Why It Matters

Why identify and describe the basic principles of American law, fundamental U.S. governmental workings, judicial processes in the U.S, and describe how it applies to individuals and businesses?


Now that you have been introduced to “The Law”, hopefully you understand the importance and significance of your “new acquaintance” in the world of business.  In this next section you will learn that law has come (and is still coming from) many sources, statutes, court decisions, treaties, government agencies, and even from common law begun in England centuries ago.  Over time “The Law” as it is applicable to you and I and your business has become quite extensive and complex at least as much as the modern world we live in.

In business, disputes are inevitable and when they happen, they are most often resolved according to or with the assistance of the law either in a court room or alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration and mediation. Even without formal dispute resolution proceedings, the law is invariable used in the course of settling disputes through negotiation and compromise.

Understanding the sources of law, where it and where it has come from and still is coming from will be important to your understanding the enormous collective impact of the law on both you and your future business.  To be successful, you need to understand the basics in American Law. In this outcome, we’ll consider the following questions:

  • Looking at all the many sources of laws in America, will I learn their relationships to each other and the priority among them? Does the U. S. Constitution have supreme power and priority over all other laws? And what about conflicting federal and state laws—which one prevails and when?
  • What is “Common Law?” How does it work?
  • What distinguishes criminal law from civil law and how are they different?
  • What is the purpose and power of the Constitution? Just how important is it?
  • Since there are two court systems for hearing disputes, state and federal, which has the power to decide a particular dispute, both or just one?
  • It seems so complicated, what are the litigation basics before a case even gets to trial?
  • Getting through a trial seems even more complicated, how does that procedure work?
  • What kinds of relief or recovery can the judge in the trial court provide to me in a breach of contract case or a tort case with personal injuries, if I win?
  • I’ve already learned about dispute resolution alternatives like arbitration and mediation, but what are the details about their positives and negatives?

 The answers to all those questions are waiting for you in this next section, so,

…let’s get back to business…and the law!



  • Identify and explain sources of law in the United States
  • Describe common law, its origins, and the impact of common law in the U.S. legal system
  • Compare and contrast civil law and criminal law
  • Explain the functions of a constitution
  • Describe the function and role of courts in the US legal system
  • List and  explain the steps of litigation prior to trial
  • List and explain the steps of litigation at trial
  • Describe and explain the remedies available in litigation and differentiate remedies at law and equitable remedies
  • Identify, define, and contrast basic forms of alternative dispute resolution.  Analyze and compare the costs and benefits of litigation, alternative dispute resolution and settlement.