlier chapters to contract law and the UCC (Chapters 8-19).
Technically, there were no problems with the links and the charts were clear. However, the learning experience would be significantly enhanced by the addition of more detailed charts summarizing the narrative. For example, students should see a flow chart of how a bill becomes a law, and they should have a visual comparison of the formation/duration/management/liability/transferability/taxation implications of the different business forms.
The narrative is exceptionally well written.
Generally, the presentation of law is inclusive, particularly with the introductory worldwide examples of legal and political systems, and inoffensive. There is, however, some bias in the historical review of civil rights law (Chapter 50). That recounting should be more balanced; the good/bad/ugly of both liberals and conservatives should be recognized; let the students reach their own conclusion. Further, the 2012 publication focuses on African Americans and fails to include contemporary legal issues involving other racial/ethnic groups; moreover, the text omits the increasing conflict of rights (e.g. sexual orientation vs. religious freedom).
The text is comprehensive and covers the broad topic of business law. Only one area would require supplementation for my course, that is professional responsibility and ethics, and typically the area of "Accountant's legal liability" As the... read more
The text is comprehensive and covers the broad topic of business law. Only one area would require supplementation for my course, that is professional responsibility and ethics, and typically the area of "Accountant's legal liability" As the course targets accounting students with the intent of taking the CPA exam, a section of accountant's legal liability and professional ethics would require supplementation. As most business law books on the market do not include this, I think it is fair to state the book is comprehensive and comparable to most texts available for our students through the various publishers.
Text was accurate and I did not find it to be biased. Any errors were minimal, i.e. typographical or spacing errors and were infrequent.
I am reviewing in 2017, the copyright is 2012. It did not seem dated or lacking in content, but I do wonder when it might be updated.
Many great examples were given, the points were made quickly and succinctly. Law books necessarily contain a lot of jargon, but it was well explained in laymen's terms.
The book was consistent in terminology and framework; , and authors were able to get major points across without excessive wording on a consistent basis.
Book feels like it can be assembled in a different order and without inclusion of all chapters to meet my needs in the course I would consider this book for.
Topics are presented in a typical order for business law. The flow is clear and logical and well organized.
The text is free of distortion. I think more visual stimulation in various forms might be good for a dry topic like business law.
It gets the job done, however.
The grammar was error free, at least no errors were apparent.
The book was culturally relevant. Examples were sensitive, inclusive and well rounded.
I was pleasantly surprised to find an open textbook that was worthy of adoption for a business law class in our School of Management. I had been skeptical about the quality of open texts, but was surprised to find materials that could be used and would save students a great deal of money. It was on par with many of the expensive texts that I have used in the past or used in a supplemental fashion for my 400 level class.
I commend the authors for their hard work and commitment to creating an open textbook. I do think that the book would benefit from some form of visual design to be more stimulating. This is a topic that is not a real "page turner" and getting students to read is a challenge. I would like to experiment and see if students can see the value of the open text. I will need to see how I as a faculty can deal with the ancillaries or without the ancillaries that I am used to having with typical publisher textbooks.
The book provides an extensive overview of many (if not most) of the relevant issues that would arise in the business law context. In fact, due to the comprehensive nature of the book, some of the chapters may in fact be redundant and could be... read more
The book provides an extensive overview of many (if not most) of the relevant issues that would arise in the business law context. In fact, due to the comprehensive nature of the book, some of the chapters may in fact be redundant and could be streamlined (for instance, many of the issues that arise in Chapters 9-13 relating to agreements, assent and, consideration, could also be covered within the context of Chapter 53 – Contracts). One drawback is that the textbook does not appear to have an index of any kind, which could be a significant drawback, particularly for those students who have no prior familiarity with either business or legal issues. Similarly, while there is a list of “key terms” throughout the chapters, having all terms available within a glossary (in one place) would help with the readability of the model. Perhaps, in the future, the authors would consider maintaining the key terms but then hyperlinking those terms back to a glossary (or vice versa). The book also seems to place the right amount of emphasis on the subjects that business students would encounter more in their field – so there is a significant amount of information on corporate law and less information devoted to criminal law.
Although I am not an expert on every aspect of the legal environment, it seems that all of the information presented is accurate. In those areas in which I have a specific expertise (business and securities laws) the information seems to be error-fee and accurate. In addition, the information was presented in an objective way with no errors detected. One thing that I would like the book to have included more often is relevant discussions regarding the ethics of a particular situation. While the book does include a chapter on ethics (as well as having small discussion of ethics within some of the chapters) given the relevance of ethics to the average business graduate, I would have liked to have seen more ethics discussion (relating back to that foundational chapter) in each of the sections – as well as more self-test and exercises that cover them.
The book seems largely relevant. The challenge in a textbook of this magnitude is that the law, as a dynamic entity changes very quickly. Since the book’s original publication date in 2012, there are some aspects that have changed and that the book does not cover. For instance, in the chapter on securities regulation, there have been significant developments in the areas of crowdfunding (that would be of particular interest to business students). Since these occurred after 2012, the book does not mention those. Similarly, there have been a big development in the law regarding hybrid businesses – specifically with the rise of benefit corporations (and, to a lesser extent LC3s). The book mentions neither of these developments (although these were occurring during the original date of publication). As such, a select update for certain aspects (rather than a complete new edition) would be recommended.
The tone of the book is perfect for the type of student that will be using it. The writing is clear. Complicated, technical concepts are explained in such a way that even those students with little background or familiarity can cover the information. The hyperlink to glossary terms and definitions adds to the clarity (although it is unclear whether that feature would also be available in the PDF version) and allows readers to familiarize themselves with concepts without disrupting the overall flows of the book.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework. The same format is used throughout- for instance the sections are organized the same way. Exercises and self-tests are also consistent throughout.
The textbook does an excellent job of allowing the different sections to be mixed and matched in a way that helps instructors. When there are sections in the book that reference other sections, hyperlinks are provided that can facilitate the reader’s contextualization of a legal concept. In addition, the sections within a chapter are presented in such a way that is not overwhelming for the reader.
The organization of the book is generally easy to understand. Many of the concepts in the book can be viewed in a “siloed” fashion (meaning each legal field can be examined individually as well as in a larger context) and the book does a good job of recognizing that. It is confusing that there are two separate sections (with several chapters in between) that both discuss contracts. The “Introduction to Contract law” is located in Chapter 8 and “Contracts” as a separate section is found in Chapter 53. This could easily have rectified by the authors by moving contracts topics all to the same section or for the instructor by assigning those chapters all at the same time.
The interface is largely appropriate for a book presented in this medium. All charts and textbox are clear and undistorted. The textbook authors have hyperlinks to appropriate forms, terms and organizations. They also include self-tests that benefit the students. Given the digital medium of the book, I do feel that there were other opportunities that the authors could have taken advantage of for the benefit of the student (for instance, by having more interactive components – perhaps with the self-tests or the learning objectives) however, the content and method of interface as it stands now is perfectly adequate.
I saw no grammatical errors in the book. The flow was easy and it seemed to have been proofed.
The book is written in a culturally relevant and sensitive way. Particularly with international law related issues, the authors seem to acknowledge the varying ways that cultural disagreement can manifest itself (for instance in their acknowledgement regarding how to discuss Burma/Myanmar). In addition, the authors to a good job of moving slightly beyond the “American perspective” with regard to examining the foibles of the country. For instance, the authors, when discussing separatist issues (in the chapter on international law) use examples from North America (whereas many other resources would use examples from less develop countries). The exercises presented in the book seem to be presented in a largely cultural neutral way (in that the authors discuss hypotheticals using many different gender roles, geographical locations and ethnic appellations – showing the diversity that is present in business and law issues).
I think the book does an excellent job of presenting the material related to business students and the law in a clear and comprehensive fashion. I would consider adopting this book for my students.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Law and Legal Systems
- Chapter 2: Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics
- Chapter 3: Courts and the Legal Process
- Chapter 4: Constitutional Law and US Commerce
- Chapter 6: Criminal Law
- Chapter 7: Introduction to Tort Law
- Chapter 8: Introduction to Contract Law
- Chapter 9: The Agreement
- Chapter 10: Real Assent
- Chapter 11: Consideration
- Chapter 12: Legality
- Chapter 13: Form and Meaning
- Chapter 14: Third-Party Rights
- Chapter 15: Discharge of Obligations
- Chapter 16: Remedies
- Chapter 17: Introduction to Sales and Leases
- Chapter 18: Title and Risk of Loss
- Chapter 19: Performance and Remedies
- Chapter 20: Products Liability
- Chapter 21: Bailments and the Storage, Shipment, and Leasing of Goods
- Chapter 22: Nature and Form of Commercial Paper
- Chapter 23: Negotiation of Commercial Paper
- Chapter 24: Holder in Due Course and Defenses
- Chapter 25: Liability and Discharge
- Chapter 26: Legal Aspects of Banking
- Chapter 27: Consumer Credit Transactions
- Chapter 28: Secured Transactions and Suretyship
- Chapter 29: Mortgages and Nonconsensual Liens
- Chapter 30: Bankruptcy
- Chapter 31: Introduction to Property: Personal Property and Fixtures
- Chapter 32: Intellectual Property
- Chapter 33: The Nature and Regulation of Real Estate and the Environment
- Chapter 34: The Transfer of Real Estate by Sale
- Chapter 35: Landlord and Tenant Law
- Chapter 36: Estate Planning: Wills, Estates, and Trusts
- Chapter 37: Insurance
- Chapter 38: Relationships between Principal and Agent
- Chapter 39: Liability of Principal and Agent; Termination of Agency
- Chapter 40: Partnerships: General Characteristics and Formation
- Chapter 41: Partnership Operation and Termination
- Chapter 42: Hybrid Business Forms
- Chapter 43: Corporation: General Characteristics and Formation
- Chapter 44: Legal Aspects of Corporate Finance
- Chapter 45: Corporate Powers and Management
- Chapter 46: Securities Regulation
- Chapter 47: Corporate Expansion, State and Federal Regulation of Foreign Corporations, and Corporate Dissolution
- Chapter 48: Antitrust Law
- Chapter 49: Unfair Trade Practices and the Federal Trade Commission
- Chapter 50: Employment Law
- Chapter 51: Labor-Management Relations
- Chapter 52: International Law
- Chapter 53: Contracts
About the Book
Our goal is 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. (An earlier business law text by authors Lieberman and Siedel was hailed “the best written text in a very crowded field.”)
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.
About the Contributors
Don Mayer teaches law, ethics, public policy, and sustainability at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver, where he is professor in residence. His research focuses on the role of business in creating a more just, sustainable, peaceful, and productive world. With James O’Toole, Professor Mayer has coedited and contributed content to Good Business: Exercising Effective and Ethical Leadership (Routledge, 2010). He is also coauthor of International Business Law: Cases and Materials, which is in its fifth edition with Pearson Publishing Company. He recently served as the first Arsht Visiting Ethics Scholar at the University of Miami.
Daniel M. Warner is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Washington, where–following military service–he also attended law school. In 1978, after several years of civil practice, he joined the faculty at the College of Business and Economics at Western Washington University, where he is now a professor of business legal studies in the Accounting Department. He has published extensively, exploring the intersection of popular culture and the law, and has received the College of Business Dean’s Research Award five times for “distinguished contributions in published research.” Professor Warner served on the Whatcom County Council for eight years (two years as its chair). He has served on the Faculty Senate and on various university and college committees, including as chairman of the University Master Plan Committee. Professor Warner has also been active in state bar association committee work and in local politics, where he has served on numerous boards and commissions for over thirty years.
George J. Siedel’s research addresses legal issues that relate to international business law, negotiation, and dispute resolution. Recent publications focus on proactive law and the use of law to gain competitive advantage. His work in progress includes research on the impact of litigation on large corporations and the use of electronic communication as evidence in litigation.
Professor Siedel has been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. Following graduation from law school, he worked as an attorney in a professional corporation. He has also served on several boards of directors and as associate dean of the University of Michigan Business School.