Phase 1 - Preliminary Comments
The following is a relatively short summary of the primary areas of practice of our firm with specific comments as to those services our firm provides to our clients involved in either or both business and real estate ventures. As previously stated, we simply cannot address every element of our practice areas nor be particularly specific. However, we would note that those particular subjects which we have highlighted in this guide appear (based on our and our clients' experiences) to be relatively high on the list of those services for which our clients have sought our counsel during the past few years.
It would only be appropriate to make a few editorial comments which are pertinent based upon our experiences:
Our firm has seen a significant increase in litigation associated with "oral contracts" as well as written agreements which are either poorly drafted or are non-inclusive of particularly significant terms and conditions.
Conversely, a significant amount of prospective litigation has been avoided by our clients undertaking protective measures through utilization of appropriately-drafted contracts. The savings for our clients in respect to litigation costs; down time associated with litigation and negotiations; and the consequential detrimental effect of litigation, have truly been significant.
Competitive market conditions in respect to both business and real estate matters has lead to a significant increase in the sophistication of the "other side." Very rarely do we see hand shake deals or relatively significant or sophisticated transactions being entered into without either the involvement of counsel or other professionals representing the other party.
Due to the increased utilization of computers, it has become significantly easier for our clients to develop, maintain and revise standard documentation which more clearly and completely outlines their regular contractual and business dealings with third parties. On the other hand, the same can be said about "the other side" and, all too often, there are significant conflicts as to what one party perceives to be their understanding versus that of the other party.
With the large increase in the number of attorneys practicing matters, we are finding more and more general practitioners attempting to become involved in matters who have minimal (if any) experience in the relatively sophisticated areas in which we practice. As a result, what oftentimes should be relatively simple negotiations in drafting contractual documents are bogged down by counsel who may not be as aware of the pertinent elements involved in a transaction and/or who make "something out of nothing." Given our preference, we would much rather work with experienced legal counsel rather than one who is, in essence, "cutting his/her teeth" in a relatively new practice area.
While some Federal, State and Local governmental agencies claim that they are lessening the regulation of business transactions and/or are less restrictive in respect to rules or regulations imposed upon business people, that simply is not the case. To the contrary, governmental involvement in so many areas of our practice has increased and it is critical that pertinent public restrictions, ordinances and statutes be viewed carefully and initially rather than be addressed after-the-fact.
Overall, the practice of law has changed significantly as have all business dealings. There are those who would contend that the lawyers have made things more difficult, complicated and expensive. There are also attorneys who feel the same, i.e. business dealings have become more complicated; the opposition more aggressive and selfish; and the marketplace so competitive that the business and real estate community is spawning more conflicts than ever before. In reality, it is our firm belief that, somewhere in between, lies reality.
Again, with proper planning and with your and our "finger on the pulse" of the business community, much can be accomplished affirmatively while much can be avoided which might ultimately and negatively impact your business dealings.