Do You Need a Lawyer for Contract Review?
Having an experienced lawyer contract review is a good idea whenever you need to create a legally binding agreement or legal document. Contract review is a process of reading and understanding a contract, often on a line-by-line basis. This deep analysis helps ensure a contract is fair and legally binding.
You can use contracts for both business and personal transactions, but no matter the reason for using a contract, you want to make sure the contract will hold up in court if necessary. A contract lawyer can:
- Draw up a new legal document
- Examine and review a legal document you already have
- Explain a contract to you
- Suggest changes to a contract in your best interest
- Offer guidance if you think someone has broken a contract or if you want to get out of a contract
You may need a contract, or a legally binding agreement, between yourself and one or more people or parties. A lawyer who specializes in contracts will help ensure the agreement you create follows all legal requirements. A lawyer can draw up and/or revise legal contracts and other documents, making sure the contract protects you in case of disagreements.
Because the wording and format for many contracts must follow specific requirements to be legally binding, a lawyer contract review will help make sure your document is:
- Admissible in court
- Free of loopholes
What Kinds of Contracts Can a Lawyer Review?
You can use contracts for a variety of business agreements and transactions as well as personal arrangements. Contracts can exist between a variety of parties as well, including:
- Business owners
Likewise, a lawyer can review various types of contracts. Examples include:
- Acquisition or merger agreements
- Agreements to sell a business
- Bills of sale
- Buy-sell agreements
- Commercial lease agreements
- Employment contracts
- Franchise agreements
- LLC operating agreements
- Non-compete agreements
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Non-solicitation agreements
- Partnership agreements
- Purchase orders
- Real estate purchase agreements
- Shareholder agreements
- Warranties and limited warranties
Here is a resource page where you can learn more about the different contract types.
Types of Contract Review
Hiring a lawyer for contract review can mean a few different things depending on your specific situation. You can protect your financial interests by understanding what a lawyer will do when reviewing a contract in various circumstances.
For example, if you are simply creating a basic contract or just have one question you need answered, you would not necessarily need to pay a lawyer to negotiate for you. On the other hand, if you do not feel confident handling contract negotiations on your own, you might want to work with a lawyer who can offer more than a standard review. Here are a few types of contract reviews you might want:
Issue-Specific Contract Review
This type of contract review is generally the least expensive kind of review. You can work with a lawyer to review a contract for one specific issue about which you have questions. Issue-specific contract review offers a good way to gain confidence before signing an agreement, even if you are on a smaller budget.
Provisions or questions you can have a lawyer review include:
- Can I still work with other clients if I decide to sign this contract?
- How will signing a non-compete agreement affect me?
- What does this non-solicitation clause mean within the scope of this contract? Here is an article about non-solicitation agreements .
- Who will own the rights to something being created?
- Will my intellectual property suffer as a result of the contract? Here is an article about intellectual property.
Basic Contract Review
A basic contract review goes a bit more in-depth than when you ask a lawyer to review a contract for one specific issue. A lawyer performing a basic contract review typically looks over your agreement at the surface. They can also answer specific questions you have and note any areas in your contract that need further attention or revision.
Basic Contract Review With Edits
A basic contract review with edits gets more comprehensive than the previous two kinds of contract reviews. A lawyer will review your contract, making notes about any problem areas. The lawyer will also edit your contract to correct the issues they find. Known as redlining a contract, this editing process can help speed up your agreement process overall by ensuring the contract you want to use fulfills legal requirements.
Contract Review With Negotiation
You might also decide to work with a lawyer who can handle the whole process for you. A lawyer can not only deal with the reviewing, editing, and redlining of a contract, but can also negotiate the contract on your behalf. Serious contract negotiations can get difficult and heated, creating tension between the parties before the parties ever reach an agreement. A lawyer can act as an uninvolved third party to allow for progress with negotiations.
Types of Contract Review Pricing
A lawyer you work with for contract review may structure the cost of the project in different ways. Generally, lawyers use either hourly rate pricing or flat-fee pricing when conducting a contract review.
Hourly pricing is a traditional pricing structure some lawyers use for contract review. Lawyers using this type of pricing ask for a retainer before starting an assignment. As lawyers work, they subtract the hourly fees they set from the retainer. They do this until the work is completed (or until you need to replenish the retainer).
Flat-fee pricing structures are becoming increasingly common. This type of pricing offers advantages for the customer since you pay just one single, set fee to have your contract reviewed. With flat-fee pricing, the fee you pay does not change, no matter how long it takes the lawyer to work on and complete your project.
The flat fee a lawyer charges may vary depending on the type of contract and your unique situation. Many lawyers will take a look at the scope of a contract first to determine how much work the project will take overall, and then determine the flat fee they will charge at that point.
What Are the Benefits to Working With a Lawyer for Contract Review?
Whether you are making a personal or business agreement, it's important to get your contract reviewed if you are making decisions through a contract. You want to make sure your contract follows correct formatting and includes legally required details, or you may run into legal problems later on. You should have a lawyer review any contract you draft or will negotiate before you sign the contract. Key reasons to have a lawyer review a contract include:
- Preventing misunderstandings: Having a lawyer review a contract will help you make sure you understand what you will be signing. A lawyer can make sure all terms in the contract are clear.
- Guaranteeing the contract is legally binding: Having a contract signed does not help you if the contract will not stand up in court if challenged. A lawyer reviewing your contract will make sure all the terms included in your agreement are legal and lawful.
- Minimizing legal problems: By signing a clear contract that all parties understand, you will cut down on the chance that legal problems arise in the future.
All in all, if you are making any type of arrangement or agreement using a contract, a lawyer can help. Having an experienced lawyer review your contract will protect you legally and ensure your contract gets the job done.