There are many websites tailored towards providing people with software to perform their own legal services. Companies that need a quick draft of a private placement memorandum can quickly find a variety of websites to walk them through the process. If you need a fast memorandum of understanding or non-disclosure agreement, there is probably an app for that. However, legal services have historically been performed only by a trained professional with a significant amount of education and a lot of books. The question that follows is where, if at all, your company should use do you own (DIY) legal services. This article will point out the major costs and benefits of using DIY legal, in order for you to ultimately determine the decision.
Save Money: Reducing the demand on your pocketbook is clearly the most common sense advantage. According to people familiar with the matter, lawyers are expensive. Their degrees are expensive, their time is expensive, and they typically purchase expensive things. Your company may be able to save up to $4,000 for a simple business registration that can be done using any number of software services available online. Making adjustments to a non-disclosure agreement can easily cost a couple hours of an attorney’s time, but a well calibrated platform can do it in minutes.
Potentially Reduce Conflicting Interests: When you pay an attorney, they may have an inclination to favor your interests. This may give an ominous feeling to someone you just handed a legal document to, where they immediately feel the need to have their attorney review it before agreeing. By using a software that follows a code, both parties are more likely to believe that the structure is less likely to have intentional clauses designed to favor one side. Sneaking a clause using technical legal phrases will clearly standout amidst the layman text entered by someone with restricted legal experience.
Potentially Benefit from Standardization: If you are a new company or small business, there is a good chance that you do not have a lot of money in your budget for a good attorney. While most lawyers are very good, malpractice unfortunately is a noun worth knowing. There is a chance that people will interact with incompetent professionals, which may be reduced if experts are behind the general templates available online. Using the general structure of a professional in this case, may be more advantageous than having an incapable person attempt to generate a custom document.
Your Case is Unique: If all legal situations were the same, the DIY legal software would have already run many attorneys out of the market. The fact is, most legal cases vary at least to some degree. If your company needs to issue shares, you could potentially agree to something unintended if the template is not adequately formatted. A franchise agreement that is not specific to a territory, may give a franchisee access to the entire state of New York when you actually intended to restrict it to New York City.
Attorneys have Experience (Insights): If you are working with an experienced attorney, there is a good chance that she has worked on similar projects in the past. Filing a provisionary patent for a new device may have unique requirements that a template does not cover. Issuing stock shares to your members may come with good recommendations, such as preferred versus common stock. It is challenging to get immediate feedback.
Your Time is Valuable: Let’s assume that you are capable of completing legal document by filling in some data and sending it in a .PDF in under 15 minutes. The quality of that document is very likely to be poorly created and for more sophisticated events, you will probably have to spend time researching the subject in order to be competent in the area. This research takes time, in which you could be finding new ways to grow your business or doing things that you already know how to do. While running a startup requires wearing many hats, classical economics and the industrial revolution have proven that it’s inefficient to perform virtually every task.