I’ve been writing a lot about form generators lately and their inherent downfalls, like their inability to provide state-specific language. I can’t be completely one-sided though. So this articles goes through some of the online contract maker pros and cons.
While form generators are generally a terrible idea and insufficient in fulfilling individual needs, they do actually have a few positive aspects. One of the best features I found in form generator websites is that many of them provide legal explanations of the contract provisions.
Though don’t let amazing and simple explanations of law and contracts give you a false sense of security. While the explanations may be lengthy, helpful, and sometimes even thorough in providing clarification about the purpose of the provision or the effect of the provision, they are never able to fully capture the nature of your business, the exact types of services you wish to provide, or how to integrate all the ideas you wanted to put in the contract.
Even if you spend an afternoon reading through all the legal explanations and trying to catch up to speed on how to draft a contract, you won’t be saving money in the long run. Spending 3-4 hours (maybe longer) just to read about what certain legal terms mean is good if you have the free time and are genuinely curious, but it’s utterly ridiculous if you think you’ll become an expert contract drafter overnight.
What saves you money is going to an expert (who has already put in years of reading about and learning the law), paying the full price of getting the job done efficiently and correctly the first time, and essentially investing in the insurance that the contract you have is airtight and able to withstand the heat of battle.
The real value in legal work, especially contract drafting, comes in understanding not just the meaning of terms, but the big picture. A winning contract is one that the other party not only agrees to and abides by, but also one that will win for you in a court of law. Creating a contract that favors you is a subtle and incredibly technical process. A single word or a single comma can make a million dollar difference.
A template may work in the short run, but is it bulletproof? Will it hold up in court? If the document fails to do what you thought it would, who will be held accountable? Not the website you got it from.