April 25, 2008

Lawyers? We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Lawyers.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:33 pm

That’s what these two businessmen thought when they committed the terms of their rather complex business arrangement to a two-page, handwritten contract and each signed it. Their homegrown contract, written on notebook paper, provided that they would “complete formal contracts as soon as possible, but this is binding.”

Six months later, things went sour and no “formal contracts” were in place. Seven years’ worth of litigation (including two trials) later, the court upheld the validity of the contract and the jury awarded the plaintiff $10.5 million.

Free Legal Advice Department — A few lessons here about contracts:

1. Spending a little time with a lawyer up front can prevent you from spending lots and lots of time with lots and lots of lawyers down the road, if things go badly.

2. Things go badly much more often than you might think.

3. Some things that look like contracts are not contracts, but some things that don’t look much like contracts very well might be contracts.

4. Words matter.

5. Be careful what you sign.

You’re welcome.


  1. I see the victor in all this took the $10.5 mil and ran all the way…to Brooklyn.

    Couldn’t get out of Jersey fast enough, eh? Yo, I got ya dotted line right here. Ohhhh.


    Comment by Erica — April 25, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  2. Verily the trooth. As I go through this techie life, I find you’ve got to practically be an attorney to handle day-to-day matters, such as firearms ownership or divorce.

    Any luck finding Hoffa?

    Comment by Cappy — April 25, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  3. If I need a lawyer… I’m glad I know just where to find one. *grin*

    Comment by Teresa — April 25, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  4. Yep, learned that in some undergraduate contact law classes many years ago..hell, even used to be able to brief one of those cases..

    And that is where I learned that law ain’t necessarily synonymous with justice..

    Comment by GUYK — April 26, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

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