But we had a contract...
Over the past month, I have had a few business owners wanting my representation or my consultation about an issue regarding a contract between themselves and another business. These contracts at first glance seem wonderful; however, once I looked at them, an important question leaps out at me. Who on earth wrote this document?
I know the people that use home written or internet obtained contractual language are often trying to save their hard-earned money. After all, everybody knows that lawyers are expensive. However, I believe these people are setting themselves up for failure. Not knowing how a certain clause or condition should operate is not good business. When and if they try to enforce the terms of the contract, the terms are ambiguous or worse, lacking. Often the person comes to a lawyer because they are in the position of losing money because of what they consider to be a "breach of contract." It is only then that they come to a lawyer asking for help. Sometimes the lawyer is able to help; other times the lawyer is not able to help. Even in those situations where a lawyer is able to help, the victory may be bittersweet because the lawyer fees that are not recoverable exceed the benefit of winning the dispute. What these people fail to realize is that getting a lawyer to assist with a contract is an investment in their business. Like all investments, there are risks. On the other hand, a lawyer's assistance can pay dividends later.
Next time, if you the reader or someone that you know is in a position to write a contract or obtain a fill in the blank contract from the internet, please reconsider. No person can write a watertight legal document, but a licensed lawyer can write a better contract than the average person. Consider having a lawyer write your next contract or at the very least review the contract so that you may have the possibility of a better outcome if a contractual dispute arises.
Contact Easterbrook Law for assistance and consider it an investment with potential rewards, not an unnecessary expense.