Why purchasing a legal contract template might actually better protect your small business.
You probably know what I’m going to say first: legally protecting your business is an absolute must. But this next part might surprise you: it’s not always in your best interest to hire a lawyer.
Let me explain: Most attorneys, myself included, charge by the hour. And chances are, spending your hard-earned dollars on legal fees isn’t exactly exciting (don’t worry, I won’t take it personally). When it comes to custom legal agreements, it’s in your best interest to purchase a high-quality template at a fraction of the cost, instead of hiring a lawyer to write one for you from scratch.
But — and it’s a big but — ”high quality” is a key factor here. Not all online legal contract templates are created equally, so knowing what to look for and what to be cautious of when shopping around for an online legal contract template is crucial.
Take a deep breath (I promise it won’t be bad! I’m calling in a new era of calming counsel, after all) and let’s dig in.
Why purchase a legal contract template online?
Hiring an attorney to support the unexpected and highly nuanced circumstances that might come up in your business is a good idea — sometimes.
As an artist-turned-attorney, I’ve been in your shoes. You carefully consider each expense, and you want to make sure the money you spend is worth it.
Here’s my honest opinion: hiring an attorney to write a custom legal agreement for you….isn’t worth it.
Especially when you have a resource like The Artists’ Lawyer Online Contract Template Shop at your disposal.
You’re better off spending your legal budget on an attorney to help you with things like contract disputes or filing a trademark — things that require a balanced mindset, objective perspective, and experience navigating the legal system.
My advice? Purchase a high-quality legal contract template online for a fraction of the cost. The cost to write a custom contract could range from $1500-3000 (or more!). Most of The Artists’ Lawyer legal contract templates cost $250-500.
But be careful — the difference between an average contract and one crafted by The Artists’ Lawyer could mean an amicable client relationship, or lengthy litigation.
What makes for a high quality contract template
If you Google “legal contract template” (like I once did!), you’ll quickly find that there is no shortage of options. And you might be tempted to go with the template from a large, well-known brand, or the cheapest, or even free, option.
Before you click download, it’s important to know why certain contact templates are better than others — and why you might be better off shopping from a smaller vendor, or spending a bit more.
Have you ever skimmed a legal agreement, went cross eyed halfway through the longest run on sentence you’ve ever read, then scrolled to the bottom to sign? Legal language can be overwhelming, but signing something you don’t understand is never a good idea, and can result in stressful situations later. A high quality legal contract template avoids legalese (unnecessarily complicated language in legal agreements), and instead uses clear, plain language so that both parties (you and your client) understand the terms you’re both agreeing to.
"Though shall pay to the non-defaulting party a late fee in the sum of 5% of the outstanding payment accruing on a weekly basis."
"For any outstanding payments, a late payment fee of 5% will be applied on a weekly basis."
A good online legal agreement template also avoids contradictions in the terms of the agreement. This means that one clause doesn’t contradict another. Why does this matter? It creates blurred boundaries or gray areas, which leaves you and your business vulnerable. If the contract contradicts itself, it gives the other party leverage to negate the whole agreement.
Lastly, a thorough legal agreement includes term definitions, so that there is no question what each clause refers to. For example, what does “work product” actually constitute? If this isn’t defined, you leave the agreement open to misinterpretation and yourself at risk of frustrating negotiations later.
A high quality legal contract template that you purchase online is thorough — which is incredibly rare! If the agreement you’re downloading is only a few pages, chances are it doesn’t include every clause it needs to in order to fully protect you, your business, and your client. So, be sure to check for range of clauses.
For example, to name a few you'll want to be sure it includes:
- Venue and Choice of Law
- & more!
Making sure the agreement you’re downloading or purchasing includes all the necessary clauses is one thing, but knowing that each clause is as complete as possible is another. Does each clause contain all the necessary language to fully protect you under any circumstance? It’s hard to know. Your agreement could include a necessary clause, but not be written in such a way that protects you from a certain situation that should be covered under that clause. Knowing that your agreements include the full range of protected clauses, and that each of those clauses is complete, is important for being fully legally protected.
You might be able to find a legal contract template online that is written with high-quality language, and includes clauses that protect you. But I’d be willing to bet that you’ve struggled to find one that contains specifics to your industry, business model, or unique situation.
Chances are, most of the agreement templates you’ve come across are very general. This is what leads most people to believe they need to hire a lawyer to write a custom contract for them — because they can’t find a template that’s written with enough industry-knowledge!
Good news, your search is over. As a creative entrepreneur myself, I know the ins and outs of small business, which means that I wrote all of the templates in The Artists’ Lawyer Contract Template Shop to cover any and every circumstance you might encounter as a wedding photographer, designer, coach, and more.
When purchasing a template online, it’s important to consider proactive protection. You want to find an agreement that protects you against possible situations specific to your industry, even if they haven’t happened to you yet! This is one of the things that makes The Artists’ Lawyer unlike any other online legal contract template shop.
What to look for when evaluating online legal templates
Written by a licensed attorney
When you’re evaluating online legal templates, knowing the source is key. Who wrote the template you’re purchasing? What do you know about the brand that hosts the template shop? The online legal agreement you purchase or download should be written by a licensed attorney Note: there’s a difference between passing the bar exam, and being a licensed attorney! There’s also a difference between a paralegal or a legal assistant, and a licensed attorney. The former has knowledge of legal concepts, but not necessarily the expertise or experience of an attorney.
Mindful and modern approach
Chilly board rooms, shiny briefcases and dab pencil skirts are out. A lawyer who owns a few creative businesses, knows the situations that will inevitably come up for you, and has proactively protected you from them? That’s what’s in.
You don’t want a legal agreement that will bog down your client communications (or your business processes and budget!) with arbitrary complexities that end up causing you even more stress. Make sure your contract was written by someone who wants to help you rise above the bureaucracy of business so you can focus on what you do best!
Why do people dislike lawyers? There’s a stereotype of deception. You don’t just want a perfectionist preparing your contracts, you want someone who pursues doing the right thing by you and your clients. You don’t have to assume you’re covered (right?) or avoid confrontation because you’re not totally sure what that clause in your contact even means. We’re here to empower you with integrity, so you can stand behind the business you’ve built.
What to be cautious of when it comes to online legal agreement templates
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: not all online legal contract templates are created equally. There are a few things you should be cautious of when evaluating whether or not you’ll purchase a legal template online.
Cheaper isn’t always better. Sometimes paying a bit more for a more thorough contract is better than paying less, and having legal expenses later if your agreement doesn’t protect you from client disputes, contract termination negotiations, or unprecedented events outside of your control. When you pay a bit more, you’re paying for industry knowledge, legal experience, countless hours of research to ensure the contract is complete, and the ability to reach a human for support if you have questions about your template. This isn’t always true, but it definitely is at The Artists’ Lawyer!
Accessing your template should be easy. From reviewing what’s included in the agreement, to the checkout experience, to receiving and downloading your template, to filling in your own details in the document itself, you should know exactly what to do. Be wary of sites that don’t include directions, or give you an intuitive feeling that something is fishy when you’re entering in your payment details!
Finding a high-quality online legal agreement can be tricky — but don’t resort to hiring an attorney just yet!
As an artist turned attorney, I’m here to empower you to rise above the complex legalities of entrepreneurship. You don’t have to assume you’re covered (right?) or avoid confrontation because you’re not totally sure what that clause in your contact even means.
From the industry-specific clauses included, to the easy-to-understand language, to the real-life-example-informed coverage — The Artists’ Lawyer contract templates are more thorough, more protective, and more usable.