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9 Ways an Attorney Helps With Contracts


By Angela M. Ward, Attorney

If you live in Lancaster County, you know that legal contracts are a part of everyday life. When you buy a home, start a new job, start a business, hire employees, work with vendors, or lease office space, you’ll probably be asked to sign or even develop contracts.

No matter which type of contract you are working with, every contract is an official, legal document, and can pose a serious risk to you and your interests if they are not well written, well negotiated, well understood, or well enforced. That’s why you should contact The Law Offices of Going and Plank in downtown Lancaster to ensure the contracts you sign or create are legally sound. Here are nine important ways we can guide you through common conflict areas.

One: Determine and Correct Breach of Contract

A sound contract includes a detailed explanation of what is expected from both parties signing the contract. In order to be a valid contract, both parties must exchange something of value, such as money for goods and services. When one of the parties fails to deliver the expected goods and services that is considered a breach of contract. If you’ve entered into an agreement and suspect the other party has not met their contractual obligations, an experienced contract attorney can review the contract, contact the other party with demands for correcting the breach and, if appropriate, file a lawsuit.

Two: Prevent or Resolve Contract Disputes

Contract disputes can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes, when contracts are poorly written, with complicated or unclear language, disputes can arise because one or both parties do not understand the terms of the contract. Other times, one of the parties simply doesn’t hold up their part of the agreement. A well-written contract will include a clearly worded dispute clause that outlines the procedure for handling a dispute. If you are in the middle of a contract dispute, contact Going and Plank. We can guide you through the resolution process, whether it’s representing you in arbitration or negotiating a settlement that avoids lengthy and costly litigation.


Three: Create a Sound Contract

You might think you can write your own contract or use online resources to save money, but a poorly written contract, or an incomplete contract, can end up costing you both financially and legally. At Going and Plank, we can help you avoid pitfalls like unclear language and problematic clauses that will not hold up under legal scrutiny. Contact us to ensure that your contract includes straightforward, mutually understood guidelines, spells out contingencies. and includes legal protections that can save you from costly lawsuits.

Four: Review a Contract You’ve Been Asked to Sign

We all have many opportunities to sign contracts in our daily lives, whether it is an employment contract, a lease agreement, a home improvement contract or a business partnership. While it might be tempting to simply skim these contracts and sign on the dotted line, it is always wise to have an experienced attorney review any agreement before you sign. If you’ve been asked to sign a contract, contact Going and Plank. We can help you identify problematic clauses and unreasonable terms, as well as ensure that you understand performance expectations and the consequences when those terms are not met.


Five: Address Accusations of Breach of Contract

If you’ve received a demand letter notifying you of breach of contract, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced contract lawyer will review the contract’s terms and conditions, any documentation and correspondence you have had with the other party, as well as your own account of the facts to determine what, if any, breach took place and how you should respond. Even if you did breach a contract, you may have a valid defense for not performing your end of the agreement. You may be able to argue that the terms of the contract were unreasonable or fraudulent, or that the statute of limitations for filing a breach of contract claim have expired. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a breach of contract suit is generally four years, although individual contracts may provide for a shorter limitation period.

Six: Mitigate Business Risks

If you own a business, you rely on legal contracts, whether you’re hiring employees, working with vendors or securing the services of another business. Sound business contracts can protect you and your business by spelling out contingencies and creating legal protections that can save you from costly lawsuits. If you are just starting your business, contact Going and Plank to ensure that all of your business contracts include the key elements necessary to avoid legal headaches down the road. We can also help you find the right format for organizing your business and assist with other important legal details, from securing EIN tax numbers to drafting bylaws.

Seven: Review or Negotiate Lease Contracts

Leasing properties can be a complicated process, and if you are not experienced with these types of agreements you can miss details that can end up costing money. Are there hidden expenses, such as maintenance costs or yearly rate increases? Are you allowed to make improvements to the property? Can you sublease the space? What is the penalty for early termination? Are the terms of this lease reasonable and in line with standard practices? If you are entering a lease agreement, contact Going and Plank. We can identify problematic clauses and may be able to help you negotiate more favorable terms that can save you money and protect your interests down the road.

Eight: Negotiate the Termination or Revision of an Existing Contract

As a legally binding agreement, a sound contract should spell out conditions under which it can be legally terminated, as well as the legal and financial consequences for failing to do so. Even if your contract has a provision that allows you to terminate the agreement, it is still wise to seek the advice of a contract attorney to avoid breach of contract. You may also be able to get out of a contract if you can no longer perform your duties or if you can establish that the other party is in breach of contract. Contact Going and Plank to help you negotiate an end to the agreement.

Nine: Reduce Complications When You Buy or Sell

Whether you are buying or selling a home, business, or other types of property, there are many steps in the process that require legal review. An experienced contract attorney will

  • Ensure organizational documents are up to date
  • Make certain that financing complies with federal and state laws and protects both the buyer and seller
  • Review any contracts associated with the sale, including land and property rights and restrictions, warrantees or guarantees, associated legal obligations, material contracts and leases
  • Negotiate the actual transfer of the home, business, or property
  • Handle the closing

Going and Plank is here to serve the people of Lancaster County and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to help with all of your contract needs.

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