The Risks of Internet-Based Legal Services
Many businesses, especially new businesses, are tempted by the prices offered by online legal services. While they may save you some money on the front end, these form agreements and templates can expose you to both headaches and large legal bills down the road. Here are the top four issues I encounter with online legal forms.
1. Language that Simply Isn’t There
In every online template-originated document I have ever reviewed for a client, I have found a major provision that simply was not there. The reasons for this are incredibly diverse. Some are absent because they are Texas specific provisions that are not in the national forms a company uses, some may be absent because the client did not know a provision was key to the proper function of the agreement, and some are missing because the laws have changed and the forms used by a company have not yet been updated.
2. Provisions that are WAY too Complicated
When drafting legal contracts, the easiest way to do it is to add in every provision under the sun. The oft-cited quotation, “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter” is indicative of the documents that reach 15 or 20 pages when your business probably only needs a 6-10 page contract (maybe even less). The most skilled lawyers have a keen understanding of what you do and do not need in a contract to balance your risk and properly explain the terms of the agreement, without adding unnecessary complication to your business’s operations.
3. Less Flexibility
Depending on the complexity and uniqueness of your business, flexibility may also be a concern. If you work as a landscape architect, you need specific provisions in a service agreement that are distinctly different from a website designer’s service agreement. An online form may not allow you to develop the best language for your specific industry and business as it will only let you select one of several options and then force your business to fit into that form.
4. Human Errors
Without a significant amount of time and experience on the part of the client, it can be very difficult to know exactly which questions to ask yourself or understand the best option for your business for a particular agreement. The other problem is that for many form contracts, there is no person reviewing your information. Lack of oversight can lead to errors in the contract that range from basic mistakes to issues that void the entire agreement. Lawyers are trained to be ridiculously detail oriented: we know what to look for and where the most common errors are found.
If you have an online contract that you would like to revise and update so that it better fits your business or are in need of business contracts of any kind, the Schoenbaum Firm, PLLC offers competitive rates to get your company back on the right track.