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Business & Corporate Law Research: Research Company Information

Research in the law of corporations and other business entities involves learning not just about corporate law, but also the law of agency, partnerships, limited liability companies, and other business structures. This guide will help you get started.

What Type of Company Is It?

When searching for facts about the activities of a company, consider the following:

Types of Business Organizations:

  a.  Private/Closely Held Companies - The majority of businesses in the United States are private companies. They do not sell shares to the public and are not required by law to report financial information to the SEC, so it can be difficult to find information about them.

  b.  Public Companies - Sell shares to the public on a stock exchange. The SEC requires public companies to disclose financial and corporate governance information that is available to investors and to the general public through EDGAR, the SEC's database.

  c.  Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) - Authorized by statute in certain states, in which  the liability of each shareholder is limited to the amount individually invested. LLCs are managed by members or managers, and members' rights to transfer ownership of their shares are limited.

  d.  Partnerships - Voluntary associations of two or more persons who jointly own and carry on a business for profit. Under the Uniform Partnership Act, a partnership is presumed to exist if the persons agree to share proportionally the business's profits and losses.

  e. Subsidiaries - Companies controlled or wholly owned by a parent company; to search for information on a subsidiary, it is usually necessary to search the SEC filings of its parent company.

Company Information

Basic and In-Depth Company Information:

  a.  Lexis Advance:  Explore Content  >  Company and Financial;

  • Company Profiles:  numerous databases containing information on U.S., foreign, and international companies include Hoover's Company Records, Basic and In-Depth, Standard & Poor's Corporate Descriptions Plus News, Market Guide Company Profiles, Company Briefs-Gale Group, and much more.
  • Corporate Hierarchies (parent & subsidiary companies):  Company Profiles > LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations
  • Analyst Reports:  Weiss Stock Research Reports and Zack's Equity Research contain detailed financial information for investors from stock analysts.

  b.  Westlaw: All Content >

  • Company Investigator > Hoover's Company Profiles
  • Practical Law

  c.  Pace Law Library Databases: Corporate, Business and Securities Law.

  • Mergent Online
  • Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage.

Regulated Corporate Disclosures

Corporate Information Required by Federal Law to be Reported to the SEC:

  a.  Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC): EDGAR - the SEC's official database of public company financial data and information filed by all public companies operating in the U.S. (including those based in other countries), including registration statements and periodic financial disclosure filings.  All documents can be downloaded for free.

  b.  SEC Descriptions of SEC Forms.

  c.  Lexis Advance:  Company & Financial  >  SEC Filings AND Company Profiles  >  Market Guide Company Profiles, Experian Powered Business Reports

  d.  Guide to SEC Filings (Thomson Research) - lists and describes in detail each required SEC disclosure documents.

  e.  The Public Register Online: a free annual report service, with more than 4,500 public company annual reports and SEC filings. Additional reports are added daily.

Annual reports of individual public companies are also available company websites.

Executive Compensation

Other Business Information

  • The Wall Street Journal (Lexis Advance  >  News) - business and financial newspaper is available beginning June 13, 1979 (abstracts only until 1984; post-1984, full text).
  • Dow Jones Institutional News (Lexis Advance  >  News) - global real-time multi-asset financial markets newswire from Dow Jones.
  • Securities & Federal Corporate Law Report (Westlaw  > Secondary Sources  >  By Topic: Securities  >  All Securities Legal Newspapers & Newsletters.
  • - The Business of Technology - news and information on startups, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Investment Research

Stock Analysis Reports contain extensive information on the financial condition of a company or an industry compiled by financial experts, with recommendations on investments, see Lexis Advance  >  Company & Financial  >  Analyst Reports::
  a.   Zack's Equity Reports - equity research reports for over 1,100 U.S. and Canadian publicly traded companies.

  b.   Weiss Stock Research Reports - independent, objective opinions of  the historical risk-adjusted performance and value of more than 15,000 companies relative to their earnings prospects. The ratings are derived, for the most part, from quarterly financial statements filed with the SEC.

  c.  Integra Industry Reports - detailed industry descriptions, together with at least two years of balance sheet and income statement summaries, key financial ratios, and industry growth rates.

Business Websites & Databases

Lexis Advance - Explore Content > Company & Financial contains, in addition to databases listed elsewhere in this guide, many other information sources:

  • Company Profiles
    •  D&B Duns Market Identifiers Plus (US) - summaries of corporate information searchable by company or industry
    •  D&B Duns Private Company Insight - key company information for the top 250,000 private companies rated by sales.
    • GlobalData Company Profiles - worldwide compendium of company operational data and strategic analysis.
    • MarketLine Company Profiles - analysis and in depth forecasts for six industry sectors: Healthcare, Technology, Automotive, Energy, Consumer Markets, and Financial Services.
    • Worldscope-International Company Profiles - an international database containing financial profiles,fundamental analysis, and stock performance data for over 28,000 companies.
  • Analyst Reports
    • Integra Industry Reports - reports on more than 900 industries representing almost 4 million private businesses, with aggregates for 13 separate sales ranges within each industry.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
    • SDC Mergers & Acquisitions - mergers and corporate transactions around the world, including stock swaps, recapitalizations, bankruptcy liquidations, asset sales and divestitures, leveraged buyouts, tender offers, spin and splitoffs, stake purchases, FDIC sales of failed banks, and rumored and seeking buyer transactions.
    • MergerStat M&A Database - U.S. transactions and crossborder transactions involving U.S. parent companies.
  • SEC Filings
    • SEC EDGAR Filings, Combined - Filings made with the SEC may consist of one or more documents, including the form itself (such as a Form 10-K or a Form 10-Q) and one or more attachments, or exhibits. Each of the documents in the original filing is stored as a separate document, with links provided between each form and any exhibits filed with that form, allowing the user easily to locate all parts of a filing. 

Lexis Practice Adviser (use drop-down menu from Research link at top left) - topics include Banking & Finance, Business & Commercial, Corporate Counsel, and New York Business & Commercial, with links to relevant subtopics, updates, news, and more.

Business Databases at Pace

Pace University Library Databases:

Business Source Premier (1965-) - provides full text for over 2,710 scholarly business journals (access remotely with Pace username and password).

Business Insights - Essentials (formerly Business and Company Resource Center) (1980-)  -  Company and industry news and information, including company profiles and histories, brand information, rankings, investment reports, articles, and publications.

Business Economics & Theory Collection (Gale) - Nearly 1,800 articles on business and economics topics.

ProQuest Research Library: Business - Business Market Research Collection. Academic - Primary research and expert analysis including industry interviews, competitive analysis, market trends, product innovations, buyer behavior, and market share on many markets and industries.

Mergent Onlline - Public company information U.S. and international databases, and D&B private company database' with detailed information on companies that includes corporate structure, executives and compensation, financials, and more.

NetAdvantage (Standard and Poor's) - Detailed information and analysis for companies,industries, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Nexis UNI: Business - company dossiers and research, news, recent Supreme Court decisions, law review articles, and blog posts on business topics.

ThomasNet - A directory of manufacturers and their products and services; includes detailed catalogs and CAD drawings. The database is searchable by product, company name, brand name, CAD drawing, and part number.

ValueLine Investment Survey - Comprehensive current information on stocks, including indexes, summaries, histories, analyst reports, ratings, industry reports and market-driven supplements.