What is a contract lawyer?
A contract lawyer is a lawyer that specialize in contract law and devotes much of their practice to drafting and reviewing legal contracts. Some people will refer to these lawyers as ‘desk lawyers’ since they are often behind a desk and not in a court room. Legal contracts are the backbone of any business since they govern the relationship with the business’ clients, suppliers, employees, and shareholders. For this reason, having a quality contract lawyer on your team is important.
What does a contract lawyer do?
Contract lawyers spend most of their time drafting and reviewing legal contracts. These contracts can be for both businesses and individuals. Examples of business legal contracts include sales contracts, supplier contracts, nondisclosure agreements, partnership agreement, employment agreements and joint venture agreements. Examples of personal contracts include power of attorneys, residential leases, and home purchase agreements.
For contract drafting, a contract lawyer will work with a client to prepare, create, or update a contract so that it is drafted in a way that is suitable for the purpose of the transaction. For example, if a client needs to draft a sales contract for a new product line, contract lawyers may take any existing contract the business uses for sales and updates these templates so that it covers all business and legal concerns for the new product line.
For contract review, contract lawyers will work with a client to analyze and advise on the meaning of an existing legal contract their client may need to sign for a particular transaction. Given legal contracts can be filled with legalese, you may want to hire a contract lawyer to help explain the obligations of the contract and suggest revisions that may make the terms more favorable to you.
Contract lawyers may also be called to help with breach of contract issues. In the instance a party to a contract fails to perform their obligations, contract lawyers will review the existing contract governing the relationship and analyze the risk exposure and liability the breaching party has. The contract lawyer will be able to advise their client on what to do next – settle, pursue damages in court, etc.
Why do you need to hire a contract lawyer?
Working with a contract lawyer will ensure you are not creating unnecessary risk for yourself or your business.
For contract drafting projects, they will ensure the wording, format, and clauses are legally binding, admissible in court, and free of any loopholes the other side of the transaction may be able to find. In other words, they will make sure your contracts are ‘ironclad’.
For contract review projects, they will help you interpret technical and challenging legalese so you can make the best decisions on whether to sign a contract as it is written or propose revised terms that may be more favorable to you.
How much do contract lawyers cost?
Many contracts lawyers charge by the hour for drafting and review projects. However, clients are starting to ask for flat fee proposals to give them more pricing predictability. When contract lawyers bill hourly, the client will often not know how much money to budget for the project. Flat fee proposals solve this issue.
The effort required in a contract drafting project is easier to predict, so contract lawyers are more willing to offer flat fee proposals. Contract lawyers that work for large law firms can charge anywhere between $250 - $500 per hour, depending on the complexity of the contract in scope. There are even contract lawyers are large firms that can charge above $500 per hour. There are online marketplaces that connect clients with lawyers that charge significantly less in fees given most have solo practices or are unaffiliated with a law firm.
Where do contract lawyers work?
Contract lawyers work for law firms, in their own practice (solo practitioners), and at large corporations as in-house counsel. You will find contract lawyers across all 50 states and international. Contract lawyers that are not affiliated with large law firms typically have lower fees since their organization does not have large overhead to cover. Thus, their rate can be lower.
How can I find contract lawyers near me?
The old way of finding a contract lawyer involves searching the countless lawyer directories online or asking friends, family, or colleagues for referrals. Both of these methods have their flaws. Using online directories will give you access to a larger consideration set of lawyers, but this can be overwhelming, and you do not have any information on pricing or potential fees so making a decision on who to use is still a challenge. Relying on referrals has its benefits because you can infer a sense of trust through the referral and have transparency on pricing. However, this limits you to a small network of lawyers which may not be the most appropriate contract lawyer for the project.
The new way of finding high quality contract lawyers near you is to use an online marketplace that allows you to review proposals and fees from lawyers. ContractsCounsel is one example of these marketplaces and helps to remove all of the friction involved in finding and retaining a high-quality contract lawyer.