Like many things these days, documents are readily available off the web. You can pretty much get a document on anything for little or no money.
So the questions arises, why would you pay a significant fee to a lawyer to get access to a document? What is the difference between a FREE document off the web, and an apparently equivalent document that a lawyer charges $2,000 for?
This is a question every good lawyer needs to ask themself, and have a good answer for.
Our answer is that our documents are more than words on a page. They have additional “embedded value”. I hear your scepticism. So, what is this value?
Pre-documentation advice and assistance
A document usually represents a solution to a problem, or the implementation of an opportunity.
You usually need an experienced person to help you solve the problem, or identify and articulate the opportunity – before you can then document it.
Experience and expertise can assist you here.
We can assist you identify and articulate the relevant issues, and pre-empt other issues you may not have thought of.
Selecting the appropriate document and clauses
In our view, the most important aspect of our involvement in your documents is the professional skill of selecting the appropriate document – and more importantly, the appropriate clauses – to meet your objective.
At a very basic level, there are at least 2 versions of each type of document – and which version you start with depends on what side of the transaction you are on. For example, if you are looking for an Employment Contract you will select different versions, depending on whether you are the employer or the employee.
You then need to consider what clauses are appropriate. For example, if the employment position relates to a junior staff member, then the document is likely to be quite simple. Whereas, if you are employing a senior executive, things like confidentiality undertakings, restraints of trade, assignment of intellectual property, agreed termination scenarios, KPIs, etc, will be more relevant.
Then you need to consider what external laws may impact your document – and how to accommodate this in the drafting. For example, if you are employing a junior staff member, their contract may be relatively simple, but it is also more likely to be impacted by things such as statutory awards and minimum conditions.
We guide you through these things.
Quality control is a service, not a product.
Quality control is the difference between hoping you have got something correct, and knowing with a high degree of confidence that you have it correct.
For higher value problems and opportunities, quality control is worth paying for.
Involving us in your documentation will provide this quality control.
Avoiding costly disputes
To be perfectly honest, a number of dispute lawyers would prefer that you do not get proper advice on your documents. Why? Because they make considerably more money from disputes over badly drafted or inappropriate documents, than they do out of providing high qualify documents in the first place.
The reality is that a good Shareholders’ Agreement probably costs somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000 – depending on the level of complexity of the business. However, a medium complexity dispute between shareholders is likely to cost anywhere between $25,000 and $150,000 – PER SIDE.
Based on these relative values, a quality document is very cheap insurance against future costly disputes.
We find our happiest business clients are those that have previously been through an expensive dispute, and are more than happy to pay good money for quality documentation to avoid that happening again.
The law requires us to have insurance. Accordingly, if we are involved in assisting you document your transaction, then our documents come with an appropriate policy of insurance against professional negligence.
Of course we hope you never need to rely on this policy.
This insurance does not come for free. In fact, the premium for this insurance represents a significant portion of the fee that we charge for our work.
In summary, what is the difference in value? – professionalism, expertise, quality control, tailored outcomes and insurance.
If these things do not have value to you in the specific circumstance, then your web document will most likely do the trick. In all other circumstances, you will find that our advice and assistance is very good value for money.