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Our society is highly litigious, and, consequently, it seems like everything is fully documented nowadays. Gone are the days of handshake deals and taking people at their honor and word. In the preceding decades lawyers have come in and added red tape and procedure into almost every facet of life. From credit cards to bank loans, to getting a new patio installed and enrolling your children in school, there is lengthy paperwork to fill out and lengthy procedure to adhere to. Often it is what you don’t know that harms you. People sign without reading or agree to terms they only partially understand. And it is always more difficult to fight against terms you already agreed to, that is why exercising a little restraint and doing a little research before you sign is always the more preferential option.
Recognizing a deficiency in comprehension is only half the battle and it is often a prospect people are too prideful to recognize. Naturally, not everyone is going to be an expert in everything. Heart surgeons often can’t expertly shingle a roof and vice versa. Many people use the services of attorneys but most fail to use them to their full potential. Attorneys are licensed experts who spend their days dealing with issues and problems that most don’t want to spend hours, days, or even weeks of reading and learning to become experts in. Recognizing an impending difficulty and being willing to retain the services of an expert can save you a lot of time and money in the short term, but also put you in a more advantageous position to guard against, or exploit, potential problems in the future.
I. Why have your attorney review your documents?
It’s a widely held view that two sets of eyes are better than one and that a fresh set of eyes can see things that you would miss. Further, in the context of retaining the services of an experienced attorney, they are often aware of potential issues and problems that a lay person would be ignorant of. The name of the game is expert consultation. Attorneys possess areas of expertise because they deal with the same areas of law and associated problems and issues day in and day out.
Though some are aware that using the expert services of an attorney might be helpful, however, a lot of times, 1) people don’t know what experts they need, 2) don’t know how to find such experts, and 3) not all experts are created equal, which ones will actually help you rather than hurt. An experienced and established attorney will know which experts you need, which ones are trustworthy, and which ones won’t cost you an arm and a leg to talk to.
At the end of the day, using attorneys saves you time and money. Attorneys are trained to read fast and think fast, and an experienced attorney will be able to accomplish in a faction of the time what you can attempt to do yourself. Often people need and want answers to their questions as soon as possible.
For example, a recent client came in regarding collection on a judgment via garnishment proceedings in municipal court. Little did he know; such judgment was discharged by a chapter 7 bankruptcy. So, if he attempted to collect he would be in contempt of the bankruptcy order and, curiously, he would then face possible liability from the debtor. Most ordinary individuals don’t have extensive experience with collections or bankruptcy law. In this instance, a simple sit down with an attorney likely saved him thousands of dollars and avoided a contempt charge.
II. In what situations would you have your attorney review?
The situations in which it would be advantageous to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney are numerous. Every person, family, company, and business deal have their own nuances and concerns. Generally, however, if you are saying to yourself either 1) I don’t want to take the time to figure out X, or 2) I don’t understand what Y is saying, or 3) I’m pretty sure I understand Z but I want to be fully confident I’m not missing anything important, it’s probably a good idea to at least sit down and talk with an attorney.
The following is a list, non-exhaustive, of types of matters Baron Law has looked into previously. Other law firms and other attorneys, naturally, can help with other matters that match their specialties or areas of concentration.
Articles of Incorporation
Purchase Agreements, Goods and Services
III. Cost v. Risk
When it comes down to it, regardless of the all the reasons why you should consult with an attorney about a particular matter, it’s going to come down to cost and risk. How much is hiring an attorney going to cost me vs. how much am I risking by not doing my due diligence? Often the answer hinges on the financial stakes. If you are investing $300,000 in a business venture, you’re going to spend a little money to make absolutely sure your money is protected and your getting a good deal. In similar situations, using attorneys to protect yourself is self-evident.
In other situations, the necessity of attorney counsel is less-evident but nonetheless critical. Even for minor business ventures, simple contracts for services, or party-to-party transactions, the significant threat of potential litigation and the loss of invested blood, sweat, and tears is still there. Thus, the expert guidance of attorneys remains your best line of defense. The human psyche is strange in that $100 doesn’t mean much unless it’s your $100. When it comes to protecting your money, your assets, and your business deals, doing the little extra of hiring an experienced Cleveland attorney makes sense and almost always pays for itself regardless of the context.
About the author: Mike E. Benjamin, Esq.
Mike is a contracted attorney at Baron Law LLC who specializes in civil litigation, estate planning, and probate law. He is a member of the Westshore Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association for the Northern District of Ohio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The author nor Baron Law LLC cannot and does not guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable in a given situation may impact the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of the preceding information. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes in such laws often have material impact on estate planning and tax forecasts. As such, the author and Baron Law LLC make no warranties regarding the herein information or any results arising from its use. Furthermore, the author and Baron Law LLC disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any financial position taken in reliance on, such information. As always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal or tax situation.