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Your Contracts May Come Back To Haunt You! - Part I

By Lance Soskin

Every year the law seems to become more complicated. How anyone who is not a lawyer can possibly be expected to sign a legal agreement without first consulting a lawyer is beyond me -  assuming that person cares about protecting their interests or their company’s interests.

I am a highly-trained lawyer with many years’ experience in both law and business, yet I still need to research the law on occasion to feel comfortable that I have the right answers for my clients.

Granted, contract law does not change as frequently as some other areas of the law. However, given the huge number of contract disputes making their way through the courts each year, it changes enough that it should give prudent people pause; a particular contract clause that protected your interests last year might not afford the same protection this year.

I’m sure much the same could be said of most trades and professions. Things change. People need more specialized knowledge given the increasing complexity of…well, almost everything. The difference is that you would be hard-pressed to find a good lawyer for the same price you could a good plumber, or software developer, or even a doctor. I don’t like paying $100 per hour for a plumber or $150 for a developer, so paying $350 per hour for a lawyer seems outrageous. And that’s just the median cost for a lawyer.

Most small businesses and independent contractors are at a big disadvantage when contracting with larger companies with more resources. I am often amazed at how one-sided the contracts are that I see in this scenario — often without the small-business owner realizing their predicament. Unless you are quite familiar with contract law, how clauses should be phrased, and the implications of the terminology in the contract, it could become a huge headache down the road if a dispute arises. That is when contracts truly earn their keep.

So it is important to have a knowledgeable lawyer review your contracts before you sign them. But you do not have to pay $350 per hour for this. There is an alternative to hiring a typical lawyer. Find out next week how to save your company a lot of time, money and aggravation in my next post.

Lance Soskin
Contracts, Law & More

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