DIY Disasters of Writing Your Own Legal Contracts
Find a legal contract template, fill in some of your personal details, hit print and scribble your name on the signature line. Seems easy enough, right?
We’ve represented countless clients where oversights in contracts, careless omissions, and incorrect language have led to significant losses, liabilities, and more. It goes without saying (especially on a lawyer’s blog) that to avoid the do-it-yourself contract disasters and potential losses you should always seek the counsel of an attorney. But here’s where most “create your own contract” situations go wrong.
Top 5 Pitfalls of Crafting Your Own Legal Contracts
As an attorney, I appreciate the quick-hit, ease-of-use a digital template offers for letter writing, email signatures, and presentation decks. But when it comes to crafting your own legal documents there are important reasons to avoid using templates.
- Leaves You Vulnerable to Liability Issues. Off-the-shelf contracts don't typically fit the situation you are attempting to address. Missing clauses and poor wording can leave you with major legal holes in terms of liability protection, among other issues. So, there is vulnerability not only to liability but also to the inability to be creative in contract drafting.
- Poor Language Matters. Unfortunately, boilerplate language within these templated legal contracts is often ambiguous and poorly written. Precise language will help with a later dispute; if a judge cannot interpret the language, he or she may not rule in your favor.
- Room for Negotiation Narrows. Negotiation is an acquired skill and when it comes to contracts adding and omitting terms should be left to the experts. You might have crafted a solid contract, but does the language reflect what you negotiated or give you leeway to negotiate terms to ensure you are covered?
- Unique Deals Demand Unique Agreements. Every deal and every transaction is different, and it’s simply not accounted for in self-written agreements. An experienced lawyer with eagle eyes for contracts can spot the issues and help account for and draft content for the uniqueness of your legal agreement.
- Interpretation Gets Muddy. Try as we might to write contract language, the truth is as a layperson drafting a contract, the language often just sounds confusing. It’s important to consider using an attorney to draft the contract because you simply want to ensure all your points are covered precisely and to create minimal risk.
Legal Contracts Made Simple
Avoid the time and risk of searching for legal templates that may or may not even fit your transaction and hire an attorney to draft a smarter, safer contract. You’ll protect your deal, have more solidly negotiated terms, and have a document that can actually stand up in court.
Contact the law offices of Howell, Buchan & Strong; Attorneys at Law for your free consultation at any one of our locations:
Orlando (407) 717-1773 |Tallahassee (850) 877-7776 | Tampa (813) 833-6726 | Sarasota (941) 779-4348