According to New York Partnership Law, a partnership is a voluntary, contractual association between two or more parties to carry out business for-profit as co-owners. Partnerships are composed of partners, who are agents of the partnership and may enter into contracts on behalf of the partnership.
An express agreement is not needed to form a partnership; partnerships are formed simply by persons associating themselves as co-owners to carry out business for profit. In other words, it does not matter if the parties never intended to become partners – courts will evaluate the formation of partnerships without considering the parties’ subjective intent.
Although the two are similar, a partnership is distinct from a joint venture. Generally, courts have differentiated partnerships as being formed for ongoing general business purposes, while joint ventures usually only relate to a single transaction (See Zacher v. Harrah's New Orleans Mgmt. Co.).
[Last updated in November of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]