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March 2, 2017

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Do your contracts make sense to you?

Clients assume when they engage an attorney that the contracts they’re being presented have been carefully read by legal counsel. Sadly, that’s not always the case. There are a lot of reasons for this. Some attorneys (or their legal assistants) include boiler plate language that is designed to help save time. Often, law firms are loath to stray from language that’s been examined in set precedents in court.

If the contract language doesn’t make sense to you, you should be reluctant to sign until you understand it. One size doesn't always fit all: Different courts make different decisions. Judges retire. Facts are diferent. When using boilerplate terms, it’s not uncommon for errors to be made between the two parties. If you’re getting confused by terminology such as employee/employer or licensor/licensee or mortgagor/mortgagee, chances are someone else has too in the drafting process. With today’s technology, it’s a relatively simple process to do a search and replace, but there's no substitute for human judgment.

How often have you read a contract and wondered, “what does that mean?” It’s not always a matter of confusing legalese. Errors can get carried through the drafting process that make language non-sensical. This may create problems when enforcing contracts.

Read the contracts your given. If they don't make sense, ask your legal advisers for clarification before you sign.

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