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The Pitfalls of Legal Forms

pitfalls-legal-formsMaybe you’re thinking about hiring an employee or giving a loan to your friend, but you don’t think it’s worth it to hire a lawyer to draft a legal form for you; so what do you do?  You probably Google “legal forms” or “free legal forms” and see something like, “save time and money with Company X’s online legal forms.”

Congratulations! You just saved yourself some money, at least in the short term.  All is well for now – you got the deal done and you’re feeling on top of the world. But then what happens when you get sued?

Well, the short answer is that you’re screwed. Your friends will be the ones mocking you when you find out that your free legal form didn’t provide adequate legal protection.  So now, instead of being out the $250 you would have spent on a lawyer to draft that legal form for you, you have to spend $10,000 on legal fees for a lawyer you don’t want and definitely can’t afford.  Well, captain hindsight, maybe it would have been best to hire a lawyer in the first place.

The benefits of hiring a lawyer to complete even the most basic legal forms extend beyond the normal logic.  Sure, obviously hiring a lawyer to draft your legal form will mean the legal form will be more iron-clad than if you do it yourself, but you obtain benefits from having a lawyer complete your legal form other than just that.

Let’s think worst-case-scenario here – your lawyer puts together your legal form or legal contract and it turns out to be poorly drafted and you still end up in court (you should definitely avoid this by finding out how to hire a lawyer that’s right for you, but that’s a topic for another conversation).  In the scenario we discussed earlier where you drafted your own legal form or legal contract, if you ended up in court, you’d likely be screwed beyond belief.  However, if the lawyer is the one who drafted your legal form and it was absolutely terrible, there is a likelihood that you will be able to recover money from the lawyer with a legal malpractice claim.

This does not mean you should be suing your lawyer every time something goes wrong, but we are simply stating that the likelihood of you being completely screwed when you hire a lawyer is diminished compared to trying to draft your legal form by yourself without a lawyer.

Lawyers have a common saying, “it will cost you 10 times more to fix a problem than to do it right the first time.”  Learn from this, and don’t make the same mistake many people make with legal forms. Hire a lawyer and do it right the first time to save yourself time, money, and stress.  You’ve got enough problems to worry about with your life or business. You don’t need to turn yourself into your own personal, free lawyer and make your life way more difficult than it needs to be.