Making Deals with Friends

Do I Need a Business Lawyer? Ask Yourself These Questions

Looking for a business lawyer in Kansas City?

As a business lawyer in Kansas City, I work with entrepreneurs in Kansas City with their business law needs every day.

From bootstrapping startups to mature firms with varied revenue streams, I’m lucky to work with some of the brightest people I know. My clients include many people who I consider to be experts in their chosen field. They are not only creating wealth for their families but also for their employees’ families and society in general. 

From time to time, I have seen my clients and many other business owners make costly mistakes. In either an effort to save money or because they believed a deal was not complex enough, I’ve seen people skip forming a legal document altogether or sign a legal document without consulting an attorney first. And sometimes this has come back to bite them.

Are you about to sign something?

Have you ever been sitting in front of a legal document and thought to yourself:

“This deal is straightforward. If things went wrong we would figure it out. I know the other party and trust them. I just want to get this thing done quickly and cheaply.”

If you went ahead and signed a legal document and things went well, that’s great! To be honest, most legal documents signed will result in a positive result for all parties involved. I always tell people the times you will regret not having an attorney review a document are when things go terribly wrong or when things go amazingly well. 

Here’s another way to look at it. When things go down the toilet or when expectations are not met, people have a tendency to fight OR when everything your business touches turns to gold, people have a tendency to want a bigger piece of the success. 

Are you considering making a “Handshake Deal”?

If you are, don’t. I see clients do this all the time. They are making a small deal with a “buddy” or someone they have done business with for a “million” years, and there is no reason to take the time to write down or memorialize the deal. Handshake deals or oral contracts are valid but establishing the terms and parameters of that deal in the future can get messy. Courts generally do not want to get involved in a he said/she said dispute and you should not either. No matter how small the dollar amount.

Ultimately, it is less about the written agreement you enter into and more about memorializing expectations of the parties involved to an agreement. 

Litigation is counterproductive to your company

Avoid future disputes whenever possible by drafting clear documents with the parties with which you are doing business.  It is always easier to look up the terms of an agreement in a legal document than it is to have two parties remember the details amid a dispute. 

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a dollar of cure. If you need a business lawyer in Kansas City, call Jeff today.


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