As a law firm, Halcomb Singler, LLP, earns money through preparing legal forms for clients. So, as you read the rest of this blog understand that the author is not without bias. With that said, downloading random legal forms off of the internet, in my opinion, is becoming a greater problem. We are seeing more and more companies founded for $99.00 and more and more people taking to the internet for operating agreements for their businesses, contracts, leases, promissory notes, mortgages, you name it.
It is true that you can probably find any and all forms on the internet. However, in my opinion, it is a terrible decision to decide which form you need and copy it in the way that you believe suits your company. Sure, it’s going to be free….so there’s that. If you come to Halcomb Singler, LLP, it’s not going to be free (but not necessarily $5,000.00 either). However, Halcomb Singler, LLP, employs attorneys licensed to practice law in Indiana. Our attorneys spent 4 years in college, 3 years in law school, based a 2-day bar exam in Indiana, and were vetted by the Indiana Board of Law Examiners. Since 2005, our attorneys have been in private practice in Indiana and have gained significant experience practicing law. I believe that all of this qualifications are important and for that reason I suggest that you use Halcomb Singler, LLP, or even another Indiana law firm to assist with your business documents in Indiana.
Even putting education and state licensing aside, I have met few business owners that are capable of determining which form applies and how to properly change it to fit their business needs. Think about it. Where did the form you are downloading come from? Who drafted it? Was the person who drafted it an attorney? Was the business that it was drafted for in Indiana? Can this form be used in Indiana or are there different laws that are not integrated into the agreement you just downloaded.
There is a saying that “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Just about everyone that I have ever spoken to regarding a business transaction believes that they have a simple transaction. From time to time they are correct. However, the reality is that most of the time Halcomb Singler identifies issue that the business owner did now know could or would be important legally. While I believe this analogy is a bit overly dramatic, it is fairly akin to searching symptoms on the internet and giving yourself a diagnosis without going to the doctor. Luckily, the wrong contract, failing to have an attorney review it isn’t going to result in death. However, when people come in to see us with contracts or business agreements that they downloaded off the internet they often do not mean what the person thought they meant. This can be a minor mistake with almost zero negative ramifications or a huge mistake that costs an individual or business thousands of dollars.
So, if you need legal work done do some internet research, but also please go to an attorney. Hopefully you will be able to develop a relationship with an attorney that you trust as an advisor and friend. Then, when you have a “simple” legal question you can just pick up the phone and give them a call. If your small business needs an agreement, review of a lease, to add a partner/member/shareholder, or has other legal needs please give us a call at (317) 575-8222.