I often say that there are two types of attorneys, reactive attorneys, and proactive attorneys.
Reactive attorneys have the more exciting, television like careers. These are the criminal defense, personal injury, and family law attorneys. They spend time in court and often are called when there is an issue that needs immediate attention.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are the proactive attorneys. They spend most of their time behind their desks, writing and reviewing contracts and advising clients on what their best course of action could be as well as the other possibilities. While these types of attorneys may not have the exciting career that you would want to watch on television, they play an important role for your business, one that can save you money over the long term.
Let’s take a look at this from a real world perspective. I once was involved with the representation of a client who was sued for breach of contract, among other claims. While reviewing the contract, it became clear that the plaintiff in the case – who was an attorney himself – had hired an attorney to write the agreement. Rather than hiring an attorney to have the contract reviewed, my client signed the contract. Because of the language of the contract, my client’s business not only faced liability but so did my client personally. Had he hired an attorney when he had been handed the contract it is possible that this personal liability would not have occurred.
So why do so many business owners not hire an attorney? Sometimes it is because when you have been in business for a long time, “you have seen it all.” Simply put, you feel that there is no issue you haven’t seen before or that almost all contracts are the same. However, the most common reason I hear for not hiring an attorney is because of cost. “Why should I pay an attorney to read over a contract when I can read it myself?” “If an issue arises later, I can hire an attorney then.”
While these are all legitimate reasons to not hiring an attorney, you are placing your business in a precarious position which might cost you a great deal of money later. In the example given above, rather than paying an attorney a few hundred dollars to review a contact which could have protected both my client’s business and him personally, he ended up spending thousands of dollars to be represented in court. While the business saved money up front by not hiring an attorney, it cost the business so much more on the backend and threatened to end the business completely.
While it is true, people can review their own contracts and most likely nothing will ever happen, it is always a best practice that a business is proactive in any situation rather than being reactive later.
If you have a business located in Montgomery, Delaware or Philadelphia County and need a contract reviewed or written, please contact Berdugo Law, LLC.