Are template legal documents good for my business?
We get it.
Why would you pay for legal services when there’s an official looking document you can download free of charge? You may read over the free template contract and think to yourself, “All of this makes perfect sense and it applies to my situation. Woohoo!” but that’s not always the case. Today, we’re here to answer the question of “Are template legal documents good for my business?”
What are template legal documents?
Template legal documents are EXACTLY what they sound like…a template, a starting point, an adjustable form, a fill-in-the-blank solution. Let’s think about this in the context of a logo or a newsletter.
There are a million and one templates in graphic design programs like Canva, Visme, Adobe Spark, Crello, Snappa and so many more. When you pull up a template in one of these programs, what do you get?
You get a template that shows you specific areas to place images and text, a general outline of things to include, and a specific design aesthetic for fonts, colours, and other things. After you insert images and text that are relevant to your business, you publish it and ✨voila✨ you have a beautiful piece of marketing material!
Template law documents are similar if you remove the fun things like colours, images, fonts and leave the text… 👀 You insert the text and fill in the pre-made blanks with your business’ information…and ✨voila✨ you have a great legal document right? Not quite.
With the legal document, you may have basic details like your business name, your business contact info, and some product or service details. However, savvy founders know there is much more you need to consider with your legal documents.
consideration 1: The processes and procedures contemplated by the document
Think about things like payment, product shipping, service delivery, scoping and pricing, changes to scope and pricing, and claims for defective or undelivered products or services. Does the template you found match how your business actually operates? If the answer is no, then the legal document may actually harm your business more than it helps.
consideration 2: The warranties, guarantees, and liability for your services and/or products
Does what is in the document match what you are actually prepared to offer for a warranty? Or are you prepared to accept the liability in the document if something goes wrong? And if you make changes, do you understand the legal consequences of the changes? If the answer is no, then again, the template may be more harmful than helping.
consideration 3: Legal documents built with specific laws, regulations, and case law in mind.
What laws, regulations, and case law were used to build your template? Do they apply to your business location? Or your customers’ or suppliers’ locations? Does the law automatically place certain implied rights, obligations, or liabilities into the document? Do the laws still apply or have things changed? If your answer is I don’t know, then we’re back to a potentially hurting template instead of a helpful template.
We get the appeal on online legal templates; why would you pay for legal services when there’s an official-looking document you can download free of charge? BUT, when you’re dealing with crucial aspects of your business that can span over multiple years, there will be a lot of terms that you’ll want to include to protect you and your business.
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