Partnership law is an area of the law which pertains to partnerships, associations of two or more people formed for business reasons. The law regarding partnerships is quite variable around the world, although in some regions uniform legal codes have been adopted to streamline legislation relating to partnerships. Specialists in partnership law can assist people with a number of legal matters related to business partnerships.
Partnerships can range from highly informal associations to very complex ones. The most basic partnership is simply a business owned by two people who share in the profits and responsibilities of running the business, sometimes without even a contract to formalize their relationship. More complex partnerships include limited partnerships and joint ventures, which can become quite involved legally, especially when they are large.
The area of the law which surrounds partnerships includes the procedures for creating, organizing, and dissolving legal partnerships. A specialist in partnership law can assist people with the creation of a legal contract when they start a partnership, can provide advice on organizing a partnership in a way which is both effective and legal, and also offers services to partnerships which are breaking up. Winding down a partnership can be a complicated process, as it usually involves handling creditors, addressing liabilities, and dividing the assets fairly.
There are also legal matters which can arise for people in a partnership. Partnership law stipulates that the people involved have a fiduciary duty to each other and that they share liability for the business. Co-owners may be obliged to sue each other for breach of contract, failure to exercise due care, or exposing each other to unreasonable liabilities. It may also be necessary to retain a specialist in partnership law to negotiate the process of incorporating or making other changes to the way in which a partnership is structured.
Law schools usually offer basic instruction in partnership law to their students during survey courses which familiarize them with the law. As students complete their legal educations and begin focusing on a specific area of the law, they can take more advanced courses which provide them with more information. Students interested in partnership law may also apply for internships with lawyers who are currently working in this area of the legal field for the purpose of receiving real-world training. Once trained and admitted to the bar, lawyers also pursue continuing education opportunities so that they keep current with changes in the law and new approaches to legal issues.