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When to call in a lawyer on a contract dispute

Contracts form the basis for protecting parties in an agreement. When disputes arise, sometimes the parties are able to resolve the issue through their own discussions. In many situations, however, the parties are unable to find a shared solution to the contract dispute on their own.

In these cases, a business attorney needs to assist in finding a legal resolution to the dispute. There are several typical situations in which a lawyer needs to intervene to assist a client in resolving a contract dispute.

Understanding the contract

Typical business contracts involve a lot of complicated language, colloquially referred to as legalese. Oftentimes, when it comes to contract disputes, the parties in the agreement are unable to understand how the specific contractual language affects their disagreement. Both parties may be arguing for their side without actually knowing whether their argument would hold up under the law or how it might be argued in court. In cases like this, an attorney is necessary to help the client understand how to resolve the dispute to achieve the outcome that he or she is fighting for. An attorney can also help a client understand when what he or she is fighting for is not legally feasible.

Before and beyond contracts

Having an attorney involved in the initial stages of drafting and signing an agreement can help clients avoid potential disputes in the future. In addition, a qualified business attorney who assists a client in resolving a contract dispute can also oftentimes become a trusted advisor for other business matters, such as employment law issues and commercial litigation.

While there are no hard and fast rules about when to call in an attorney for a contract dispute, it is best to err on the side of caution and consult with an attorney at the first signs of an impasse. Allowing a dispute to fester can only cause more trouble. Engaging in a legal consultation with an attorney as soon as a dispute arises can often help minimize conflict and, in some cases, even help clients avoid courtroom litigation.