What Is a Contract Lawyer?
A contract sets forth obligations between parties that are enforceable by law. A lawyer for contracts will help you ensure that any contracts you enter into are executed properly so your interests are protected and the purpose of the contract is achieved. A contract lawyer is generally a professional who specializes in this type of work. They have extensive expertise in contractual issues and the state laws applicable to these projects.
Contract attorneys may specialize in a particular area , such as:
- Sales agreements
- Contract review
- Intellectual property contracts
- Tax contracts
You can hire a contract lawyer for a variety of tasks related to business contracts. This type of attorney may help with:
- Drafting new contracts
- Reviewing contracts before the parties sign
- Evaluating signed contracts in the case of a dispute
- Assisting with cases involving a breach of contract
What Does a Contract Lawyer Look At?
Image via Unsplash by Scott Graham
A contract lawyer will carefully evaluate all aspects of your contractual agreement. Whether you're drafting a new agreement and getting a consultation prior to signing, or you're evaluating an older agreement, there are several key points that a lawyer for contracts will look at, including:
- The essential terms: The essential terms are the fundamental conditions of the contract. These terms specify what is required of each party and thus what will constitute a breach of contract.
- Provisions: Provisions are additional stipulations in a contract that provide added clarification on certain points and offer extra protection for the parties involved. Provisions are usually boilerplate additions that specify things such as who will pay attorney's fees in the event of a lawsuit, what jurisdiction the contract is filed under , and how the parties will submit notices to one another regarding the contract.
- Adherence to local laws: It's important for a contract to adhere to all the local laws and requirements in a particular jurisdiction. If you're starting with a boilerplate contract you've gotten from the internet or another resource, it may need significant edits to adhere to the laws in your particular state.
Reasons To Hire a Contract Lawyer
There are many compelling reasons for a client to seek a contract lawyer. This type of professional provides a wealth of benefits in any situation where contractual documents are needed. When you have a good contract lawyer, they will have the ability to do the following.
Smooth Contractual Relationships
While the use of a contract for a formal agreement is fairly routine, it's still important to ensure that none of the involved parties take offense to the terms. A contract lawyer can take over much of the responsibility of drafting and executing the contract, separating the involved parties from the document itself. The lawyer offers a level of impartiality that the other parties may not be able to provide on their own.
Incorporate the Latest Legislation
State laws and industry regulations are continually changing. It's difficult to keep up with the latest developments if you don't make a full-time job of following these trends. This level of expertise is part of what a contract lawyer offers.
Provide an In-Depth Understanding
Legal jargon is often confusing. Contract lawyers go through a great deal of schooling to better understand the terms of these documents. If you're managing contracts without the help of an attorney, you may find that important conditions are left out or critical terms are misunderstood. Inaccurate assumptions about a contract can lead to costly legal disputes later. Working with a knowledgeable lawyer can help minimize this risk.
Close Potential Loopholes
Whether intentional or accidental, loopholes in a contract can leave one party open to liabilities. The purpose of a contract is to protect yourself or your business. An experienced lawyer for contracts will make sure this document is executed properly.
Ensure the Best Terms
Any contract lawyer who is working on your behalf will seek the best possible terms for you as their client. Knowing the customary terms for a particular industry is essential, as this information can save you thousands of dollars in the final terms of your agreement.
File the Correct Contracts
There are many different contracts that you may need to draft for your business, such as an employment agreement, nondisclosure agreement, or terms and conditions. A good contract lawyer won't simply address the contract at hand. They'll also advise you on other documents that will provide added protection for your business.
Protect You in a Breach of Contract
If you find yourself dealing with a breach of contract later, you can turn to your contract lawyer for assistance. The same professional who helped you draw up the contract is an ideal resource when you're enforcing it. If you drafted your contract without a lawyer, you might still choose to consult with one to assist with later disputes.
Tips for Working With a Contract Lawyer
When you're entering into a working relationship with a contract lawyer, it's important to ask the right questions. This will help ensure that you both have the same expectations and that you're capable of fully meeting them. Before you commit to working with a particular lawyer, you should determine:
- The scope of the work. Will the contract lawyer draft the entire contract for you or simply review it? Do you need assistance with a new contract or a fresh set of eyes to review one that isn't working? Specify what you need from the lawyer.
- How the attorney bills. Some contract lawyers charge a flat fee for small projects. Others bill hourly. Make sure you understand what your project will cost and how the lawyer intends to charge you.
- The lawyer's expertise. There are many different types of contracts. It's best to work with a lawyer that's experienced in the exact document type that you're handling. For complex business contracts, a lawyer that's familiar with your industry is a plus. Ask about the lawyer's past accomplishments. Some may have received professional recognition or awards for their work.
- The lawyer's skill set. Some lawyers specialize in drafting contracts, while others have experience in the courtroom. If you're putting together a new contract, you want the former, while the latter is better in cases where you're pursuing a legal case related to a breach of contract.
- Where the lawyer works. You can consult remotely with lawyers from around the country, but you should work with a lawyer in the same state where you're drafting your contract. State laws can vary greatly, and you need a lawyer licensed and experienced in the right physical location.
A contract lawyer is a valuable resource for any project that includes a contract. There's a growing need for contract lawyers as more businesses see the value in protecting themselves with legal documentation that specifies the role of both the company and its clients or employees.
Whether you need help understanding what contracts you need to start a business or you're seeking assistance with a breach of contract case, finding the right lawyer for the job will ease your task and help ensure success in your business endeavors.