While most people are familiar with the advice that they should not sign any contract before having the contract reviewed by an attorney, many people do not believe attorney review of contracts is necessary. If you are like many other people, you may think that a quick scan of a contract will reveal any undesirable language, only to later find that your understanding of legal terms was inaccurate or that you missed subtle differences in language, which may impact your legal rights under the contract. As a result, without attorney review, you may end up agreeing to terms and conditions that you did not intend or understand. In order to ensure that you understand and are agreeable to any proposed contract, you should always have an attorney review each contract before you agree to it.

Any time that a party presents you with a proposed contract, it is safe to assume that the party proposing the contract drafted the proposed contract with its own (and not your) best interests in mind.  However, if you engage an attorney to review the proposed contract, that attorney will look at the contract from your perspective, and will specifically look for any terms that may be disadvantageous or unfair to you. If your attorney’s review of the proposed contract reveals any areas of concern, your attorney may be able to help you negotiate mutually agreeable terms with the other party.  Even if the other party to your proposed contract is unwilling to agree to any changes, your attorney can advise you of the risks associated with the proposed contract.

Your attorney’s professional insight and analysis with respect to the risks of a proposed contract can be invaluable to you as you decide whether to enter into a contract.  While it may be tempting to rely on the advice of non-attorney friends or family, if you hire an attorney, you will get expert advice on the risks, such as possible legal liability and expenses, of entering into a proposed contract.  This insight will likely be of great benefit to you in your analysis of whether to the risks outweigh the benefits of in a proposed transaction.

Before you sign any contract whether individually or on behalf of a business, it is critical that you understand the rights and obligations the contract imposes on each of you and on the other party to the contract, that you attempt to negotiate contract terms that are fair to you and not just to the party offering the contract, and that you understand the risks of entering into the contract. An attorney specializing in business matters can help you accomplish this by reviewing any proposed contract on your behalf.