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Contracts are some of the most ubiquitous legal documents in our modern society, and the average person doesn't know half of the problems they can cause.
Before you decide to sign that agreement, contract, or waiver, consider how much information you're missing out on -- info that a contract lawyer could provide.
Don't believe us? Here are five things a contracts lawyer can do that you probably can't:
1. Translate Legal Fine Print.
Do you read or speak legalese? Probably not. But a contracts attorney will. Most contracts will contain long boilerplate clauses which you may not understand, but an attorney can translate for you. Remember, contracts are almost always enforceable when signed -- even if you don't read it -- and companies have been using "legal fine print" for years to pull a fast one on consumers.
2. Know Which Clauses Are Enforceable.
Just because it's written down in a contract doesn't mean that a court will uphold it. For example, your gym membership agreement probably includes a liability waiver, but only a lawyer can tell you if it's solid or just legal posturing. An attorney can also cue you in to arbitration clauses, which may bar you from suing and are almost always enforced.
3. Spot Any Shortcomings in the Contract.
While you may be able to read what's in a contract, you can't easily spot what's missing. An attorney may recommend that you add a liquidated damages provision to your home remodeling contract, giving you extra protection if the job isn't finished by a certain date. Like former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it, you can't plan for things you didn't know existed in the first place.
4. Tell You What Will Happen When Either Party Breaches.
It's important to know what happens when either party breaks or breaches a contract. A contract attorney can use the terms of the contract and his or her knowledge of contract law to paint a reasonable picture of what will likely happen if a breach occurs. Make sure you don't misunderstand this important part of your agreement.
5. Negotiate Changes to Your Agreement.
Contract negotiation can be key in getting the terms you're seeking, so why not leave it to a professional? Contract attorneys are trained to negotiate with companies and other lawyers about changes to contracts which are beneficial to their clients.
Don't let pride get in the way of deferring to an attorney for contract help.