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This research guide is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather will list some of the major sources of law in the area and a variety of tools for the researcher to use when confronted with a legal issues involving corporations.

Periodical Articles

Law reviews and journals reflect the latest thinking on topical issues. Over a thousand are published in the United States and the Law Library receives almost all of them. Abbreviations abound in this area so it is best to ask for help at the law library reference desk. Periodicals are located on the Court level which is reached by the elevator inside the library. Washington state periodicals, such as the Seattle University Law Review, are located in Reserve. To find articles on a particular topic, use either of the online indexes, LegalTrac or Index to Legal Periodicals. Both titles offer indexes by author, title, subject, case, and statute. For law school students, both services are available on Lexis and Westlaw.

There are several legal periodicals devoted exclusively to corporation law and related issues. These include: The Journal of Corporation LawDelaware Journal of Corporate LawBusiness Lawyer (the official publication of the ABA's Section on Business Law), Corporate Practice Commentary, and Securities Regulation Law Journal.



By statute, corporations are required to file certain documents with their state of incorporation. The Articles of Incorporation and Annual Report give basic information such as the registered name, the registered office, and the registered agent. The latter two are particularly important because they are the place and person that must be served process in litigation involving the corporation. In Washington, corporate filings are retained at and available from the Office of the Secretary of State. Corporate filings from all 50 states are available on many databases including Lexis and Westlaw (database: CORP-ALL for all states CORP-XX for particular states [XX = the particular state's postal abbreviation], law student passwords may not access all the available databases).


There are numerous forms essential to the creation and operation of a corporation. From inception (Articles of Incorporation) to termination (Articles of Dissolution), legal documents evidence the life of a business entity.

The most comprehensive collection of such forms is Fletcher's Corporation Forms Annotated, Reserve KF1414. It contains thousands of sample forms. Its comprehensiveness offers numerous alternatives to many documents. It also contains wording for particular clauses that can be inserted into documents. In addition to organizational documents, Fletcher contains sample operational forms (such as those for meeting minutes).

For Washington forms, the Office of the Secretary of State has many of the basic forms available for downloading on its Web site. In addition, there is a two-volume set called Washington Corporate Forms 4th Floor KFW213.A65H64 1998, that comes with a companion disk that has digitized versions of the printed forms in the books. The previously mentioned Washington Business Entities: Law and Forms and Chapter XIII, Vol. V of Washington Lawyer Practice Manual also contain many useful forms.

Other Information on Corporations

Information on corporations is available from many places. Publicly traded corporations must file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Services like Standard & Poor and Hoovers also collect and disseminate information about corporations (generally used for investment purposes). A detailed discussion of these sources is beyond the scope of this research guide.