The Internet has been great tool to make legal information more accessible (it’s the reason why I’m able to share these posts with you after all). However, it’s hard to distinguish what is good legal information and what is questionable. Amongst all the tools and information you will be able to find online, contract templates are one of the things you should be most wary of. Of course, an okay contract is better than no contract. However, if you have been using a template for a while now, it really is time for you to get it reviewed by a professional. Here’s why.
Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding contract templates or if you need to get your current contracts reviewed, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#1 Templates should be used as a foundation, not as the entire contract
Templates are a great tool to understand how contracts should be structured and maybe even to help you think about certain aspects you had not thought of before. However, in no way should a template be used as your contract without additional modifications. In order to properly be protected, you need to go beyond what is included in the template, as they are usually drafted in a very general manner.
#2 Most online templates are not written with Canadian/Quebec law in mind
One of the core concepts of the law is that it works on a territorial basis. Every country, state, and province has a specific set of laws that differ from one place to another. Most templates you will find online have been written for American users and therefore do not always contain concepts that apply in Canadian law or Quebec law. You do not want to end up in a situation where your contract goes against the local laws.
#3 Very few templates are actually written by legal professionals
Most templates you find online have not been drafted by people who write contracts for a living and who are aware of the legal implications of the clauses you include. Unless you know the agreements have been reviewed by a legal professional, such as a lawyer, you should steer far away from them, as they may cause you more trouble than anything else.
#4 The templates you find online are not necessarily adapted to your needs/situations
As mentioned previously, a template is supposed to be a foundation. In order to be used by as many people as possible, the template will have to be drafted in a very general matter. This means two things. 1) You might stumble upon a contract that is in no way suited to the particular industry you are in (especially if you are in a relatively new or niche branch such as influencer marketing or personal styling). 2) Even if you find a contract for your specific industry, you have to remember that everyone runs their business differently and that a contract that works for one photographer, for instance, might not work at all for another one (the needs of a photographer that does boudoir photography versus a photographer that does commercial photography exclusively is a good example).
#5 You don’t know what you don’t know
This is probably the most important point. It’s very hard to think about preventing situations you’ve never been in or have never heard of. It’s even harder to think about including legal concepts you are unaware of. How can you be sure your contract is protecting you if you have never been exposed to properly drafted contracts before? Legal professionals can help you fill these holes and make sure your contract does what it is supposed to do: protect you and encourage healthy business relationships.
Got additional legal questions you would like to ask me regarding contract templates? Do you need to get those templates you’ve been using forever now reviewed? If so, do not hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com or click on the link below to schedule a consultation.