As a business owner, you’ve had to make quick decisions. You’ve had to negotiate your own contracts. You’ve had to do everything on the fly. If it has worked so far, you might think that you can do without legal counsel on your business agreements.
What do lawyers offer when it comes to contracts? They can help you prevent problems, provide valuable knowledge and level the playing field.
Here are what five attorneys interviewed by Forbes said were the top reasons to have your contract reviewed:
You’re not an expert. There are ways to get around the need for expertise in some situations. For example, you can use contract forms approved by an industry group, such as the American Institute of Architects. That may be what you’ve been doing up until now. The problem is those forms can only be cookie-cutter solutions. They don’t protect what is most important to you because they don’t know what’s most important to you. A good lawyer can help you develop goals and put them into action.
You could use a fresh perspective. When you look at a contract, you focus on it through the lens of profit and loss. There are many factors in your business that compete for your attention, and that competition can have an impact on what you see in your contract. You may be more willing to accept a less-than-optimal contract if it means making the deal. A lawyer can be a convenient brake on your enthusiasm, protecting your bottom line from risk.
Going it alone might cost you. There are up-front costs to get an attorney to review your contract. But just one major dispute could cost you much more. A lawyer’s background and experience allows him or her to identify potential disputes in advance and even to plan to avoid those pitfalls.
Who can you blame? We all buy errors and omissions insurance because we want to mitigate risk – and because there could be errors or omissions. It’s a real problem. If you want to mitigate the risk of a contract going bad, have someone else review that contract. That way, you have someone to sue if things go wrong. If you reviewed the contract yourself, you only have yourself to blame.
The other party will probably have a lawyer. A contract drafted by the other party will not be drafted in your best interest. In fact, it will probably be drafted against your interests. You need to level the playing field and ensure that your interests are protected.
Leigh Law Group negotiates, drafts and reviews business contracts of all kinds.