Business Law I Essentials
Renee De Assis, Texas Woman's University
Suzanne Cardell, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Copyright Year: 2019
Conditions of Use
The text was comprehensive in general, to some extent too much so, and with regards to a few topics that I consider critical topics for a business course, completely lacking. First, as to the “too much”. There were some legal subjects which were... read more
The text was comprehensive in general, to some extent too much so, and with regards to a few topics that I consider critical topics for a business course, completely lacking. First, as to the “too much”. There were some legal subjects which were unnecessary and seemingly used to take up space. For example, I do not know how or why any student not in law school would need to know about “res ipsa loquitur” (note: it was spelled incorrectly in the text). It is not a practical topic area and only lawyers would need to understand that concept. Another example was the Ethical Decision Making Policies. Despite putting it in the text, there was no discussion about the decision making process beyond just replicating the University of Michigan policy that was quoted. So, in this case, it did not even need to be included, and if so, it merited further discussion. There were a few other subjects dealt with similarly, but those did not necessarily detract from the overall value of the text itself. As for the “lacking” comment, it is surprising that a text on Business Law (even if it is an introduction) does not include a chapter on business entities. Corporations, LLCs, Partnerships (general and limited) and sole proprietorships are significant topics which deserve discussion and explanation. Also, there was no mention of vicarious liability. Respondeat Superior, principal/agent and partnerships are three legal areas where an employer/third party who is not directly involved in a specific incident can/may be held responsible to an injured party due solely to the relationship between that employer/third party and the person causing the injury. The section on ethics was also failed to address professional ethics vs. personal ethics. How those two interact on a daily basis, especially with regards to corporate decisions is an important topic to discuss. For example, Hobby Lobby refused to comply with an Affordable Care Act requirement that medical insurance provided by employers include contraceptives. An employee filed suit, and the U.S. Supreme Court had to ultimately decide the issue. That was a personal value/ethic that the owners of Hobby Lobby (it was privately owned) utilized instead of a “professional” value/ethic. The criminal law section did not address battery and how it was technically different from assault. This is not a critical issue in business law, but if the author(s) were going to address assault, then battery should have also been addressed. The ADR section should have, in my opinion, considered the benefits of an employee agreeing to a pre-employment waiver of the right to trial. Many employers are now either requiring, or at least making it optional, for an employee to waive that right. The consequences of doing so are important and deserve some coverage. The sections on both sexual harassment and negligence were far too superficial and short. These are two areas of significant corporate liability exposure and lawsuit filings. Neither received the type of attention which they deserved. Lastly, I am a big fan of hypotheticals. In this reviewer's opinion, there were not enough of those, especially not enough real-world cases used as tools to explain a concept.
The content was generally accurate with some nit-picking on my part. For example, the author(s) stated that most states do not allow minors to void a contract after turning 18 years of age. It is my understanding that most states actually allow for a “reasonable” time after turning 18 for a minor to void a contract unless that minor has somehow ratified or affirmed the contract after turning 18. Also, comparative vs. contributory negligence was not handled as deftly as it could have been. First, there are two types of comparative negligence, which was not discussed, and second, it is solely dependent upon which state in which the incident occurs as to whether comparative negligence (either type) or contributory negligence will be utilized in a legal analysis. Another nit-picking on my part deals with a few minor mischaracterizations and/or inadequate information. An example of that is when the author(s) discuss the McDonald’s case involving the hot coffee. A significant issue in the case was punitive damages, because McDonald’s knew that their coffee was too hot and had made the “business” decision to not change the temperature. To simply use the case as a “negligence” example misses the primary point of that case. Yet another nit-picking was that when the author(s) discussed Title VII, they did not point out that there are employee limits to the application of that Title. For example, Title VII’s prohibition against discriminating against a person with a disability does not apply to an entity with fewer than 15 employees, while the prohibition against discriminating against age does not apply to an entity with fewer than 20 employees. This is important, because state laws can lower those thresholds and readers need to be ultra aware of checking both the federal and state law protections. There were other nuances that the author(s) did not mention which would be valuable as instruction, such as with sexual harassment. In sum, the text was relatively comprehensive, and would be most useful to an instructor with legal experience who could utilize it in a very, very basic, almost vocabulary level, manner. It says that it is “Essentials”, but there are some essentials, which I have addressed, that I feel should have been included. Assuming that it is intended solely as a very basic introduction, that is where its value can be found. Otherwise, an instructor trying to utilize the text without a sound legal understanding to begin with will find that it will raise many questions that students may ask which he/she will not be prepared to answer or explain and/or even convey information which may be incorrectly applied.
Due to its very basic manner of addressing virtually all the topics, the content is up-to-date in its content. Without further exploration of the topics in the text, i.e. Essentials II, the text is only marginally useful as a text for practical legal considerations on its own. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement.
The text was written in a way that most would understand. There were a few times when I had to re-read a sentence or paragraph and use my own understanding to have the passage make sense. Again, it is important that whoever uses the text already have a legal background.
The text was consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
Due to the nature of law itself, the text is marginally susceptible to being divided up into different sections at different points. To stress, that is not the author(s) issue, that is the nature of the beast. There has to be some scaffolding in law with certain concepts being taught/learned in order. In terms of its comparison to other legal texts in this topical area, I would strongly guess that it is pretty consistent and does as well as it can except for one suggestion that I will give in the following review area.
Section 5.2 seemed to me to be out of place. It would be far better suited if placed either in chapter 1 or as its own chapter between chapters 1 and 2. Otherwise, the topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion.
I had no problems with the interface or with navigating through the text. Everything was clear and I did not discern any distractions or confusions to the reader.
I am not an English major, but I did not notice any grammatical errors.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. I would, however, suggest that the cultural events since the text was published would justify a supplement. More discussion of Title VII and the sex, race and color classes would be appropriate.
I think the goals of this text were laudable, but fell just a little short of my expectations. At times, it seemed as though someone other than an attorney or someone familiar with law was writing it, and was just cutting and pasting without a practical understanding of what was being written. That may be due more to a goal to just give some "essentials" to supplement the in classroom teaching of an instructor with some legal knowledge or experience.
The reviewer believes that text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately. The title of the book is Business Law I Essentials, so the expectation is that there might be the need to prepare a Business Law II Essential for the areas,... read more
The reviewer believes that text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately. The title of the book is Business Law I Essentials, so the expectation is that there might be the need to prepare a Business Law II Essential for the areas, which are missing from the analysis. In fact, my interpretation and understanding is that this book selects some of the most important issues in the areas, but it is also focusing on what it can be virtually possible to cover in a single class module. In fact, 14 sections/chapters are equivalent to a 14-week class. I believe that this textbook is useful for a first clear introduction to beginners and then students can complement with the constitution, the case law, case studies, simulations and other relevant real life examples and experiences.
The reviewer considers that the content of the book is accurate. The selection of topics is also relevant. Particularly, the corporate social responsibility is an area not covered by all business law textbooks. Generally, other business law textbooks cover predominantly the market oriented analysis and not sufficiently the limits to globalization and the business sector represented by the necessary balance between business and human rights, business and sustainable development, business and other non-commercial values. I would probably extend some parts to also cover corporate governance
The reviewer considers that the book covers relevant contemporary issues without risks for the longevity of the book. The case studies are useful to students to learn from practice.
As previously mentioned, the text is clear and organized in such a way that is easy to access for students that will approach these topics for the first time. The instructor can use the single chapters as the main topic for each of the classes complementing this book with cases and other additional readings. The terminology and the language is accessible to students and non-experts.
The text is internally consistent, but I believe the pictures are not a relevant addition to the textbook. It would be advisable that the author revises the textbook to use pictures that are actually relevant for the analysis of each of the sections.
Each chapter can be used as an individual section for class modules and lectures complemented with additional materials.
The topics in the text were presented clearly.
The text does not present any interface, but it necessitates some external materials to cover some aspects. In addition, the pictures are not representative of the contents of the textbook.
The reviewer did not detect grammatical errors.
During the review, no culturally insensitive remarks or offensive statements have been detected in any way.
I will use this book for one of my classes.
This book covered the major aspects inherent to the legal landscape of business. Its subject matter is well referenced and provided a solid vocabulary of terms. Particularly, the content offered an informative section on negotiation skills and... read more
This book covered the major aspects inherent to the legal landscape of business. Its subject matter is well referenced and provided a solid vocabulary of terms. Particularly, the content offered an informative section on negotiation skills and tactics that I would recommend.
Upon inspection, this reviewer found the book to be accurate, without errors, and neutral in its presentation.
This reviewer found the text to be timely and informative. Specifically, chapter 7 (contract law) provided some excellent real-world examples that should be incorporated into classroom discussions.
The book is well formatted which should enable the entry level business law student to excel in their learning and comprehension of broad based legal definitions.
The text is largely consistent, although the authors elected to provide more examples and tables to illustrate concepts in the latter chapters of the text than in the former chapters.
The chapters of this text were well assembled and concise. I would not hesitate to adopt portions alongside other material in the classroom.
The topics were presented in a clear fashion and were easy to understand.
No interface issues were noted, but when compared with other resources, additional content seemed lacking at times.
No grammatical errors were found during this review.
Upon inspection, this reviewer did not notice any insensitive or offensive material in this text.
There are a plethora of business law texts available in the marketplace. Whatever resources one chooses to adopt, the Business Law Essentials text could certainly be utilized as an effective supplement in the classroom.
Even though this text is an "essentials" text, there are certain topics that are missing from the text that I would expect to find in a basic legal environments textbook. These include topics such as 1) Real, Personal, and Intellectual Property;... read more
Even though this text is an "essentials" text, there are certain topics that are missing from the text that I would expect to find in a basic legal environments textbook. These include topics such as 1) Real, Personal, and Intellectual Property; 2) Negotiable Instruments and Banking; 3) Secured Transactions and Bankruptcy; 4) Agency and Liabilities to Third Parties; and 5) Business Organizations. The text includes both a table of contents and an index. It would be nice to see a glossary and the US Constitution in the back. The material included is fairly basic and doesn't explore the topics with adequate depth.
I am not finding inaccurate information, however, both sides of various topics are not included such as the free market argument that those arguing for corporate social responsibility would normally face.
Most of the book covers foundation material that will timeless. However, there are a number of links to supporting information located on the web that could become obsolete. This text also lacks examples of the law from trial cases, which may increase the longevity of the text, however, this trait also leads to the shallower coverage of the topics.
The book is easy to read and provides user-friendly vocabulary for a non-lawyer.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework. Again, if provides basic information regarding the legal topics covered.
This text is easily read and could be divided up cleanly.
The organization of the material is logical and clear. There is good use of headings and visual breaks for the reader. The end of the chapters provide simple multiple choice questions for a learner to test themselves. There is not a summary provided at the end of the chapter which is common with standard texts.
I did not find any interface issues related to this text.
I did not find any grammatical errors that would stand out to a learner and distract from the content.
There are few examples in this text on which to judge its culturally insensitivity. The images included in the text illustrate a diverse group of participants in the law.
The images included in this book seem to be inserted only to take up space. Images in a law text can be very helpful for the non-learner by providing comparisons and flowcharts to simplify concepts. Consider using more meaningful images to support the text and provide the textual information in a different way.
Table of Contents
- 1 American Law, Legal Reasoning, and the Legal System
- 2 Disputes and Dispute Settlement
- 3 Business Ethics and Social Responsibility
- 4 Business and the United States Constitution
- 5 Criminal Liability
- 6 The Tort System
- 7 Contract Law
- 8 Sales Contracts
- 9 Employment and Labor Law
- 10 Government Regulation
- 11 Antitrust Law
- 12 Unfair Trade Practices and the Federal Trade Commission
- 13 International Law
- 14 Securities Regulation
About the Book
Business Law I Essentials is a brief introductory textbook designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of courses on Business Law or the Legal Environment of Business. The concepts are presented in a streamlined manner, and cover the key concepts necessary to establish a strong foundation in the subject. The textbook follows a traditional approach to the study of business law. Each chapter contains learning objectives, explanatory narrative and concepts, references for further reading, and end-of-chapter questions.
Business Law I Essentials may need to be supplemented with additional content, cases, or related materials, and is offered as a foundational resource that focuses on the baseline concepts, issues, and approaches.
About the Contributors
Renee De Assis
Suzanne Cardell, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth