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In a recent Business Journal article, Gunster attorney David G. Bates identifies six reasons business owners should avoid using free or cheap one-size-fits-all contracts that can be found online.

Gunster attorney David BatesBates – who practices corporate law, focusing on mergers and acquisition, venture capital transactions, and corporate finance – tells a charming story about a lesson learned early on from his grandmother, before laying out the reasons potential risks far outweigh any money saved by using cookie-cutter contracts.

Because the law can vary from state to state and may come down to the use and meaning of an individual word contained in an agreement if a dispute arises, it is critically important to look at the specifics of each situation.

Oftentimes, Bates says in the Business Journal article, what begins as a conversation to request a contract can reveal that a different type of legal document is needed, or that it’s perhaps best not to use a contract at all in the particular circumstances.

There’s really no safe, reliable way around contract customization: discussing your legal needs with an attorney you trust can help ensure the provisions of a contract are legal, appropriate to your situation, and taken as a whole can best protect your business interests.

Read the complete article: Beware: When it comes to free online contracts, you get what you pay for (The Business Journals, 3/31/17)

Bates is a member of Gunster’s board of directors and co-chairs the firm’s technology law and emerging companies law practices.


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