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© 2009-2019 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

Can I Save Money by Preparing a Contract for My Lawyer to Review?

Logo for Quora, where Dana Shultz answered a question about whether a client can save money by preparing a contract for lawyer reviewThis post is inspired by a Quora question that I answered. Q. Can I save money by preparing a contract for my lawyer to review?

A. No. Here is an explanation of why not.

Clients sometimes think that if they do the work to prepare the first draft of an agreement, they can save money because a lawyer will need less time to complete the agreement.

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Why I Like Being a Lawyer

Quora logo

This post (which, I admit, is a bit off-topic for this blog) is based on a Quora question that I answered.

Q. Attorneys: Why do you love being a lawyer? (Kindly exclude financial reasons.)

A. For me, “love” would be an overstatement. However, I consider myself quite fortunate in that:

  1. I get a great deal of satisfaction from helping my clients (for a startup, everything I do is significant).
  2. As a solo I am my own boss, so I get to do what I want when I want.
  3. My training to “spot the issue” is valuable in all aspects of my life, not just my work.
  4. The vast majority of my professional interactions are with people having greater-than-average intelligence, ambition, integrity and accomplishments.
  5. Because I need to have many clients (startups don’t have a lot of money for legal fees), I learn about many different types of businesses.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510-547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

 

What is the Difference between a Lawyer and an Attorney?

Cover of Black's Law Dictionary

From time to time – most recently on Quora – people ask what the difference is between a lawyer and an attorney. Here is what I was taught many years ago….

Although most people (including, it appears, most lawyers) treat the terms as synonyms, they can have different meanings:

  • “Lawyer” denotes a profession (I am a lawyer).
  • “Attorney” denotes the relationship of a lawyer to his or her client (as an attorney I represent my clients).

I recently pulled my decades-old Black’s Law Dictionary off the shelf. (Yes, sometimes there is information that is better researched in printed form rather than online.) It cites case authority stating the “lawyer” and “attorney” are synonymous.

However, the dictionary also provides the the following definition for “attorney”: “In the most general sense this term denotes an agent or substitute, or one who is appointed and authorized to act in the place or stead of another.” It then explains specific uses of the word – attorney at law, attorney in fact, etc. – and, thus, supports the distinction made above.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510-547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

Why Your Lawyer Need Not Sign an NDA

Cover page from California Business and Professions Code

Once in a while, when I send an engagement letter, the prospective client wants to add confidentiality provisions to protect its trade secrets. The following is the explanation that I provide as to why such provisions – let alone a separate nondisclosure agreement (NDA) – are not required in an attorney’s engagement letter.

California Business and Professions Code Section 6068 specifies the fundamental obligations of an attorney. Subsection (e)(1) states that each attorney must “maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself or herself to preserve the secrets, of his or her client.” (Emphasis added.) Attorneys in other states have similar obligations.

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Do I really need a lawyer to review this contract?

I have wanted to write this post for several months, but until now I have held off because of concern that it would come across as a lawyer saying “buy my services”. Today, though, a conversation with a client drove home how important this topic is.

On several occasions, clients have asked me to dig them out of trouble that occurred because they had entered into agreements without the advice of legal counsel. Some examples: