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When is a contract issue that hurts a business legal malpractice?

The contracts that you sign can put you in a position of legal obligation to others. They also dictate the obligations of others to you. Whether you sign a contract with your fiance before you get married to protect you if you divorce or you draft a contract to protect your company from a high-ranking employee competing against it in the future, you need to be able to trust that the contract you sign will hold up in court and not put you at a distinct disadvantage.

Working with a lawyer is often a good way to make sure that contracts that you draft yourself adequately protect your business. An attorney can also help when you sign a pre-existing contract by reviewing it for issues.

If you sign a contract with sneaky language, tricky clauses or unenforceable terms, you could find that your contract costs you thousands of dollars or doesn’t protect you at all. In some cases when you work with an attorney, a bad contract might be a sign of legal malpractice.

An attorney reviewing a contract should be able to spot problematic content

Someone without legal experience may not notice issues in a contract, like open-ended obligations or tricky language that misrepresents the intent of a clause. Some lawyers who draft contracts will intentionally try to obfuscate the goal of the contract through confusing language. Others will hide unfavorable terms deep in dense language.

Having your lawyer read over a contract before you sign is meant to protect you. Your lawyer should be able to spot those tricks even if you can’t. An attorney who fails to notice problematic language in a contract could cost their clients thousands of dollars.

A lawyer drafting a contract should know how to make it hold up in court

Ideally, working with an attorney means that you have customized, specific contracts that optimize your protections. Your lawyer should use their understanding of state law and court precedents to draft a contract that upholds your best interests. When an attorney makes a mistake in their interpretation of the law or in the language that they use in a contract, the people who hire them could wind up suffering substantial financial losses.

Contracts are so crucial for people’s success that an attorney who fails to understand one or draft one properly could do lasting damage to their clients. Incompetence when it comes to a basic service like helping a client with a contract could be grounds for a legal malpractice claim. Victims of attorneys who did not offer adequate service in drafting or reviewing contracts could potentially hold the lawyer involved accountable for their losses.