It's In The Details.. Or, Why We Need Attorneys.
Details Details Details... Sure can be a lot of them.  

Let me put it this way:

Iíll pay your $500.00 bucks to paint my house.  You like the price and take the job. 

Now we have an agreement.  We have a lousy, ready for a disaster of an agreement. But we have an agreement.  Or do we?

First we need to understand that agreements are not for when everything goes right, they are there for when things go wrong.  Sometimes very wrong...

Letís get back to painting my house....

What color?  When will the work begin?  When will it end?  Do you just have to paint the house or do you have to prepare the house for painting?  Who cleans up?  If you fall off the roof, whose insurance is going to cover it. Are you painting the inside?  Outside?  Both?  Who is supposed to supply the paint?  The brushes?  Is the paint to be one coat or two?  Gloss or Semi Gloss?  Can you brush it on, or do I want it sprayed on?

A good agreement will cover all those things and more.  A bad agreement is that you will paint my house for $500.00 bucks.

So who gets hurt by having a bad agreement?

If things go right, no one; But when was the last time everything not only went right, but also right all of the time?  When things go wrong, both parties get hurt, but especially the party that wrote the agreement.

All Parties Get Hurt?

Or you can pay the attorney now or later. 

When a deal goes bad, and the agreement was poorly written or not in writing at all, the attorneys are the winner, because youíre going to have to pay them now.  And pay them more then if you just used them in the first place.

Look, your attorney really wants you to be the winner.  That is why any good attorney will tell you to see them before you have to.  A good attorney works to try to keep you out of trouble in the first place.  Not just to be there when you are already in trouble.

So, if you use agreements or contracts, or anything like them in your business please get the help of an attorney, before you need the help.

Do it yourself?

Have a competitor with a great contract.  Hey just steal a copy of his contract and put your name on it.  Who needs a lawyer! 

You do, and just maybe your competitor did too.  Look, just because someone is using a contract does not make it a good contract.  And it could just be that your competitor had his cousin who just flunked out of law school for the fourth time write his contract. Or maybe he had the best lawyer in the world write it.  But that was ten years ago, and the laws have changed.  So, now not only is the contract bad.  It is unenforceable because it fails to comply with this law or that law.

One last thought. 

Who loses the most with a poorly written contract?  The party that wrote it.  The court looks at it this way.  You wrote it, so you had every opportunity to protect yourself and make it clear what you meant. 

Make It Clear?  Hay, That's Easy....

No, its not.  Ever look at a contract.  Ever see a short one?  No, the reason why, is because the Attorney that wrote it tried to cover everything they could think of.  Not only based on their experience, the Law, and how the courts are currently interpreting those laws, but also on their knowledge of their customers business... So it gets pretty wordy, but it covers everything....

Everything???  In most cases in the real world most of the time....But the law and the world are ever changing.  As the world changes, so does the way it sees your contract.  So not only should you have your attorney write your contract to begin with, you should also have your attorney give it an annual review.

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Last modified: November 08, 2002