It’s almost scary to take into account all the things that can be done online today: contract babysitters, look for a date and order about anything beneath the sun, to mention a few. But because that can be done it online doesn’t mean you should, particularly when using do-it-yourself legal websites to go your company’s legal needs.
While there are a variety of these out there, in terms of these click-download-and-print legal forms, there’s no denying that the convenience is great and the purchase price is good. But before you add “amateur attorney” to your task description, it’s vital that you have a step back and consider if a DIY legal approach is actually best for your business.
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To the untrained eye, most business transactions can seem redundantly identical — only a matter of pushing the proper papers before the proper eyes. But it’s misguided to assume that one legal form can fit the wide scope of diversity that exists within all companies. Every business is guided by unique goals, leaders and circumstances which have different needs and characteristics.
Yet, online legal form websites offer documents created for the masses — meaning your articles that are designed to protect a few of your most essential business components are held together by a fill-in-the-blank, best-effort document without clauses, amendments or customized language to mitigate your company’s specific needs.
Possibly the worst part of generic forms is they create a false sense of security for companies.
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With any legal process, details are paramount. Even the tiniest omission can invalidate a document or severely cost you time, penalties and other issues. And in the event that you don’t know very well what you’re looking for, you won’t understand how to prevent small but deadly mistakes inside your document.
As an illustration, many generic form contracts omit essential hold harmless and indemnification provisions (or allocate responsibility for third-party claim), the consequence of that may severely tilt the scales of liability out of your business’s favor. A jobs contract could include an overly broad non-compete clause, rendering it unenforceable when it’s needed. You might miss jurisdictional compliance associated with issues like interest levels, which could make your complete business practice illegal and potentially derail your company’s entire future.
In the event that you aren’t qualified to properly vet your legal work, don’t be lured by the capability of clicks and cheap rates to accomplish it yourself. These websites even affirm they aren’t a substitute for an authorized attorney.
Lawyers amply trained in the complexities of regulations are actually the only ones who can show you through a legal process and make sure your company is really as protected by the letter of regulations as possible. Also, by knowing what to search for, lawyers can avoid unnecessary hurdles and keep potential issues from ever occurring, thus maintaining your legal bill contained from what you’re actually spending money on — the answer, not the problem.
And since lawyers exist in the flesh, not only on the net, you can initiate continued working relationships. Which means when other legal needs come the right path, your attorney already comes with an in-depth knowledge of what your company does, how it works, its long-term goals and potential obstacles.
Business revolves around weighing risk and reward. When coping with something as perilous as regulations, the potential risk is too great to bear never to apply your most thorough homework. Don’t depend on digital 1s and 0s and an ink-jet printer to take care of it for you personally.
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