Prepare Legal Document:
Everything You Need To Know

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,247 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a legal contract?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

Legal documents are signed contracts between you and another person, business, or entity. They safeguard both parties’ rights and obligations while offering some form of recourse if things don’t go as expected. Preparing legal documents can take time, research, and insight, but when done right, it can protect you and your business at the right time.

The article below outlines the most direct method for preparing legal documents and other lawful considerations:

How To Prepare Legal a Document

Have you ever heard the saying that a legal document is only worth the paper it’s written on? This statement still holds true to this day! Even your preparation methods will affect the overall result and should follow a tried-and-true approach.

Here is how to prepare a legal document using a simple, four-step process:

Step 1. Select the Proper Legal Document

Every transaction is unique, which means that your contracts will follow this principle as well. Take a few moments to think about the transaction type. For example, if you’re selling a home, use a sales contract , or if you’re a service provider, offer customers a service contract .

Step 2. Review Your Local Rules and Laws

Contracts that don’t conform to federal, state, and local rules can render the agreement unenforceable, which leaves you legally and financially exposed. Instead of grabbing the first boilerplate template available online, consider the industry, geographic region, and contract laws that apply.

Step 3. Have a Conversation with the Other Party

It’s always a good idea to confirm the terms and conditions with the other party before drafting the agreement. You can also use this conversation to initiate negotiations if appropriate. Ensure that you take detailed notes and reserve them in case questions about your contracts arise.

Step 4. Draft Your Legal Documents

Once you have all the information you need about the transaction, it’s time to put the terms in writing. Get into as much detail as necessary to support the intended outcome of your legal documents.

While you can amend your documents in the future, it is much more efficient to draft the first document from the beginning. It will make you seem very capable and prepared in the process. Capability builds trust and a more secure relationship with your customers.

What Do Legal Documents Include?

Legal documents include the relevant details, terms, and conditions associated with a transaction. However, specific provisions will vary widely across contract types, even basic ones. Ultimately, a contract must contain the provisions that demonstrate an offer, acceptance, and an exchange of consideration.

The general terms and conditions of legal documents typically include:

More complicated transactions will use additional provisions. For example, derivatives are financial contracts for underlying assets and require other terms, such as asset class and expiration.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Craig M.

4 projects on CC
View Profile

Samuel R.

22 projects on CC
View Profile

Tabetha H.

6 projects on CC
View Profile

Gregory B.

42 projects on CC
View Profile

What Are the Basic Types of Legal Documents?

There is virtually an unlimited number of legal documents that one person or business can prepare. However, some basic types are more commonly used than others and address a broader range of transactions.

The basic types of legal documents include the following:

1. Nondisclosure Agreement

Nondisclosure agreements , also called NDAs, are legal documents that employees agree to keep company trade secrets confidential. Employers use NDAs to give them recourse against acts of unlawful disclosure.

2. Consulting Agreement

Consulting agreements , also called consulting contracts, establish the terms and conditions of a company’s service relationship with an individual or another company. It will detail the services provided and the nature of the consultant’s relationship with the company.

3. Employment Contract

Employment contracts are legal documents between an employer and an employee that specify their employment terms and conditions. A well-written employment contract can benefit both the employer and the employee by clarifying job responsibilities, stipulating each party’s rights, and ensuring job security.

4. Service Contract

Service contracts are legal documents between a client and a service provider. It specifies the roles and responsibilities of both parties in completing and paying for work. They can also include time frames for starting and finishing the job, additional due dates if necessary, and other procedural details.

5. Sales Contract

Sales contracts are legal documents between a buyer and a seller of an asset, usually real estate, that specify the terms of the sale and the parties’ rights and responsibilities in the transaction. It will be signed by the buyer and seller, as well as their witnesses.

6. Asset Purchase Agreement

Asset purchase agreements , also known as APAs, are contracts between a buyer and a seller that spells out the terms and conditions of a company’s asset purchase and sale. These legal documents generally include provisions, such as purchase price, credit terms, liens , asset encumbrances, and closing terms.

7. Terms of Service

Terms of service, often referred to as ToS, refer to rules and regulations that a provider attaches to a software service or website. These types of legal documents are so common in the digital space that users now expect them as a condition of using the software.

8. Privacy Policy

Privacy policies are legal documents that explain how a company or website collects, handles, and processes personally identifiable information (PII). It specifies whether the information is private or sold and what they can do to opt-out.

Examples of Legal Documents

Understanding the meaning of legal documents is the easy part. The trick is knowing that their power lies within situations involving conflict, questions, and relationships. Some clauses and provisions will protect you just in the knick-of-time or in uncommon situations.

Here is a hypothetical example of a business scenario involving legal documents and the power of provisions:

  • Worthy Rent-A-Car rents out passenger vehicles in New York City
  • Jerome has his car stolen and needs to rent one from them
  • His friend, Laney, drives him there to pick up a reserved, mid-size vehicle
  • Janet, the car rental agent, informs Jerome that there are no mid-size vehicles left and that he will need to take a compact car
  • Jerome feels dismayed and states that the point of a reservation “is to hold it”
  • Janet shows Jerome the provision in his rental agreement saying they cannot guarantee specific vehicle types
  • Jerome reluctantly accepts the terms and drives away with a blue Ford Escort after insinuating that he is going to damage it out of spite
  • Worthy Rent-A-Car has insurance policies and legal documents in place so that moral hazards transfer to Jerome if he intentionally damages the car

This particular example highlights how legal documents protect companies and people alike. While verbal agreements are enforceable in most states, you should always put them in writing!

Who Prepares Legal Documents?

Anyone may need to prepare legal documents for a personal or business transaction, and document drafting measures will depend upon the transaction type. For example, end-of-life planning requires estate planning documents, or selling a house requires real estate documents.

If you want to draft legally sound contracts, always seek legal advice from contract lawyers . They will understand your situation, apply the law to it, and craft the perfect document that meets your needs.

Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace for free to get bids from lawyers to review and compare. All lawyers are vetted by our team and peer reviewed for you to explore before hiring.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

View Max
Member Since:
July 12, 2021

Max M.

Business Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Baltimore, Maryland
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MD
Georgetown University Law Center

Results oriented business attorney focusing on the health care sector. Formerly worked in Biglaw doing large multi-million dollar mergers and acquisitions, financing, and outside corporate counsel. I brought my skillset to the small firm market, provide the highest level of professionalism and sophistication to smaller and startup companies.

View Jaroslaw
Member Since:
July 20, 2021

Jaroslaw P.

Associate
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Warsaw, Poland
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in AK
Wroclaw University - Law

Attorney - I graduated in Law from the University of Wroclaw and in Economics from the Scottish University of Aberdeen; My legal interests include, in particular: contracts, intellectual property, and corporate law, as well as transactional / regulatory advisory along with related risk management (M&A); The industries with which I have worked most often are: IT, real estate and construction, professional sport, industrial chemistry and medicine, oil & gas, energy, and financial services; I possess many years of experiences working with international entities for which I have prepared and negotiated contracts, as well as (due diligence) reports, analyses, litigation documents, and presentations; Apart from law firms, I have also worked for investment banks and big 4 - thanks to that I also gained financial, technological, and consulting experiences; I shall be described by: accuracy, openness, honesty, concreteness, a broad approach to the problem, and ... a lack of bad manners, along with a good sense of humour :)

View Yaser
Member Since:
July 21, 2021

Yaser M.

Self Employed
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Houston
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of London

I have practiced law in foreign jurisdiction for more than 11 years and more than one year in Texas. I am Texas licensed attorney. Practice areas include Corporate: incorporation of business entities, drafting of operating agreements, by-laws, and business contracts; Commercial: business disputes, demand letters, cease and desist lettera, dealing with insurance companies, negotiations, settlements of disputes, commercial real estate, and business litigation Litigation: business disputes, personal injury, civil rights, cross-border matters, maritime matters, drafting of litigation pleadings, motion practice, legal research, white-collar defense.

View Joseph
Member Since:
July 26, 2021

Joseph L.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
CT
39 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT
Southwestern University School of Law

Mr. LaRocco's focus is business law, corporate structuring, and contracts. He has a depth of experience working with entrepreneurs and startups, including some small public companies. As a result of his business background, he has not only acted as general counsel to companies, but has also been on the board of directors of several and been a business advisor and strategist. Some clients and projects I have recently done work for include a hospitality consulting company, a web development/marketing agency, a modular home company, an e-commerce consumer goods company, an online ordering app for restaurants, a music file-sharing company, a company that licenses its photos and graphic images, a video editing company, several SaaS companies, a merchant processing/services company, a financial services software company that earned a licensing and marketing contract with Thomson Reuters, and a real estate software company.

View Harry
Member Since:
July 27, 2021

Harry S.

Director
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
London
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
BPP

We are a boutique legal practice focused on media, fintech and international trade and have significant experience of advising on high value matters in these areas and delivering results. We advise start-ups, established businesses and professionals on a wide range of commercial and corporate arrangements, not only in the UK, but also in the European Union, United States and Latin America.

View Talin
Member Since:
July 29, 2021

Talin H.

Owner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Chicago
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
DePaul College of Law

Talin has over a decade of focused experience in business and international law. She is fiercely dedicated to her clients, thorough, detail-oriented, and gets the job done.

View Sam
Member Since:
July 30, 2021

Sam W.

Entertainment attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Los Angeles
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America

Entertainment attorney and film producer. Counsel clients on all matter of entertainment-related contracts, including talent representation, crew deals, financing agreements, and production legal. Former litigation attorney and owner of a documentary and scripted film and television production company. Well versed in small business foundation and general business contracts.

View Craig
Member Since:
August 2, 2021

Craig M.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Maine
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in ME
New York Law School

I have been practicing law for more than 4 years at a small firm in York County, Maine. I recently decided to hang my shingle, Dirigo Law LLC. My practice focuses mostly on Real Estate / Corporate transactions, Wills, Trusts, and Probate matters.

View Tim
Member Since:
August 3, 2021

Tim M.

Managing Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Cambridge, MA
24 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MA, NY
Boston College Law School

Tim has 20 years of experience representing a wide variety of emerging and established companies in the technology, software, bitcoin and professional services industries. He works directly with his clients’ executives and boards of directors on corporate, intellectual property, and securities law issues. Recently, Tim has advised clients on Series A and Series B financings, corporate structuring, complex video licensing agreements, and structuring new hedge funds. Tim previously served as Forrester Research, Inc.’s General Counsel and Secretary where he was chief legal officer, led the company’s legal group, and managed the company’s legal and regulatory affairs. Tim played an integral role in the company’s initial public offering in 1997 and coordinated its secondary offering in 2000. He directed the legal process in the company’s acquisitions of Giga Information Group, Inc., Fletcher Research and Forit GmbH and oversaw over $125million in transactions. He also managed the company’s intellectual property assets. Tim is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York. Tim holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Boston College Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College

View Melissa
Member Since:
August 5, 2021

Melissa G.

Owner/Managing Member
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Chicago
18 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, IL, OH
University of Michigan

Melissa Green recently opened her own law firm which focuses on providing general counsel services, business formation services, and contract services (including negotiation assistance). Prior to opening her own firm, Melissa joined the American Medical Association (AMA) as an Assistant General Counsel in November 2019. In her role at the AMA, Melissa supported the CPT and Masterfile licensing programs, in addition to supporting the legal needs of the Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability business unit. Prior to arriving at the AMA, Melissa was the Chief Legal Counsel and Privacy Officer at The Chartis Group, a healthcare advisory services and analytics company, headquartered in Chicago, where she was responsible for commercial transactions for Chartis and its wholly owned SaaS company, and also served as the organization’s privacy officer responsible for HIPAA compliance. Melissa started her legal career in Cincinnati, Ohio at the law firm of Frost Brown Todd where she served as an associate in the Corporate department doing healthcare transactions, securities, and general corporate work. In 2007, Melissa transitioned into her first in-house counsel role at GE Aviation. During her time at GE, she had many roles including supporting new engine sales transactions for the Europe/Middle East/Africa region, its Electric Power business located in Dayton, its Engine Services business (supporting the CF34 and CF6 engine lines), and compliance. Upon leaving GE, Melissa had a brief stint at MedStar in Virginia before accepting a full-time position at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore, Maryland in July 2013. Originally from East Lansing, Michigan, Melissa received her bachelor’s graduate from Michigan State University’s – James Madison College and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

View Robert Jay
Member Since:
August 4, 2021

Robert Jay H.

Owner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New York, NY
41 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
New York University School of Law

My Legal career hasfocused on representing businesses (corporations and limited liability companies) as general outside counsel. In this capacity, I have drafted a broad range of legal documents as well as analyzed proposed agreements drafted by the other party's attorney to the agreement for the pupose of determining the risks to which my client would be exposed. I maintained the client's minute book if no one in-house was available for that task. Additionally, if rquested, I served as a general advisor to the client's executive offers and to its Board of Directors.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call