What Does a Contract Lawyer Do?

What Does a Contract Lawyer Do?

Contracts are legally enforceable agreements that are a part of day-to-day business operations for companies of all sizes. Contracts should not be written or signed haphazardly, especially when your business and livelihood are on the line. It’s critical to understand the legal consequences of what you’re entering into and ensure that the contracts created by your business are legally sound. That is where contract lawyers play an essential role. So what does a contract lawyer do, exactly?

What Does a Contract Lawyer Do?

A contract lawyer’s tasks and responsibilities include contract drafting, contract reviewing, and ensuring the interests of their clients are protected. Contract attorneys are familiar with contract requirements and how to ensure that they will be enforceable. Certain legal features and wording are frequently required in these sorts of contracts. A contract lawyer may assist a corporation or individual in including the terms essential for their commercial requirements, as well as any legal terminology that the individual may not be aware of. A contract lawyer may also be able to recommend a litigation attorney who can represent a client when a contract is breached. 

Contracts for Startup Businesses

Starting a business has various components, from developing your initial idea to hiring your first employee, and each stage may present new obstacles. A contract lawyer can assist you in determining which contracts are required between you, your partners, and your company. Even if you are the only proprietor of your company, you may require agreements between you and your company to protect your limited responsibility. Third parties you wish to do business with may demand business agreements in order to move forward as well. A contract lawyer can ensure that the contracts you create and sign are the appropriate ones for your company and needs. 

Ongoing Business Contracts

Contracts are a necessary element of running a business. Contracts aid in the development of both your company and your commercial connections. Documents like your Employment and Independent Contractor Agreements, as well as Nondisclosure Agreements, are critical to legal compliance. Because you will use these papers frequently, it is critical that they be done correctly the first time and reviewed annually to ensure that they continue to satisfy your business’s demands and current legal requirements. Master Service Agreements, Vendor Agreements, Lease Agreements, and Manufacturing Agreements are also contracts you may encounter or need to draft during your time as a business owner. 

Specialty Agreements

There are some agreements that may need to be reviewed once a year or even less frequently, but if you lapse, you may cause a bit of trouble for yourself. It’s all too easy to forget about your software license agreements, online privacy policies, and website terms of service. A contract attorney will make sure you’ve taken all of the required measures, and if there happens to be a website dispute or software licensing violation, they can refer you to a litigator who can represent you. Intern Agreements and Professional Engagement Agreements are two other types of specialty agreements you could encounter as a small business owner.

How Much Does A Contract Lawyer Cost?

The cost of a contract attorney varies depending on the attorney’s experience and the specifics of the case. While most attorneys charge hourly, you may find some attorneys charge by the contract. Contract attorneys that are drafting or negotiating contracts may cost a different hourly amount than an attorney that does litigation regarding contract breaches. Most attorneys can give you a range of fees for different contract issues so that you have an idea of how much things will cost before you hire an attorney.

Contract Law at the Law Offices of E.C. Lewis 

If you have contracts that need to be reviewed, you’re disputing a contract, or need to address a potential breach of contract, don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a consultation. Elizabeth Lewis is an experienced contract law attorney who continues to help businesses all over the Denver metro area, Colorado, North Carolina, throughout the United States, and internationally with their contract law needs. Schedule online now or call 720-258-6647!

Contract Law: Your Checklist for Producing Strong Legal Agreements

Contract Law: Your Checklist for Producing Strong Legal Agreements

Contract Law: Your Checklist for Producing Strong Legal Agreements

Operating a small business typically involves the need to reach agreements with other parties. This may include everyone from partners to vendors. To protect yourself and ensure that the other party follows through with their part of the agreement, it’s critical that you document what’s been agreed to in a legal contract. Consequently, even though you may look to a Denver business attorney to draft the document, it is important that you have a general understanding of contract law.

Key Considerations for Drafting a Contract

As you work with the other party and your lawyer to produce a contract, keep these contract law best practices in mind:

  • Everything must be in writing. No matter how comfortable you are with the other party, it is essential that you put all aspects of your agreement into a written contract. It may seem like some of the details are inconsequential and can be covered by a handshake, but sometimes it’s the smallest things that come back to haunt you later. It’s especially tempting to take certain things “on faith” if they come up after a written agreement has been drafted. However, you are much safer revising the contract.
  • Be sure you are dealing with the right person. It’s not uncommon to put a great deal of time and effort into creating a contract only to find out that the person you’ve named in the document doesn’t actually have the authority to execute the agreement. Then, unfortunately, you are likely faced with a whole new set of review and revision iterations that not only eat up more of your time, but that may also delay progress on the initiatives covered by the agreement.
  • Keep the contract simple. A contract should include all the verbiage necessary to clearly explain all aspects of the agreement, but not a word more. If that sounds dramatic, remember that information that isn’t relevant to the agreement or that repeats things already stated only bulks up the document, extending the time it takes to review and approve it. What’s more, the extra verbiage can muddy the waters if the contract must be interpreted or revised at a later date.
  • Identify all parties correctly. How a person or company is generally known and how an entity is legally defined may be two very different things. At a minimum, using the wrong name in a contract can make it more difficult to enforce the agreement. And in the worst case scenario, it can void the agreement. This is not something you want to discover after a conflict arises.
  • Pay special attention to performance and payment. Everything in a legal contract should, of course, be accurate. But the areas covering what is required of each party in terms of actions to be taken or payments to be made are especially important. Be sure to double- and triple-check this information before you sign.
  • Include terms that cover confidentiality. In many instances, working with another person or company exposes your sensitive business information to them and vice versa. Your agreement should have verbiage requiring strict confidentiality regarding anything learned about the other party’s operations during execution of the contract.
  • Specify how disputes will be resolved. Taking a breach of contract case to court can be very costly, both in terms of time and money. You may want to consider agreeing to handle disputes through mediation or arbitration and writing that into the contract.
  • Be clear on the issues pertaining to termination. Under what conditions do you have the legal right to terminate the contract? How about the other party’s rights? The only thing worse than having a business relationship sour is then finding it difficult to officially sever the relationship.
  • Choose which state’s laws apply. If you and the other party are located in different states, be sure to specify which state’s laws will be used to interpret the contract. You may also want to indicate where arbitration or mediation will take place if that is part of the agreement.

Welcome Clarity When Drafting a Contract

Whether you’re new to contract law or have executed hundreds of contracts, preparing to sign on the dotted line can be a source of concern and anxiety. But, using the checklist above and getting input from a Colorado small business attorney can help you enter into the agreement with confidence.

If you need guidance on contract law or assistance with drafting a contract, contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com

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