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Using DIY Legal Templates in Business Can Be Disastrous

Clark Law Firm PC Sept. 26, 2023

Stressed businessman tearing papersIn this day and age, you can do almost anything online or through your smartphone: Order food, find companionship, read reviews of the best entertainment options, make investments, and much more, including the creation of legal documents for you and/or your business. The question is: How reliable and trustworthy are these sites that purport to provide you with what you’re seeking when it comes to business matters? 

When it comes to matters pertaining to financial and business interests, you need to be extra careful, especially if the goal is to download a legal document where you fill in the blanks and create a binding agreement. Is there really a one-size-fits-all site where you can end up with a legal document that will protect you and your business? 

The answer is mostly no—it’s too iffy. You may be able to visit a website and create an employment agreement or a contract with a service provider, but will it survive if push comes to shove and you end up in a legal face-off? 

In short, if you’re running a business, you need to go the extra mile and enlist the services of an experienced business law attorney to carefully craft all your agreements to ensure they meet all legal standards in your state.  

In or around Birmingham, Alabama, reach out to the Clark Law Firm PC for all your business contract and agreement needs. No size fits all, so John will tailor your legal documents to your purposes and make sure they pass all legal standards. He also serves clients throughout Alabama as well as the Florida Panhandle. 

Why Establishing an Enforceable Contract Is Essential

Contracts can be created in writing, which are called express contracts, or they can result from oral agreements or even from implied actions—you and some other person or entity have been doing something for so long that it is just a part of your business DNA. However, unless an agreement or contract is in writing, any dispute can come down to a version of he said/she said. Who has the most believable account of what was agreed to and when and how? 

That makes having an express, or written, agreement or contract essential. Both parties to the agreement need to have something that a court or arbitrator can refer to in deciding who is responsible for what and who let whom down.  

Various online sites offer tools to create contracts and other legal documents, including wills, trusts, incorporation agreements, and more. The question is: Can these DIY document sources and the products they churn out stand every legal test? The answer is generally very problematical—i.e., no. 

Even LegalZoom, perhaps the most popular of all DIY legal document sites, admits as a way of a disclaimer:  

“At no time do we review your answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice, opinions or recommendations about your legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies, or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation. LegalZoom is not a law firm and may not perform services performed by an attorney. LegalZoom, its Services, and its forms or templates are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.” 

In short, you take your chances with online legal document services. Some may even offer an option to contact an attorney for an extra fee, but that attorney will not necessarily be as involved in your business concerns or interests as would one whom you meet one-on-one. And good luck if you try to re-establish a connection with that attorney. You’ll likely get someone else, and you’ll need to start over by explaining your situation. 

Strategic and Personalized Legal Counsel

Businesses have different goals, interests, and needs, so agreements and contracts have to be tailored to those priorities. A DIY site can provide, perhaps, a generalized agreement, but it may not meet the legal standards required if a dispute emerges. For that, you need the advice and counsel of an experienced business attorney

If your business is located in Alabama or the Florida Panhandle, contact the Clark Law Firm PC for all your contractual and legal agreement needs. John will tailor everything to your precise goals and needs in carefully-crafted language to protect you and your interests.