The Pitfalls and Cons of Using Template Legal Documents

What’s the big deal with template legal documents or using an online legal service? It seems quick, cheap, and effective. The reality is that you may have documents done quickly because they are prefinished, template, basic, fill in the blank and the cost may be less than going to a business lawyer in the Seattle area. However, the results can be vastly different. Take a moment to consider the gravity of what you are doing and what you are about to embark on. You are about to put into action legally binding documents that can affect the outcome and possibly define rules and boundaries for activities and conduct. You should take the time to know, understand, plan, and prepare for these documents to take effect and you should discuss this matters with a Seattle area business lawyer. Below are a few points that will help you create business law documents and other legally binding documents in Washington State. Think of these documents similar to an insurance plan that you can rely on. That being said, you do not want to cut corners and you do not want to simply have a vague and general document that you hope to catches everything. If you care about the outcome and are seeking protection from a legally binding document, you must have a document custom tailored to your needs because what goes for one client does not necessarily go for all. An experienced lawyer can cater to the specifics you need.

For an example of store bought legal documents available from Office Depot, Example

Documents start at about $8.

Plan and be specific.

Think about what you want to accomplish, what are your long term goals, and what is it that you want to rely on this document for. Getting specific here should save you time, money, energy, and headache in the long run. If there is a specific action or provision you want, you need to have it drafted and written for your specific needs, not a general assumption that is written for everyone. Without details and specifics, you risk an uninformed interpretation of your document and intentions. Spell out what it is you want to avoid misunderstandings. An experienced business law attorney can spell out your wishes. Most store bought template documents do not go to the detail that you need to protect and defend your interest.

Protect and Defend.

An experienced business lawyer is both a sword and shield. The sword is when you are using the document to attack and the shield is when you seek protection. Use your business lawyer for advice, counsel, and opinion on how to protect and defend yourself and your business. Template documents can defend and protect, but usually not to the level of an experienced business attorney who understands your needs and interests. Seattle is a robust business epicenter, seek out a sword and shield with a Seattle area business lawyer. Rhodes Legal Group is a Seattle area based business law firm handling business law matters in Seattle and Washington State. They can be contacted at

Don’t just throw some words on paper and hope.

Without specificity and custom tailoring of a legal document or business law document, you more or less have some blanket and general words hoping that covers your specific needs. Some services give you an online or phone consultation. That is a step in the right direction, but you should consider the source. How was does your phone operator lawyer understand business? Do they have business experience or have they ever operated a business? Perhaps they are fresh out of law school and could not find another job and have settled on being a phone operator. They could do a good job, but do you want to roll the dice with them with your business or legal needs?

Discuss the matter with experienced business and legal counsel in the Seattle area. Patrick Kwan is a Seattle area business lawyer who has over 25 years experience in owning, managing, and operating successful businesses. View Mr. Kwan’s business law profile.

How would a judge or jury interpret this document?

What many do not consider is what happens if there is a vague and general statement in a business law document or legally binding document in Washington State or whatever jurisdiction they are in? In these cases, the judge or jury will interpret the document. The lawyers of both parties have the burden of proving the intent of the document. You have a good chance at preventing this from happening and letting others decide the outcome of you business and legal matters in Washington State. The Washington State court system may be the appropriate venue to hear your matter depending on the amount, location, and what is at stake, but it’s best to not let the matter get that far. Draft a sound business or legal document and make sure your intent is shown and clearly defined. This is another instance of rolling the dice with your business or legal rights at stake. Don’t let others interpret your intent, wants, and needs. Do it yourself by having an experienced lawyer convey your meaning.

Understand what you are putting into action, what is at stake, and have the entire document explained to you.

Some lawyers like to use fancy wording, big words that sound Shakesperian and can be found in’s Law Dictionary Skip it, don’t bother, and get to what you mean. As the client, you need to understand what you are putting into action, what is at stake, and have the entire document explained to you. Experienced business counsel and lawyers understand and are experienced in drafting and explaining their work in protecting and defending your rights. A document that is put into effect with out the client knowing and understanding is very dangerous. This is like playing a game where you do not know or understand the rules. Define, know, and understand the rules of the game before you play.

Know your options.

If you do not know your options, you have no idea what is available to you. The idea of playing a game with no rules or understanding is true here as well. If you do not know your options, you are then limited in the moves you can make. Do not limit yourself, your business, or your legal rights. Experienced business lawyer and experienced lawyers can open up options you have may not considered and may have not known existed. Broaden your horizons and meet with an experienced Seattle area business law attorney.

This article was written by Patrick Kwan, an experienced Seattle based business law attorney. Mr. Kwan has over 25 years of business law experience as well as owning and operating several businesses. To view Mr. Kwan’s business and law bio, visit

Rhodes Legal Group, PLLC is a Seattle area based business law and criminal law firm serving the greater Seattle area and Washington State. For more information visit or contact them at (206)708-7852.

For more information in doing business in Washington State, contact Rhodes Legal Group, PLLC visit Rhodes Legal Group  or you can begin at the Washington State Secretary of State’s office. For more information on drafting business documents in Washington State, you can view Mr. Kwan’s article on drafting business documents in Washington State.