Business Contract Lawyer: How to Find the Right One

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business contract lawyerAre you looking for a business contract lawyer? Then you need to understand there are two different types of attorneys to consider.

Two Business Contract Lawyer Types

Do you want to have a contract prepared, negotiated, reviewed, or revised? You’ll want an attorney who focuses on business transactions.

But, if you’re in a dispute over an existing contract, you should retain a business litigator. This is true whether your dispute will end up in a lawsuit.

At our law firm, we focus on business transactions rather than disputes. So, if you’re fighting with someone over performance of an existing agreement, chances are you’ll want to look elsewhere for business legal help.

What if you need an experienced business contract lawyer to…

  • review an agreement;
  • prepare/negotiate a new contract; or
  • revise an existing agreement?

That’s the type of work we do.

Avoid the Generalist Attorney

There’s a third type of lawyer that you need to be wary of. This shady type claims they can do anything — criminal defense, personal injury, estate planning, and business contracts. They’re a jack-of-all-trades.

Yet the law has become so specialized it’s impossible to master everything. Don’t get fooled by someone who claims they can do it all.

After all, you wouldn’t hire a family medicine doctor to perform open heart surgery. You’d get a heart surgeon.

So, get the right professional for the work you need done. This means either (1) a business transactional attorney or (2) a business trial lawyer.

What’s the next step?

If you need transactional help, take our firm for a test drive. Schedule a phone consultation online or by calling 214-546-4247.

How To Pick The Right Business Contract Attorney

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business contract attorneyWhen you’re looking for a business contract attorney near you, you should ask yourself what you really need before starting the search.

Transactional Business Contract Attorney

For example, if you want to have a business agreement prepared, reviewed, or revised, you’ll want to focus your search on finding an experienced business lawyer who focuses on transactions, i.e. getting deals done right.

Litigation Lawyer

On the other hand, if you’re in a contract dispute and need legal help, you should look for a business litigator, i.e. an attorney who goes to court a lot representing clients in business disputes.

We Do Business Transactions

Our firm focuses on business transactions rather than lawsuits. Although we’ll help clients resolve disputes from time to time, our main goal is to prevent conflict in the first place by putting the right agreements in place. In other words, we prefer prevention to cleaning up messes.

Related Resource – Business Contract Types Chart: Pros And Cons

As you can see, the search for a business contract attorney near you needs to be refined so that you can get the legal help you really want.

If you’re looking for a firm like ours to assist you, the first thing you’ll want to do is book a phone consultation using our online system or by calling 214-546-4247.

What Every Business Owner Should Know About Force Majeure Clauses

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force majeure clausesWhat Are Force Majeure Clauses?

Force majeure clauses (a.k.a. Act of God clauses) are popular in agreements because they take into account some types of foreseeable disaster that might occur during performance. In short, the provision explains how the parties to the contract will act if a disaster at least temporarily prevents full or partial performance of the contract’s requirements.

Avoid Lawsuits

If all goes well, the roadmap laid out in the clause will let the parties address a triggering event without heading to court in a breach of contract lawsuit.

Types of Disasters

What events are typically covered in force majeure clauses? A well-drafted provision will cover a laundry list of potential disasters. These include pandemics (e.g. the coronavirus), fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the like.

Uniqueness

It’s important to note that there’s not a one-size-fits-all force majeure clause. For example, the terms and conditions of the provision can favor your business, favor the other party, or pretend to treat both parties equally. Even the “neutral” clause that looks like it treats both parties equally will in practice benefit one over the other because of the subject matter of the agreement and the circumstances of the parties.

Suspension Plus Termination?

When having your business lawyer prepare force majeure clauses for your agreements, there’s also the issue of whether suspension of performance can turn into termination instead.

For example, force majeure clauses can provide that after XX days have passed, if a party still can’t perform, then the contract either automatically terminates or a party can elect to terminate by following certain steps (e.g. written notice of termination).
Again, this part of the provision can be drafted to favor either party or to be ostensibly neutral by providing both parties with the same termination rights.

And what happens if there’s suspension or termination of performance because a force majeure clause is triggered? Will there be a partial refund or other compensation that changes hands? This should be taken into account too when an experienced business attorney prepares your contracts.

Coronavirus Waiver: Will Your Business Require Customers To Sign One?

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coronavirus waiver for business customers and employeesShould your business require customers and employees to sign a coronavirus waiver, release of liability, and assumption of risk agreement before being allowed to enter your premises?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where someone looking to make a fast buck will find an ambulance-chasing attorney to sue your business if there’s a good chance of getting paid by you or your insurance company.

There are already lawsuits by employees of retail stores claiming their employers exposed them to the virus by failing to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), failing to limit contact between customers and employees (e.g. plexiglass barriers at checkout), or requiring employees to show up to work at all instead of closing the business due to the pandemic.

It’s only a matter of time before some customers try to win litigation lotto by suing businesses for coronavirus exposure too. From a legal standpoint, a coronavirus waiver can reduce liability exposure. If someone sued your company alleging you had infected them with COVID-19, their signature on a properly drafted waiver, release of liability, and assumption of risk agreement would create a big obstacle to winning such a lawsuit.

Of course, there’s the business judgment call you have to make while weighing the pros and cons of the legal issues. For example, will requiring visitors to your business to sign a waiver tick them off so much that they go elsewhere to shop? In other words, will the protection you gain be worth the down side?

For now (as of April 17, 2020), it’s too early to tell whether requiring a coronavirus waiver will be something done only by a few risk-adverse business owners or if it will become standard practice at brick-and-mortar companies.

Regardless, the liability exposure issue does exist. So, it’s up to you to decide how much you want to protect your company against it. If you do decide to protect against this danger, get an experienced business lawyer to prepare the coronavirus waiver, release of liability, and assumption of risk agreement for you so that it’s done right.

Terminating A Business Lease Because Of The Coronavirus

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terminating a business leaseIf your business has been ordered shut down by the government during the coronavirus because it is allegedly “non-essential,” you may be able to terminate your commercial lease.

I’ve previously discussed business owner rights under force majeure clauses in leases and other contracts. However, there are other provisions that may apply too. For example, some business lease agreements have provisions that cover eminent domain.

Now it will undoubtedly be litigated in courts whether or not pandemic shutdown orders constitutes a taking that requires government compensation. But that’s not the most important issue.

In fact, the key thing to know is the meaning of the exact language used in the eminent domain lease clause(s). For example, some are written in such a way that a lease automatically terminates if at least XX% of the leased premises becomes unavailable because of the government’s actions. Other clauses state that the tenant has the option to terminate if such an event happens, i.e. lease termination isn’t automatic but requires the tenant to give notice.

Are all eminent domain clauses written this way? No. But enough are that it’s worth reading your lease agreement if you’re a business owner struggling to make ends meet because of the coronavirus pandemic orders. If nothing else, the language in your lease (force majeure, eminent domain, etc.) may be give you some bargaining chips you wouldn’t otherwise have when trying to renegotiate to receive more favorable terms instead of terminating the lease.