Courtroom Lawyer vs. Contracts Lawyer

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Contracts Lawyer

You might have a lawyer who litigates real estate issues, title deficiencies, undisclosed defects on the property and they may never do a real estate closing because those two things can be completely separate and distinct.

But there are a lot of areas where the separation should not exist and I think the most common area is in the writing of contracts and we have been involved in so many cases where you read the contract and you listen to what the client tells you and you’re thinking to yourself, based on what he’s telling me how on earth did they end up with this document as their contract? We recently had a case that ended up when you’ve taken into account both sides there were hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.

Practically approaching a million dollars in attorney’s fees and it all boiled down to they had this beautiful, looked beautiful, 20 or 30-page contract that had been written up in quite a complex transaction. But when you listen to the client tell you about the essence of what the deal was supposed to be you just have to look up and tell the client, it’s just not there.

A litigator when they’re considering a contract is often because he’s been to court and he’s litigated over contacts and he’s litigated over a particular phrase or whether the comma is at the beginning or the end and all of those things which can change the meaning of paragraphs is much more sensitive to the idea of whether or I should say much more sensitive to the concept of whether the written word is consistent with the mental impressions of the parties of the contract as to what they intend.

He is been to court, he’s litigated these things. He’s argued it in front of juries, he’s listened to judges and juries comment about the language that’s been used in various litigation regarding contracts and so he’s much more sensitive to, all right, if this gets into a dispute, does this really say what is on the minds of these people or is it something that came out of a book that sounds great? And there’s a big difference there and we’ve found that many times when a contract is written by a lawyer who has never been in the courtroom is all very formal, it’s all very legalistic, but it may not be the agreement that the parties had intended.

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