They’re all pretty similar and they’re all practiced pretty much together. There are some differences in what you might do on a day to day basis.
– Commercial law is the law of buying and selling, both tangible things like goods and intangible things like intellectual property rights. In most cases, it’s ensuring that the seller gets paid for the goods once they’re delivered and that the seller gets the goods they paid for. You will see things like “bill of lading” and “letter of credit”.
– Corporate law is the creation and maintenance of corporations and corporate structures, including the buying and selling of shares and the assets of corporations, as well as looking at the tax consequences of transactions. You will see things like “articles of amalgamation” and “requisition for shareholders meeting” or “oppression remedy”.
– Finance law is ensuring that when your client lends money against collateral that they can collect on that collateral if the loan goes into default. For example, a lender may lend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a cargo ship and has to be able to seize the ship no matter where in the world it’s located at any given moment. You will see “security agreements” and “mortgages”.
– Banking law sorts out who gets money when some of the money disappears, such as when a certified check bounces (it happens). When someone is left “holding the bag” there are rule about who is responsible for payment through the banking system so that the money can be recouped against the “most responsible person”. You will see terms like “bill of exchange”.