While the basic concepts involved in contract law can seem simple, the intricacies can be very complex. For oral contracts, disagreements about basic terms are common, even among well meaning participants. For written contracts, phrases may not mean what they appear to mean, and there may be unsuspected consequences to some contract clauses. The time to have your attorney involved is at the beginning, when a contract is about to be made. Waiting until a dispute arises can be costly.
DRAFTING & REVIEW
Not all contracts are required to be in writing, although some are. If your contract is important, it should be in writing, whether required or not. If you are about to enter into an important agreement which has not yet been put in writing, or if you have been presented a contract to sign, it is time to get your lawyer involved. Resistance to hiring an attorney for contract drafting or review is common. After all, why incur an expense (and some delay) when everyone involved is excited about the new venture and feel they are in agreement? The answer is that you are investing in your future. A properly drafted agreement helps to prevent future disagreements, especially lawsuits. It also allows you to cover (and negotiate) matters that you might not have thought of without the help of your attorney.
No matter how clear an agreement is, sometime there are disagreements. When contract disputes arise, they can involve, among other things, whether a contract really exists, the meaning of terms, or whether (or how much) a party has sustained damage. When a contract contains a clause allowing attorney fees to be awarded, the stakes can quickly become much higher. Even in cases where the court decides no contract was formed, a party may be entitled to compensation or other remedies. These best way to quickly resolve disputes is to get your attorney involved at the first sign of trouble.